WWE ventured where it counts into its bag of tricks at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, when Bray Wyatt struggled Braun Strowman in a “Wyatt Swamp Fight,” the organization’s most recent major cinematic match and a match that had no genuine completion.
It was just a few months back when WWE did its first pre-produced match of its present time, the Boneyard match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker on night one of WrestleMania 36. That exceptional session got for the most part rave reviews, and WWE credited WrestleMania 36 becoming the “most social” event in WWE history to the accomplishment of Taker vs Styles as well as the Firefly Fun House match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt on night two of the event. Obviously, the two matches were fantastically abnormal but then generally welcomed in light of the fact that they represented a marked change from the boring and monotonous fan-less sessions that have characterized a great part of the Performance Center Era.
The overwhelmingly positive response to those sessions came about in Vince McMahon uncovering at April’s investors conference call (h/t Pro Wrestling Sheet) that WWE would accomplish more cinematic style matches later on: “But nonetheless, you’ve got to take advantage of that challenging environment and somehow make it, obviously, as good as it can. But make it special. So we’ve done certain things we’re gonna do more of. For instance, getting out of that environment and doing, in essence, mini-movies. Like we did at WrestleMania. And many other personality profiles that we can do a whole lot better and will.”
To be sure, WWE has accomplished increasingly “mini-movies” as McMahon calls them, yet have they really been something more? Not if the Wyatt Swamp Fight was any sign.
As WWE viewership for Raw and SmackDown keeps on tank, WWE accepted that the best piece of WrestleMania 36—it’s film like matches—would bring about fans staying if WWE accomplished a greater amount of them. The next month, WWE removed another page from the Hollywood playbook with a comedy-based dual Money in the Bank ladder match that highlighted both male and female superstars all the while attempting to “climb the corporate ladder” to arrive at the head of WWE headquarters and snatch that coveted Money in the Bank briefcase. In spite of the fact that not a terrible match, the MITB experience was a long ways from the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches that made WWE fans pine for these out-of-the-box sessions in any case.
As WWE will in general do, it immediately destroyed the cinematic match style with an unremarkable Backlot Brawl at NXT TakeOver: In Your House and anything you desire to call what happened between The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders at Backlash falling well short of the lofty desires set out by Taker vs Styles and Wyatt vs Cena. Indeed, even the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” between Randy Orton and Edge, however a phenomenal match technically, was hampered a bit by Hollywood-style elements like exceptional camera angles and piped-in noise. Yet, that didn’t prevent WWE from choosing to indeed do a cinematic style match at Extreme Rules: The Horror Show, which likely got that tagline at least to some degree on account of the Wyatt Swamp Fight between Wyatt and Strowman.
The cinematic match was likely done to switch things up somewhat given the revealed Covid-19 outbreak within WWE, however what the Swamp Fight truly represented is WWE’s negative behavior pattern of rapidly exaggerating and destroying something worth being thankful for that rapidly gains traction. This is what Styles said on MIXER (h/t POST Wrestling) not long after WrestleMania 36 with respect to how WWE ought to use these pre-taped sessions: “I think as far as cinematic matches go, I think less is more. If we do these all the time, then I think they’re not special. So we gotta watch out with how many matches we do. I think… every now and again, it’s a good thing. As great as it was, I don’t think it’s something we should do a lot because we’ll ruin it. I’m not saying the matches but, it’s special.”
All things considered, that didn’t take since a long time ago, did it?
As Styles insinuated, a great part of the bait of the cinematic-style match originates from how exceptional and how uncommon they are or ought to be. WWE may feel compelled to do these matches more regularly than it ought to in light of the fact that it wouldn’t like to have a great many matchs in a fan-less Performance Center, however that is a dangerous system that has destroyed their viability.
On the off chance that you need verification, look no farther than Extreme Rules, when Wyatt versus Strowman was in fact a “horror show” however for an inappropriate reasons.