WrestleMania has long been described as “The Showcase of the Immortals” by WWE. It is the culmination of a year long journey, the end of a storied career, or the launching pad to super-stardom for professional wrestlers.
One professional wrestler who has had a disappointing run at WrestleMania is Bray Wyatt.
Bray Wyatt has taken part of the last four WrestleMania’s since his debut on the WWE main roster in July of 2013.
He has gone into each WrestleMania looking like a credible future main event star. Unfortunately, by no fault of his own, he has left the last four WrestleMania’s looking like just another professional wrestler.
There is no single person to blame for to why Bray Wyatt has suffered career derailing loss after career derailing loss at WrestleMania. It is easy to point the finger at Vince McMahon, he is the owner and head decision maker of the WWE television product. We may never know if a certain wrestler that Wyatt was scheduled to face at WrestleMania was able to wield backstage power to get the finish of the match changed, or if powerful creative members decided to go a different direction with the Bray Wyatt character.
What is known is that WWE has missed an opportunity to make Bray Wyatt a mega star at WrestleMania for the last four years.
Here are recaps of Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania
WrestleMania 30: Bray Wyatt vs John Cena
John Cena has been the measuring stick for WWE for the last 14 years. A win against John Cena can solidify your career, see The Miz. A loss against John Cena and your career may never fully recover, see Wade Barrett.
Bray Wyatt was the next one in a long line of wrestlers who attacked John Cena due to a certain façade that John Cena supposedly portrayed. Until this match, Bray Wyatt had not suffered a pinfall loss on the WWE’s main roster.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt put on an excellent match. Wyatt showcased that he could keep up with the measuring stick of the WWE. If Bray Wyatt would have defeated John Cena in the middle of the ring, that would have cemented Bray Wyatt’s character in the eyes of the fans. This was not the case, John Cena would win and receive a noticeably negative reaction from the fans at WrestleMania 30. Fans recognized that Bray Wyatt was a believable character. Fans wanted to see that character break through the glass ceiling.
The two men would trade victories at Extreme Rules and Payback. At Payback, John Cena would emerge from the feud victorious after defeating Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match.
This was the first of multiple opportunities the WWE had to make Bray Wyatt a main event superstar. Bray Wyatt showed in this feud that he had the ability to compete with John Cena in the ring and on the microphone. WWE dropped the ball with making Bray Wyatt a superstar. Fans hoped it would be the last, sadly it was not.
WrestleMania 31: Bray Wyatt vs The Undertaker
In the best feuds in wrestling history, each wrestler makes the other wrestler better. The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt was a classic example of how poorly a feud can look when you don’t have that cooperation.
The Undertaker was coming off of a shocking loss the year prior at WrestleMania 30 against Brock Lesnar. A loss, so severe, that The Undertaker was hospitalized for a concussion immediately after the match. Traditionally, a wrestler ending his career loses his final match in order to “pass the torch” to the next generation. With The Undertaker losing to Brock Lesnar, fans believed that they had seen the last match of The Undertaker.
Bray Wyatt would spend the early part of 2014 with promos aiming to gain The Undertakers attention. The Undertaker would not respond to these promos until the March 9th edition of Monday Night RAW where he stated “You Will Rest in Peace”.
The match at WrestleMania 31 was the first time fans had laid their eyes on The Undertaker since WrestleMania 30. To say that he looked a step slow would be an understatement. Undertaker’s performance was akin to seeing your favorite band use more smoke and mirrors to play their old hits, than delivering on a performance that made you fall in love with the band.
The Undertaker would go on to claim victory over Bray Wyatt. The result showed fans that Bray Wyatt, who needed the credibility from the fans on a weekly basis, was easily defeated by a legend who hadn’t appeared on TV for almost a year and would not appear on TV afterwards for almost 4 months.
Another WrestleMania where WWE had a golden opportunity to solidify Bray Wyatt to their fans. Another WrestleMania opportunity dashed for Bray Wyatt.
WrestleMania 32: The Wyatt Family vs The Rock
The Rock made his triumphant return to WWE at WrestleMania 32. As he was delivering another traditional promo, he was interrupted by Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family. Bray Wyatt and The Rock exchanged words. Wyatt Family member, Erick Rowan, then took on The Rock in an impromptu wrestling match, which ended in six or seven seconds, depending on who you believe.
The disappointment from all of this was that Bray Wyatt again, at a WrestleMania, was given an opportunity to gain credibility amongst a record setting crowd and his character was portrayed as just another tackling dummy wrestler for established wrestlers to defeat.
This had become a trend by now with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. WWE had made countless mistakes with the Bray Wyatt character and were in a position where the fans stopped believing in him.
WrestleMania 33: Bray Wyatt (WWE Champion) vs Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt, FINALLY, after all of the start and stop style booking that WWE had become known for, had become WWE Champion on February 12th 2016. That moment is what all wrestlers dream of. Watching Bray Wyatt win the championship was something that was felt through the television screen. You believed that it meant everything to Bray Wyatt.
In a storyline that was more confusion than logic, Randy Orton, had joined forces with The Wyatt Family. Randy Orton fit as good with The Wyatt Family as I fit into skinny jeans. The combination never made sense. Orton appeared to the burn down The Wyatt Family compound as an act of defiance in an attempt to turn back into a fan favorite with the crowd.
Bray Wyatt’s first WrestleMania as champion was a forgettable match between him and Randy Orton. It was only remembered for a weird spot where CGI cock roaches appeared all over the ring. Orton would eventually go on to defeat Wyatt to become the new WWE Champion. This ended Bray Wyatt’s WWE Championship run at 49 days.
Orton would then go on to lose the WWE Championship a month later to Jinder Mahal.
WWE finally told its fans that we believe in Bray Wyatt enough to give him the top spot in the industry, but we won’t give him enough time to build a solid WWE Championship run.
Bray Wyatt should have experienced that crowning achievement at WrestleMania 33 to cement his status as a top wrestler in the company. Instead, he suffered another character debilitating loss at “The Showcase of The Immortals.” This trend has damaged the credibility of Bray Wyatt.
Bray Wyatt has everything you need to be a top man in the WWE, except the WWE’s belief in him.