Bray Wyatt Death – Heart Attack
1987-2023 (Age 36)
As the wrestling world marks the death of Bray Wyatt, it also asks what made him so special. Indeed, what makes someone a genius in their field?
Was it the fact that wrestling was in his blood? Was it a fascination with the inner workings of the squared circle or perhaps even the workings of the inner psyche? Whatever the case, the man best known as Bray Wyatt left behind an amazing body of work in a relatively short career.
Wrestling is in His Blood
Bray Wyatt was born Windham Rotunda, the son of wrestler Mike Rotundo (best-known to fans as WWF Superstar Irwin R. Schyster). Wrestling was in Bray’s blood as his uncle is former WWE Superstar and WCW wrestler Barry Windham while Bray’s grandfather is WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan.
Bray and his brother Kendall (aka WWE Superstar Bo Dallas) were exposed to wrestling throughout their lives and sought to join their family in the ring. In the meantime, Bray won a state title as an amateur wrestler in high school and also earned a college scholarship thanks to his success playing high school football.
Entering the Family Business
Aspiring wrestlers who have a family member in the business possess an undeniable advantage. However, there is also much more expected of them given their pedigree. Fans have seen the children of famous wrestlers such as Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Verne Gagne, and Rocky Johnson sometimes struggle to escape their famous parents’ shadows.
Fortunately, Bray Wyatt never seemed to take anything for granted and he worked hard when he entered the WWE.
Wyatt began working in the company’s Florida Championship Wrestling developmental league, playing various personas such as Tank Mulligan, Tank Rotundo, and Duke Rotundo. Teaming with brother Bo, Rotundo quickly captured the territory’s tag team titles, a sign of future success.
NXT and The Nexus
Like many wrestlers, Wyatt worked whatever character he was told to play. By 2010, he was working as Husky Harris and competed in the WWE’s new NXT competition, where the winner would receive a WWE contract. Although Harris came up short, he scored a different victory when he joined The Nexus.
The Nexus was a group of other NXT contestants who felt let down by WWE management. Led by Wade Barrett, the group took out one Superstar after another, eventually targeting John Cena.
Eventually, Cena defeated The Nexus but the group was reforged by CM Punk, who called them The New Nexus. Unfortunately for Husky, a punt kick from Randy Orton sent him out of action and Harris returned to Florida Championship Wrestling.
Bray Wyatt is Born
Not long after, Harris was repackaged as Bray Wyatt. He wasn’t alone as the WWE transformed Florida Championship Wrestling into a new developmental territory named NXT. The former Husky Harris formed a bizarre group known as The Wyatt Family.
Wyatt portrayed a charismatic and equally creepy character who seemed to have hypnotic control over his “family” members, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. Wyatt led his family to the NXT Tag Team Championship as buzz began concerning the terrifying trio plaguing the stars of NXT.
Mayhem on the Main Roster
The Wyatt Family’s arrival on the main roster was inevitable and they debuted on RAW in 2013 following a series of vignettes that blended horror and supernatural elements. Fans were intrigued and when Bray and his family debuted, the WWE Universe was not disappointed.
With Erick Rowan wearing a creepy sheep mask and Wyatt speaking in riddles, fans began comparing Bray to past Superstars who walked on the dark side including Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Waylon Mercy, and of course, The Undertaker.
The trio proved popular, despite playing villains. There was something undeniably captivating about Bray Wyatt, despite his malevolent nature.
Along the way, The Wyatt Family feuded with the WWE’s top stars including Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, CM Punk, The Shield, and The New Day.
Bray would cut his innovative promos, often adding vignettes that suggested an otherworldly nature to the group and their mysterious home in the swamps.
The WWE Championship Calls
In 2017, Bray Wyatt shocked the wrestling world when he captured the WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber Match in February. Unfortunately, his reign was short-lived as his apparent associate Randy Orton betrayed him, defeating him at WrestleMania XXXIII for the title.
Unfortunately, creative seemed to lose its focus with Wyatt and his character seemed lost. A feud with Matt Hardy seemed promising but fizzled out. Wyatt disappeared from TV and fans wondered whether his character had peaked—at least in the eyes of management.
The Fiend and the Funhouse
Thankfully, Wyatt returned in 2019 with a twist on his gimmick. He was no longer the leader of a cult but the host of a children’s program called The Firefly Funhouse.
Fans were taken aback but they quickly learned that Wyatt hadn’t changed. In fact, he was even worse as he had a devilish doppelganger known as The Fiend that he would unleash on opponents.
The Fiend appeared unbeatable and quickly captured the Universal Championship from Seth Rollins. However, there was a flaw with the character—how do you book someone who is invulnerable to harm?
The Fiend and Bray’s Firefly Funhouse were compelling but his matches were boring as everyone knew he would win. This was complicated by The Fiend losing to Bill Goldberg in a throwaway match at the WWE’s 2020 Saudi Arabia show.
Although The Fiend seemed to carve out a new niche thanks to an alliance with Alexa Bliss (who he had transformed into his sinister servant), his invulnerability proved as problematic as ever.
In 2021, the WWE released him, a case that left fans baffled despite the problems the company had booking him.
A Revolutionary Return
2022 saw many changes to the WWE after Triple H took control of creative. “The Game” brought back many released stars and fans wondered if Bray Wyatt might be next.
After a series of segments aired teasing a mysterious character known as “The White Rabbit” aired, fans suspected Wyatt was on his way back. They were right and Wyatt returned at the end of 2022’s Extreme Rules.
Sadly, the WWE took a long time letting Wyatt’s new character develop and while fans knew there was something sinister hiding within, they only saw him wrestle one match. Wyatt defeated LA Knight at the 2022 Royal Rumble’s “Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match” before he disappeared from TV.
Bray Wyatt Death
Speculation ran rampant as fans wondered where Wyatt was. He appeared to be headed for a program with Bobby Lashley. However, the storyline was dropped and Wyatt vanished. Was he fired? Did the WWE suspend him?
Fans eventually learned that Wyatt had experienced a life-threatening medical condition. Thankfully, he had turned the corner and was working his way back to the ring.
However, this was not to be as Wyatt died on August 24, 2023, at age 36. Triple H informed fans:
Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda – also known as Bray Wyatt – unexpectedly passed earlier today. Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.
According to Fightful:
Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp was allowed to share that Bray got COVID earlier this year, which exacerbated a heart issue. Bray was making positive progress with his health, but unfortunately suffered a heart attack and passed away.
Bray Wyatt’s surviving family members include his four children, his brother Kendall, his father Michael, and his uncles Barry and Kendall Windham. He was engaged to JoJo Offerman at the time of his death.
What are your favorite memories of Bray Wyatt? Let us know in the comments below.