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The Horror of The Wyatt Sick6 – Exploring Uncle Howdy’s dark faction

By 1 July 2024July 8th, 2024Featured

By Andrew Spoors

Every horror movie worth its salt has, at the very least, received a sequel or in most cases turned into a fully blown franchise. Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street, Final Destination, Saw, Insidious and even The Exorcist. The list goes on, proving there has always been an audience with an appetite to feel uncomfortable. Those that delight in the macabre and possess a fascination with fear have always demanded more.

Sequels in this particular genre often face similar issues. How do you raise the stakes without revealing your entire hand in one go? Will audiences suspend their disbelief that potential victims don’t evolve with the monsters, demons and psychotic antagonists that hunt them? Or will the protagonists be doomed to make the same mistakes over and over, in which case is there any point in rooting for them in the first place?

The Secret To Sequels

So, unlike many other genres, a tightrope must be walked in horror sequels in order to achieve anything as meaningful, wicked and poignant as its predecessor. Let’s face it, many try and fail, instead becoming a pastiche or homage that can’t quite elicit the same emotions.

Right now, those same issues are staring WWE in the face. The impeccably executed debut of the Wyatt Sick6 on the June 17 edition of Monday Night Raw, will go down as an all time moment, but the hard work starts now.

After the tragic passing of Bray Wyatt, fans were left wondering if they would ever get answers to the plethora of questions and theories surrounding the sinister presence of Uncle Howdy and his relationship to Bray Wyatt and The Fiend. The excellent documentary, Bray Wyatt: Becoming Immortal gave an intimate insight into what might have been, before in true Wyatt fashion, ending on a cliffhanger.

Could Bo Dallas/Taylor Rotunda really pick up his brother’s mantle and legacy, to continue a story dripping in horror tropes? Months of QR codes, teases and ultimately a countdown let the WWE Universe know hope was on the horizon, but one question still endures even after that memorable night in Corpus Christi. Can Uncle Howdy and his bizarre bunch of misfits’ story even hold a candle to The Fiend?

Whereas horror movie sequels take place in the same kind of surroundings as their predecessors, the story WWE is attempting to tell will play out in a vastly different environment. Under the creative control of Vince McMahon, Bray seemed locked in a constant power struggle to showcase his monstrous persona on his terms. The earliest vignettes introducing us to the Firefly Funhouse gave us a glimpse at the true vision behind The Fiend. Slowly but surely what should have been an all time gimmick, slowly devolved into a slightly problematic merchandise machine.

A Monstrous Mistake

Placing the title on a psychopathic monster only to lose in tame circumstances to a final run by Bill Goldberg signalled the beginning of the end. The blame for the demise can’t be solely placed at the feet of McMahon however. As mentioned by Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque on the Becoming Immortal documentary, at some point the bell has to ring. In simple terms, you can have the greatest character build ever, but in the world of wrestling where fans regularly suspend their own disbeliefs, it has to translate well in the ring.

It’s a criticism often levelled at Wyatt’s Fiend and one thrown as a big question mark in the direction of the Wyatt Sick6. Can they flourish where the Fiend arguably floundered? In Triple H’s WWE, realism is key. The black and white ideals of heels and faces have become blurred. What is considered right and wrong is now intriguingly a matter of perspective.

But how can a group of monstrous outcasts that massacred the backstage area, fit into this new era? The WWE Universe didn’t have to wait to long for some long awaited answers. Just one week on from their debut, the next instalment of spooky goings-on saw a VHS delivered by Nikki Cross to commentary and played later in the night.

What would play out, would be a beautifully uncomfortable, yet highly impressive performance from Bo Dallas. A sit down interview with Uncle Howdy himself, saw Bo faced with some difficult questions about his brother and the potential exploitative nature of his group’s emergence.  

A tour de force of emotion, with a sprinkling of motives were an instant tonic to questions of supernatural gimmicks in an era of realism. Does it get any closer to the knuckle than having to answer a question on how it felt when your brother died? What may have started as a dalliance with the supernatural, suddenly became raw and visceral.

An Intimate Horror

“What am I supposed to do, let him become a mausoleum? Let everybody forget what he stood for, what he fought for, what he believed in?” It is sometimes easy to forget about the real people behind the larger than life Superstars in professional wrestling. But in four minutes and ten seconds, the wave of grief and emotion poured onto our screens.

It is this line and that performance that can help the Wyatt Sick6 thrive where fans thought they might falter. There are copious amounts of references to pull from within horror to keep them on the right path. Instead of a group of unbeatable monsters, the Sick6 look more likely to borrow from films like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects.

For now, fans can take solace that professional wrestling continues to attract gimmicks and characters. In 2024, the ability to put on excellent matches is a prerequisite. Instead it is everything else that makes a wrestler stand out. No doubt there will be many twists and turns before we can put the pieces together to fully understand the backstory of The Fiend, Uncle Howdy et al.

The journey of how we get there needs to learn not just from the mistakes of the past, but from the pitfalls of the movie genre it so heavily leans into. Though many classic and cult horrors have their sequels, very few ever live up to the high standard set for them. Straddling that line between spooky and moving can ensure a freshness to this next instalment in the Wyatt epic.  

While Bray was an unbelievable creative genius, here’s hoping that what comes next can not just solidify, but surpass his legacy. As long as we don’t see The Fiend in space, or featuring on a reality TV show, it will be a start…