WWE star Bray Wyatt dead at 36, tributes pour in
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Featured Image Credit: WWE
Pro wrestling is a very unique form of entertainment that is like nothing else on the planet. It has something for everyone. It’s a sport, it's a soap opera, it’s a comedy, it has a loyal and passionate fan base, it’s everything.
Those who do not follow the world of professional wrestling might roll their eyes at the mere presence of this unique form of entertainment and unjustifiably call it 'fake', but they’d never say that about watching a blockbuster movie or TV series. Yes, pro wrestling matches have pre-determined outcomes, but so does pretty much every other form of entertainment.
However, unlike many actors in Hollywood who have stunt doubles to perform risky moves, pro wrestlers put their bodies on the line, each and every time they step into the squared circle to entertain those in attendance and those at home. It’s an art form like no other and it’s why we as fans, love this industry and we appreciate everything that pro wrestlers do. So when we lose one of our own, it hits the community hard.
This week has been particularly hard for the world of pro wrestling. Firstly, on Tuesday 23 August, we lost a true icon, a legend. Terry Funk, born in 1944, passed away at the age of 79. The word 'legend”'can be thrown about a lot in this industry, but there’s no better way to describe the one and only ‘hardcore legend’ Terry Funk. His brutal matches, especially with Mick Foley revolutionised the industry and his influence will remain ever present.
Then, during the early hours of this morning, news spread across social media that Bray Wyatt, real name Windham Lawrence Rotunda, had passed away aged just 36. Born in 1987, Rotunda is a third-generation wrestler, along with his brother Taylor, known in WWE as Bo Dallas. Their father, Mike Rotunda, is best known to many as Irwin R. Schyster (IRS), the tag team partner of 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase.
Windham Lawrence Rotunda began his WWE career in its then-developmental FCW, before dabbling on the main roster as Husky Harris as part of the group The Nexus. Unfortunately, those days for Rotunda were somewhat forgettable, but it would ultimately shape him into the superstar we would eventually know him to be.
WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36.— WWE (@WWE) August 24, 2023
WWE extends its condolences to Rotunda’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/pabVuaKlnP
Now in NXT, Rotunda was ‘re-packaged’ as Bray Wyatt, the leader of The Wyatt Family with members Erick Rowan (real name Joseph Charles Ruud), and the late great Luke Harper aka Brodie Lee (real name Jonathan Huber) who passed away in 2020 aged 41. Moving to the main roster, The Wyatt Family took the WWE by storm garnering a cult-like following that captivated its audience. As Bray Wyatt, Rotunda would become a WWE and Universal Champion, also adopt the new alias ‘The Fiend’.
The Fiend’s run would eventually come to an end. Rotunda returned to WWE in 2022, portraying a character that closely resembled his own self - alongside a new, creepy character named ‘Uncle Howdie’, played by his brother Taylor. Unfortunately, that story struggled to take off and Rotunda would seemingly step away from the limelight once more with his last televised match being at the 2023 Royal Rumble against his opponent, LA Knight.
Im heartbroken over the news of Bray Wyatt’s passing. Always had tremendous respect and love for him and the Rotunda family. Loved his presence, promos, in ring work and connection with @wwe universe.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 24, 2023
Very unique, cool and rare character, which is hard to create in our crazy… pic.twitter.com/i9zlbJIOL3
That would be the last time that fans would ever see Bray Wyatt on TV and on 25 August 2023, it was reported that Rotunda passed away after suffering an unexpected heart attack. Today, not only does the wrestling community mourn a beloved performer, but Rotunda leaves his family and friends, including his two daughters and his partner Joseann Alexie Offerman (WWE ring announcer JoJo) behind.
Thank you for the memories, Windham Lawrence Rotunda. Our condolences are with the family, friends, and fans during this tough time.
Topics: Real Life