Since the members of the Wyatt Family each went their separate ways a few months ago, Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan had been mostly kept apart. Rowan and Harper were participants in the Survivor Series main event on opposing teams, where it looked like the beginning of an angle between the two was subtly teased.
Following Survivor Series, Rowan went into a program with Big Show, leading us to the silly “Stairs Match” on this Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view. Harper, for his part, has been invovled in a program with Dolph Ziggler ever since abruptly winning the Intercontinental Championship from the Showoff on the Raw before Survivor Series. The two will meet once again in a Ladder Match this Sunday for the title.
Basic booking so far, keeping the two former tag team partners and members of the Wyatt Family close enough that you remember their previous bond but far enough apart that when they eventual collided it would be special.
Then Monday’s episode of Raw rolled around and – in a move that illustrates the poor booking decisions of WWE and the hastily thrown together (and likely rewritten on the fly) storylines – Rowan and Harper were having their showdown. With no buildup. With no stakes. And with barely a mention of it before the match began.
In an even more head scratching move, the match was a two-minute DQ finish. The crowd was dead for the entire thing and the show quickly moved back into terrible comedy Slammy Awards mode following the end of the contest.
This is the way the feud ends: Not with a bang but a whimper.
I’m not saying that Luke Harper v. Erick Rowan is a main event feud but more could have been squeezed out of this than a two-minute throwaway segment on another lackluster Raw. And, sure, WWE will likely keep going with these two, pitting them against one another on several more television shows, then maybe paying it off with a pay-per-view match that will feel meaningless because of all the matches before it.
WWE can always ramp it up and try to make a match feel special with video packages; and they do a damn good job at that. But no matter how great the video department is in Stamford, a poorly put together program is poor.
We got further evidence of WWE’s waste of matchups again this week when Dolph Ziggler faced Seth Rollins on Raw, which – of course – ended with a Rollins win thanks to interference because the company painted themselves into a corner and couldn’t have one guy go over the other clean.
Part of it certainly has to do with a lack of jobber matches and the need for instant gratification, along with having to fill so much airtime each week. Part of it is also Vince McMahon quickly changing storylines on the fly, as he is known to do. Either way, it’s a big reason why the product is currently suffering.