Bray Wyatt has finally returned to WWE and what a glorious return it was at Extreme Rules. You knew once Triple H took over as head of creative after Vince McMahon retired, it was likely that Bray Wyatt would return to WWE.
Wyatt is one of those talents that should have never been released in the first place but his relationship with Vince was pretty damaged beyond repair. Bray, much like Johnny Gargano, didn’t rush into a deal with another company. He apparently had looks from companies like AEW and Impact Wrestling, but he waited. He didn’t make any decisions and when Vince McMahon retired from WWE in late July, that was Bray’s chance to get back in.
Wyatt had a lot of success in WWE. He’s a former multi-time Tag Team Champion, WWE Champion and multi-time WWE Universal Champion. Bray has always found a way to reinvent himself. From Husky Harris to the cult leader to The Fiend and the Firefly Funhouse.
Bray’s creativity has never been an issue. Whether the company fully got behind him was always the issue. As much as Bray accomplished in WWE, he could’ve done even more if they would’ve gotten fully behind him the way they did some other guys at the time. Wyatt had great rivalries and matches with the likes of Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns and so on. The Wyatt Family vignettes in NXT and the main roster were some of the most compelling stuff in the company at the time.
Think about how he completely reinvented himself from Husky Harris, who got punted out of The Nexus by Randy Orton. The Funhouse and the premise behind it was some of the most creative stuff out there. Getting revenge on those who wronged him with his alter ego. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde aspect of The Fiend and Funhouse Bray. It was compelling stuff for a while. I was baffled when I saw news of his release last year because it made no sense to me. He was one of the biggest money makers at the time and to just release him felt odd to me.
In the weeks leading up to his return, WWE played a series of QR codes during Raw and Smackdown that had several references to Bray Wyatt and things related to Bray’s past as well as other little nuggets to try and throw you off the scent like Joe Gacy and Aleister Black. They had random white rabbits walk through the crowd and people holding up random signs to the camera. It was a masterful job by WWE to build anticipation for his debut in a way WWE hasn’t really done before.
The closest thing I can remember to this kind of build to a return would be the “Break the Code” vignettes that aired in the weeks leading up to Chris Jericho’s return in 2007. They slipped in a bunch of Jericho references in those codes before the code finally settled on “Save_Us_Y2J”. The QR codes seem to be a product of the new Director of Longterm Creative, Rob Fee, who is a close friend of Bray Wyatt. Having a guy like Rob there to kind of keep the continuity in storylines is a much-needed boost for WWE since Fee is also a fan of the product. He has written for Marvel Comics as well as scripting several shows for Netflix. He also specializes in the horror movie genre which makes him especially capable of working with a character like Bray Wyatt.
Now that Bray is back, the question becomes of what to do with a guy like Bray? He is an ultra-creative guy who didn’t always have the best creative during his first run. If you listened to the crowd at Extreme Rules as well as the following week on the October 14th edition of Smackdown, you can see the fans are ecstatic that he’s back. The return at Extreme Rules, with the Firefly Funhouse characters coming to life, was great. It was probably one of the most memorable returns in a decade at least. From having the door fly open and the blinding light, which appeared to be a tribute to his late friend Brodie Lee. The mask on Abby the Witch was also the same or a similar mask that Brodie used as a member of the Bludgeon Brothers. There were so many little nuances that made the return all the more special. There seems to be a constant reference to a “Wyatt 6”. It’s Bray’s Twitter handle, but many have theorized it could also be a faction with Mercy the Buzzard, Abby the Witch, Huskus the Pig, Sister Abigail, Ramblin Rabbit, and The Fiend. Others have theorized that “Wyatt 6” refers to the 6th incarnation of the Bray Wyatt character. Either way, we don’t have all the answers and that is a great thing in professional wrestling in 2022.
Bray Wyatt’s return on Smackdown was equally as intriguing. He seemed completely different than any version of his character we saw previously. He spoke as Windham Rotunda, not Bray Wyatt. It was a very heartfelt and emotional promo that recapped the past year of his life. The crowd responded the way you would hope until Bray was cut off by his mask on the titantron. The mask kept saying to come with him. It was a spooky ending but one that fits what we know about Bray’s personality. It is totally like Bray to have his first feud be with himself. Everything about the presentation so far has been perfect. Pretty much Bray’s whole career on the main roster has been as a heel. Based on the crowd reactions so far, I think you will be hard-pressed to get fans to boo Bray. They missed him so much that I can’t see that happening.
I would do the biggest money match you can do right now. Roman Reigns is the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. He is, without question, the top heel in the company. If your plan is to form a Wyatt 6 faction, then you have to do Wyatt 6 vs. Bloodline inside WarGames at Survivor Series. You can do 4 on 4, 5 on 5, it doesn’t really matter. I would do Wyatt 6 and The Bloodline in WarGames with Bray Wyatt as the babyface, and I’d have them win the damn thing. Obviously, Bray can pin a member of The Bloodline besides Roman. Where does it hurt Roman if Jey Uso or Sami takes the pin? You don’t even have to go directly into Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns after that, but you have that in your back pocket as a money match down the road.
As for who could play the Wyatt 6, it’s not that obvious right now. I’d probably have Abby the Witch as Liv Morgan. Ramblin Rabbit can be Dexter Lumis. Mercy the Buzzard can be Erik Rowan. Have Huskus be Braun Strowman and The Fiend can be Bray’s brother Bo Dallas. If you line up Wyatt, Strowman, Dallas, Lumis, and Rowan against The Usos, Solo, Sami, and Roman, I’m in.
I could be, and probably am, way off on the Wyatt 6 but I do think some sort of faction will be formed eventually. Will it include any of the people I mentioned? Maybe, maybe not. I’m already on board with everything Triple H, Rob Fee, Bray Wyatt, and anybody else who has a hand in what’s going on with this storyline.
Bray, to me, was the biggest free agent on the market. Not even close. Now that he’s back, I think he will finally get to show the world what a lot of us already knew – he is a generational talent just as much as he’s a generational human being. I know Brodie Lee would be proud as hell of what his “brother” is doing right now. All of us just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. I have a feeling the next few months of WWE television are about to be some of the most interesting pieces of business the company has done in years.
Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments.