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  • Writer's pictureMike

Bray Wyatt's light will linger on with all his Fireflies.

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Wrestling sure is full of kicks to the teeth, isn’t it? Last night before bed, we got yet another one.

Windham Rotunda, better known as Bray Wyatt, passed away yesterday due to heart complications caused by Covid.

Tributes are pouring out from all corners of the wrestling-related world and not one of them has a bad thing to say about the man who once wrestled as the Horror-inspired ‘FIEND.”

I’m not sure where I heard it, probably on reddit somewhere, but the quote was so good I’m going to borrow from it.

A couple of days ago, we lost Terry Funk, who was in his 70s. In some ways, Terry was the realest of the real in pro wrestling. He used his real name, his gimmick was as true to his actual personality as it gets, and everything about him was there on the surface.

Bray Wyatt, was the exact opposite of that, the fakest of the fake. Real-life personality as far away from his in ring gimmick of southern-influenced cult leader turned demon-possessed monster in a horror-movie mask as it could be. In real life, Windham was a loving father, caring partner, loyal brother and son, and as nice to random fans as any wrestler I’d ever read about.

Both of these guys exemplify why I love professional wrestling.

When we saw Bray debut on season two of NXT, we loved him, but also felt so sorry for him. He was saddled with a terrible gimmick called “Husky Harris - The army tank with the Ferrari engine.” So in essence, he was given every “fat-guy that could move” gimmick that ever existed, and then slapped us across the face with it.

Along with Joe Henning’s “Michael McGillicutty” gimmick on the same season of NXT, we were wondering what in the hell Vince had against these 3rd generation superstars to bury their image right away. Not even a stint in the New Nexus with CM Punk could save this awful gimmick.

While Henning never really recovered (Sorry Curtis Axel) … Windham completely reinvented himself as Bray Wyatt. The character was sooooo good that everyone completely overlooked the Husky Harris thing and let it play out. Bray started off as a very interesting heel, and ended up getting over as a monster face, especially after returning from injury with the “Firefly Funhouse” stuff that eventually led to the Fiend.

My favorite tweet of his after Bray's debut was in response to a fan asking him what happened to Husky Harris was "He needed an answer and I needed a vessel." ... Chilling.

While COVID ironically (F that virus) took some of the juice out of his Universal title era, you can’t say that Rotunda didn’t work his ass off to get over and get to the top of the mountain. Having an epiphany even now, that damn virus not only spoiled what should have been a tremendous time in his career, it seems like it eventually took his life. How incredibly tragic.

I will fully admit that Bray was doing his best work in the ring while I was on hiatus from watching wrestling (2016-2019) … but Dare would always send me snippets from that era where Bray was absolutely smashing it with his vignettes and some of the Fiend ring-work. I wish I had enjoyed it more in real time, but luckily there are ways I can go back and enjoy his stuff while at the same time being able to put the entire thing in perspective.

The thing that hurts even more is that we all recently heard rumors he was gearing up for a return to the ring. I think the collective wrestling fans all had high hopes for what this next run of Bray Wyatt was going to bring. You often hear of terminally ill people getting a second-wind before they eventually lose the fight, but it’s so much more painful when you didn’t know that’s what this was. I think all of his friends and family all thought Windham was back and healthy.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Rotunda family, as well as his wrestling family (especially Erick Rowan, the last surviving member of the original Wyatt Family). Bray’s death will leave a lasting hole in all of our souls, but he can rest in peace knowing that all of his fireflies will light up the darkness in that hole with all the happiness, entertainment, and joy he left us.

RIP Bray.

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