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Thread: Just Business: A Thousand Words on Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

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    Samuel Plan
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    Just Business: A Thousand Words on Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker




    Just Business: A Thousand Words on Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker


    One name seems to be getting lost in the shuffle of the increasingly excitable discussions of what shape Wrestlemania 31 looks set to start taking at Royal Rumble: Bray Wyatt.

    Rumour is rife Bray Wyatt is slated to wrestle The Undertaker one year on from the Streak-ending conquest of the Beast Incarnate. There may be some consternation among a number of fans regarding the idea; some of this may stem from wondering how Undertaker functions at Wrestlemania in a post-Streak world, given how predominant a factor of his career – and the show in question – said Streak had grown to become before its demise. Well despite the more cynical element of the fan base, I have to say I think a Wyatt feud is the key. For as perfect a next step as the Undertaker is for Wyatt a year removed from his sparking conflict with John Cena, so too is Wyatt the perfect next step for an Undertaker mentally reeling from his humbling at the hands of Lesnar.

    Rollins is my guy; the fan in me is most excited to watch his very first solo Wrestlemania season play out, regardless of the involvement or absence of gold. That being said, I am also (though by no means equally) a big fan of Wyatt because of his character’s disposition being so perfectly suited to my interpretative brand of receiving professional wrestling as performance art. The nature of his character that has been implied by his feuds throughout 2014 has made that abundantly clear to me. Wyatt’s is a character as equally fantastical as that of The Undertaker, if in a less literal sense. The Eater of Worlds is best viewed as the physical manifestation of a given character’s fear and insecurities. The stronger those fears and insecurities become - often because of Wyatt’s presence and actions - the stronger Wyatt’s character becomes in turn, with the only means by which he can be defeated being one’s ability to overcome those fears and learn from those insecurities.

    In the case of Daniel Bryan, Wyatt manifested when Bryan proved incapable of overcoming the odds The Authority stacked against him, prompting fears of the inadequacy that was the predominant theme of his unending conflict with his corporate aggressors. As the manifestation of that demon, Wyatt showed Bryan what trying to blindly fight on with endlessly escalating physicality would lead him to; Bryan lost at Royal Rumble, and would eventually go on to lose the war against The Authority because of his refusal to learn.

    In the case of John Cena, Wyatt manifested when fans outright rejected Cena’s position as challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble, prompting fears he no longer belonged despite his good intentions. It was when, in response, Cena then proclaimed insecurely that the future had to go through him that Wyatt’s relentless crusade would begin in earnest. As the manifestation of Cena’s demons, Wyatt used Cena’s heroism and inspirational mantra as lies that would isolate him completely from the world already rejecting him in spite of his best qualities; eventually Cena came to learn willing selflessness was the weapon that would win him the war with his unveiled God Complex.

    In the case of Dean Ambrose, Wyatt manifested when the Lunatic Fringe was about to deal a killing blow to the man that robbed him of The Shield – the only stability and family he had ever come to know - prompting fears that he would never know any relative normality. What Wyatt could not expect was Ambrose’s openly embracing that insecurity with violent glee where Cena had valiantly fought to instead overcome it. As the manifestation of Ambrose’s demons, Wyatt tried to tempt Ambrose into becoming the animal the instability of his life threatened to make him and, in a moment marking the Lunatic Fringe as one of WWE’s most tragic characters, Ambrose embraced that temptation outright and came to be dominated by it.

    These wars of self need only one moment of weakness to erupt. For Bryan, defeat at the hands of his enemies; for Cena, a world rejecting him in spite of his good intentions; for Ambrose, the pending destruction of the only nice thing he’s ever known; for The Undertaker, an attempted return to Wrestlemania.

    By its break, the Streak had come to define The Undertaker. So too, some might say, Wrestlemania. It stands to reason a character as vengeful as the Dead Man might seek out revenge against the Beast he now owes a favour. Regardless of whether that Beast is champion or not by Sunday’s end, regardless of any Rumble possibilities or otherwise, one would think The Undertaker will return to find the closure demanded by the advent of 21-1, because it is ultimately the character’s greatest ever defeat; the darkest moment of The Undertaker’s career. It shattered the redemption he claimed with his defeat of Punk the year before, and returned him to the torturous days of the Tetralogy’s emotional tumult that had left him at first hubristic and, latterly, broken and humbled. Thus, even in a rage fuelled pursuit of vengeance, The Undertaker would still be haunted by what happened in 2014.

    Enter Bray Wyatt: the tapeworm that feeds off fear and grows stronger for it; the stronger he becomes, the more fearful his victim. As the physical manifestation of insecurity, never is the time more ripe for The Undertaker to be confronted by his own soul’s distress. A Bray Wyatt fuelled by The Undertaker’s emotional agitation is a frightening thought, and perfectly suited for a match of the morose tone a post-Streak Undertaker seems to scream out for.

    In the end, whether a spine-chillingly epic confrontation in the Rumble is the one of many ways they choose to set such a war in motion, the important thing is to remember that there are still many pieces left to enter play for Wrestlemania and, for me, ‘Taker vs. Wyatt remains one of the most exciting, if far from certain, possibilities.
    101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die: The Book is coming soon....

    ~ Samuel Plan

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    It is quite an exciting prospect indeed, but you are right. There are a lot of things that are still to play out in regards to the crown jewel of the WWE, Wrestlemania.

    And plans can change in an instant. Things that may have looked like certainty six months ago become murky at best when the Royal Rumble comes along. Bray Wyatt may in fact find himself facing a different opponent, perhaps it would be for the WWE Championship?

    But it is a good time to be a Bray Wyatt fan over the course of the road to Wrestlemania, whatever happens.

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    Well worded as always, but I'm afraid I only need three words for the match in question: don't do it.

    I am one of the biggest Undertaker fans you will find out these parts, but the only thing I recall from his match last year besides the shock of the ending is being sad that it was so clear Taker was fragile and in no shape to perform like he used to. They stretched the last legs of his career an admirable amount, but at some point the physical reality overcomes the conceptual excitement. Though I will say, if he absolutely must wrestle I would much rather see him with Bray as opposed to someone like Sting, who needs all the help he can get as well to get to a decent in ring performance.

  4. #4
    I'd really like to see it. A lot has been said about The Undertaker's performance last year and that he's too past it to perform to an acceptable level. I rewatched that match recently and think it's become a bit underrated- it had everything- brawling, high impact moves, counters, submissions, near-falls, and of course the unforgettable ending. The only thing that seemed off was the pacing. Was that down to the concussion that Taker suffered or was that The Undertaker's pace in 2014? I don't think it can be judged on one match alone, after all, a year earlier his pacing was fine against CM Punk and his couple of matches he had with The Shield.

    I also love the idea of Wyatt picking apart The Undertaker's physiologically. I think it would succeed in a storyline, where the storyline of Bray Wyatt- John Cena failed for me- that being that The Undertaker will be more consistent with his emotions where as Cena couldn't decide from one segment to the next whether to treat Bray serious or treat him as a joke (remember the donkey promo on the same show Cena was surrounded by kids singing?) .

  5. #5
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
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    Glad to see more people enjoy the Cena/Wyatt feud. It had all the elements down pat... until the finish. But, looking back, the lead up to that was fantastic, and it's one of the best stories told in the modern era. The best thing about it was that there were elements to it that wouldn't be revealed by the old wrestling approach. It was so modern that it was ahead of its time. Even in 2014.

    The 'Taker feud can be in a similar vein, and the manifestation of Wyatt that you posit here is an absolute brilliant one. I can straight up picture Wyatt delivering a promo like that. Would love to see that happen, and Wyatt has been placed brilliantly, too.

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    I disagree with Blunt Force Balls; I thought 'Taker-Lesnar was HORRIBLE. It was a slow, plodding match where even multiple finishers did not lead to any heat. The action was just too weak for me. I don't think 'Taker should be wrestling any more; he is 50, I think, and has been banged-up forever. And while I think your idea is good, if the feud does happen, I have a sneaking feeling that the build-up will be much more about lame supernatural antics and "philosophical" ramblings about hell. Just a sneaking suspicion.

    Good column as always.

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    This is a wonderful reading, Plan - as we've come to expect from you. I love the idea of Wyatt feeding on insecurities and that making him stronger, and an insecure Taker as his next prey might just be a brilliant cap on that arc. I'm fully on board for the feud anyway, but this has kind of put a little cherry on it for me and really makes me want to see it.

    My biggest question over Taker vs Wyatt is what to do if the former can't make the show - Wyatt has been built up over the past three or so months expertly to lead into a big Mania feud. Is there someone that could fulfill the Taker role here, someone that Wyatt could feed off of to make him stronger? The answer to that would be that there's one person who's work recently, in despatching of The Authority and then having them come back to ruin his run to Mania, who's been cursed at every turn by their tactics in recent months and lost a lot of what he held dear. So what about it - Ziggler vs Wyatt at Mania as the back-up plan?

  8. #8
    Samuel Plan
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    Neoskizzle ~ It'll be interesting to see who Bray may face at 'Mania if not Undertaker. I personally felt pitting him with Sting would've been perfect, but if we get Undertaker I'll be a very, very happy fan. It would've been an incredible swerve ball to put Wyatt in the main event against Lesnar; in an ideal world those two would meet some day. I think whatever happens, the strength of his booking since returning to face Ambrose hits at grand design regardless of who can and cannot wrestle.

    mizfan ~ I can more than understand the reticence some would feel toward Undertaker lacing up the boots again. I think were we talking about any other character I'd be inclined to agree with you, especially going on the 'Mania 30 match. Having said that, XXX we are told did involve extenuating circumstances, and where 29 didn't 'Taker tore the house down with Punk. So long as it didn't get too melodramatic I think they'd work a nice bout. Totally get your stance though, and I agree with it being a preferable prospect over Sting too.

    Blunt Force Balls ~ I would have to revisit it to decide how on point I consider popular opinion to be, but I've seen it twice and the XXX match did feel winded to me on both occasions. That said, it'll be one of those matches that'll go down with an exacerbated reputation anyway I think; that happens often for both good and bad bouts. I do agree his Punk match hints he can still go when healthy though. The Cena feud is a thing unto itself I fully intend to cover with future columns some time in 2015 I hope.

    Subho ~ I thought the finish to Cena/Wyatt was brilliant, but more on that at a later date. Glad you liked my take on the Wyatt character, and totally agree on how well they've rebuilt Wyatt's mystique; had he been given a slightly more ceremonious exit in the Rumble it may be even stronger than it already is.

    s1Sunny ~ Indeed, many would agree with you about 'Taker/Lesnar. It is a hard slog to watch for sure. There is a temptation in WWE with Undertaker to always go a bit over the top, largely in part because of his gimmick. I say go for broke though; now the Streak is over bring back Biker 'Taker and have that 'Taker face Wyatt for a flavour slightly different from the one people would expect otherwise. Cheers for the compliment!

    Oliver ~ Thanks for the praise my friend, always appreciated. It's good to know I can still get people excited more than they already were (if only a bit)! The question of what Bray does without Undertaker does indeed feel pervasive. Oddly enough, I was thinking Ziggler myself too. Outside of the fiction Ziggler seems to be the best placed talent, though they might always revisit Wyatt's beef with Bryan. Big Show might be another choice given his constant drifting morality when it comes to The Authority, though it'd be far from anyone's first choice I think (including mine)! There are options there for him, but I like your proposition for Ziggler. It'd be interesting to see how Ziggler's character responds to someone like Wyatt. Another alternative, were it not for Orton: Rollins. How awesome would that be, especially the timing of coming just after Rollins first encountered Lesnar in the ring and was dominated? Anyways, cheers for thefeed.

    And thanks to all you guys for the reading and the feedback. It's always appreciated!
    101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die: The Book is coming soon....

    ~ Samuel Plan

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    'Plan, the one thing I think I missed about your writing the most was how you can point out points of view that I've never thought about, and in a such a concise manner that I feel stupid I never thought of it like that. I knew Bray was attacking the wrestler's insecurities, but I never thought that he fed off of that and in turn became a tougher menace. Beautiful point, and even better point about how each wrestler could've overcome it.

    I wanted to see Wyatt/Taker, but I'm 50/50. I want to see Wyatt win his next Mania match, but most assuredly, he'll lose to Taker. But the build up could be epic, seeing as Wyatt is the new phenom. Nonetheless, it'd be a match that I'd be excited to see and satisfied to enjoy.

    You're still the best pure writer I've ever seen on this site. Keep being the man.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    Plan puts it across nicely. I thought that the feud will go similarly as well. Great column. I wondered if a Wyatt vs Brock feud would have worked though. Any thoughts, since Brock is physically and mentally stronger than anyone currently?
    And Jacob wrestled with God.



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  11. #11
    It's time! JCool's Avatar
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    How many people want to see the story of Bray Wyatt vs. Undertaker and how many people want to see the actual match?
    It seems to me that it's the former...we know the story would be intriguing and suspenseful, plenty of neat mind games and excellent promos would emerge from those 2 characters...but the actual physical encounter? It might be passable if it is 10-15 minutes and that it stay in the ring. Showcase each wrestler's strengths but have Bray get the upper hand. Perhaps 'Taker can play possum a little. Whatever they choose, this feud will be fun to watch; the match, however, may not be.

  12. #12
    Samuel Plan
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    Sorry to bump this so late but hopefully after this it can quietly die out!

    Rey Ca$h ~ Glad to see I could shed new light on the fascinating Wyatt character for you! I adore it and think it's really one of the most creative of WWE's creations ever. If Undertaker was WWE's best idea, given time Wyatt may come to rival him for the spot; exactly why I'd be massively pumped for this storyline. I do understand your hesitation though, and I mentioned this on TRSOTP just this last week; Wyatt lost his last Wrestlemania match so for the sake of his aura could do with a win this year. A victory over Undertaker would see him breathing immortalised air for sure, and would make more sense in Undertaker's story at the moment too I feel. He can then go on to have a victorious retirement match next year or something, but to see him win straight after losing for me would seem odd, especially given the nature of Bray's character. Thanks for the compliment!

    JacobWrestledGod ~ I think Wyatt vs. Brock would have incredible potential, with an amazing climactic match, but I think is best suited in an instance where Lesnar stays with WWE following Wrestlemania having lost the championship. What better time for Wyatt to enter his world as the manifestation of the Beast's insecurities? And my god, what a powerful version of Wyatt it would be! It would be a masterpiece I think.

    JCool ~ I get what you mean; I would counter your point though, by saying the match is part of the story. It's important to me fans begin to get past this odd tendency they have to think of the match as a sporting endeavour; it's as much an element of the storytelling as the interviews and segments are. (More on this in my coming book!) I can understand people may worry about match quality though, and I would counter by pointing the mitigating circumstance of the concussion last year and the incredible, creatively freeing effort Undertaker had with Punk the year before. I get the paranoia, but I feel it may be hastily deployed. I dislike this habit people have of deciding how good something is going to be before they've seen it (though I am not accusing you of that!). All I can say is I'd be VERY excited to see the story and the match that forms its climax!

    Cheers all for the read and feedback!
    101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die: The Book is coming soon....

    ~ Samuel Plan

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