Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt, known as one of the most creative minds in professional wrestling, passed away on Thursday at the age of 36. WWE’s Chief Content Officer, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, announced the announcement on social media.

Bray Wyatt
John Cena, left, and Bray Wyatt, right, compete during Wrestlemania XXX.

Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, had been inactive in WWE for several months due to undisclosed health issues. He had been associated with WWE since 2009, except for a year in 2021 and 2022 when he was unexpectedly released. In September of the previous year, Rotunda made a grand return to WWE with a captivating and mysterious storyline, featuring enigmatic vignettes that helped boost television ratings.

Levesque wrote on Twitter, “Earlier today, WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda, known to the WWE Universe as Bray Wyatt, passed away.” He continued, “Our thoughts are with his family, and we want to respect their privacy during this time.”

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Family Background

Rotunda came from a wrestling family. His father, Mike Rotunda, gained fame in WWE under the name Irwin R. Schyster (IRS), as well as using his real name or other personas like Michael Wallstreet. His uncle, Barry Windham, was one of the highly respected wrestlers of the 1980s and 1990s and a former member of the prestigious Four Horsemen stable. Bray’s brother, Taylor Rotunda, also wrestles for WWE and previously used the ring name Bo Dallas.

Windham Rotunda’s marriage was to Jojo Offerman, a former WWE ring announcer. Rotunda also has two children from a previous marriage in addition to their two children together.
He was a former WWE Champion and twice held the WWE Universal Championship.

After beginning his WWE career as Husky Harris and switching as Bray Wyatt, Rotunda rose to fame in the company’s developmental division NXT.
He rose to popularity as Bray Wyatt alongside his Wyatt Family stablemates, Erick Rowan and the late Luke Harper (whose real name was Jonathan Huber). They made a big impact in WWE’s main roster in 2014.

One of the best performers on the cast was Rotunda, particularly when it came to telling gripping stories on the mike. He introduced phrases like “Follow the Buzzards” and the lyric “He’s got the whole world in his hands” into his promos. His entrance was shrouded in darkness with fans using their phone lights to navigate the arena, and his eerie music playing to create an atmosphere of anticipation.

Bray Wyatt

In 2019, Rotunda reinvented himself as the eerie character “The Fiend,” donning a haunting mask, and became a supernatural entity known for his eerie Joker-like appearance. While he continued to be part of entertaining segments for children under the “Firefly Fun House” banner, The Fiend, a dark and transformative persona, was the one engaging in in-ring competition due to his almost impervious nature. It was a complex, imaginative concept largely presented by Rotunda himself, and it became one of the most captivating elements on WWE television.

Last year in 2021, Rotunda returned to WWE as the former Bray Wyatt, portraying a sympathetic character haunted by the old monsters like The Fiend and Uncle Husky. The storyline was still unfolding when Rotunda took a hiatus from television due to health concerns.

 

On Thursday, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson expressed his respect and love for Rotunda and his family. He tweeted, “My condolences and love go out to the Rotunda family. Grateful I had a chance to know him.” He added, “It’s hard to make a wrestling universe more interesting and compelling.”

The news of Bray Wyatt’s death shocked the professional wrestling community. His distinctive storytelling skills and magnetic personality made a lasting effect on the development of professional wrestling. He will be regarded as one of the most inventive storytellers in the wrestling industry thanks to his imaginative mind and endearing characters.

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