WWE Roadblock 2016: How Teflon is the Wyatt Family?


WWE seems to think the Wyatt Family can absorb losses without losing heat. Many fans disagree. Could we see who’s right after Roadblock?

Bray Wyatt faces off against Brock Lesnar on Saturday at WWE Roadblock in a match that is likely to end with the New Face of Fear getting that face seriously rearranged. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Wyatt comes out on top; Lesnar’s character needs full momentum heading into his WrestleMania showdown with the red-hot Dean Ambrose, and Wyatt doesn’t even have a program in place for the Show of Shows as of yet (in fact, it was rumored that this match would take place at ‘Mania before the Ambrose/Lesnar feud caught fire). So, the smart money says that Lesnar beats down all four Wyatt Family members en route to a dismantling of the charismatic cult leader. It’s a prospect distressing to much of the Internet Wrestling Community, as most Wrestling ‘Net Nerds have been voicing frustration over the Wyatt Family’s push since oh, WrestleMania XXX or so.

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For the last two years, Wyatt’s WWE run has been dissected ad nauseum online: build him up as a strong villain before major PPVs only to feed him to a conquering babyface in need of a quality win. Cena, Undertaker, Reigns–hell, the team of Kane, Big Show, and friggin’ Ryback took down the Wyatts at Fastlane. The Wyatts’ last PPV win was at TLC against the Dudley Boyz and walking Crash Test Dummy Tommy Dreamer–hardly a win that would break the Wyatts through the glass ceiling to main event level. It’s thought by most that the Bray Wyatt character has been irreparably damaged over the past two years, to the point that it’s hard to take him seriously whenever he emerges with a new cryptic word-salad promo aimed at whichever babyface the writers have chosen for him (most likely by blindfolding Wyatt in front of a photo of the roster, spinning him in a circle, and letting him walk toward the wall until he bumps into Ryback’s picture). Case in point: raise your hand if you think Wyatt has a realistic chance of getting the win on Saturday. Anyone? Bueller?

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  • It’s apparent that WWE is convinced that the Wyatt Family is Teflon: like Chris Jericho circa 2013, the thinking is that the Wyatts are so over with the fans, they can absorb loss after loss and not lose any heat. It’s frustrating to hardcore fans that want to see such a possibly compelling character get used in a way that fully explores that potential. But is there any truth to how the WWE sees Prince Cryptic and his band of Merry Monsters?

    A brief moment on Monday’s Raw during the closing segment gave credence to the idea that Bray could lose to his brother Bo and still not lose any juice. As Sean Rueter pointed out over on Cageside Seats, the brief staredown between Wyatt and WWE World Champ Triple H that closed the show featured a significant stroking of Trips’ title belt by the Wyatt Family leader–a rare expression of interest showed by Bray in one of the WWE’s shiny baubles. It may not even lead to anything and likely won’t, but that slight motion by Wyatt absolutely electrified the crowd in Chicago, showing that it really doesn’t take much to get WWE’s audience re-invested in the character.

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    It’s worth considering the idea that in the so-called “Reality Era,” it’s less important for a wrestler to get over in actual matches than it is for the fans to want that wrestler to get over. As long as Bray Wyatt and his Family are on TV, their “fireflies” will clamor for them to be used as a serious threat to the rest of the roster, and if nothing more than a creepy “how you doin?” from Bray to a belt on someone’s shoulder is enough to get the fans buzzing, then the WWE is likely to see no harm in continuing to tease greater things for the Wyatt Family without delivering. The only real question is how long that sort of emotional manipulation can last. Even Chris Jericho’s ability to put over new talent without hurting himself eventually took a tumble when he did the honors for guys like Fandango.

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    So will the Wyatt Family’s cachet with the fans survive a mauling from Brock Lesnar? We’ll find out after Saturday night.