Both The Wyatt Family and the WWE live audience are following behind the Pied Piper that is Bray Wyatt, hypnotized by his words and aura.
A welcoming and haunting brotherhood, one of the most fun WWE acts in recent memory and an alternative to the squeaky-clean John Cena, The Wyatt Family is drawing folks in. The group's pull is proving effective despite its villainous alignment.
Wyatt brought his first two family members, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, to WWE last summer.
The bearded, Hawaiian-shirt wearing man spoke of those men as his brothers. He talked about the cracks in society and the struggles of the middle class. It sounded like the rallying cry of the frustrated.
Of course, this message slipped from the mouth of a man with a predatory glare and a maniacal laugh, someone who seemed to have emerged from the darkest depths of the swamp.
This doesn't sound like the kind of man a crowd would start to root for, but Wyatt was magnificent as a cult leader. He shared the same magnetism that makes someone people will follow rather than just the crazy man ranting while standing on a milk crate.
He's grabbed hold of fans the way he is supposed to have done with Harper and Rowan.
That was its most clear at WrestleMania 30. Wyatt was set to face Cena—WWE's Superman and face of the company. It couldn't have been more obvious who was the villain and who was the hero in this story.
Cena visits sick children, salutes the military and espouses the value of hustle, loyalty and respect. Wyatt, meanwhile, sought to tear Cena down and yank out a monster he believed to be hiding under Cena's Boy Scout veneer.
Still, many fans wanted Wyatt to win.
Spotted sign: "If Cena wins we Wyatt." #WrestleMania— WWE Magazine (@WWEmagazine) April 7, 2014
Cena's strange relationship with wrestling fans is well documented. It's a complicated dynamic, mostly split between the casual and diehard fans. The former cheer him and come to shows adorned in all his neon merchandise. The latter grit their teeth at the sight of him.
He represents the status quo in an era marked by tempered violence and less-controversial storylines.
So often when a story or a match fails to live up to the greatness we saw during the Attitude Era and the early 2000s, blame comes down on the PG-TV rating and Cena himself. Wyatt's edginess juxtaposes Cena's straight-laced character.
He offers a dark alternative to an often kid-friendly product—a fanged demon storming into Sesame Street.
When Cena and Wyatt's WrestleMania battle began, some fans began to sway their arms from side to side and sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
Fans singing "He's got the whole world in his hands" for Bray Wyatt. Epic. #WrestleMania— Marcus C. (@OGMarcusC) April 7, 2014
Wyatt has recently claimed that hymn as his own. It's a symbol for how he aims to ensnare the world through his vision.
This support of the bad guy felt like a protest of Cena's constant claim of WWE's top tier as much as it was an embrace of Wyatt and his clan.
Singing has allowed Wyatt to connect with the audience even more after that night. The fun of singing and dancing along to Fandango's entrance music had him awash with buzz for a while. That phenomenon has happened once again with Wyatt.
On the April 21 Raw, Cena took on the entire Wyatt Family in a Handicap match.
Wyatt, Harper and Rowan were more concerned with destruction than victory. They welcomed disqualification as they pounded on Cena, leaving him lifeless in the ring. Wyatt cradled Cena's head in his arms and begin to sing.
The response was all over the place.
There is clearly a portion of the crowd who is simply stunned. The Baltimore Arena is not that quiet unless its closing time and the janitors are sweeping the aisles.
As Wyatt goes on, some fans begin to clap, cheer and even sing along. A few folks waved their arms as the fans at WrestleMania did. Wyatt both captivated and unsettled that audience, something he has done wherever he goes.
He created a similar scene a week later.
With his enemy standing inside a steel cage, Wyatt walked out with a children's choir singing his new favorite tune. They soon slipped on sheep masks.
At that moment, the mostly stunned crowd gasped and murmured. The camera captures a few shocked faces poking out between the choir.
Fans sometimes seem unsure of how to react to The Wyatt Family. They have been as disturbing as they have been entertaining.
Continue to affect fans this much, and support can only grow. With as many ho-hum interviews and characters that just don't stick as fans watch regularly, Wyatt is standing out.
Fans are noticing and claiming allegiance.
They are showing up to events dressed like Wyatt, wearing sheep masks of their own.
Watching Wyatt grow into a megastar and deliver a litany of classic lines every time he grabs a microphone has won people over. His journey has been such a fun ride that it's only a matter of time before he is fully treated like a babyface character.
Regardless of how insane one's rhetoric is, say it often enough and with charisma as powerful as Wyatt's, eventually, it begins to work.
That's what's happening with Wyatt. His dark message is resonating enough that fans are singing with him rather than booing him. They are happy to wear sheep masks and hold signs in support of him.
The Wyatt Family has extended from Wyatt, Harper and Rowan to a growing percentage of the WWE fanbase.
One wouldn't have imagined that a self-professed monster would win over the crowd in this way. WWE couldn't have guessed just how effective and appealing his voice would be.
Much of the audience has bought into a false prophet, and eventually, WWE has to embrace that and slip a halo onto the demon's head.