Intrigue borne of mystery wafts through the air, and as you inhale it in your nostrils you detect a scent, but you know not which. You just want to follow your nose and smell the fragrances that elude your classification until that aroma can be tasted and savored upon your tongue, and the chase is over and your satisfaction is at hand.
And so starts the descent into the rabbit hole.
In professional wrestling, such is the state of unknown lore and that which has no database so that we may consume it. It may be from the dark past of Aleister/Malakai Black, of the demons that plague him so, or events that are stored in the history books of wrestling. It could very well be in the personal lives of those who sacrifice and give all to this medium for our entertainment.
Take Mick Foley, for instance – upon promoting his feud as Mankind against The Undertaker, he spoke of a time in which he came home from Japan after a literally explosive match that left his skin burning, told in such a bone-chilling way that kept you in his shaky, sweaty, and tormented hands that left you as clammy as his trembling fingers.
Or, it could be the storytelling moments, down to the last detail. A sell that remains consistent and captures attention, or a move that speaks of significance and power – such as Kazuchika Okada’s wrist control or whenever Kenny Omega fails to call upon the spirit of his Golden Lover Kota Ibushi when he attempts a Phoenix Splash.
To the initiated, some of these are known facts and thus discernible, but to the unknowing, these are mysteries that must be solved by reading and immersing oneself into the waters of knowledge and emerging, baptized in information.
Lastly, there is the hidden element, one of which I feel AEW had down to a fine art: of unofficially confirming the unconfirmable when it came to the 2021 debut of CM Punk as he returned to the world wrestling, or when Kenny Omega made his long-awaited return from months of absence.
And thus, this is why I write today, of an easter egg left with an unpigmented hare that has returned to its burrow – for we must chase it and feed our heads.
WWE is no stranger to stringing fans along. The reemergence of Dexter Lumis would see him lurking in the background, occurring both off and on-screen, barely out of reach and you wonder…was that really him? But, there’s a possible debut or return soon to come in the squared circle, and there has to be a single figure at the helm of it all.
The ‘white rabbit’, spoken in hushed tones and a querying voice.
During WWE’s house shows an unexplained phenomena would occur. It grew and grew along the path traveled by the company. As Grace Slick’s haunting and mesmerizing vocals of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ hopped its way into the booked arenas, many would take notice.
More morsels would continue to be dropped for our hungry mouths, as we were fed through tidbits; the ring going dark, Alexa Bliss threatening burgeoning women’s faction Damage CTRL of what consequence may arise of ‘standing ten feet tall’, a lyric of the famous song mentioned prior. There also stands the status of the QR codes strewn across RAW and SmackDown that leads to a game of hangman, where the question sat: Who killed the world? and the answer YOU DID. Following this more QR codes appeared, speaking of patricide and of coal.
There’s a litany of sleuths on social media and the internet in general, deciphering the exact meaning of this, at once speculating the identity of the ‘white rabbit’ to be Karrion Kross, to which he gave a denial.
And so, pray tell, who could be at the center of this, the unknowable truth hidden behind the curtain?
Many currently theorize the return of Bray Wyatt, and I can see it being possible with the intent of each hidden message. Perhaps the character he portrayed is upset at having his voice surgically removed from his throat through the power of petty intent and the recent change involving the CEO position at WWE has left room for his return and revenge.
It isn’t beyond Bray Wyatt to leave meaning beyond and behind meaning in his segments. His mind is where secrets and riddles live, under layers of themselves. Look no further than his initial Wyatt Family gimmick or his run as The Fiend (when it felt as though he had tight control of the character).
The pit became deeper, with a QR code revealing coordinates on the September 23 episode of SmackDown that pointed to the following week’s episode of RAW when another QR code was revealed, leading us further down the rabbit hole with the digits 04062 – the same zip code for Windham, Maine.
However, it benefits us not to fully believe that which hasn’t been confirmed, unless you feel confident around the Wonderland of Mystery and you’re content with being lost and being wrong. It has not been outright said it is Bray Wyatt – in fact, there have been teases to Baron Corbin and, of all people, Aleister Black. WWE’s keeping this secret close to their chest and all fans have to go on is any tidbit they give us or what any journalist is able to find behind the scenes. Do I selfishly wish this was the return of Wyatt? Well, yeah. Of course I do. But, it has not been said, so mum’s the word – or it’s off with my head.
But, for the first time, we can safely stand confident in the idea of ‘letting it play out’, for what is a great mystery without a great puzzle? We are wrapped around the finger of the company, waiting and waiting for that payoff, as they feed our heads with the known among the unknowns.
Mysteries that tease and taunt with promises of a payoff are perhaps among the best works that promoters can do to their audience. Worked shoots, hints at what is to come, and mysteries to what it all means – all to get the fans into the stories, where we get so sucked in that we await to see how the chapter unfolds. Not the kind that further divides fans unnecessarily, but the ones that feed your head.
Be free to jump into that hole, it is yours after all. It was meant for you. When you exit its fault and wind up in Wonderland, revel in it – for we are all mad down here.