Quoth Bray Wyatt (RAW 5/11/15)

How quickly Bray Wyatt swings from incoherence back to literary! This week’s promo on RAW was a reminder of how Wyatt can, when the stars align in his favor, cut to the core of our cultural angst and inflate it into a giant interplay of existential archetypes that represent the state of our nation, perhaps even the broader human condition. I was skeptical about Ryback as a suitable target for Wyatt’s attention, but it turns out the man whose story hinges on the power of positive thinking and the vanquishing of fear is the perfect wrestler to confront the Face of Fear himself.

I’m all about the power of positive thinking and manifestation, for fear is in fact an oppressor that never helps, only hinders. Caution, concern, critical thinking, and careful decision making can all be useful tools, but fear is the root of emotional paralysis, which is not a healthy way to exist in the world. Sure, there are scary situations, but when we enter them ruled by fear and carry that fear after they are resolved, we are in fact allowing that fear to oppress us, keep us complacent, and make our decisions for us. Fear becomes a literal demon inside of us when we allow it to control our lives. Truly, how can any of us even get out of bed if we don’t refuse to succumb to our fears? Wyatt’s right — our world is a shambles, and it’s difficult to look at it through the lens of fear and see even a shred of hope for the future. And yet we forge ahead with our jobs, families, blogs, projects, and good deeds, each of us doing whatever we can to fight past our fears of war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe, because putting one foot in front of the other and making our tiny positive contributions is the only way to remain human amidst the chaos roaring around us.

Perhaps this is why Pentagon Jr.’s appeal is so strong for me, because cero miedo is ultimately the key to a successful heroic journey. But what happens when fear becomes so potent it is literally embodied in a dude you have to wrestle? Is Wyatt’s challenge to Ryback in fact an indication that Ryback hasn’t fully vanquished his fears? What happens if Ryback loses? The WWE seems skittish about allowing Wyatt’s darkness to ever prevail, but it would be a very interesting storytelling exercise for Ryback to confront a loss to the Face of Fear. Such a concept would allow a deeper exploration of fear, and opportunity for Ryback to truly overcome it, which would be a much more complex hero journey for Ryback than falling back on the gimmicky “FEED ME MORE” as the easy outcome for this feud.

Wyatt does need to WIN sometimes for his character to be more than a creepy sociopath, and for him to be a cult leader worthy of an arena full of lighter flame apps. His words convince me that the potential for this feud is so strong, I’m cautiously optimistic this may be his time to finally prevail in moral victory. To wit:

I feel sorry for all of you. I wish that I could just reach out and fix everything. I wish that I could take you away from this nightmare but I can’t. Fear is all around you. Fear is all around you, it has engulfed this world like a wildfire. And if you need proof, it ain’t too hard to find. All you have to do is open up a newspaper, turn on your television set and you will see fear being sold to you left and right. Fear of a crumbling economy. Fear of a crumbling economy that will never stop! Fear of a global conflict. Fear of a dying Earth. And yet, there are still those of you that refuse to accept this true power of fear. You have adopted the man’s idea that if you work hard enough, you can overcome all the odds! Ryback must be such an inspiration to each and every one of you. I mean, here’s a guy who shatters his ankle into a million pieces, and the doctor comes to him, and he says Mister Ryback sir, I’m afraid to tell you this, but I don’t think that you’ll ever be able to compete again. (Evil Laughter) But the Ryback, he does not accept his fate lying down, no. The Ryback fights through his injury, he overcomes all the odds and here he is today, doing what he loves once again! My hero. But then, along came the spider. And I understand that Ryback has come toe to toe with fate and won. He has overcome all the odds! But he ain’t never seen nothing like me before. (Laughter) He ain’t never seen nothing like the new face of fear before! And I’m sure that Ryback is asking himself right now, why me? Why me? Poor Ryback, why me? The answer is simple. He was in my way. (Laughter) Hey kids, you wanna hear something that your parents will never ever ever tell you? These nightmares, they won’t stop! And sometimes, the bad guy just wins. Behold, the new face of fear!

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