30 Day Wrestling Challenge: Day One = Favourite Current Male Wrestler

OK so I’ve seen things like this before, but I was scrolling through twitter today and I saw this image that someone had posted, basically as you might be able to work out there are 30 different wrestling related questions, with one marked for each of the next 30 days. So I’ve decided to, best I can, turn this into a blog series… so each day now for today and the 29 after (hopefully…) I’ll be putting out a post each day answering best I can that day’s wrestling related question. Now for some ground rules; firstly I’m keeping this just to WWE were possible, it is just MY OWN personal taste and opinion, and also some blogs may differ from others depending on that day’s question. So, lets get on with Day One; who is my current favourite male wrestler?

The Fiend. Bray Wyatt has been a character I have found myself attached to ever since I came back to being a fan in earl 2014 whilst in my first year of uni. At the 2014 Rumble against Daniel Bryan, his Mania match that year with Cena, in particular his Mania feud the next year with The Undertaker, and beyond that, I was spellbound by this oh so unique character of a dark and cult-leader type heel. But, he’d lose, he’d always lose the big match. That seemed to change when after summer of 2016 he, now on SmackDown, seemed to be getting somewhat of a push; recruiting Randy Orton as a tag partner, pinning Roman Reigns at Survivor Series 2016 to win the match for Team SmackDown, getting to the final three of the next years Royal Rumble match, and then the next month he FINALLY won the WWE Championship. My dream had come true, my guy had finally won the big one… and then… he lost it at Mania 33… and he never really recovered… he would do mid-par at best work after that following a move over to Raw, before becoming embroiled in a feud with the now WOKEN Matt Hardy. This was probably the most entertaining stuff Bray had done for about a year at that stage, and it ended up with Bray being thrown into the ‘Lack of Reincarnation’ during the Ultimate Deletion, and then returning at WrestleMania 34 to help Matt win the Andre Battle Royal. The two would go on to have a run as Raw Tag Team Champions as Bray had his very first run as a babyface, which wasn’t ideal but at that point in time I was just relieved he was being used. But the title run was cut short way before time, and Matt had to take some time out to deal with injuries… but what did Bray do? Well… the answer is nothing. After Matt was OOA Bray was simply not used… On July 23rd 2018 Hardy and Bray lost their tag title rematch… and that was pretty much it… until on April 8th 2019 on Raw, the day after WrestleMania 35… we saw this…

and then the next week, we saw this…

Weird isn’t it? Who or what was all this about? Well the next week we got our answer as a freshly trim and much happier Bray Wyatt welcomes us to his Firefly Funhouse. And each week Bray would tell us more about the Funhouse and about some of his new friends and what he had learnt, and what he had to teach us. There are various playlists on Youtube available that have each of these vignettes in a playlist (this one https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaz5w4rWSenZmvnwYBlo4BD6LhY8nKX8l in fact has every the fiend segment WWE has put onto YouTube) , but as I’m sure you all remember each week these would get a tonne of internet talk and were widely praised for their unique nature, and brilliance. The phrase I’ve heard used to describe the locker room reaction to these being shown each week on Raw was the old wrestling phrase as a ‘locker room sell out’ or a ‘sell out at the curtain’. Suddenly after so long away everyone was talking about Bray Wyatt. But where was all this leading? When were we going to see Bray back and what did he have planned? Well, on the May 13th Raw’s edition of the FireFly Fun House we got an answer, as Bray let us into his… secret…

To say the internet erupted upon getting its first look at what would become known as The Fiend would be an understatement. So the insanity would continue week by week as Bray let us in to more and more of this new and weird world he had created for us, each week was another level, and each week people loved it more and more. But we still had no sign of what Bray and The Fiend had in store for the WWE… on the June 17th Raw… we maybe had our first sign that he was coming…

on Raw some weeks later The Fiend struck his first target…

and that laid the road for SummerSlam. With rumours abound that Finn would be taking some time off after the match, and with The Fiend having attacked both Mick Foley and Kurt Angle in the build up, along with more mental torturing of Balor, the stage was set for one of the most anticipated debut matches for some time. The spectacle would be much more vital than the match. I and the rest of the world were certainly not left disappointed, as after what was one of the better WWE PPVs of 2019, everyone was talking about The Fiend…

SummerSlam 2019: The Fiend defeated Finn Balor 

The match was what it was, and what it should have been, a glorified squash match designed to make The Fiend come across as exactly what he is intended to come across as, a monster. But it was all about the presentation of The Fiend here. Finn awaited his foe in the ring, and the opening to the Firefly Fun House vignettes played, before the words ‘Let Me in’ appeared, the lights went dark and then from the shadows emerged… him… a rock/electric guitar sound played before a remixed version of Bray Wyatt’s previous theme song played as The Fiend made his way through the darkness. The camera work here was outstanding and really made it come across as something unique. It should also be noted The Fiend came to the ring holding a lantern that was dressed up with what appeared to be a severed head of Bray Wyatt in his previous form. The firefly’s from the crowd were out in full force, and as The Fiend stood in the ring he got probably the loudest reaction of the whole show. At this point watching with my Yowie Wowie t shirt on, I was nearly in tears, and the match hadn’t even started. Simply the most unbelievable entrance I’ve ever seen, it blew away all expectations I had. As I’ve said the match was essentially a squash. Finn showed some signs of life but Bray no-sold most of it and batted him down with ease at others, although at one stage a seemingly conflicted Fiend went for the Sister Abigail, but Finn got out of it and hit multiple slingblades, before a double dropkick sent The Fiend crashing into the corner. Finn then went up top looking for the Coupe de Grace but was caught as he came down by The Fiend with the Mandible Claw. After valiantly fighting Finn was done, and with the hold in The Fiend pinned Finn for the win. After the bell the lights went dark again, as The Fiend stood in the ring posing, they then went dark again as we heard the ominous Bray Wyatt laugh and then the eerie noise that had become signature of The Fiend attacks by this point, as the monster stood at the top of the entrance ramp and looked back at the destruction he had left. Before the lights went out and back on again and The Fiend was gone. As a beaten Finn was just coning round back in the ring, chants of “that was awesome” echoed around the arena. Yes, yes it was awesome indeed.

** (for the match) but ********** for the presentation of The Fiend. 

As it was only fairly recently I’m sure you all recall what came after this, but for those of you who don’t know, since then…: The Fiend went on to target the then Universal champion Seth Rollins, we had a… SHIT STORM of a match between the two at Hell in a Cell before the wrongs were all righted as The Fiend won the title in Saudi Arabia of all places at Crown Jewel, from there he went over to SmackDown where he had a tremendous couple of title defences against another old Bray Wyatt foe in Daniel Bryan before big bad Bill threw his toys out the pram and won the title earlier this year… and from there The Fiend targeted John Cena which culminated in whatever on this or any other planet the Firefly Fun House match was at WrestleMania. As I type this we are a few hours removed from what appears to be a set up for The Fiend to try and regain the Universal Championship from the current champion Braun Strowman, another previous associate of the old Bray Wyatt in something that has become a unique theme of The Fiend’s feuds so far.

So that’s just a summary of why The Fiend is my current favourite. About as unique a presentation of a character we have seen in WWE for many years, and I love all the wacky stuff too. Sure the booking has been questionable at times, and beyond belief BAD at others (seek out my review of the Rollins vs Fiend cell match for more on that), but time after time I am interested and pulled in by the ever evolving story of Bray Wyatt and The Fiend. And who on earth knows where the story will go next.

Josh. 

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