I literally started clapping at the end of this week’s Smackdown Live. Randy Orton, the PG killer, making me feel like I traveled through time and was watching something out of the Attitude Era. I’m sure anyone reading this has seen it already, but let’s review a bit, it was so good.
Bray Wyatt had come out to the ring at the end Smackdown Live this Tuesday. He was addressing AJ Styles, who just that night beat Luke Harper for the opportunity to face him at Wrestlemania. He started to discuss how he came from hallowed ground. A place from the dirt and all the way down to the molten core of the Earth. This is when he mentioned Randy Orton, and how he was at that very place. Randy then appeared on the big screen, calling to Bray. I won’t recite word for word what he said, because honestly….it wouldn’t do it justice without hearing him speak the words. Essentially Randy turned on Bray. He reminded Bray of his words months ago of “If you can’t beat them, join them.” and then added, “when you join them, at the right time, SCREW THEM!”. This was a long time coming in my eyes, and being that Randy had recently received the “keys to the kingdom” from Bray, it was only a matter of time. However this article is not about the double cross, it was the intensity of it. As Randy spoke to Bray he revealed why the cottage he was standing in, at the center of the Wyatt compound, was so special. Sister Abigail was buried beneath it. It all makes sense. Why Bray cherished that spot so dearly. Why there was an empty rocking chair rocking on it’s own, and as Randy put it “you could smell evil in the air”. The camera would cut back to Bray every now and then, and you could see the fear in his eyes. After Randy revealed that this was the final resting place of Sister Abigail, he told Bray that he was going to burn her soul to eternal damnation, and that’s when he picked up the gas tank. At this point Bray is screaming, no PLEADING with Randy to stop. It was a mix of rage and helplessness, something we have yet to see from the Eater of Worlds. Bray’s screaming was of no use. Randy proceeded to poor gasoline around the cabin, as well as in the hole in the floor boards to make sure Sister Abigail would not escape her fate. At the end of the segment Randy walked outside, lit a match on a tree, and ignited the cabin. As the cabin burned in front of him, he stuck his famous pose, his triumphant silhouette surrounded by flames of vengeance. At this point Bray had absolutely lost it. He flailed wildly around the ring and tore apart the announcer’s table. As the show came to a close the camera zoomed in on Bray, who had slumped down outside the ring. There were tears in his eyes. Betrayed by his servant, and by his own arrogance.
RIGHT!?! Now here is the reason this segment was so important, and may be the sign of a big change in the WWE. I haven’t seen anything this intense since the Attitude Era. Hear me out. Ever since the WWE has gone PG, all storylines that had questionable elements have all but disappeared. Hardly any sex, blood being censored, etc. We still have extreme moments, but that is more in the physical realm and not the written story. This changed on Tuesday. Randy Orton desecrated and burned human remains as the brother of the deceased watched on in horror. Really think about it, how many times since the Attitude Era have we seen something like this? This is good news for fans.
Perhaps the WWE is relaxing their PG attitude. It makes sense. The main reason that they wanted to go more PG was to get the younger crowd involved and not overexpose them to adult themes. I think kids can handle a lot more than they have been exposed to the last few years in the WWE. To be honest, I don’t think I would still be into wrestling today if I had grown up in this generation of the WWE. Emotion forms stronger bonds. I think the WWE has some room to experiment here. This was definitely a strong experiment out of the gate. I’m sure that they will get some angry letters from parents, but everyone I have talked to loved the segment. A lot of parents that bring their kids to events, or watch the shows with them grew up with the Attitude Era. They will be a lot more forgiving of more risky storylines because that is part of what made them fall in love with the product in the first place. It will be interesting to watch the Bray vs Randy storyline progress, but also the company as a whole. There is only so much writing you can do in a combat oriented business when you are chained by PG shackles. Now don’t get me wrong, there were some terrible storylines and segments during the Attitude Era. I am certainly not calling for the return of elderly women giving birth to all manner of object, or Vince McMahon making some attractive woman bark like a dog. I am making the case for something in between, which would benefit all ages of fans.
I for one am very excited about the possible evolution of the product. What are your thoughts? Am I off the mark here or do you agree? Are you a parent who watches with their child? Did he/she ask questions afterwards? Let us know. Thanks for reading!
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