After weeks of uncertainty on WWE television, the Wyatt Family and WWE Championship angle appears firmly in place heading into WrestleMania. There was some backstage discussion over the last two months in regards to how to book the WWE title match on April 2, but with three SmackDown tapings left before the big event, it will be Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship in Orlando.
As you recall, Orton won the WWE Royal Rumble, guaranteeing himself a title opportunity of his choosing, though that debate never played out on tv. Bray Wyatt won the WWE Championship two weeks later at WWE Elimination Chamber, and Orton declared that he would relinquish his WrestleMania match.
Whether WWE officials were just biding their time during a seven-week build to the grand stage, or if they were legitimately considering adding Luke Harper to their main event to make it a Wyatt Family triple threat, confusion ensued to try to determine a new number one contender. Over the course of three weeks, an inconclusive finish to a Battle Royal led to a match between Harper and AJ Styles, which led to another match between Styles and Randy Orton.
The WWE’s Apex Predator’s win over AJ came after Orton burned down the Wyatt Family compound and the remains of Sister Abigail. This cemented Orton’s turn on the Wyatts, which essentially had been reduced to just Bray, revealing what the WWE Universe suspected all along that he was there to infiltrate the stable, divide it and attack. Meanwhile, after being forced to compete in three separate number one contender matches, AJ Styles’ frustrations will now lead to a WrestleMania match with Shane McMahon.
Neither Bray Wyatt or Luke Harper appeared during last week’s WWE SmackDown taping, but with the WWE title picture finally cleared up for WrestleMania, don’t expect any more absences for the remainder of March. As noted, WWE officials have been split on how to proceed with Harper, both before the WWE Championship was made official, and after. There have been reports since his loss to Styles that Harper would return to Bray Wyatt’s side to reform the Wyatt Family and make the program with Orton feel more significant.
Harper may not be the only one returning to the fold, either. According to a new report, Erick Rowan has been cleared for a WWE return and may also be used to reform the original Wyatt Family trio for the final build to WrestleMania. Rowan has actually been cleared for a while but not used on WWE television. There was speculation about Rowan and Harper creating a babyface tag team, but SmackDown is in bigger need of heel teams to feud with American Alpha if tagging was, in fact, the plan.
Rowan, Harper, and Bray were the original Wyatt Family when it debuted in WWE in 2013, and injuries and Braun Strowman have resulted in several variations of the stable. But the founding three could be reuniting as Bray Wyatt gets set to face Randy Orton in Orlando on April 2. It’s one of the few WrestleMania main events that WWE has recycled from a previous feud that took place within the last six months. Remember, Wyatt and Orton clashed at WWE No Mercy and would have battled at WWE Backlash if Orton didn’t have a concussion.
Harper and Rowan are also eligible for spots in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but their roles in the WWE Championship feud are worth following much more. Another former Wyatt Family member, Braun Strowman, has been considered the heavy favorite to win the Battle Royal for several weeks now. Rowan has been posting cryptic videos on social media to promote his WWE return, and that could come as soon as this Tuesday on SmackDown.
[Featured Image by WWE]