History will repeat itself, and Bray Wyatt will go down as one of the best babyfaces of all time.
When booked as a heel, a wrestler can do his or her job well. However, it's inevitable that a dark character eventually steps into the light of being a crowd favorite.
We saw it with Mankind, one of the most unique characters ever in WWE when he debuted in 1996. The way he looked, the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he squealed—it was memorable and fitting for a heel. We got Boiler Room Brawl matches and Buried Alive matches. He brought a hardcore element to WWE that hadn't been seen yet in that company.
Eventually, we began to learn more about Mankind and the man behind the mask. Mankind reached such heights as a babyface due to his ability to gain sympathy from the audience from the physical abuse he could take and his role as a social outcast and underdog.
His winning the world title on the Jan. 4 edition of Raw back in 1999, which WCW tried to spoil, ended up being one of the biggest pops in wrestling history from a live crowd. It was also a turning point in the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW.
Then you have Kane. He made an incredible debut in 1997, perhaps the best debut ever with his terrific backstory as The Undertaker's brother. This character personified evil. Over time, that demonic character got to show a human side in many ways, whether it be via friendship or love. The audience reacted as well.
The Undertaker debuted in 1990, and many consider him to be one of the greatest characters ever. He had his runs of evil and mystique, complete with body bags, attempted sacrifices and a propensity for burying people alive. But he will forever live in wrestling history as one of the most accomplished, respected and loved Superstars of all time.
There is plenty of time for Wyatt to continue to work on his current gimmick and booking. The Wyatt Family is still on the rise, having yet to reach their full heel potential. But I expect that, over time, we're going to see Wyatt connect with the crowd in a way that goes even beyond saying “We're here” or singing a song.
Wyatt continues to show his mental understanding and potential when it comes to wrestling. From match psychology to character development, he excels and continues to get better every week.
That makes for a great recipe to not only connect with and manipulate the audience but lay the foundation to become a top babyface in the industry.
If you live long enough as the villain, eventually you become respected and loved.
Justin LaBar is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the creator of the "Chair Shot Reality" video talk show and "Wrestling Reality" radio show.
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