Lore wrestling is slowly becoming a problem in today’s pro wrestling.
What’s lore wrestling? Well, it’s wrestling that incorporates cinematic elements, and tries to add aspects that seem like long-term storytelling, but they aren’t. Lore wrestling is not exclusive to WWE, we’ve also seen AEW dabble in it on a few occasions.
The origins of lore wrestling can be traced back to Matt Hardy in 2016 with his Broken Universe for IMPACT, and cinematic matches. At first it was just a fun, new idea and to start, Hardy didn’t take it too seriously. But his lore wrestling was enjoyable for all fans, as they bought into all the easter eggs in those matches.
By 2019, the lore wrestling boom was already over and wrestling fans moved on. 2020 forced major promotions like AEW, IMPACT and WWE to try different things. One of those things was cinematic/lore matches….
Bray Wyatt & The Lore
Before we continue on the subject of lore wrestling, a major protagonist in all this today, is Bray Wyatt. Wyatt has always been a creative wrestler, and his gimmicks have always kept the attention of fans, especially his character of the cult leader. But after years of bad booking, Wyatt needed a reboot and that’s how we eventually got all the lore of Wyatt, things like The Firefly Fun House and its evil counterpart in The Fiend. In 2020, we saw the biggest piece of Wyatt’s creativity with the Firefly Fun House Match against John Cena.
Once the pandemic restrictions were lifted, and things were back to “normal,” we saw promotions like AEW and IMPACT move away from cinematic and lore matches, going back to a more traditional wrestling approach. But WWE never really stopped, and instead looked for more ways to incorporate these matches throughout their content.
The problem that comes with lore wrestling is that it tries to reinvent the wheel. It also has negative long-term effects on wrestlers that get involved with the Wyatt lore, like Seth Rollins. Before his feud with The Fiend, he was the hottest babyface WWE had at the time. After the disaster of their Hell in a Cell match, Rollins had no option but to turn heel. Also, the concept of the Hell in a Cell Match was seriously buried because of it.
Alexa Bliss is another victim of Wyatt’s lore wrestling. However, her problem comes with the fact that she seems to like that sort of thing. Her career hasn’t been the same since, though. Even now, she looks to be going back to that with Uncle Howdy, a new character of Wyatt’s lore. It seems that no one has gained a thing from lore wrestling, so far anyway…
Lore Wrestling Doesn’t Always Connect
At the 2023 Royal Rumble PPV, we saw another installment of a Wyatt’s lore matches in the first-ever Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match. It was basically a match in blacklight, and it involved all of Wyatt and Uncle Howdy’s lore. Sometimes, it seems like lore wrestling is becoming an excuse not to wrestle. Since 2020, Wyatt has only wrestled 33 times (and this includes dark and house matches), according to CAGEMATCH’s data.
Wyatt is not the only lore wrestler, there are others like Malakai Black in AEW. While he hasn’t gone all the way as Wyatt, Tony Khan has been able to stop him from going into lore wrestling territory most of the time. But Black is really close on crossing that line, and when he does, it’s hard to come back from. Just ask Matt Hardy…
What are your thoughts on lore wrestling? Let us know in the comments below.