Why The WWE Should End The Fiend Gimmick
The Fiend made his debut in WWE back in 2019, and while it was honestly one of the most chilling segments in company history, it wouldn’t save the character from what would ultimately happen to it.
In fact, between Vince McMahon subjecting the once-dominant character to 50/50 booking and the massive holes in the storytelling, it looked doomed to fail eventually.
Now, It is no exaggeration that The Fiend character portrayed by Bray Wyatt has absolutely captivated the WWE Universe but has also created a massive-sized rift as well.
Not only is that evident by the way rage whenever The Fiend character loses, but also by the fact that the company just doesn’t seem to know what to do with it anymore.
The Fiend WWE Debut
When The Fiend originally debuted, WWE constantly played up the fact that his character was invincible and that he changed you as a person.
While those were both interesting concepts to play with, especially with a lack of an Undertaker-like character in the company, it quickly became the downfall of what could have been the next big thing.
Of course, The Fiend was the biggest thing in WWE for a while, and I enjoyed interesting feuds with the likes of Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. His signature Firefly Funhouse segments were also must-watch television, and older fans would comb it for clues about what would happen next.
Furthermore, the eventual entrance that the company was able to put together for the character was one of the most badass in years.
Unfortunately for The Fiend, WWE made their first mistake with the character at that year’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Keep in mind that Bray Wyatt was teasing winning the title for weeks, and the fans were completely into it.
The problem, however, was that the company decided to go with one of the most controversial finishes in WWE history to keep the belt on Seth Rollins.
It all started during the closing parts of the match, where Seth Rollins seemed to become more and more unhinged. He ended up burying The Fiend under a sea of chairs, beating him over the head with a toolbox, and eventually using a sledgehammer to finish the job.
That’s where things got interesting, though, as The Fiend using a sledgehammer was deemed too much by WWE officials.
This resulted in The Fiend being disqualified for his actions, which made no sense in the context of a Hell in a Cell match and had fans’ visibility upset.
Of course, The Fiend was able to get back up after the hellacious onslaught and nail Seth Rollins with the mandible claw, but it was still seen as a bad move not to put the title on The Fiend.
Although the finish was absolutely horrible from a pro wrestling standpoint, it also whipped fans into a frenzy that would become par for the course whenever The Fiend lost.
This got so serious that some fans even decided to boycott the company and swear never to watch it again until The Fiend finally got the title he deserved.
The Fiend’s WWE character development in limbo
Now, the big problem with this is twofold. The first is that fans seemed to not understand that The Fiend didn’t need the title to be successful.
They also didn’t seem to understand that The Fiend was supposed to be a special attraction sort of character, meaning that they didn’t trot him out every single week.
Another problem that WWE had with the character during this period was the storytelling that was used or not used. One example of this is the red light they would shine on the ring during The Fiend’s matches, which seemingly gave him some kind of invisibility.
Weirdly enough, though, WWE stopped using it after a while, marking their first storytelling mistake of the character.
None of that mattered to the WWE Universe, though, and the company was eventually forced to put the title on The Fiend at the Crown Jewel pay per view.
The match itself was nothing short of intense, as fans watched the creature survive attack after attack to finally win the title. He even ended up getting electrocuted in the final seconds of the match and still managed to lock in the mandible claw for the win.
This is where things went downhill again, though. It started with Bray Wyatt debuting a new title on his next episode of the Firefly Funhouse, which consisted of The Fiend’s face on a strap.
Not only would this be one of the few times we would see the freakish-looking title, but his title reign also ended up being somewhat of a nothing burger.
Now, this isn’t to say that there weren’t interesting matches or even interesting stakes at play, but the company just couldn’t seem to hold things together when it came to the storytelling.
This became evident during his feud with Daniel Bryan in December of 2019, where the company started to play up the fact that the character had a weakness that Bryan could exploit.
Unfortunately for anyone hoping to know what that was, especially since there were countless theories at that time, the company just stopped mentioning it.
They outright just decided to sweep it under the rug, which allowed The Fiend to defeat Bryan to successfully defend his title. If nothing else, this was their second-biggest snag in their storytelling and really left a lot of fans confused.
Of course, some were just happy The Fiend was still winning and still champion, but the story was really starting to fall apart. WWE even started to lapse on the idea of a Superstar being changed by The Fiend when the creature took on The Miz in the lead-up to WrestleMania 36.
The Fiend came away with another win in this feud, but not without taking some collateral damage along the way.
This came when the company first decided to start teasing a change in The Miz character before deciding to ditch it and team him up with John Morrison.
Although this might sound like sour grapes, especially due to the Fiend still being champion at the time, it was still an uncomfortable change in the storytelling we had become accustomed to.
Keep in mind that this monumental feat of stupidity came after WWE seemingly changed Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and even Daniel Bryan in a positive way.
In fact, between Seth Rollins becoming the Monday night messiah, Finn Balor going back to NXT, and Daniel Bryan relieving his American Dragon days, it was just brilliant storytelling.
Again though, that changed after The Miz took on The Fiend as WWE continued on its road to Wrestlemania.
To the company’s credit, they teased the idea of a dark change happening to The Miz after he lost to The Fiend in a bid to save Daniel Bryan but gave up on it after maybe two weeks.
None of this would compare, though, to what WWE ended up doing with the character next. It all started with the company putting him up against Goldberg in what would seemingly be his final test before WrestleMania 36.
Is The Fiend a jobber now?
All that changed a few weeks later at Super Showdown, where The Fiend lost clean in under two minutes after a botched jackhammer.
That’s right! WWE ruined a multi-month winning streak in a matter of minutes to a guy that has been in and out of the business for years. It was pretty much the biggest slap in the face the company could give the fans, and they hit it on the head.
Sure, they tried to make up for it with an interesting firefly funhouse match against John Cena at WrestleMania that year, but it still didn’t make up for what was done here.
Fast Forward only one year, and things have only gotten worse for someone who was supposed to bring the company into a new era of entertainment.
They started off The Fiend’s post WrestleMania run with a title match against Bruan Strowman at Money in the bank, which resulted in Wyatt getting pinned clean again after distraction from his horde of puppets.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the company took him off television for a few weeks, only to have him return as Bray Wyatt. The WWE was trying to play up the history between Wyatt and Strowman at the time, making for an interesting storyline, but it fell flat again.
Most of this had to do with their disastrous swamp match, where The Fiend tried to vanish Strowman forever. It was shot horribly, confusing to follow, and had an anti-climatic ending, only dividing fans further on the gimmick.
Finally, WWE decided to put the title on him again in the months leading up to the Summerslam pay-per-view taking place that August.
This time fans were sure that Wyatt was finally going to get the run he deserved as champion and vanquish Strowman in short order. While that did end up happening, a surprise return by Roman Reigns quickly took the attention off of The Fiend.
Then, now a heel, Roman Reigns would win the title from the Fiend and Strowman in a triple threat match, eliminating The Fiend from the title picture completely. By this time, most fans were pretty much done with the gimmick, and while some fans still held out for better outcomes, it just wasn’t worth it.
Those unlucky fans would only be greeted by a storyline involving Bray Wyatt brainwashing Alexa Bliss into becoming The Fiend’s minion.
Some fans saw this as a positive due to how it resembled Joker and Harley Quinn’s off-kilter romance, but it only ended up hurting the character. Maybe not in the short run, but most definitely in the long run.
A lot of that probably had to do with younger fans shipping the couple on social media and fantasizing about it being a relationship storyline, but that didn’t really end up being the case.
Their relationship stayed strictly platonic, despite the fact that The Fiend originally tried to kiss her, meaning the company probably didn’t know what they were doing.
Lastly, there’s the dreaded storyline with Randy Orton and his eventual split from Alexa Bliss. What hurt most about all of this was how WWE tried to play it off as long-term storytelling. They really went out of their way to invest fans into the long-term gains of the storyline but didn’t bother to actually follow up with something substantive.
Furthermore, if fans thought WWE’s treatment of Wyatt was bad at WrestleMania 33, where Randy Orton would defeat Wyatt for the WWE title, he got screwed at WrestleMania 37.
In all honesty, between only going three minutes before getting distracted by his own manager and losing to Randy Orton, it was a crap show.
It was an embarrassing match, and it really damaged The Fiend character in a way that nothing else could. All that long-term storytelling for nothing, and he loses in three minutes after Bliss betrays him.
If nothing else, the events described above have proved two things. The first is that WWE creative has no idea how to do a long-term storyline, which is essential for a character like The Fiend.
Beyond that, it is also clear that Vince McMahon doesn’t have enough faith in the character to lead the company, meaning he will always take a back seat to the next big thing.
And that’s not even mentioning how much The Fiend has divided the fanbase right down the middle over the last year and a half.
Although the character still has a vocal minority of followers, many other fans have either given up on the gimmick or see it as an impediment to the overall product.
In the end, these are all the reasons why The Fiend character needs to finally come to an end after his year and a half run of controversy.
Whether that involves WWE going back to the Wyatt character or having him try something else remains to be seen, but The Fiend is damaged goods. In other words, he’s just not best for business anymore.