The Many Origins of Bray Wyatt

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Since his debut in NXT, Bray Wyatt has drawn comparisons to mid-1990s ahead-of-his-time villain Waylon Mercy. Like Wyatt, Waylon Mercy was a large southerner dressed in white attire with a Hawaiian shirt. His tone in vignettes was ominous, bordering on apocalyptic.  He was a destructive force from bell-to-bell.

I’m not saying that Bray Wyatt is a rip-off of Waylon Mercy. Pro wrestling can be a duplicative business. Gimmicks, ideas, and themes may be recycled after an appropriate amount of time had passed, but they also may be adapted by a future performer with a fresh take on the material. Bray Wyatt as an end-of-days cult leader is wilder than Mercy. He proclaims himself to be the evil of which parents should warn their children. Bray Wyatt, believing himself more monster than man, has come to witness (and possibly usher) the end of days.

Aside from Waylon Mercy, let’s examine other source materials that have seemingly been fine-tuned and then pooled into Bray Wyatt.

Cults

The Undertaker had his Ministry. Raven had his Flock. Gangrel had his Brood. Jackyl had his Truth Commission, and later his Acolytes. Kevin Sullivan had his Army of Darkness, and later his… Dungeon of Doom.

Bray Wyatt has the Wyatt family.

Cults in professional wrestling are nothing new. We’ve often seen lost souls (or perhaps wrestlers with fledgling gimmicks) line-up behind Type-A personalities who are good on the stick.  A common trait of most pro wrestling cults is the addition or cycling of members.  The Wyatt Family is somewhat unique in that the cult members came standard with the debuting leader (perhaps this has something to do with the success of The Shield as a three-man unit?).  Luke Harper and Erik Rowen are unquestionably under the spell and control of Wyatt (“Obey… Obey… Obey…”).  My guess is the plan is to keep this trio together for a while, but perhaps the Family will grow as Bray gets more TV and mic time.

Preaching

Religion and wrestling are not strangers.  Whether it’s Hulk Hogan telling us to say our prayers, Dustin Runnels and Mordecai praying for our souls, or Vince McMahon challenging God to a fight, religion and wrestling somehow always find each other.  Hell, “Austin 3:16” was synonymous with wrestling for a solid decade after 1996.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Bray Wyatt’s promos have heavy religious undertones, because he brings a new spin to it.  When Wyatt tells us that Judgment Day is coming, he doesn’t order us to repent; he says he wants to watch the world burn and then dance with us in its ashes… all with an almost playful malice.

Just so long as no one ends up on a “symbol,” I think we’ll all be fine.

The (DEEP) South

We’ve seen surly rednecks, we’ve seen jovial hillbillies, we’ve seen good ol’ boys.  We’ve even seen swamp people.   Back woods, cajun accent, straw fedora, Eater of Worlds?  We’re breaking some new ground here.  While it’s yet to be seen (on WWE television anyways) what Rowen and Harper are really all about, we know Bray comes off as incredibly intelligent.  The same cannot be said some of the southern gimmicks that preceded him.  Additionally, there are no stars-and-bars, no beer, no dancing, and there’s certainly no pig slop.

There you have it: The back woods cult leader and preacher, who could find himself on top of WWE cards for sometime to come.

Lives are going to be in Bray Wyatt’s hands. Y’know what I mean?

 

3 Comments on "The Many Origins of Bray Wyatt"

  1. RyanD says:

    I think they chanted Hus-ky Har-ris at Waylon Mercy too. Nice post Model.

  2. Richard A. Martel says:

    Thank you sir. I wish Mercy had been given some disciples at the time… Maybe turn to Godwins heel sooner. Who knows.

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