At this point, WWE seems to just be trying to rid the fans’ minds of anything having to do with Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt. After the very lackluster reaction they received for their match at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, another match between the two most likely would not be received any better. However, with respect to the WWE Championship rematch clause, a match was scheduled for WWE Payback. If the theatrics of worms, maggots, and cockroaches were not enough, this upcoming match will be under “House of Horrors” rules. Since this has never happened before on WWE television, no one still has a clue of what it will entail. Apparently, WWE is struggling to figure it out as well, as they have simply given cryptic videos of what to expect.
On top of the rematch being heavily gimmicked, there also have been some last-minute changes regarding the stipulation of the match. For weeks, Bray Wyatt was under the impression that he would get his title rematch. Now, even that looks to be changed. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this match is no longer for the WWE Championship. So, the very reason why Randy Orton was on this Raw-exclusive event – to defend the title – appears to be null and void. This also means that the event is truly not a pay-per-view exclusive to one brand.
What makes matters worse is that WWE has already moved on regarding Randy Orton and the title storyline, as new No. 1 contender Jinder Mahal and his accomplices, the Bollywood Boyz (now known as the Singh Brothers), are building steam as heels to legitimize Mahal as a credible contender. This match at Payback is simply a throw-away match, designed to most likely make Orton look good en route to defending the WWE Championship at Backlash in May.
Another factor concerning this House of Horrors match is that it may even be taped, as Dave Meltzer explains.
“It appears from the explanation on television is there will be some sort of a House of Horrors set-up, and it may be a pre-tape. The explanation is they will fight there for a while and eventually enter the arena and finish the match in the ring. But that was only hinted and never made clear.”
As briefly explained on television, the match will begin in the House of Horrors, and will end in the ring. This is a very dicey move because it means that the live audience will have to rely on the screens to get hooked into the pre-taped part and then stay interested when they take the match into the ring. Based on former first-time gimmick matches, such as the Punjabi Prison and Asylum matches, the level of interest that fans retain tend to expire rather quickly.
WWE is up against some very difficult odds regarding this first-time ever House of Horrors match. For the past few weeks, Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt have attempted to bring some relevance and intrigue to the match, but their previous bouts have substantially hurt the overall interest for this upcoming gimmick match. What may be the biggest blow is that this match is no longer a title match, but instead a non-title grudge match.
The timing of the Superstar Shake-up certainly did not benefit Bray Wyatt very well. Although a move to Raw was a good decision in the opinion of many, the sudden switch from a title match to a non-title match took any incentive to be interested in the match away. From what has been exhibited, Wyatt will not be in the world title match anytime soon, which is a net loss for Wyatt regarding being shifted to another brand.
[Featured Image by WWE]