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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Who Makes Sense and Who Doesn’t For Bray Wyatt’s 1st Feud on WWE SmackDown | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Professional Wrestling: WWE SummerSlam: Bray Wyatt (top) in action against Finn Balor during the match at Barclays Center.  Brooklyn, NY 8/20/2017 CREDIT: Chad Matthew Carlson (Photo by Chad Matthew Carlson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Serial Number: X161332 TK1)

Assembly number: X161332 TK1

One would think that WWE would look at past mistakes to avoid future mistakes with Bray Wyatt, especially when it comes to his first fight on SmackDown.

But maybe not.

Anyone can guess who Wyatt feuds with first and somewhat confused by the fact that there is now something old versus new with WWE creativity.

The old WWE with Vince McMahon in charge of creative could have thrown Wyatt right into the main event scene, regardless of the long-term ramifications. The hot goes to the top. But the new WWE under Triple H’s guidance has shown more patience and understanding of how the now impacts the later.

It is certainly a debate that is raging within the company itself at the moment. According to PW Insider (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), Wyatt is already listed as the best babyface on SmackDown, even above Drew McIntyre.

That in itself is a bit surprising for a variety of reasons. But it gets even more complex. It has been reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE has eyes for a feud between Wyatt and Roman Reigns right now, something that Fightful Select has refuted (h/t Ortman).

It’s a bit strange to think of Wyatt as a baby face given the supernatural and twisted nature of his character. Technically, he is one of the fans and WWE desperately needs some, but it is strange to see him considered higher in rank than McIntyre, the man who carried the company through the pandemic era and had the WrestleMania-style reception and the main event in the UK recently.

McIntyre himself is also a bit of an oddball as an early opponent for Wyatt. One would think that WWE would want to prevent either of them from suffering a loss at this point, as keeping the roster of contenders strong for Reigns would be ideal.

But Reigns himself might make even less sense to Wyatt. The infamous Fiend-Seth Rollins feud that completely derailed both of them a few years ago isn’t something that has simply disappeared from fans’ minds. And even the most casual fans seem to know that Reigns is heading into a likely match with The Rock at the upcoming Mania, for which Wyatt would likely lose. And by predictable, we mean typical interference from the Uses and such.

So why have them fight right now before Reigns deals with Rock? There’s some fun narrative potential there if Wyatt keeps picking people around Reigns in a creepy way. But if the end result is that he loses anyway (and why does the supernatural horror show have an interest in titles anyway?), the path there doesn’t necessarily matter.

Make no mistake, WWE is right to have the need to launch their best products in main events. On some level it makes sense. But we’ve also seen that old-school mentality unnecessarily throwing titles at fighters in matches who just didn’t need them, derailing others in the process.

WWE would probably be much better off if Wyatt and Reigns kept their distance from each other until the latter is actually ready to lose the unified titles. The only thing that can come of it is an unsatisfying dirty finish and shrug-worthy reactions.

The fun thing about Wyatt is that he’ll probably draw the same ratings and attention regardless of the opponent – he’s that unique and Okay.

Rather than risk him, McIntyre and/or Reigns, he’s much better off in fights with someone like Braun Strowman given the obvious background there.

Or let Wyatt make it to a possible main event like Karrion Kross. Even Intercontinental Champion Gunther might make more sense, as it could be more exposure than ever for the sensible fighting champion if he doesn’t back down from the supernatural challenge.

Wyatt getting involved in stable-filled shenanigans under different names, which could help NXT summons in the process, is also a viable option. And WWE can come up with some reason to switch Superstars and eventually have Wyatt meet Finn Balor’s Demon persona as well.

This isn’t a case of Wyatt needing to step back up to Reigns’ level, but instead keeping him in a creative holding pattern that’s entertaining and benefits everyone involved. There’s plenty of time for him to fight the likes of Solo Sikoa, The Usos, and Reigns himself without rushing out the doors on his return.

In many ways, that infamous Wyatt-Rollins fight and the set of matches debunked the idea that Wyatt can’t be wrong. He can, as long as the WWE machine directs his hand-made characters to unnecessary places.

WWE’s goal should be to lean into the past and avoid those places again. That means putting some emphasis on impulse control with what’s most unique about professional wrestling today with the understanding that modern audiences are smart and can be patient.

Many opponents make sense to Wyatt, but time is still king in professional wrestling. If the timing isn’t right, and it’s not for Wyatt vs. Reigns, then everything falls apart. Wyatt will come out on top, but he requires a slow burn with sensitive opponents on his way up.



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Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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