Perhaps I should clarify exactly what Bray Wyatt Syndrome is before write 500 words or so on its place in the WWE today. Wyatt has been extremely over since his debut in 2013. At the time, he was a breath of fresh air – something new for wrestling fans to latch on to. He came to the WWE with more of a message than simply, “I want to be WWE Champion.” The characters whose motivation and intentions are unclear are always the most interesting.
That was Wyatt. But, he was more than just an interesting character. Proving capable of holding his own in the ring with anyone, he also showed a natural, innate ability to cut dynamic promos. Simultaneously, he’d run down his opponent and say some cryptic stuff. With Wyatt’s motivations in question, he was able to make his matches about something other than championships. Whether it was a crusade to rid the world of false idols or extract vengeance upon those who burn down his shed in the woods, his programs meant more than simple wrestling.
The presentation of The Wyatt Family certainly helps. He has a unique entrance with eery entrance music. As a whole, it works. The result? He became a sort of special attraction, not unlike The Undertaker in the early days of his career. Many forget that four of Undertaker’s seven reigns as WWE/World Heavyweight Champion came after he had already been in the WWE for 10 years. None of his three previous reigns as champion lasted particularly long, either.
So, there’s a precedent for characters such as Wyatt. When they take on a persona that is beyond the realm of simple sport, they end up as a plot device of their own. How often did we break down pay-per-views saying things like, “well, you’ve got the WWE Championship match, the Intercontinental Championship match, and the Undertaker match,” or something of the sort?
Wyatt has reached that status. But, instead of embracing it, wrestling fans seem outraged. If you ask the IWC (Internet wrestling community), Wyatt “deserves” to be the main event. He has earned more than a WWE Championship run of a few weeks. Now, personally, I don’t believe a wrestler has to be a champion for him/her to be your favorite. I enjoy Wyatt. But, I certainly see the logic in fan angst.
It’s becoming the same old story with different dance partners. Fans want more. Fans enjoy seeing guys who work hard to entertain us get their due. Championships still mean something to fans, even if they don’t in the eyes of those booking the shows.
I bring this up because it appears as though beloved Raw tag team, Enzo Amore & Big Cass, could be headed down the same road. Granted, these two are far from Wyatt’s establishment on the WWE roster. Still, they’re extremely popular.
In large part due to the charisma of Enzo, this duo started gaining traction when paired together in NXT. Enzo arguably has the best promo skills of anyone on the main roster (though Kevin Owens might have something to say about that). His small stature and big personality make for the scrappiest persona in the WWE today. Adding Big Cass as his buddy and backup whenever he runs his mouth too much lends the team some credibility. I don’t mean that as an insult either – suspending disbelief is still important in wrestling. It means something to have acts that look powerful and capable of winning any match.
Besides, it’s just plain funny. They’ve developed this entire shtick that is unique and unlike any other tag team on the WWE roster. They have multiple catch phrases branded on merchandise from t-shirts to coffee mugs. WWE Shop even has wigs resembling Enzo’s hair, and the people are buying it all up. They’ve landed commercial appearances. KFC is obviously trying to put over their Georgia Gold honey mustard barbecue something or other meal, and Enzo & Cass are a part of the marketing plan.
But, we’re starting to see some of the things that have happened to Wyatt happen to these two. Their matches are formulaic. Each one seems to be built around Enzo making the hot tag to Big Cass. They were kept away from the Raw Tag Team Championship completely in 2016 in a questionable program with Rusev and Lana. They lost out on their big Wrestlemania moment when The Hardy Boyz made their triumphant return to the WWE.
It could all be a complete coincidence. Or, it could be that WWE simply feels Enzo & Cass are over on their own, everything they touch turns to gold, and they don’t need the storytelling devices that the championships ultimately are.
I’m not judging this call either way. It’s merely an observation – do you guys think this phenomenon is a bad or good thing for acts such as Wyatt and Enzo & Cass?