When Bray Wyatt challenged Randy Orton to a House of Horrors match for Payback, the majority of us paused for a second and thought, “What the hell is even a House of Horrors match?” Then when Orton immediately agreed with NO QUESTIONS ASKED, the rest of us were like, “No really what is this match what is happening.”
And THEN WWE revealed that they maybe didn’t know what the hell a House of Horrors match was either when they sent out a survey asking fans what they’d like to see in such a match. You know, just out of pure curiosity.
As a recipient of said email, I did what any reasonable person given imaginary full reign to design a match would do. I immediately asked for a boat and a plethora of snakes. Then I set my standards on the floor, put my hopes all the way on the highest shelf I had, drank a significant amount of alcohol during Payback leading up to the match, and just waited excitedly. Which is really all you can do with wrestling.
Of COURSE I was excited for this match. Yes, I was probably one of the few people who wasn’t rolling their eyes at the prospect of the Wyatt Compound making its potential return. But I grew up watching wrestling in an era where it was perfectly reasonable to challenge a man to a Casket match, or an Inferno match. Hell, to this day one of my favorite matches is when Rock and Mankind fought one another all over an empty arena. The pinfall was via FORKLIFT. That isn’t reasonable, let alone realistic. Who just leaves a forklift unattended, especially in an empty arena? OSHA should have been called, honestly.
Listen, the House of Horrors match was absolutely ridiculous, and depending on who you ask that’s either the best thing or the worst thing since Katie Vick. Me? Well, I definitely didn’t think it was as bad as Katie Vick—how is that even a baseline?
It wasn’t supposed to be some sort of five star classic for the record books. Its intention was to go outside of those books for something weird and memorable. One of the biggest complaints fans have regarding WWE is how repetitive and cyclical their product can be. With this not being the first or possibly last time Wyatt and Orton go head to head, why not burn the box to the ground and throw some creepy fucking baby dolls amongst the ashes? You can build a better box later, when the title is on the line and not being held hostage by the number one contender.
Wrestling RUNS on absurdity. Believability has no place in an art form where you can throw someone around using the powers of your penis (I’m looking at you, Joey Ryan) or you can make toppling over an ambulance with a human inside look easy, and not get arrested despite being surrounded by people and having it aired for millions to watch live. The reason the House of Horrors match came about in the first place was because Randy Orton committed arson and burned down Wyatt’s house.
Wrestling is one of the most incredible, versatile art forms we have, and sometimes it’s going to take us to a rundown house in the middle of nowhere so one man can throw a refrigerator on top of another man before talking a Lyft back to the arena. Who are any of us to set the standards as to what constitutes wrestling in 2017?
I do wish they had been MORE ridiculous with it.
I mean, I really do feel like it needed a boat.
If you haven’t seen the match yet, you can find it on the WWE Network, or just go to WWE.com to see the photos.
Kate Foray is a graphic designer based in Richmond, VA. She runs the Raw Breakdown Project, a weekly examination of Monday Night RAW from a graphic design perspective. You can follow her on Twitter for more of her thoughts on wrestling, and the occasional cat photo.