How WWE should use Erick Rowan when he returns
WWE needs to find something for Erick Rowan now that there is no more Wyatt Family.
Erick Rowan has been out of action since he had shoulder surgery in October. The timetable for his recovery puts his return around WrestleMania 33, but things are very different from when he left.
When Rowan was injured, he was still part of The Wyatt Family alongside Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. Since then, Harper has left the group, and Randy Orton dismantled what little was left of the once dominant stable.
Wyatt is now embroiled in a feud with Orton over the WWE Championship. As for Harper, he hasn't done much of anything since failing to win a title shot against his former mentor.
Even Braun Strowman is doing his own thing on Raw, which leaves Rowan without a family to return to. This leaves WWE with the question of what to do with the bearded brawler to get the most out of his character.
WWE tried to have Rowan be a solo act once before, and it failed miserably. Fans didn't know how to react to a follower who had no leader, so he ended up fading into obscurity until he joined back up with The Wyatt Family.
Assuming WWE keeps him on SmackDown, the two best options for the ginger giant are remaining loyal to Wyatt or teaming up with Harper once again to form a tag team.
Putting him back with Wyatt would give the WWE champion an advantage heading into his WrestleMania match with Orton, but it would also be a step backwards for both characters. Wyatt is finally standing on his own two feet, and giving him another lackey would only make him look weak.
The stable can always get back together down the line once everyone has built their reputation and fans are nostalgic for the days when the three of them ran roughshod over the whole roster.
Considering Harper has nothing on the horizon following his split from Wyatt, the best thing for everyone would be to pair him with Rowan to form the most intimidating tag team on the SmackDown roster.
Back when The Wyatt Family first got going, Harper and Rowan were doing most of the heavy lifting while Wyatt called the shots from outside the ring. Once Wyatt decided it was time to get his hands dirty, he still relied on his henchmen to do most of the work.
When they feuded with The Shield, all six men looked like stars. Every encounter they had stole the show and the physicality of those matches helped establish all six competitors as some of the best in the company.
Unfortunately, that was the last time Rowan had any real momentum. The Wyatt Family was a fantastic concept, but management killed it by having the group lose most of its big matches.
It's hard for fans to care about a team of bad guys who always come up short, so the group's intimidation factor has dissipated. Once the WWE Universe stopped taking them seriously, it was all downhill.
The first time WWE had the trio part ways, all three men suffered. Wyatt had a few good feuds by himself, and Harper even had a short run with the Intercontinental title, but the experiment as a whole was a disaster.
Rowan has a lot of positive attributes, but his character isn't defined enough to stand on his own yet. Fans need more time to connect with him before becoming invested in his success.
Harper has already won over most of the WWE Universe. His ability to mix power moves with manoeuvres you only expect to see performed by the cruiserweight division has opened a lot of eyes.
Despite being pushed to the sidelines for the time being, Harper will still have the support of the crowd when his next storyline starts up. This is why putting him with Rowan is the best decision.
Some of their best work was done as a tag team, and having them pursue the tag titles would give American Alpha its greatest challenge as champions. After all, it's hard to suplex someone who is twice your size.
Harper and Rowan could help the whole division while also giving themselves time to build their own reputations outside of The Wyatt Family, and with all the talented team on the SmackDown roster, they could have some great matches while they're at it.
It would be a lot of fun to see them battle The Usos, American Alpha or even The Ascension. Harper and Rowan could even get a good match out of Breezango, which is something we have yet to see from the dancing duo.
Giving them a run with the tag titles would allow them a chance to find success on their own, which is something Rowan needs to do now that The Wyatt Family is a thing of the past.
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org