Having been disbanded during the WWE draft, there was a lot of about where each member of The Wyatt Family would go during the next chapter of their respective careers.
It was a given that the leader of the faction, Bray Wyatt would easily find success as one of SmackDown’s biggest heels, and that has shown through, considering “The Eater of Worlds” has competed in each of the show’s main events since the brand extension began. We quickly found out what Braun Strowman had in store on Raw, donning a new haircut, a new entrance and a new lease on life as he began decimating a series of local competitors in squash matches each week.
Erick Rowan, however, was a tough call. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Rowan, despite always being known as the weakest member of The Wyatt Family in terms of character, ability and overall appeal. He gets the job done when he needs to, even when that means being buried at the hands of The Rock during the shortest match in WrestleMania history.
But the fact that the fans didn’t take to Rowan during his last attempt at becoming a singles babyface, even after he was involved in a main event storyline involving John Cena and The Authority towards the end of 2014, meant that his hopes of achieving solo success on SmackDown didn’t look too great. Luckily for Rowan, he doesn’t need to fade into obscurity, because it turns out that Bray Wyatt isn’t ready to resign from his post as cult leader just yet.
Rowan has managed to squeeze his way into the main event picture by resuming his role as Bray Wyatt’s loyal follower, which is really the smartest decision to take for both of these guys.
For Rowan, the benefits of keeping the “Wyatt Family” brand alive is self-explanatory. The man is essentially redundant without his master, both in terms of character and as a member of the roster. We have grown accustomed to seeing Erick Rowan in a submissive role — he’s found his niche as a follower, and although he dominates in the ring whenever he’s in tag-team action, the character simply hasn’t been developed by Wyatt enough to break out on his own and become a top star.
Luke Harper has proven worthy to be a singles competitor, being the only man in the entire Wyatt Family to even carry championship gold on the main roster, and with the amount of exposure that Strowman received when he debuted, it would make sense for him to believably break away and make a name for himself. Rowan, on the other hand, was relatively unsuccessful in his only attempt to be an individual performer, proving that he needs Bray Wyatt more than anybody.
As a legitimate performer, it’s a similar story. Without The Wyatt Family by his side, Erick Rowan is virtually unestablished by himself. We’re not really acquainted with him as a singles star, nor do the majority of the fans have any interest in becoming so. They could go down the Strowman route of having him squash local talents, but there aren’t nearly enough minutes available on an episode of SmackDown to do that. Sticking with Wyatt is the best possible move for him by far.
As for Wyatt himself, the man isn’t at all held back by having another star by his side. It’s not a necessity for him like it is with Rowan, but there’s no denying that Bray Wyatt is far more alluring and intimidating with somebody under his spell. With these two still together, The Wyatt Family remains as one of the most intriguing relationships in all of WWE.
The vignette that aired during SmackDown with Wyatt and Rowan discussing their partnership was one of the most interesting moments on an already stacked episode. The two have a natural chemistry together built through years of being by each other’s side.
That’s not easy to re-enact on the fly, giving Rowan and Wyatt the edge against any and all enemies, while the latter continues on his quest to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
There’s no telling if Wyatt’s role in the title picture is going to result in a reign with the gold somewhere down the line, but if so, seeing Wyatt lead the SmackDown roster with Erick Rowan by his side would be a fitting reward for all the work they’ve done together over the years.