Windham Lawrence Rotunda (known to wrestling fans as Bray Wyatt) suddenly passed away on August 24, 2023. Bray is part of a wrestling dynasty. His family has been an integral part of the industry for decades. Bray's grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan, and his father is Mike Rotunda. Fans will know Mike Rotunda under the ring name Irwin R. Schyster, or I.R.S. for short. Bray has a younger brother named Taylor Rotunda, known to wrestling fans as Bo Dallas.
Windham's journey with WWE started in Florida Championship Wrestling, the promotion that would later relaunch as NXT. It wasn't long before he made it up to the main roster under the name “Husky Harris .” During this portion of his career, he joined a stable called “The Nexus.” After that didn't go anywhere, Windham went on a hiatus. When he returned, he had a new character named Bray Wyatt. You can see his debut below.
Bray Wyatt was the leader of the Wyatt family, a backwoods cult. He was a maniacal character who sat in a rocking chair while other family members followed his orders. They started as heels (bad guys), but the fans grew to love Bray Wyatt. Bray in the ring was always entertaining, doing things fans had not seen before. One such example was his spider walk, where he was laying on his back and then would spring up on his hands and legs with his back to the mat and “walk” to his opponents to mess with their heads.
Bray is a really creative individual, and it would show whenever he was on the television screen. Some of his more memorable moments include when he tried to add Daniel Bryan to the family, the Firefly Fun House, and when Bray finally won the WWE Championship. Bray had a career with too many fantastic moments to write about here, but those three instances jump out at me. His presence will be missed not only by his family and friends but also by the fans. Bray is a creative force that defied expectations and something we might not see again. WWE created an amazing tribute to Bray, which you can watch below.
Bray's sudden passing has sent shock waves through the industry. Sean Ross Sapp has reported that Bray had COVID-19 earlier this year, which complicated existing heart issues. The hope was that Bray would return, and the rumor was the Wyatt Family would return, but unfortunately, Bray had a heart attack and passed away at 36.
Bray was a person who was well-liked and respected in the industry. Reactions have been pouring in, ranging from condolences to sharing fond memories.
I’m just in shock. Extremely heart broken And at a loss for words. What I can say is what an amazing human being Windham is. An Amazing & kind friend. one of the most creative minds to ever walk this earth. Windham, you’ve brought so much joy and happiness to everyone around you.… pic.twitter.com/QELzyKKkNI
— Lexi (Kaufman) Cabrera (@AlexaBliss_WWE) August 24, 2023
He’s got the whole world in his hands.
Thank you Bray Wyatt. pic.twitter.com/OGJizbg2Rx
— Pro Wrestling Finesse (@ProWFinesse) August 25, 2023
I just heard Bray Wyatt has left this earth…Breaks my heart. An amazing human in & out of the ring. My time with him was so memorable. My deepest sympathies to his family & friends. We’ve lost another GREAT One. God Bless you Windham! You will be sorely missed. RIP Brother. DDP pic.twitter.com/R2mgWXKgWk
— Diamond Dallas Page (@RealDDP) August 25, 2023
Devastated by the news of the passing of Windham Rotunda. My heart goes out to the entire Rotunda family. Windham brought the best out of me in so many ways. I’m forever grateful for the moments we shared. A sad day for all those he reached around the world. RIP.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) August 25, 2023
WWE has stated that all sales from Bray Wyatt merchandise will support his family. What was your favorite moment in Bray's career?