WWE’s Chief Content Officer, Paul “Triple H” Levesque yesterday announced the heartbreaking news that former WWE and Universal Champion, Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, has passed away.
Wyatt, the man behind some of the most out of this world characters, such as The Fiend, Uncle Howdy and the Wyatt Family, had spent the last 13 years in WWE. He made his debut in 2010 under the Husky Harris name as part of the Nexus faction, before embarking on his Bray Wyatt persona three years later in NXT.
Wyatt made himself known on the main roster back in July of 2013 as part of the Wyatt Family, attacking Kane on Monday Night Raw alongside Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
Part of the Wyatt Family’s legacy is what has been considered one of the greatest faction battles of the past decade. A clash of the heavyweights against The Shield, two factions that will undoubtedly enter the WWE Hall of Fame, came to be at the beginning of 2014.
After weeks of face-to-face encounters and promo segments on Raw, the two sides would finally step in the ring for a hellacious six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber. The match, which received high plaudits from fans and insiders of the industry alike, was ultimately won by The Wyatt Family after Bray delivered a Sister Abigail to Roman Reigns.
Perhaps Wyatt’s most well-known and influential character of his career was that of The Fiend. A persona that wouldn’t have looked out of place 20 or 30 years ago, The Fiend brought genuine mysticism and suspense back to WWE, at a time when the company was devoid of intensely captivating characters.
The Fiend was unveiled after weeks of ‘Firefly Fun House’ episodes, in which Wyatt would host a kid’s program alongside puppets such as Rambling Rabbit, Huskus the Pig, Mercy the Buzzard and Abby the Witch.
These episodes would eventually lead to the character’s first feud, challenging Finn Balor at SummerSlam in 2019.
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The newly introduced character would appear in incredibly detailed, and well-edited video packages and visuals that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood horror film.
It was when he portrayed The Fiend persona that Wyatt would win his second championship in WWE. On October 31st in 2019, Wyatt as The Fiend defeated Seth Rollins at Crown Jewel to capture the Universal Championship in a falls count anywhere match.
The wrestling community has been left devasted by the news of Wyatt’s death, with WWE superstars and wrestlers from other promotions sending their heartfelt messages on social media.
Long-time friend and a superstar who worked very closely with Wyatt, Alexa Bliss was understandably shocked, stating that he was an, “amazing and kind friend”.
John Cena battled Wyatt in the inaugural ‘Firefly Fun House’ match at WrestleMania 36 during the pandemic, announcing their feud in 2020, “brought the best out of him in so many ways”.
Braun Strowman, who aligned with The Wyatt Family faction in 2015, simply posted a beautiful photo of himself alongside his good friend.
Wyatt will leave an everlasting legacy in WWE and the wrestling industry as a whole. His creative flair was adored by fans, critics and wrestlers like, and is something that will undoubtedly play an incredibly influential part in future wrestling careers.
He passed away with an incredible career in WWE, winning the Universal Championship twice and the WWE Title once during his decade-plus journey with the company. Although he was a successful superstar, the impact he had on his family and friends remains the most important thing after all.
WWE have since confirmed that all proceeds from purchased Wyatt merchandise will be donated to his fiancée, JoJo Offerman and two children.