The MKULTRA-like experiment of ‘Monday Night Raw’ goes something like this: a sheep’s head mask is flashed; the screen and arena goes dark; 3 huge men who have come from either a day’s work at the factory, farm or ranch appear, with one carrying a lantern and smiling as if he were Jack Nicklaus in The Shining; and irresistibly unnerving music (the best entrance theme since The Road Warriors came out to Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ ) giving melody to a stalk to the wrestling ring that feels like it lasts an hour. With all of the above, the WWE creative team has ritual drama gold –and a captivating experience that comes across well, in arena or viewing by television.
Were this all, the just described would be a moment.
But with an extremely charismatic and intellectual character at the center of it all (as evidenced by witty and intriguing tweets which combine not-so-veiled threats with fan appreciation and quotes from Nietze [sic] and a cross-section of support – beyond creed, class or color – the dismissal of Bray Wyatt as a hillbilly by some, really misses the mark. And the sound of it all is so captivating, the composer of entrance theme “Broken Out In Love,” Mark Crozer is generating headlines of his own (so talented I’ve actually added his group’s EP, “Backburner” to my Playlist). And each week there is a new message to decode – something that seems so accessible, but yet remains elusive.
But if the WWE ends up making the mistake of thinking the Wyatt Family only appeals to a pejorative ‘red-neck’ fan base it would be a huge big mistake. What Bray Wyatt has tapped into can best be understood from the mind of Eric Hoffer and the pages of his classic The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature of Mass Movements. Wyatt’s look may be that of a rural populist but the cult-following appeal is for all of the disaffected. In that sense Wyatt is the possible culmination of what I call the Dissatisfaction era which finds CM Punk (‘The Voice of The Voiceless’) and Daniel Bryan (the Underdog) as co-leaders.