For weeks, the WWE Universe has been faced with the impending debut of perhaps the most eerie and intriguing group in recent wrestling history.
The Wyatt Family, consisting of Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt have made it clear that they are coming, though there is little indication of what exactly their motives are.
With the news that their debut will finally take place on Raw on July 8th, fans everywhere will get to see exactly what these men can do and what their goals will be.
But who are these men?
They did not come directly out of a spooky forest, despite everything that we have seen in the multiple unsettling vignettes that have been aired since the end of May. All three men have long histories in the wrestling business, both in the United States and abroad.
But it stands to reason that they have never seen the type of success that they are ultimately aiming for on the grand stage in WWE.
At 6’8” and over 300 pounds, Rowan is clearly the most physically intimidating of the family members. And with nearly decade in the wrestling business, he is no stranger to the squared circle.
With his long red beard and bald head, it is easy to be fooled by his appearance into thinking that this man could be a gentle giant.
Before making his debut in FCW in 2011, Rowan spent years in multiple territories in the United States and even had a stint in Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan. However, he never saw a great deal of success in those places.
However, since falling in with Wyatt, Rowan has exhibited a pronounced mean streak. That, coupled with his size, made him a huge threat to the entire NXT roster.
Teaming with Harper has given Rowan the extra edge that he has lacked in the past, and the two now make an incredibly intimidating duo.
Formerly known on the independent circuit as Brodie Lee, Harper’s grizzled look and deranged stares belie a calculating and brutal manner that have caused problems for the NXT roster from Day 1.
But even before that, Harper was considered a huge force on the independent wrestling scene, winning multiple championships in promotions like NWA Upstate and Jersey All Pro Wrestling.
He also spent some time in Ring of Honor, where he was a member of The Age of the Fall stable, a group that now-WWE Tag Team champion Seth Rollins was also once a part of.
Since coming under Wyatt’s leadership and forming a team with Rowan, Harper has proven himself a formidable tag team wrestler. And with his easily influenced demeanor and immense size (6’5”), Harper is the perfect pawn for Wyatt to play his deranged games with.
As a member of the Nexus, back when he was known as Husky Harris, Wyatt made his bones by being incredibly quick for someone who is nearly 300 pounds.
Known as an “Army tank with a Ferrari engine,” he primarily acted as an enforcer for the group, never tasting true success as a singles competitor.
But with a wrestling pedigree that is second to none, multiple family members including his father (Mike Rotunda, a five-time WWF Tag Team champion ), his grandfather (Blackjack Mulligan, a WWE Hall of Famer), and his uncle (former NWA World Heavyweight champion Barry Windham) all had incredibly fruitful careers.
As of this writing, his brother Bo Dallas is the current NXT champion and a Raw superstar.
But it is Wyatt himself who could end up being the sole member of his family who is talked about when remembering some of the greatest in history. True, he does not have the prototypical body-builder look, but he has an intangible that could put him over the top.
Wyatt has a character who makes people uncomfortable. Even though we all know that these characters are larger than life and are likely just pretend, he makes you believe that he might just be the real deal.
His creepy charisma and brutality may end up helping the patriarch of the Wyatt Family make a lasting mark upon the face of the WWE Universe.
The success of this trio will ultimately come down to several factors.
First, the manner in which they are presented. The company has not rushed its debut, which has built a great deal of hype for the trio's impending arrival. For weeks, we have all seen the wrestlers' creepy and somewhat disturbing vignettes and have been left to wonder what the group is capable of.
Second, the ability of the group to grow could be a factor in its eventual success. Sure, three people is better than one, or even two. But the greater the numbers, the greater their chance of survival. Adding one or two more members to the equation would be an interesting idea, especially if that person or persons are already established members of the roster.
And finally, the WWE Universe itself will collectively determine whether or not the group is here to stay. If the wrestlers' unorthodox nature can resonate with audiences, the company will likely be forced to continue to push them.
This is not always the case (look at Zack Ryder), but if the family can continue to make the audience's collective skin crawl and back up their hype, they will be poised in a position to quickly make an impact.
Rowan and Harper are a physical mismatch for essentially every team on the WWE roster and have had a decent amount of time to gel as a unit. Their cohesiveness may end up paying dividends in the form of multiple future WWE tag team title reigns.
And Wyatt himself can likely hang with the best of the roster when it comes to in-ring ability and intensity.
One thing is for certain: The Wyatt Family is certainly hungry.
And if the men have it their way, the "Eater of Worlds" and his followers may soon have the WWE Universe in their ravenous jaws.