The backwoods brutes that fans saw on last Monday's WWE Raw are the Wyatt Family, the company's latest intriguing stable.
Their unsettling promo was the first time many fans had seen Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
Fans familiar with NXT already knew about Wyatt's dark charisma, his engrossing character and the good likelihood that he would be headed to the main roster before long. For everyone else, the trio of disturbing men made a stir without actually introducing themselves.
Just who are these men who speak about walking upright, dark clouds and secrets?
They are a combination of the scary hillbillies from Deliverance and members of the occult—three large men who will likely leave a path of ruin behind them in WWE.
Just Don't Send Us Anyone You Want Back
Harper is the black-haired man in the Wyatt Family promo with the piercing glare. He is the most experienced member of the Wyatt Family, having wrestled for promotions such as Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA and Chikara.
With his wild beard, intimidating size (6' 5'', 262 lbs) and aggressive in-ring style, he may remind some folks of Bruiser Brody. Harper is not nearly as talented as the legendary Brody, but he is fun to watch torturing his opponents.
In his match against Gregory Iron, Harper (then known as Brodie Lee) dominated his smaller opponent and seemed to delight in his destruction.
Harper's most effective moves include the big boot, discus clothesline and his Truck Stop finisher. He is a powerful performer whose lack of in-ring grace should be covered up by the momentum of the Wyatt Family gimmick.
He and Rowan are the current NXT tag champions and could be upgrading their titles in the near future.
We're gonna make everything alright.......— Luke Harper (@LukeHarperWWE) April 24, 2013
Rowan is biggest of the trio at 6'8'' and 318 pounds. Rowan, though, is agile for his size. He moves well in the ring but, for the most part, is a straight-ahead power wrestler.
In this match against Bo Dallas, Rowan shows off his intensity, growling like a bear after many of his moves.
He now wrestles in a jumpsuit and should provide the Wyatt Family with a surplus of power. Wyatt essentially has two enforcers surrounding him.
Yearning for cold and darkness.— Erick Rowan (@ERICKROWAN) September 5, 2012
I Have A Secret Of My Own
Though he may look small compared to Harper and Rowan, Wyatt earned his former ring name of Husky Harris with a 290-plus-pound frame. After a stint as Harris on the main roster, Wyatt went back down to FCW (now known as NXT) and morphed into one of the most compelling characters in recent history.
Waylon Mercy channeled Max Cady from Cape Fear, and Wyatt has gone miles beyond that.
He has fashioned a rambling, dark poet who is equal part religious zealot and madman. Wyatt has so transformed himself with this role that memories of his days as Harris are washed away.
WWE likely won't connect him with his real-life brother, Bo Dallas. The two characters are so vastly different that it would be odd to have fans associate the two with each other. The same goes for his family lineage.
The company has played up Curtis Axel's famous family, but the fact that Wyatt's grandfather (Blackjack Mulligan), his father (Irwin R. Shyster/Mike Rotunda) and his uncle (Barry Windham) were all wrestlers likely won't be a part of his gimmick. His character is strong enough on its own.
Wyatt has improved during his time at NXT in the ring, but his strength is in his character and his mic work. Wyatt's promos at NXT have been phenomenal, as he has mastered the art of unsettling the audience.
Eli Cottonwood, of the infamous mustache promo, was Wyatt's first unofficial family member. While recovering from a pectoral injury, Wyatt formed his current trio. The group has helped elevate all three members.
Wyatt, in particular, has come off as a hypnotizing leader, a diabolical mastermind.
When ravenous behavior becomes the norm, when despair and judgement are all that remains, remember I have a plan for you all.. #We'reComing— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) June 1, 2013
Expect Wyatt to bring Harper and Rowan to WWE Raw very soon. Expect the creepiness factor in WWE to shift dramatically.
As fans get to know the Wyatt Family, there will be a number of ventures into the darkness.