by Daniel Stockwell - August 30, 2013
Welcome to Talking Theatrics. I’m Daniel Stockwell – some of you may remember my columns in the past which focused on a variety of different topics. After an extensive hiatus, I am back and ready to debut my new concept which will focus on the theatrical side of professional wrestling. I may return to some old ideas in the future but for now, this will be my primary focus.
I was going to start by writing about Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, and the development of the two stars since Summerslam. Then Raw aired and within the three hours, we were treated to not one, but two amazing promos. Firstly, the scathing analysis of the WWE Divas by the one and only AJ Lee and secondly…..
If you happen to have watched any of Wyatt’s work in NXT, you may not be surprised that the young star has been captivating since debuting on the main roster. In an era whereby gimmick wrestlers rarely work, Bray has proven that with the correct delivery and appropriate detail, a gimmick still has a place within the WWE Universe.
What is a gimmick? Well, quite simply it’s a character. Every on-screen performer in every company has a gimmick – Steve Austin was a beer drinking red neck who despised authority, John Cena was a white kid with a love for rap music and Brock Lesnar is a Genuine Bad Arse. These characters may not be too far removed from the performer themselves but regardless, they are still characters in the ongoing fiction that is WWE, or Gimmicks. The term is more commonly used by people today in reference to the outlandish characters of wrestling – people such as Undertaker, or Kane. They are characters that require the audience to suspend disbelief as a means to engage with the character and or product we are watching. Quick note, for the purpose of this article, I am focusing on gimmicks that are considered seriously, not Pirates, Asian’s turned Cowboys or Ball Room Dancers.
Wrestling is a unique atmosphere as it essentially combines characters from different mediums. The feud between CM Punk and The Undertaker serves as a good example. On one hand, you have a character who frequently breaks the forth wall and is grounded in truth, a character that is not restricted by the confines of the fiction. On the other hand, you have The Undertaker, a character completely confined by the fiction created and one that relies on the audience member suspending their belief for their own enjoyment.
Bray Wyatt is not a heightened version of Windham Rotunda – like the aforementioned Austin, Cena or Lesnar. Quite obviously, he joins the more outlandish wrestlers previously listed and like them, is confined by the environment that is the WWE. Aside from Mark Calaway taking the Undertaker gimmick too far (which crosses the line of confinement), characters such as Taker, Kane, Papa Shango, Boogeyman were never genuinely believable, or more to the point, scary – partly because they were never truthful characters and whilst Bray Wyatt is a character acted by Windham Rotunda, he is still a character you can envision in our own world.
The above video, is arguably the most coherent speech by Wyatt – he allows us into his life for a brief moment and tells us of Sister Abigail and their history, ultimately giving us a better understanding of the man himself. Bray Wyatt may be the leader of a cult but he serves a higher purpose, outlined earlier on by Abigail. In conclusion, it leaves us wondering whether he is following Abigail’s preaching’s or adapting them to better suit his own needs and desires. You may also ask whether Bray Wyatt is indeed the leader of this cult, or he himself is simply another follower and whether Sister Abigail is his Helter Skelter.
In revealing more about himself and his history, Bray becomes a more truthful character – a trait which most actors will note is the most important aspect of any performance. By doing so, the character of Bray Wyatt becomes significantly more realistic then before. As a spectator, all we can do is wait with baited breath to find out what terrifying ideas this man has in his head.
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Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them below – I’m also quite open to ideas on how to improve. The following was posted on Wrestling-Edge.com, so I’ll be more inclined to respond there.
Also, I have set up a Facebook Page which you can contact me on – like the page for updates on future articles and if you wish to discuss anything further. Here’s the link – https://www.facebook.com/talkingtheatrics
Until NXT Time…
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