Let’s talk about Uncle Howdy


Bray Wyatt was back Smack down last night (October 28). He closed the show, the third time he has done so since returning to this location in Extreme Rules.

The former WWE and Universal champion has once again opened up about his issues. Wyatt’s emotional and mental health has been a theme throughout his comeback run, and this promo built on the psychological profile that was one of last Friday’s Easter Eggs. Bray feels too much or too little, and it’s taken him to dark places and caused him to do horrible things. But he continued to portray what we now see as the best version of him, even though he’ll probably do some horrible things again in the future.

It was mostly a recap of what he had said in his other two recent promotions, delivered in the charismatic and mysterious style of Windham Rotunda. What we got extra this time was the character that cut and answered Bray…a character we can now officially call Uncle Howdy.

Howdy is someone with a pretty rough mask* who also sometimes appears to be wearing another mask (which looks a lot like the one we saw Bray take off in Philadelphia last month when he returned). In another callback to a recent hidden clue, he refers to himself as “the ghost of the man who sold the world”. And with Wyatt apparently “the man who sold the world”, that makes the ghost of Howdy Bray, I guess?

The big takeaway here is that Wyatt is a liar. He claims to show us his true self without any mask, but Howdy says he always wears one. What Bray calls the best version of himself, according to his “uncle,” is just a shell of his former greatness — probably because Wyatt fired him (the screen flashes rapidly to what looks like The Fiend as Howdy delivers this line).

Our new QR code supports Howdy’s claims. That brings us to this image reminiscent of something The Riddler allegedly sent to one of his targets in Matt Reeves The Batman

And the source code for the image eerily proclaims that the person responsible can “see” the real Wyatt under his mask of normalcy.

Whether or not the character is ultimately played by someone else, it still seems pretty clear to me that Windham Rotunda is providing the voice at this point, and that at least the initial program for Bray’s final run Wyatt in WWE will be a feud with himself. Nobody knows how we will get there at this point.

Guesses come fast and furious, of course. A lot has to do with Rotunda’s real family. Many people have pointed out the Howdy mask’s resemblance to Bray’s uncle and namesake, Barry Windham:

And some think the fact that we can see a cross earring on Uncle Howdy was an intentional tease from Bray’s supposedly returning brother, Bo Dallas:

A theory floating around has rumored signees Vincent and Dutch playing Uncle Howdy-aligned characters who want Bray to return to his Fiend-ish ways, with Bo and Barry Windham appearing as Uncle Harper’s soldiers yet to be revealed in a war for Wyatt’s soul.

Which, as critics and others are understandably jaded after the way WWE has presented Bray’s ideas in the past, could be a big mess! But we also don’t know where anything is going a month into this run. And for people who dig that kind of immersive storytelling and/or are just intrigued by trying to do something different from a traditional pro wrestling angle, that’s pretty cool. Plus, Wyatt hasn’t even hinted that he’ll be involved in anything else on Smack downso if it’s not for you, it’s still easy to ignore.

So if you’re into it, give us your guesses! If you’re not, enjoy what will apparently be Wyatt-less. crown jewel!

* This made me think of this sketch of the brilliance of Tim Robinson I think you should leave. Which, on the one hand, really kills the vibe that Bray and company are going for. But on the other, I could totally see Uncle Howdy saying dejectedly, “We’ve done too much…I don’t even want to be here anymore.”

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