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  • Connor Ewens

Fantasy Booking: Bray Wyatt & Uncle Howdy

We return once again to WWE's most prominent blunder for the last 10 years, Bray Wyatt. Today, we're looking at his most recent storyline, which involved his spooky Uncle Howdy. So what happened?

After an abysmal end to the abysmal feud that was The Fiend vs Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt was released in July of 2021. Fans were disappointed, but hopeful that where ever he ended up he would fully be able to blossom with his bottomless pit of creativity. After teasing the 'Windham 6' and rumours of an upcoming horror movie, it seemed that his time with WWE had come to an end. Then, we were teased by the 'White Rabbit' which led to rumour and speculation of a debut or return. That led to Extreme Rules in 2022, where Bray Wyatt closed off the PPV with his return. We saw the Firefly Funhouse characters around the arena. We saw him appear through an open door with a lantern, donning a new creepy mask, reminiscent of Leshy from the game Inscryption.

He cut a wholesome promo on Smackdown detailing his struggles with himself, leading to an interruption from a creepy figure who called himself to Bray "Your Uncle Howdy". We would continue to see Howdy teases, whilst Bray Wyatt was clearly struggling to maintain his cool on a weekly basis. This came to a head with a confrontation with LA Knight, a feud built around disrespect felt by both parties. We'd see Howdy in the flesh for the first time, interrupting Knight's attack on Wyatt. Then, Howdy would appear again but this time HE attacked Wyatt, confusing Knight and everyone else. We'd see more back and forth leading to the Royal Rumble when we got a 'Mountain Dew Pitch Black' match between the two. This was a weirdly lit, no DQ match and Wyatt donned some luminous paint and contact lenses. It was weird and a bit stupid, but I low key enjoyed it. Wyatt put away Knight convincingly, followed by Uncle Howdy doing a big stage dive down onto Knight, although he clearly missed him massively, ha ha.

With all this going on we had teases on an interaction between Wyatt & Bliss, digging that old feud up again as Bliss was haunted by the symbol of Wyatt almost weekly. Wyatt then challenged the winner of Bobby Lashley & Brock Lesnar, which Bobby win via DQ. We saw a muscle man dance video on Lashley but then, nothing. Turns out Wyatt was reportedly dealing with a serious illness which he still hasn't returned from, and we haven't heard from him or Uncle Howdy since. Lashley got to stand on the stage at Wrestlemania and wave next to his big Andre the Giant Battle Royal Trophy like a big dork.

So, what went wrong? Well firstly Wyatt getting injured, doesn't help. We can't control that. If they really had invested in the Uncle Howdy shtick, they could have continued that on with promos and maybe even him targeting others on Wyatt's behalf? But they clearly wanted to drop the angle. Another issue is having a Mountain Dew sponsored match for a character who's supposed to be creepy and has a huge backstory of lore behind him. It makes the whole thing so stupid. Imagine any Undertaker match being interrupted so they call shill a carton of Um Bongo? It would totally pull you out of the moment, devalues the match, devalues the wrestlers and makes it all STUPID. Sure WWE, have your sponsorships but make them appropriate please? Outside of all that though, honestly, the Uncle Howdy story was pretty lame wasn't it. Like you, I gave it a hell of a lot of leeway. I was patient and hopeful that eventually we would get somewhere. However, from returning in September right until the end of February when we last saw Wyatt, we learned very little. We didn't know what Bray Wyatt's intentions were, although e assumed he just wanted to be a man absolved of his sins. We had no idea what Uncle Howdy wanted, we didn't know for sure who he was although it was heavily speculated to be Bray's IRL brother, Bo Dallas. Slow burn stories are great, but 5 months in and to learn next to nothing about two integral characters in the story isn't enjoyable programming. The feuds weren't exciting. Wyatt slapped Knight in anger, apologised and offered a handshake. Knight slapped him and said we're even, then slapped him again because he's a dick which made Wyatt angry. That's it! Then the Alexa stuff was just little image teases and considering how AWFUL some of the Wyatt & Bliss stuff was in the Fiend's final days, no one wanted to see it. Then he doesn't target anyone specifically next, just either Lesnar or Lashley because– well– idk I need something to do heading into Wrestlemania. It was all poorly handled, which is such a shame because Wyatt is incredibly talented and creative, but I think he was a bit directionless with this new storyline.

So, that's what happened and what was bad. Here is how I would book Bray Wyatt & his spooky Uncle Howdy. Spoiler, I'm booking A LOT more than Uncle Howdy here. He is merely a small part to play in this thing. This is from a separate timeline to the Bray Wyatt return I have already booked, just so you know. Letsa go.

The Return

Bray Wyatt's return at Extreme Rules? Wouldn't change a thing. It was beautifully shot and the crowd reaction was amazing. I had goosebumps watching it. Great return, leaving it untouched. His return promo on Smackdown was beautiful, one of his best promos in his career. One small thing I'd change is the interruption at the end by, I assume his himself? It certainly wasn't Uncle Howdy. However, I don't want any of this overtly creepy storytelling, just yet.

Before we continue, we need to establish some things. Who is Bray Wyatt now? Well, similar to in real life Bray is just a man who has gone through personality changes and adversity. How he feels like his true self and he can be himself going forward. What does Bray Wyatt want? He mentioned in his return promo that he felt all he had done was for nothing. He hated that feeling. His motivation should purpose. In his return promo he should say "I'm back and I have a higher purpose now". Nothing too leading, but enough for us to think about the possibilities for Bray going forward. So, who is Uncle Howdy? I think its a great idea for this to be Bo Dallas under the mask. It just feels right you know? But who IS Uncle Howdy and what does he want? We'll get into that, but for now I'll say that he serves the exact same purpose that Wyatt does.

So, week after week we hear from Bray Wyatt who tells stories about his time away and his battle against his own personal demons. Everyone is happy to see him, he's happy to be here, all good vibes. Eventually, LA Knight comes out. He's sick of hearing Bray come out week after week YEAH, bitching about his hard life YEAH and the fans just accepting it, YEAAH. He's wasting time when real stars like him could be out here entertaining the masses. Bray Wyatt apologises for being an inconvenience and tries to leave. LA Knight tells him not to walk away from him and grabs his arm, turning him around. Instinctively, Wyatt snaps him with a Sister Abigail. He looks frustrated and says sorry as he leaves. Knight wants a match, and he gets it. At Survivor Series we will have Wyatt's first match back against LA Knight and NO IT WON'T BE A STUPID MOUNTAIN DEW SPONSORED MATCH. It'll be a regular singles match...on the pre-show. Hey, hey wait a minute. I know, but I'm going somewhere with this.

After learning his match is on the pre-show, Wyatt heads to Triple H and begs for it to be on the main card. He needs a featured spot on the main show because "I need as many people to hear and see my message as possible. It's important." Triple H is like sorry bud, but we've got a stacked card and it's either pre-show or no match. Wyatt, looks off to the side almost as if he hears something, before smiling and shaking Big Trips' hand "no worries boss, thank you". Survivor Series, the pre-show, because they never do anything with them anymore and we might as well do something with it. Who wants to listen to Pete Rosenberg for 1 hour? I certainly don't. During the pre-show, we experience some minor "technical difficulties" like audio cutting out, the screens glitching and flickering and the hosts acknowledge it, apologising and saying it should be dealt with soon. So, about 20 minutes into the pre-show we have LA Knight vs Bray Wyatt. It can go like 10 minutes, a pretty standard TV style match and Wyatt goes over.

After the bell rings and Wyatt is celebrating, the announcers again apologise for the technical difficulties. Bray Wyatt in the ring, he stops celebrating. He stares directly into the hard cam, stone faced and he clicks his fingers. The sound drops completely and the entire arena goes dark. For those at home, the screen flickers and glitches with static. In the arena, nothing. An announcer speaks "ladies and gentlemen we apologise for the technical diff–" it cuts out. A spot light appears in one corner of the arena, we see a figure with their face hidden, a top hat and a trench coat (the Uncle Howdy we've seen before). A second spotlight, a double feature as two giants stand one wearing a white rabbit mask, the other a brown hare mask. Finally, a spotlight in the ring. Its Bray Wyatt, but this time he has a mask on too. Similar to the one he debuted in, but this time it's a crimson, blood-red colour. They stand menacingly for a moment, before Wyatt clicks his fingers and they disappear into the black. The production returns to the arena, but the pre-show broadcast goes down. WWE sends out a tweet along the lines of "Due to unforseen circumstances and technical issues, the pre-show broadcast has been terminated and will not be available this evening. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience, we hope to see you live for Survivor Series at the top of the hour!" The show continues as normal, commentary occasionally apologising for the pre-show issues but refusing to comment on Wyatt & his friends.

Anyone with a brain should see this as a work, so it shouldn't get WWE any backlash for "technical issues" which are clearly staged. They're not losing anything with the angle. Does anyone care that they're not going to hear the opinions of 3 of WWE's most boring employees? No. What is a big deal though, is a debuting faction that broke WWE's live stream to the point it had to end prematurely. This is setting up the Wyatt 6, essentially. Here we are being briefly introduced to 3 new characters. Uncle Howdy, who I noticed looks like a creepy, melted version of the Mad Hatter. Then these two brutes donning masks. In case you haven't deduced, I'm going down an Alice in Wonderland theme here. We have a hatter, a rabbit and a hare. What role does Bray Wyatt fulfill? Well that would be the Queen of Hearts, the dictator of the fantasy world. More on that later.

The next night on Smackdown, Bray Wyatt alongside the rabbit & the hare appears for a promo along the lines of this (except obviously he'll sound a lot more poetic and cryptic); "I know are aware of the Wyatt 6, but don't get it twisted. These are not my followers, these are my brethren, my associates. We, together, serve a higher purpose than ourselves. I came back not for myself, but for all of you. You can be a part of this. The 6 is not yet complete. You can join us. Let him into your hearts, into your lives and you will feel stronger, braver, healthier, better. You can be absolved of all of your wrongdoings, but you must be willing to follow. The more of you who follow, the more we can reveal. I've shown you I really am, would you like to see who my friends are?" We reveal who the rabbit & the hare are. The Rabbit, is a returning Erick Rowan. The man loves a mask and he wears a creepy, decrepit mask, they all are. The hare is revealed as Dabba-Kato from NXT. A big man to hopefully get a deserving push out of this like Strowman did. I initally booked Strowman but it would feel really random for him to just drop back into being a part of this little cult. Bray has some serious muscle support. The screen glitches and Uncle Howdy appears. He demands everyone step in line and obey the clergy otherwise he will destroy them. Wyatt advises Howdy to keep it calm and peaceful, we don't progress with threats. Howdy scoffs "we'll do this your way, for now".

The Wyatt 6

So basically, the Wyatt 6 is going to be a creepy, preaching cult who want to spread the word of their God essentially. They promise the world to those who follow and help them spread the word. We have Wyatt, Rowan, Dabba-Kato & Uncle Howdy (who is Bo Dallas but not publicly revealed). We're still two members short, which is where this story is going. The purpose is the expansion and formation of the Wyatt 6, a seemingly unstoppable force to dominate the world.

So far we know Wyatt, Rowan & Dabba-Kato are involved but that leaves three identities unknown. Over the coming weeks we have mysterious vignettes. We have a prayer ongoing in "The Church of Wyatt" and they speak incoherently. We have a sermon given by Wyatt to a crowd full of people and he promises them love and salvation if they follow the word of their authority, the sermon ends with a standing ovation from the masses. They begin an advertising campaign, with a website where members of the public can sign up and "join" the church. They want to recruit followers, in return promising a plethora of benefits as well as more information on who the Wyatt 6 are.

So after a few weeks of this we are at the first Smackdown of 2023, Bray Wyatt speaks from the tron, he thanks for all of his followers for joining the cause. He says he wants to celebrate by promising to reveal to us the rest of their clergy, tonight. Later on there's a tag match between Hit Row & I dunno, LWO maybe? LWO win and Hit Row are in the ring when the lights go down, the come up and the Wyatt 6 appear and destroy Hit Row (Michael Cole will probably love this). Everyone's there, except for 1. Bray Wyatt introduces Uncle Howdy to us who takes a bow, Wyatt says "you can Bo-lieve in him as much as you believe in me" (essentially confirming its Bo Dallas to us all). He's the only one who isn't called by his name. The fifth member is another NXT call up, it's Josh Briggs who I think could be a great fit who could benefit A LOT from this group. He's a solid performer but needs to work on his mic skills, being with Bray will help in droves. Josh Briggs is often picked on by Uncle Howdy & Dabba-Kato, alike in Alice in Wonderland when Hatter & the Hare bully the Dormouse. Wyatt realises there's only 5 people out here. "Where is our Alice? Has she ran away again? Not to worry, she always comes back".

Next week Hit Row challenge any members of the Wyatt to throwdown, so Dabba-Kato & Erick Rowan are happy to oblige. They BATTER them in a tag match, Briggs is showing support and every time he talks Uncle Howdy slaps him around because he doesn't like hearing him. ALSO, on this show we see Alexa Bliss visibly stressed and hyperventilating. Liv Morgan approaches her and asks if she's okay. Bliss is frightened because she thinks Bray Wyatt is back and now looking for "his Alice" and that means he's looking for her. Liv tries to console her and says he can't hurt her anymore. She suggests maybe the best thing to do is to confront this, show she is not afraid and refuse any part in what's happening. Bliss is unsure, but Liv convinces her and promises to gather some friends to come out in case things go wrong. Later on during a speech from Bray Wyatt, out comes Alexa Bliss flanked by Liv Morgan, Xavier Woods & Street Profits. Bliss tells Bray that she had to go to psychotherapy after what he did to her. His manipulation corrupted her mind to near breaking point. But now she is better and she will never ever follow Wyatt again so he can stop looking for her. Wyatt laughs at her. "You are not my Alice, she is." Liv Morgan attacks Alexa, whilst the rest of the group take out Woods & Street Profits.

At the Royal Rumble, Bray Wyatt, Dabba-Kato & Josh Briggs take on Xavier Woods & the Street Profits. The good guys take the fight to cult but ultimately fall short. Elsewhere on the card, in the women's Royal Rumble. As Alexa Bliss is in the ring competing, the lights go out and as they come up we see Liv Morgan, in a costume similar to Alice but it's black and ripped unlike the clean, baby blue we're familiar with. She wipes out Alexa, before disappearing once again.

The Future of the Wyatt 6, part 1

So I have booked Wyatt returning and introducing his new family, the Wyatt 6. There are many different ways to take this angle, so instead of having one concrete booking narrative, I'm going to make a couple different little stories to go down. The first one is what I've already set up, which is a Liv Morgan vs Alexa Bliss showdown. You can have Bray feeling vengeful for Bliss consuming his identity in the past and abandoning him, no longer viewing her as a suitable vessel and hailing Liv as a much more appreciative host. Week after week, the Wyatt 6 target Bliss with assaults and mental torment to a point where Bliss is starting to lose it. She reaches out to an old friend, who has history with a few of the members involved in this. Braun Strowman. He comes and assists Bliss from attack and runs off the clergy. Bray talks about "seeing ghosts" and the need to "exorcise old demons". A church gathering is interrupted by Strowman, who causes chaos and runs off the mass gathering. The segment ends with him tipping over one of those huge organs, because that would look both cool and hilarious.

Bray is pissed that the progress of "MY– I mean OUR" movement would he disrupted by an inferior soul. In a separate promo, Braun is proud of himself for being able to invade and damage the Wyatt 6 right at home. Bray interrupts, laughing. "Home? You think this is our home? You are wrong once again black sheep. Our home is inaccessible by usual means. You cannot find us. You can only be invited. Would you like to come visit our Wonderland? Bring your friends, as many as you want! It won't matter, because the Clergy is always in control." This sets up what I like to call "The Wonderland" match at Wrestlemania. The Wyatt 6 inviting Braun Strowman, Alexa Bliss, Ricochet (because he & Braun are allies at this point, Braun will ask for him to come), Xavier Woods & Street Profits who have unfinished business from the Royal Rumble. Imagine a combination of the Boneyard Match & the Firefly Funhouse match from Wrestlemania 36, blended with AEW's Stadium Stampede.

This is going to be stupid fun bollocks, in all honesty. Braun and the gang are out seemingly in te middle of no where, with little clue as to where they are. Braun knows though. He walks across the dilapidated ground, stepping on the rubble and broken wood. This is the Wyatt Compound, or at least was. They approach a collection of gravestones each on with a different name on it. Husky Harris, Abigail (with a scratched out surname), Jonathan Huber (a tribute to the late Brodie Lee) to name a few. One of them just has a carving if the fiend's face. One of them, is a giant chess piece, a Queen. They approach it, unsure and nervous of what to do until Woods claims "he's played video games before", touching the piece and triggering a spooky transition. The 6 are teleported to "Wonderland", essentially entering the warped and twisted psyche of Bray Wyatt. A chaotic fight between the two teams that you can book to finish either way. I think having the Wyatt 6 prevail would be the better option, but you could have the face team escape the Wonderland and that's how they "win" but the damage from the ordeal can be long lasting on their characters going forward.

Future of the Wyatt 6, part 2

Another idea I had teased is the relationship between Bray Wyatt & Uncle Howdy. Bray Wyatt is a much more composed, relaxed but secretly dangerous member of the family. Whereas Uncle Howdy can be more brash, reckless and violent in his way. Wyatt wants to peacefully manipulate the masses into following their movement, and Howdy wants to beat them into submission. Let's say over the course of the year as the Wyatt 6 continue to spread their message, there is a continuous rift between Wyatt & Howdy. This could lead to a face turn for Wyatt as Uncle Howdy assumes control over the clergy. Or instead you could turn the whole group a face as Uncle Howdy rampage through the roster without care for anyone. I think personally I'd have Howdy become the groups dictator, and they all blindly follow believing it to be aligned with their cause. Wyatt turns face and his entire goal is to take down Howdy and regain his place in the clergy. He one by one has to take down his once former allies, who eventually one by one rejoin alongside Wyatt, leading to a huge final showdown. The Wyatt 5 vs Uncle Howdy. This should he another spooky, cinematic spectacular. I would have it be 'The Exorcism of Uncle Howdy' where the group fight a seemingly unstoppable UH and attempt to subdue the demons within in him. They successfully defeat him, and when the smoke clears Uncle Howdy is off camera and Bray smiles and says "welcome back, brother". From there, Uncle Howdy is gone and Bo Dallas has returned, once again a loyal member of the Wyatt 6.

Future of the Wyatt 6, part 3

There is plenty of wacky, ridiculous paths this Wyatt 6 could venture down. There is a lot of wiggle room for creativity and storytelling as both faces and heels, both as in-ring wrestlers and cinematic performers. I have one last story pitch which I think ties a nice bow over it all. How the faction would possibly end. We're tying back into our Alice in Wonderland theme here, specifically around two characters. We go back to the question, who is Bray Wyatt, and what does he want? Well, all this time, Bray Wyatt hasn't changed. He has metamorphed into another form, but his intent remains the same as it did when he first appeared. He wants to seize as much control and power as he can. There was never a higher cause, and there was never a bigger message in need of spreading. Wyatt is the god, and you'd be wise to conform to his doctrine. He has again managed to manipulate and control these people into being his followers, by disguising himself as a follower too. But he is the queen of hearts, he's not simply another character in the story. He MADE this, he owns this and no one will ever again strip him of his power.

So, how does it begin to fall? With our little Dormouse Josh Briggs. My hope is that I can recreate a pseudo-Daniel Bryan when he joined the Wyatt Family years ago. A devoted member of the family until enough is enough. The Dormouse is always bullied by Howdy/Dallas and Dabba-Kato. Wyatt allows this because he is aware of Briggs' potential to break out of the manipulation and bring his empire crashing down. Eventually, Briggs has simply had enough and he pushes Bo Dallas down, leading to Dabba-Kato giving him a HELL of a beating. Briggs' has had enough and he tells Wyatt that he wants to get in contact with their leader. Wyatt doesn't think this is a good idea, but Briggs' says he no longer can bare the constant abuse and he either wants it stopped, or them removed from the clergy, otherwise he will leave. Wyatt warns him about threats of insubordination. He proposes a match, Dabba-Kato & Bo Dallas against Josh Briggs & Erick Rowan. Briggs refuses, and instead pitches a handicap match and will deal with them on his own. Briggs loses, however he shows a large amount of heart and resiliency that should hopefully slowly get him more over with the crowd.

Josh Briggs seemingly falls back in line with the clergy, he suggests an idea to the group of him going on a pilgrimage, where he can stop along the way and deliver sermons to gain followers. It's voted through as a good idea and he sets off. What he is actually doing though, is he's investigating to try and find access to their higher power. He checks out churches and previous locations of worship they've had. He checks the graveyard where the entrance to the 'Wonderland' is. He scours through the remains of the Wyatt Compound (not knowing what this place actually was). He finds no sign of the higher power, but he does find something. Amongst the dirt and rubbish, Briggs walks past a black fedora, almost too out of place. It's not buried under anything and it's clean and untarnished, as if it was placed here after the fact. He picks it up, underneath is a door handle. He clears the area and discovers a secret doorway leading down. Its dark and barely visible but some things are noticeable. It almost looks like a workshop with various tools and benches around. There are mannequin heads around the room, all wearing a variety of sheep masks. There are rocking chairs, lanterns, overalls, a chainsaw to name a few things. None of this really makes much sense. He continues walking and notices a little pull cord above him. He pulls it, and the place dimly lights up. As the lights flicker up one by one, distorted music plays, it sounds backwards. Eventually it slows and speeds up and returns to normal speed, playing its tune as it should. "If your feeling lonely today, come along and throw your cares away. We're really glad that your our friend, and this is a friendship that will never, ever end." The lights reveal, the dank, corroding remains of the Firefly Funhouse.

After making this discovery, Briggs seeks out Alexa Bliss and convinces her he's trying to break free and needs help understanding what he saw. She tells him everything, the beginnings of the Wyatt Family, his rise to god-level power and ego maniac, the Fiend & the Funhouse and now where we are today. Bliss says "don't you see? There never was a higher power than him. He is the puppeteer." It's not long after this discovery that Wyatt plans a special in-ring gathering of the clergy. He says there is something that needs addressing. He clicks his fingers and the lights go out, when they return, Josh Briggs has vanished. "That's better". Wyatt announces there is a vacancy among the clergy and he wants any and all comers to apply. Briggs is missing off TV, over the Next couple of weeks many wrestlers and non-wrestlers approach Wyatt to find out what happened to Briggs and if he's okay. He continously refuses to comment, growing angrier and angered until he eventually snaps, and he beats up Byron Saxton who's trying to interview him. He loses composure. He goes out and he shouts a promo demanding faith in him and demanding people stop questioning about Briggs (hopefully leading to chanting of his name). Wyatt eventually says that Josh Briggs is no more, he never existed, he is gone and he will NEVER return.

The following week, at the PPV let's say Summerslam. Bray Wyatt comes out to issue an emergency state of address in an attempt to damage control followers abandoning the cause. He talks about what they have all accomplished together and what more there can be to come. He is cut off mid promo by the titantron, where it flickers to a recording in the darkness. The camera man gets up and looks around, he walks towards a figure. It's Josh Briggs. He says "you must have got cast put here with me" to the cameraman. "Unfortunately, we're not somewhere you wanna be. Come on, let's get out of here." The camera pans up, they're in the Wonderland. The Wyatt are in the ring, Wyatt says "find him". The lights go off and when they return only Wyatt stands there. We have am impromptu Wonderland match. This one would have more of a Boneyard Match feel too it, as Briggs fights against the odds to escape the world he was cast to. He fights his way through, with a few callback spots to the original match, eventually Briggs makes it to house and when he opens, all that sits is a rocking chair. Briggs smiles as he sits down in it. The lights go out, when they appear, Briggs is sat in a rocking chair ringside, exactly how Wyatt used to do in his original run. Briggs wipes out Wyatt who escapes. Briggs is back.

I'd probably follow that up with a Buried Alive match between Bray Wyatt and Josh Briggs. Eventually having his family wake up from his illusions, they don't attack him but they stop helping him. Briggs manages to beat Wyatt on his own, putting Wyatt and the clergy out for good. Eventually Wyatt can return under a new gimmick.

In Conclusion

This was less of a coherent booking and more like a splurge of stupid creativity to demonstrate what COULD have been in comparison to what we got. Uncle Howdy had legs, initially, but it got too confusing and serious so quick. Wyatt is at his best when he doesn't take himself too seriously eg The Fiend and the Firefly Funhouse. I hope there was something in all of this that represented good booking. This was hilarious to write I'll admit but also a struggle. I'll probably have a better go at my next Wyatt project, being a re-do of the Fiend. But that's for another time. Thank you for reading. Until next time, see ya.


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