Watch and Learn: Bray Wyatt

For every #Kane worthy of his own Week, there is a Bray Wyatt: A young performer hoping to make his mark in the business. Thankfully, we’re here to help them same way we would any other athlete: give him tape He Should Watch. Loving our readers like we do, we have some tape You Should Watch of the work that reminds us of his, and because  what’s more fun than old wrestling videos?

He Should Watch

Bray Wyatt is protected as well as any rising star of the last decade: he has never run off like a scalded dog, never received the beatdown of a righteous babyface, or failed to do anything he promised he would. Even more importantly, he hasn’t been over-exposed on television. Fans tune into WWE TV hoping to see Wyatt rather than expecting it. Because of this mature, old-school booking sensibility, Bray Wyatt feels like one of WWE’s most special talents, even though he’s never held any title or taken part in any real feud out of a (pardon the pun) hot-shotted “Ring of Fire” match with Kane at Summerslam.

The collective feeling is that when a fitting spot opens up at the top of the card, Wyatt will be jetpacked up into it. Is Bray Wyatt really main event ready, though? Surely he’s a talented, intriguing figure, but he would do well to study up and develop his character further before stepping into the big time.

Like Raven.

Raven was a mysterious, cult leader heel just like Wyatt. But Raven did not talk around what his intentions were, taking pains to explain why the outcasts of the world should fall in behind him by using intensely emotional rhetoric. Raven knew how to tell the story of a twisted, tragic past in a way that put people on the edge of their seats. His brilliance, however, was in staying heel. Somehow, he could talk about being abused and bullied, but still keep his face just enough in the shadows that he remained a boogeyman figure.

Wyatt definitely has the charisma to pull off a promo like Raven’s, but he needs to find a balance with the way he speaks and uses body language to present himself in a way that is not just evil, but evil you can believe in(Editor’s Note: Kane). Raven made it believable that he could manipulate his followers into doing anything, but he also took pains to portray a character who was deeply damaged. Just a tenth of Raven’s emotional subtlety would put Wyatt in the category of great star.

Another valuable lesson Wyatt could learn from Raven would be how to get his character across during actual matches. One thing fans have learned about Wyatt in the ring is that he likes to take his time. This is a time-honored tradition of nearly all heels (especially big man heels), but the problem is that Wyatt’s signature flavor doesn’t really come across in any appreciable way during his matches. Crabwalking like the girl from The Exorcist is a nice start, but before Bray Wyatt becomes a main event star, Windham Rotunda needs to figure out how Bray Wyatt would fight someone.

The magic of professional wrestling is that with the right personality and a well-thought-out approach, you don’t actually have to be good at, well, wrestling professionally. Raven was never a “I can’t believe what I just saw” worker, but he understood how to make himself simultaneously mean, desperate, and remorseless. His offense clearly communicated his character’s take-on-the-world fury while his impish cowardice came across in the way he would wail and moan after bumping for his opponent or run and hide behind his lackeys.

If Bray Wyatt can add a dash of Raven’s emotional authenticity to his promos and learn to get his character across in the ring half as well, he will certainly be a main event star for the WWE. As it stands, Wyatt is a talented midcard wrestler, but the potion that will catapult him into the big time is character development, character development, character development.

– Dave


You Should Watch

Waylon Mercy, for one, is a clear influence on Bray Wyatt, but in the way that The Joker was a clear influence for Joker Sting. There’s also, of course, Mideon. Who was as uh, pleasantly plump, as Bray, if lacking sorely in the agility part of the comparison. Which brings us to the Platonic ideal of what Bray Wyatt could be: Bam Bam Bigelow.

A mainstay of great “big man” discussions, Scottie from Asbury Park, NJ was as gifted a behemoth as the world will ever see. Warren Sapp in full body tights, he could — and did — work with anyone on the roster for any type of match. There’s a reason he was the guy they pegged to work with LT, and even more importantly, there’s a reason that match was an actually enjoyable match. (Hint: it’s not Taylor)

And while there’s surely a decent amount that Bray could learn from Bam Bam, let’s be honest: there’s never going to be anyone like him ever again. A full 100 pounds heavier than Wyatt, the Beast from the East wasn’t just good, he was a revelation. Wyatt could spend the rest of his life watching every single bit of tape the man ever worked on and still might not be able to do 1/3 of what he could do in the ring. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check him out, because if you’ll like what Bray Wyatt does, you’ll LOVE what Bam Bam was able to do during his prime.

Like his matches with Bret Hart, including this one from a show in Barcelona:

and his run in ECW, which included memorable bouts with RVD and of course, the bananas work he did with the likes of RVD and Taz:

and even his Triple Threat partner, Shane Douglas:

While much of his best work came after the bright lights of Hartford, for his most famous match in, the main event of WrestleMania XII, but almost all of it is things You Should, most definitely, Watch.

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