I’ve been a huge WWF/WWE since before I could talk. I used to watch ‘Saturday Night’s Main Event’ every weekend. I’d also scour the limited amount of television channels in the 80’s for random AWA, NWA, WCW, World Class and Bruiser Bedlam wrestling shows.
The characters have become stale over the years and not many superstars or wrestling factions feel original. Every gimmick has been done a thousand times. This is why WWE’s ‘The Wyatt Family’ feels so fresh.
I realize The Wyatt Family isn’t 100% original. It’s based off Robert DeNiro’s character in ‘Cape Fear’ and has a Raven’s ‘The Flock’ feel to it.
After weeks of vignettes teasing their RAW debut, they finally appeared and beat up Kane. Will they succeed or eventually become a comedy act (i.e. Great Khali/Boogeyman).?
Since The Wyatt Family first debuted in Florida Championship Wrestling, which became NXT, they’ve had buzz. The characters are odd, mysterious and talented in the ring.
The ringleader, Bray Wyatt, has went by many names in WWE development and even on WWE television programming. Most fans know him best as Husky Harris who competed on WWE’s NXT programming, when it was on national television as wrestling competition. Along with Michael McGillicutty (who is now Curtis Axel), they were short-term members of the group Nexus and also competed as a tag team. His character never took off and was sent down to development to work on a gimmick.
When he returned to developmental, he was known as Axel Mulligan. The gimmick only lasted a few days. Why would he use the last name Mulligan? It’s an homage to his wrestling pedigree. His grandfather is the great ‘Black Jack’ Mulligan, his father is Mike Rotunda (better known as I.R.S. to WWE fans), his uncles are Kendall and Barry Windham and his brother Bo Dallas is in WWE developmental. It’s hard to ignore how much wrestling is in his blood.
Bray Wyatt was born soon after the Mulligan gimmick died. His microphone skills are a step above many of the WWE superstars on the current roster and his in-ring athleticism is surprising for his size. His tone is mysterious and has grown his hair and beard out to help sell the cult leader-like Wyatt persona.
The other two members of The Wyatt Family, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, aren’t new to wrestling either.
Rowan was trained by one of the best in the business, Eddie Sharkey. He trained the likes of The Road Warriors, Rick Rude, Barry Darsow of Demolition, The Steiner Brothers, Austin Aries and many others. Rowan has also wrestling all over the world, including the Pro Wrestling NOAH promotion in Japan. He was more of a jobber there, but he gained much-needed experience performing in front of thousands of fans.
Luke Harper was best known as Brodie Lee in the independent scene. He wrested for the most well-known indy promotions across the country. His wrestled for Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), and even the family-friendly Chikara. He has a reputation for working ‘stiff’ which leads to some real-life injuries in the ring. It’s common for wrestlers with a big frame to wrestle stiff, so that shouldn’t hurt him in the WWE.
I keep current with WWE NXT on Hulu, since it’s only available online. The wrestling is entertaining and takse more risks with gimmicks and storylines. The Wyatt Family stood out from the pack and dominated. They even held the NXT Tag Team Championship for an extended period of time.
Will The Wyatt Family succeed on Raw & Smackdown? They have all the people in the back on their side and a wrestler’s biggest asset is an opportunity. If they’re a good worker and can sell themselves on the mic, the rest should work itself out.
I do believe The Wyatt Family will succeed, but the success of The Shield may hurt them. The Shield have been used in about every three-man tag team situation over the past year. The Wyatts and The Shield are both currently heels, so unless one of them turns face (probably The Wyatts), it will be hard to really get the full push they deserve. The other solution would be to add another person to the family, preferably a diva. The Divas division is bare bones and need an injection of life back into it.
Time will only tell if The Wyatt Family succeeds long-term or will eventually end up being a comedy act and lose all the fear aspect to their characters. The sheep mask Rowan wears may lead to that, but I hope the group does not head in that direction.