In what might be the least surprising, yet most anticipated, WWE return in some time, Bray Wyatt made his way back to the company at Extreme Rules Saturday night.
Released in July 2021, Wyatt was one of the biggest free agents on the market. A former WWE Universal Champion, Bray has long been a cult favorite among WWE fans, though he's not without his detractors as well. His various iterations and reinventions have intrigued, captivated and also frustrated viewers.
But Wyatt's return to WWE was handled brilliantly, with the company slowly dropping hints over the course of several weeks, beginning with playing Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" at house shows, then sprinkling hidden QR codes into WWE programming that savvy viewers captured and opened, revealing videos that were laden with clues to the identity of a new presence on television. The clues built to a fever pitch, until a video from SmackDown on Friday made it clear that the "white rabbit" was coming to Extreme Rules.
After the conclusion of the main event - where Matt Riddle defeated Seth Rollins in the Fight Pit - the arena went dark, and fans went berserk as human forms of Wyatt's Firefly Funhouse puppets appeared in the arena, as did The Fiend. From there, a door appeared on the entrance stage, only for Bray to walk through it carrying his familiar lantern, looking closer to his original appearance than the funhouse or Fiend dual characters he portrayed before being released.
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WWE has succeeded in captivating fans with Wyatt's long-awaited return. How they handle him going forward will determine if all of this build-up was worth it and ultimately a true success, or just a short-term pop. It's interesting that he appeared more like the cult leader character than as the Fiend, so we'll have to see if that means that persona is in the past.