Stephanie McMahon

The specter of Bray Wyatt’s comeback has hung over WWE for about a month and a half, but the earliest indications of a White Rabbit-themed entrance came all the way back in September. There were QR codes, website URLs, latitude/longitude numbers, and even words written in Yautja, the language of the Predator franchise’s namesake monsters before he even entered the ring at WWE’s Extreme Rules.

The mystery surrounding Wyatt, his Uncle Howdy, and the rest of the “Wyatt World” is still developing within the federation Vince McMahon Sr. built, but with LA Knight having the unfortunate distinction of being the first person to face off against the “Fiendish One” in the ring (via a few slaps), it is evident that his comeback has been a resounding success both financially and in terms of fan acclaim.

Even if Wyatt never competes as a full-time wrestler once more, much less a “fighting champion” who competes every week on television and in-house shows, it is obvious that Wyatt will continue to play a significant role in professional wrestling.

However, how did it come about? How did Wyatt re-join the WWE, and how did the organization manage to put together such a captivating multi-media re-introduction campaign for him? Fortunately, Stephanie McMahon was the only person to make a comment about it.

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Stephanie McMahon explains the roll-out return of Bray Wyatt to WWE.

According to Fightful’s transcription of McMahon’s remarks at the Sixth Annual Wells Fargo TMT Summit, he discussed how WWE went about bringing back Wyatt and how they worked with everyone from a record shop in Corbin, Kentucky, to QR code creators to attract attention to the business’s website and social media accounts.

The fact that Paul Levesque was one of the greatest performers in the history of our company was one of his primary qualities, according to McMahon, in terms of in-ring material. “He is aware of what it takes to be one of the most successful superstars.

He has a unique understanding of audience interaction and content creation that I don’t believe many others have. When you consider the adjustments he’s made, the talent he’s revived, and not only that but how he’s doing it.

Bray Wyatt's

For instance, Bray Wyatt, who plays a leader of a small cult, was returning as one of our greatest performers. We employed a multi-media strategy and hired a horror author to assist us in developing this story so that fans would be interested. We began randomly scanning QR codes in the background. We referred to it as the White Rabbit Project.

There were interactive games and many deceptions. One of our puzzles was connected to White Rabbit Records, a record shop in Corbin, Kentucky. The shoppers in the store just so happened to cooperate. What’s happening?

Our fans would phone and ask. Is anyone coming back? What’s going on at WWE? Then they would end the call after using some of the words from the campaign. One of the clues led us to a date, which just so happened to be the day of the SmackDown.

It appeared to be either a date or a time code, such as September 23 or 9:23. We noticed a 20% spike in viewers at 9:23 over that time span. Such tactics are effective because the target audience is diverse, expanding, and changing.

Some people prefer a more laid-back encounter, which is wonderful, but many others desire intense engagement, enjoyment, and deception. Predictability in terms of substance is the worst thing that can happen. To make them unpredictable is our goal.

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However, everything else she said was pretty much true – WWE went above and beyond in creating something interesting for fans regardless of how deep they wade. Now granted, some may take issue with the phrase “we want to make them unpredictable” when it comes to Wyatt’s return, as his being at the center of the White Rabbit Project was so overly predictable that some fans actually started to assume that it was too predictable and thus, attempted to reach for other theories.

Only time will tell if Wyatt can capitalize on the excitement surrounding his comeback and if his current run can surpass the fun of the Firefly Funhouse, but it’s clear that the execution of his comeback was flawless and laid the groundwork for even better things to come in the future if Levesque works the numbers correctly.

 

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