The Wyatt Family have been one of the most dominant heel stables on the WWE roster since they debuted last summer.
Their wars with Daniel Bryan, The Usos and The Shield have been amongst the most engaging rivalries on WWE programming. Recently, however, they have been on a losing streak.
Weak booking is finally starting to cut through their mystique.
This is something that no one wants to see happen. The members of the Wyatt Family have genuinely interesting gimmicks and are solid ring workers. Even Erick Rowan, who was noticeably green only a few months ago, has become a very talented big man between the ropes.
If WWE Creative does not turn their fortunes around soon, The Wyatt Family could find themselves sinking into the mire of obscurity.
But what went wrong?
When discussing the decline of The Wyatt Family, many WWE fans turn toward Bray Wyatt’s lengthy feud with John Cena earlier this year. Their final clash at Payback culminated in Cena literally burying Wyatt under a piece of technical equipment, allowing him to win their Last Man Standing match.
Despite this received wisdom within the Internet Wrestling Community, the eventual victor of the Wyatt vs. Cena feud was completely irrelevant.
By working with the top guy in the company, Bray Wyatt was legitimised as a top talent with main event potential. The fact that he almost came out on top certainly helped matters.
The problems began once this feud came to a close. Where could Wyatt go next? After a brief appearance in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Money in the Bank, Wyatt chose to go after a returning Chris Jericho.
On paper, the feud was perfect. Jericho still has a very high standing with the fans, both men are capable of cutting an outstanding promo, and they had proven ring chemistry after a great match in NXT.
However, poor booking has scuppered the rivalry. They have been given very little television time during the rushed build, with Wyatt’s motivation unclear.
Their first match at Battleground was oddly awkward, and their more satisfying SummerSlam clash failed to shine in the midst of a stacked card.
Leaving Wyatt and Jericho off of television has left their rivalry feeling stagnant.
Wyatt thrives when he is booked as a predator, stalking his prey and getting inside their head. He has not had the opportunity to do that with Jericho, partly due to WWE’s insane pay-per-view schedule and partly due to the prominence of other feuds over the summer months.
It is getting to the point with Bray Wyatt where he needs to show that he can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. He has to start winning matches on the big stage, without interference from his two lieutenants.
SummerSlam is a start, but he needs to keep that momentum going.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan make a formidable tag team. They are long overdue a reign with the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The imposing pair have received two bites at the title apple, losing to The Usos in stunning matches at Money in the Bank and Battleground. On both occasions, they came within a whisker of leaving with gold around their waists.
However, since fading away from the title picture, Harper and Rowan can’t buy a win.
They’ve lost matches to the Rhodes Brothers and Big Show and Mark Henry on several occasions, leaving them outside the top tier of the tag team division.
Despite their excellent ring work, Harper and Rowan no longer seem like the dominant heel tag team they were just a few months ago. In an attempt to book the returning duo of Big Show and Mark Henry strongly, WWE Creative has allowed The Wyatts to be run over again and again.
There’s little doubt that the next few months are critical for the future of The Wyatt Family in WWE.
The first thing Creative can do is to stop using the stable as a stepping stone to aid the pushes of surging babyface acts. The Wyatts are young talents who should be getting a push, not old hands who are there to make the new guys look good.
Secondly, the Wyatts—and Bray in particular—need to be booked as a genuine threat once again. Only a few months ago, we saw John Cena struggling against the formidable mind games being played by The Wyatt Family. Now, they routinely lose to midcard babyfaces.
The third ingredient is championship gold. Whether it’s the tag titles for Harper and Rowan or a midcard belt for Bray, a member of the stable has to wear a strap soon in order to back up the bluster that comes out of the mouths of the family.
Unless Creative starts to follow the buzzards pretty soon, then there’s little point in them flapping their wings at all.