WrestleMania 31 preview: Is Bray Wyatt the next Undertaker for WWE?

bray wyattBray Wyatt has been the hottest wrestler in WWE for more than a year, and yet he’s been suspiciously been left on the outside looking in as far as the various title chases have been concerned.

Which makes his booking with Undertaker for Sunday’s WrestleMania 31 make some sense. The Undertaker, a top of the card wrestler in WWE for more than a quarter-century, has long since transcended needing a strap for any sense of legitimacy.

Win or lose on Sunday, ‘Taker could be passing that mantle on to Wyatt, who has already taken on a quasi-Undertaker role over the past few months.

That’s not to say that WWE hasn’t given Wyatt his share of high-profile victories. Wyatt got a clean fall on Daniel Bryan at the 2014 Royal Rumble, three months before Bryan would win the WWE title in the main event at WrestleMania 30, where Wyatt lost to John Cena before getting revenge at Extreme Rules to score a rare pay-per-view win over the 15-time WWE champ.

So he has victories over Bryan, Cena and two PPV wins over Dean Ambrose, but wins and losses mean nothing for Wyatt, whose appeal to fans rivals that of Undertaker, a special attraction who has for the last several years been used exclusively on WrestleManias.

The shocking upset loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 seemed to signal an end to the Undertaker-WrestleMania franchise, but it’s clear that this year is to be the end, and what better way for WWE to do so than to use ‘Taker to elevate Wyatt to the realm of the mystical.

Wyatt clearly is beyond over with fans, who light up arenas, thousands strong, when the lights dim for Wyatt’s ring entrance, in a scene that is haunting no matter how many times you see it.

Similar to how you’ve seen Undertaker walk to the ring a million times, and yet when the lights go down, and the bells begin to toll, yeah, wow, the hair stands on the back of your neck.

Undertaker himself carried on the special attraction role that was filled for two decades by Andre the Giant, who was booked brilliantly by Vince McMahon Sr. so as not to overexpose his act, which was pretty much to be a real-life giant, gentle as he might have been.

‘Taker is himself an impressive physical specimen, 6’10, right at 300 pounds, a power wrestler agile enough to walk catlike on the top rope. Like Andre, Undertaker didn’t wow audiences with chain wrestling, and Wyatt is a performer in the same vein.

You don’t leave a Bray Wyatt match confusing him for Bryan or Dolph Ziggler or Ric Flair in his prime, but you’re still entertained, because Wyatt, like ‘Taker, particularly, is a master of wrestling psychology, one of the better mic talents of the current century, who can also play to psychology at an elite level in the ring.

It would be appropriate for WWE to work out a finish for Undertaker-Bray Wyatt on Sunday that both elevates Wyatt and also allows ‘Taker to return to the underworld, in a manner of speaking, in victory, pyrrhic or otherwise.

If they play this right, then, we get Bray Wyatt as the next permanent semi-main event at ‘Mania for years to come.

– Column by Chris Graham



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