WWE News: Bray Wyatt wins the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Award for Worst Gimmick of 2017
What’s the story?
Bray Wyatt appears to have experienced both his best year and his worst year at the same time in 2017.
While he did win the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber 2017, he had to deal with a multitude of awful segments and ideas that his character was forced to work with.
In fact, his character work and creative direction were so bad that his ‘Sister Abigail’ alter-ego was voted the Worst Gimmick of 2017 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
In case you didn’t know…
Although the professional wrestling business had been centered on the existence of gimmicks and characters/personas since its inception, that approach has shifted in recent years.
Fans these days rarely want to see over-the-top and unrealistic characters; most of them want realistic and relatable ones that are well-written that help drive a story forward.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule in modern wrestling, such as ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy, who was so eye-catching and ridiculous that it was impossible not to be captivated by everything he did.
The heart of the matter
At one point during 2017, Wyatt feuded with Finn Balor and once again the story appeared to be centered on Balor’s alter ego ‘the Demon King’, which is when he paints himself as a monster and looks amazing.
To counter this alter-ego, Wyatt announced that he was going to answer one of the biggest questions that had followed his character since it debuted: who or what was Sister Abigail?
There had been numerous questions surrounding the meaning of ‘Sister Abigail’. Was it just a random name for his finisher? Was there an actual backstory behind this person in Wyatt’s life that made him into the esoteric madman that he had become?
Would Sister Abigail herself one day appear in WWE and be the Paul Bearer and his urn to Wyatt’s Undertaker?
Instead, WWE produced a hokey visual effect that distorted Bray’s face and voice while he cut one of his usual promos.
He continued cutting a weird promo in that voice in a desperate attempt to sell this concept to the fans, but they were having none of it.
Few people, if any, bought into it, and the entire concept felt like a lame excuse for WWE’s producers to try another editing trick on one of their wrestlers, instead of trying to ground this feud in reality as opposed of going down the supernatural path like this was an Undertaker feud from 1997.
Because of the execution of this gimmick fell so flat, Wyatt won the award for Worst Gimmick of 2017. Alas, this wasn’t the only WWE gimmick to get a large number of votes from the fans, as it was joined by at least four others.
The other gimmicks voted for include: Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s son, Dolph Ziggler as the guy that steals other wrestlers’ music, Jinder Mahal as a main-eventer, and Mike Kanellis doing…whatever it was WWE hired him to do.
Last year, Wyatt entered WrestleMania as the WWE Champion; this year, nothing has been announced for him as of yet.
Worse, Wyatt is 0-4 at WrestleMania, the biggest show of the year. If he doesn’t win a big match soon, then he’s likely to be forever doomed to be stuck in the exact same spot as he’s in right now: cutting weird promos on people then laughing hysterically while being surrounded by smoke.
This might sound a bit morbid, but it’s a great thing that Wyatt got sick before his ‘Sister Abigail vs. Demon King’ match with Balor could ever take place.
That would’ve been a potentially career-killing match, for both of them as it was being presented as some kind of ridiculous gimmick that even the most ardent of WWWE fan would’ve found groan-inducing.
That said, I don’t think that this was the Worst Gimmick of 2017; Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s won was much worse in retrospect.
Wyatt experienced some degree of success and had high-profile wins in 2017, and this nadir involving Sister Abigail lasted only a few short weeks before being (thankfully) retconned due to illness.
The Jordan storyline, meanwhile, took up a hefty chunk of 2017, and had the opposite result of the one intended.
Instead of booking Jordan as a believable underdog who had massive shoes to fill by virtue of being the son of an actual Olympic Gold Medalist, Jordan’s matches, booking, and talking segments all felt underwhelming and uninteresting.
He was made to look like a chump more often than not, and in some cases his character was booked in a way that made him look like a ten-year-old boy being scolded by his father.
As a prime example of this, there was an episode of RAW on which Triple H punched Jordan in the face for seemingly no reason, and Jordan never got his revenge or even played a role in a short storyline that could’ve been done to help him get over.
By the time 2017 came to a close, people barely cared about Jordan whatsoever, as they were simply getting tired of seeing him in the role of Angle’s son (even though Chad Gable would’ve been the more logical choice for such a gimmick).