Bray Wyatt’s new character, “The Fiend”, is one of the most unique in WWE history for several reasons. Not only is it an amalgamation of Wyatt’s inspiring creativity with Vince McMahon’s unrelenting vision, it often pokes fun at the very swamp it crawled out of. If we pay enough attention to the Firefly Fun House and Wyatt’s remarks, he regularly makes light of himself, other superstars, Vince McMahon, and WWE itself.
Some are more subtle than others, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. What we’ll be looking at is how Bray Wyatt and The Fiend character affect other WWE Superstar’s careers. Sometimes for the greater good, and other times not so much. But why is this? And is there a pattern to The Fiend’s influence? Is WWE using it for a purpose? Or have the changes been purely coincidental? Is WWE smart enough to use The Fiend as a device for change? Or am I putting pieces together that aren’t there?
Balor saw his first success in WWE during his time in NXT, but suffered a long time in the main roster’s mid-card hell upon returning from injury. Early in The Fiend’s life, he squared off with what many fans believed would be his first arch rival. The Demon vs. The Fiend? It’s a dream match. The only problem is, Wyatt destroyed Balor so badly he wasn’t seen again. So management slotted him back in to where he feels most comfortable. Returning to the NXT brand, his demeanor drastically changed and he began going by the name “Prince”.
As a heel he often speaks in wrestling terms, often breaking what some may refer to as “kayfabe”. He doesn’t play to the fans and is all about himself. After over a year of saying he would become NXT Champion, he finally followed through on his promise earlier this month, by defeating fellow former Bullet Club leader Adam Cole. And he did it without the use of “The Demon”. The fact is, Balor needed to reinvent himself and get as far away from The Demon as he could. Why? Because WWE had nothing left for his character, as they had written themselves in to a corner. Ironically, The Fiend set him on the path of reinvention.
Despite beating Brock Lesnar clean at WrestleMania for the Universal Championship, fans weren’t getting behind him because he’d become stale. Long gone were the days of The Shield and The Authority, and what’s left over is a “Burn It Down” gimmick for the sake of burning things down. Nothing was clicking, and it was frustrating Rollins and the fans to see him trundle along as the champ with nothing interesting going on. The Fiend was introduced to change all that. And while the red-lighted steel cage match was heavily criticized for its presentation and the million curb stomps, it did some good in the long run.
Not only did it cement The Fiend as a major force, it set Seth Rollins on a new path. Much like Balor, Rollins soon turned heel and changed his personality. “The Messiah” may have feuded with Rey Mysterio longer than some expected, but it’s hard to say he is stale like during his latest run as the Universal Champion. Much like the Prince is a business focused Finn Balor, The Messiah is a version of Seth Rollins who thrives on mind games. Rollins let The Fiend in so much… he became what he couldn’t overcome.
Much of their feud stemmed from their underlying history. And much like how Bryan got in to the mind and family of Bray, he’s the first WWE superstar to not fall for The Fiend’s games. Wyatt saw himself as the hero in this story, as he set out to even the score with a man who betrayed his trust long ago. Bryan was the evil force here, as he was one of the biggest contributing factors to his downfall. You could say that part of The Fiend is created from the psyche of Wyatt’s frustration over how his original character was used.
Suffering a horrendous betrayal definitely weakened fans perception of him as the leader of The Wyatt Family. So the reason Bryan didn’t change much after their feud is because it was more about giving Wyatt the confidence to march on as the Universal Champion. Bryan didn’t “let him in”, so The Fiend couldn’t garner as much power. However, he did have the underdog mentality going for him, which is exactly what Daniel Bryan is known for. He switched roles to ensure he could get redemption over the guy he adopted as a brother.
This is a strange feud because technically… The Fiend wasn’t involved. It’s almost like Wyatt was mocking The Miz by threatening to take his family and not needing The Fiend to do so. Because of this, it nullified the influence of The Fiend. The Miz was below him so much, he could do the job without his help. He was playing around like he would in the Firefly Fun House.
To date, this is the only time Wyatt hasn’t felt the need to call upon The Fiend. He proved that he didn’t need to harness his power to defend his title. The original Bray Wyatt is still around in some form, but we’ll only see him wrestle as the presenter of the Firefly Fun House when the challenger is more of a joke to him.
Ok, this is where it gets controversial. So many fans loathed this match (for good reason), but I felt like it was about time someone showed The Fiend isn’t invincible. No one… not even The Undertaker, should be so unbelievably overpowered they can’t be put down for the 1-2-3. When The Fiend says “Let Me In”, it means he wants to get in your head. The more you allow him, the more power he musters. In the case with Goldberg, Wyatt tried several things to get in his head. The problem is… Goldberg has never, ever been a guy who responds to mind games. He’s got a one track mind. If there’s a train coming full speed down the track… you can bet on your life he’s running full force in to it with a spear!
Goldberg doesn’t care… the dude headbutts doors! And The Fiend feeds on frustration, anger, sadness, fear, any kind of negative emotion. When Goldberg only has one gear, there’s nothing to work with. So in theory, Goldberg is the worst opponent The Fiend could ever have. It’s not that he lacks intelligence, it’s just the way he is wired. And it’s a similar thing with Roman Reigns. If Wyatt ever faced him in a straight up one-on-one encounter? He must find a way in to Roman’s head, or he’ll be taken down just as quick. So Wyatt is biding his time, because The Fiend is figuring out a way to take the Tribal Chief down.
Their WrestleMania “match” was so filled with references and psychology, but the important thing is it resulted with The Fiend burying John Cena for good. The only thing left of Cena are voice overs and R-Truth stealing moves, as he aspires to succeed in Hollywood and other projects.
Cena let Wyatt get so far in to his head he became powerless for the first time in his WWE career. In fact, Wyatt got more in to Cena’s head than any other superstar. He was left at the mercy of The Fiend, and his weakness was represented in many ways. For a more detailed analysis of their special encounter, you can check out my step-by-step guide in the following article:
Braun Strowman was at his most powerful when he took on Goldberg for the Universal title. He was in the best place mentally, but when Wyatt came along, he planted the seeds leading to his downfall. Not only did he encourage the return of the “Monster Among Men”, he used Alexa Bliss as a pawn to highlight his weakness. Wyatt convinced Strowman his humanization had weakened him, when in reality, it was empowering him. As a monster he can’t think straight. Sure, he’s more intimidating, but that doesn’t win you matches.
Wyatt knew how to handle the “Monster Among Men” because he created it long ago. A human Strowman was not something he could deal with. When The Fiend pulled Strowman in to the swamp, it signified the change of personality. Braun soon returned to his original state, which was something The Fiend would always triumph over. What he didn’t account for, is Roman Reigns becoming something entirely different. He wasn’t focused on Reigns at all… but that could soon change.
The storyline with Alexa Bliss is different because Wyatt doesn’t have a reason to get in to her head for any other reason than to use her as a weapon. Unless he has some kind of love interest? But I don’t think it would make sense for his character. He’s not doing it to upset Braun Strowman, because their rivalry has concluded for the time being. Whatever it is, he is channeling The Fiend through Alexa Bliss for some divine plan. When Bliss looked back on Roman Reigns on SmackDown, it could foreshadow The Fiend’s intentions.
It could take several months, but Alexa Bliss may play a part in helping him to regain the Universal title. Either that, or The Fiend is bored and is playing with her much like Wyatt does in Firefly Fun House? Some are saying it makes little sense and Bliss’ acting isn’t very good, but this is significantly better than what she was doing. She’d become more of a sidekick to Nikki Cross, but she’s a former multi-time Women’s Champion. Bliss wants something fresh, and this is a way of expanding her range. I’m all for “The Fiend” Alexa Bliss. Give it a chance? I know I am. Thanks for reading!