Bray Wyatt, a professional wrestler regarded for having one of the most imaginative minds and pushing the envelope with unique characters, passed away on Thursday at the age of 36, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the chief content officer for WWE, revealed on social media.
Wyatt, whose real name was Windham Rotunda, had been missing from the WWE for a number of months due to an undiagnosed medical condition. He had been a part of WWE since 2009, with the exception of the little over a year between 2021 and 2022 when he was abruptly fired. With a thrilling storyline that included mysterious vignettes in September of last year, Rotunda made a victorious return to WWE. This helped raise television viewership.
Levesque posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Just got a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda informing us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda — also known as Bray Wyatt — unexpectedly passed away earlier today.” His family is in our thoughts, and we ask that everyone respects their need for privacy right now.
Rotunda came from a line of wrestlers. His father Mike rose to fame in the WWE under the alias Irwin R. Schyster and in other promotions under the moniker Michael Wallstreet or by going by his real name. Rotunda’s uncle, Barry Windham, was one of the most well-known athletes of the 1980s and the early 1990s. He was a former wrestler who belonged to the legendary Four Horsemen organisation.
Windham Rotunda was the husband of JoJo Offerman, a former WWE ring announcer. In addition to Rotunda’s two children from a previous relationship, they had two children together. He held two previous WWE Universal titles and was a former WWE champion.
After debuting in WWE’s developmental programme as the alias Husky Harris, Rotunda eventually ran into Bray Wyatt, a deranged swampland cult leader who recruited followers with a demonic magnetism. Together with his Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan and the late Luke Harper, whose real name was Jonathan Huber), he rose to fame in NXT, WWE’s developmental brand. In 2014, they made a splash by joining the company’s main roster.
At that time, Rotunda was regarded as one of the most talented actors on the cast, particularly when it comes to sharing a narrative aloud. He started using phrases like “follow the buzzards” and “he’s got the whole world in his hands.” As his eerie music played, During his entrances, supporters would hold up their portable lights. Before he arrived carrying a lantern, the arena was completely dark.
In 2019, Rotunda adopted a new persona as the supernatural character The Fiend and posed as a spooky clown wearing a horror movie mask. Bray Wyatt continued to make appearances in family-friendly skits under the name Firefly Funhouse, but The Fiend, his evil alter persona, took on the role of the wrestler. These intricate, innovative ideas were mostly Rotunda’s own creations. The Fiend was divisive as a character because of its near invulnerability in the ring, but it was an innovative leap and one of the most exciting things on WWE television at the time.
After being fired from WWE in 2021, Rotunda returned as the former Bray Wyatt in 2018, posing as a decent man who was allegedly haunted by creatures like The Fiend and Uncle Howdy. The plot was still being created when Rotunda’s television show was cancelled in February due to health issues.