Headed into WrestleMania 33, Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton had all the promise in the world. But at this point, it just doesn't make sense. What started as an easy-to-follow storyline, pitting leader against disciple, has regressed into a confusing, overly dramatic tale of low-rent witchcraft and sorcery.
Both were connecting with fans perfectly fine. Wyatt won the WWE Championship in an exciting Elimination Chamber match that drew cheers from the Phoenix crowd upon its conclusion. But suddenly, the angle has isolated many with the reprisal of Sister Abigail, whose decaying corpse has been the focus of a world championship feud.
As Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net said: "So we haven't seen the last of hocus-pocus Bray Wyatt? Ugh. The actual match should be entertaining, but the build to this is way too campy for my taste."
Jake Barnett of the same outlet echoed his colleague's sentiments: "I get the feeling the writers are convinced that they can somehow make this s--t sandwich of a story palatable by having Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt take it even further over the top with supernatural powers and reprehensible behavior."
Wade Keller of PWTorch was not much nicer, saying: "Yawn. Sorry, but all this nonsense doesn't add up to anything that fits within the WWE world."
Wyatt and Orton captured lightning in a bottle as an odd couple that somehow jelled as teammates. What made them so good together was the stark contrast of Wyatt's spooky origins and Orton's human pedigree. Orton usually doesn't toil in unnatural spaces, but for whatever reason, this was working, as the duo even held the SmackDown Tag Team Championships for a stretch.
Although many fans expected Orton to eventually betray his charismatic leader, this was all part of the fun. Nobody quite knew when and where the viper would strike with a quick, crowd-pleasing RKO. Unfortunately, the betrayal came in the form of a long, drawn-out house-burning with little follow-up from Orton as to why he did what he did.
I'm still confused as to whether there is a babyface in this feud.
Orton vs. Wyatt has been so bad over the past few weeks that it's adversely affecting AJ Styles' feud with Shane McMahon. Because of all this black magic, it's Styles, not McMahon, who has been made to look like a sympathetic figure in his feud with the commissioner.
Styles, a heel, has repeatedly pointed out the fact WWE is wrongfully rewarding Orton for committing arson. He's right, and he didn't even mention the fact Orton forfeited his No. 1 Contender opportunity shortly after winning the Royal Rumble.
Styles was recently fired for attacking McMahon, but Orton went unpunished—and rewarded—for burning down a co-worker's house and incinerating a dead body?
WWE only has a week to salvage a feud that has become more cold and lifeless than Sister Abigail, but that's one week too many because this is only getting worse with time.
The only thing resembling a cure for this feud is less talking and more physicality. This is past the point of any rationalization. These two simply need give fans a taste of an otherwise potential standout match to atone for all this supernatural booking.