Well, another WrestleMania is in the books. Reviews of WWE’s 39th annual mega-show have been overwhelmingly positive, save for one glaring fault:
No Bray Wyatt!
Over the years, Wyatt has earned many memorable losses on the grandest stage, perhaps none more so than WrestleMania 33, when he dazzled fans with the state-of-the-art special effect known as “a movie projector”.
Bray Wyatt’s road to WrestleMania 33 began all the way back in August, when he randomly interrupted a Randy Orton monologue. His motivation? Perhaps jealousy that Orton, even while obviously concussed, could still cut a more coherent promo than him.
The Eater of Worlds soon made his reasons known, telling the Smackdown audience,
“Since the dawn of creation, the serpent has been a deceiver. A false prophet. Cursed by the Almighty to crawl upon his belly and eat the dust of the earth. Randy Orton… Viper… I will not suffer your LIES! I will not suffer your HYPOCRISY!”
Or something like that, probably. I can’t be bothered to actually look it up.
At Backlash, Wyatt would attack the still-not-medically-cleared Orton, “canceling” their match…
…before beating the Viper at No Mercy. Bray and company, it seemed, were tougher than Randy had imagined.
And so, under the logic of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, Orton aligned himself with the Wyatt Family. But it was a ruse — Randy would bide his time until just the right opportunity arose to gain revenge. Here was his five-part plan:
- Gain Bray Wyatt’s trust.
- Turn Wyatt against his only other ally, Luke Harper.
- Win the Royal Rumble with Bray Wyatt’s help, guaranteeing him a title shot.
- Wait until Wyatt captured the WWE title at Elimination Chamber.
- Challenge and defeat Wyatt for the title at WrestleMania.
Up to step 4, the plan worked to perfection! But the plan hit a snag when Orton took the colossally stupid step of forfeiting his title shot.
According to the Official WWF Rulebook, the title shot should have transferred automatically to the runner-up, Roman Reigns…
…and under Commissioner Michaels, by God it would have!
But instead, the Smackdown bosses held a battle royal, which ended in a draw.
The week after, AJ Styles beat Luke Harper one-on-one, seemingly winning a Mania title match. Instead, Randy Orton appeared later on the show to say, Whoopsies, I’d like my title shot after all.
Then he made Bray Wyatt watch as he desecrated his sister’s grave and burned down his childhood home. You know, standard babyface tactics.
Orton was lucky to even get a chance to earn his title shot back, and even luckier to beat AJ for it. But while he’d nearly ruined four months of his own careful planning, it was worth it just to fool Bray Wyatt a little bit more.
In the final weeks before WrestleMania, Orton and Wyatt volleyed back and forth like a game of spooky tennis.
Randy burned down her gravesite to kill Sister Abigail’s spirit…
…so Bray bathed himself in her ashes to gain speeecialll powwwerrrs…
…so Randy drove Wyatt’s own crucix into Abigail’s remains to negate Bray’s new magic.
(In case you’re wondering, a crucix is like a crucifix but two letters shorter)
To take such a drastic measure certainly required a lot of spunk…
…as seen in Orton’s WrestleMania entrance. I believe it was JBL who used to say, “If you were to create a sports-entertainer in a lab, the spermatozoa would look like that CGI snake.”
The opening moments of the match were all Orton, with the challenger knocking the champion silly. But Wyatt shifted the momentum in his favor with one weird trick.
Using his new god-like powers (and bribing the lighting operator), Bray projected footage of maggots onto the canvas.
Orton was spooked. Surveying the scene and finding himself surrounded by larvae on all sides, the 37-year-old fled the ring.
If that giant viper had shown up on the ramp again, Randy would’ve had nowhere to run.
Armed with the psychological edge, Wyatt dominated the next two minutes of action before — you guessed it — more bug footage! This time, it was worms.
To his credit, Randy Orton was too dazed to panic this time. Still, the live bait video forced the ref out faster than Chastity in WCW.
Wyatt’s mastery of mind games prompted him to exclaim, “I am a god!” Namely, Sterculius, Roman god of crap.
The crowd watched for the next few minutes in hushed silence, waiting for the next piece of poorly-looped vermin footage. What would be next? My money was on dung beetles.
Randy got a glimmer of hope when he RKO’d Wyatt on the outside. But it was for nought — bug-free as it may have been, the arena floor was still no place to win a title.
Fans refused to invest in the action, knowing that Bray still had one more trick up his sleeve. And then it happened: Bray did his Exorcist walk, the stadium lights went out, and then…
No, really, crickets.
Maggots, worms, crickets — one of these things is not like the other. I’ve never heard of Jiminy Maggot or Worm Wireless, have you? My guess is someone in WWE confused the little guys for cockroaches.
Randy Orton, for one, wasn’t fazed by the insects, quickly hitting an RKO and pinning Wyatt.
With that, Orton must have absorbed Bray’s supernatural powers, because right after the match, Randy’s theme spontaneously started playing! How did he do that?!
Although the live crowd popped for the creepy-crawly clips, the match was positively crucied by critics.
The feud would culminate the following month in a House of Horrors match that RD prematurely awarded the 2017 Gooker. As it turned out, the biggest horror of all was Jinder Mahal’s title run.