The verdict is on the WWE House of Horrors match pitting Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt: meh.
Not sure what the folks in creative were thinking even thinking about doing this type of match, but it was a bad idea, poorly executed.
For starters, we in the TV viewing audience last night were told that the match, placed midway on the House of Horrors pay-per-view card, was ostensibly “live,” from the graphic in the upper right corner of the TV screen.
Which is fine, except that the match began at an unidentified home, shrouded in darkness, around 9:30 Eastern time, or 6:30 local time in the San Jose area, and the official sunset for San Jose proper, according to TimeandDate.com, was 7:56 local time.
Time and location are important, because as the first part of the match, in this unidentified home, shrouded in darkness, came to a conclusion after roughly 15 minutes, Wyatt climbed into the limo that Orton had arrived in and ordered the driver to take him to the arena.
WWE then awkwardly cued up the next match on the card, pitting Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe, who could’ve wrestled a five-star match for all anybody knew, but no one was watching, given the inanity that preceded it.
Then after that match, we’re back already to House of Horrors, with Wyatt coming down to the ring, full ring entrance, lights out, fireflies, et cetera, almost as if nothing had happened.
That point was made clear when Orton, who had been left behind at the House of Horrors, magically just showed up in the ring, to the great feigned surprise of Wyatt, who obviously doesn’t get the concept of Uber.
So you can’t explain away the darkness at the Wyatt house and his arrival at the arena in sunlight by distance, because it took the limo driver (and Orton’s Uber) a half-hour at most to get them to the arena.
Nor can you explain away the whole first segment not being “live” when there had to be at least a dozen cameras on the scene to capture Orton in the limo, then getting out of the limo, then cutting to a haunted tractor on the premises, then being in each room of the house awaiting the entry of the combatants.
Let’s not even criticize the way the match, and we have to presume the Orton-Wyatt feud, came to an end, with Jinder Mahal and his stooges interfering to help Wyatt get the fall, and advance the brewing Orton-Mahal feud over the Smackdown world title.
That, at least, was wrestling, even if it seems like WWE took us on a long, winding road to set up Orton-Wyatt, having Orton join the Wyatt Family, win the tag team titles with Wyatt, all as a ruse to infiltrate the inner circle and get inside the head of the Eater of Worlds, for a rather weak payoff of Wyatt getting another tainted win that was more about setting up Orton’s next dance partner than anything else.
The nonsense that preceded it at the House of Horrors is a case of why you don’t put wrestling in the hands of Hollywood writers who don’t the first thing about either wrestling or basic human psychology.
Most of us are in on the dirty little secret that wrestling is sports entertainment, but that being the baseline, we don’t want to allow ourselves to be insulted for our guilty pleasure.
The Orton-Wyatt feud ventured into the territory of the unacceptably unbelievable when Orton burned down a house and didn’t face any potential storyline legal consquences.
Things got even more unrealistic at WrestleMania 33 when the director cut repeatedly to an above-ring camera that looked down at their title match and showed images of insects taking over the ring.
Last night somehow brought things to a new low.
I can say this from a personal perspective: since the advent of the WWE Network in 2014, I’d watched every pay-per-per-view event start to finish, until last night.
I left the show on long enough to see the dumb conclusion to the House of Horrors, then went to bed.
If I want to watch bad sci-fi/horror, there’s always Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the writers make it abundantly clear that we’re all supposed to be in on the joke.
WWE, in trying to get me to pretend not only that what we were watching was real, but also not at all incredibly dumb, has me thinking there have to be better things for me to do with my time.
Column by Chris Graham