How Bray Wyatt Has Been Buried by WWE


False starts, confusing angles, and a lot of losses. This is the tale of Bray Wyatt’s WWE career. 

Bray Wyatt (aka Windham Lawrence Rotunda) is a conundrum. His father is Mike Rotunda, better known to Golden Age fans as former WWF Tag Team Champion, IRS. He is the grandson of WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan, nephew of WWE Hall of Famer Barry Windham and brother to fellow wrestler Bo Dallas. Like many young performers, Rotunda went through several character developments before finding fan acceptance with Bray Wyatt, a backwoods cult leader with aspirations of a world in flames.

It’s no coincidence that the look sported by the Eater of Worlds seems familiar. The Wyatt character is a carbon copy of former WWE wrestler Dan Spivey who wrestled under the name Waylon Mercy in 1995 who – stop me when this sounds familiar – sported Hawaiian shirts, white pants, odd tattoos, and spouted threatening jibberish such as, “Lives are gonna be in Waylon Mercy’s hands. You know what I mean?” Spivey’s character itself was copied from Robert DeNiro’s portrayal of sociopath Max Cady in the 1991 film Cape Fear. Lest you think WWE was trying to pull a fast one and steal from Spivey, Wyatt revealed on the Stone Cold podcast that it was Spivey who gave him permission to use look and gimmick of his former character.

More wwe: WrestleMania 32 Card Projections 9.0

Wyatt’s main roster debut was preceded by dark and cryptic promos that harkened back to the early days of The Undertaker. Fittingly, his first major feud culminated in a Ring of Fire match against Kane at SummerSlam 2013, which Wyatt won thanks to help from “family” members Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. Over the next several months The Wyatt Family was booked strong against Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and The Shield, thus establishing Wyatt himself as a main event performer. But something happened during his feud with John Cena in the aftermath of the 2014 Elimination Chamber show.

More from John Cena

Wyatt spent weeks antagonizing Cena before being defeated at WrestleMania XXX despite interference from Rowan and Harper. This led to a steel cage match at Extreme Rules which would later be awarded the title of “Worst Worked Match of the Year” for 2014 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It wasn’t the match itself that was bad; it was the ending. As Cena was poised to exit through the cage door, a small child appeared and somehow frightened Cena so much that he backed into the cage and allowed Wyatt to escape. I can say without hyperbole that it was one of the most absurd and ridiculous endings to a professional wrestling match I have ever witnessed. They would end their feud at Payback in a Last Man Standing match where Cena literally buried Wyatt.

His next few months would be spent in 50/50 booking against Jericho and Cena and strong showings against Dean Ambrose. The idea was to make him look formidable but not indestructible in the build up to a match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31. Some fans thought this would be a “passing of the torch” from The Deadman to The New Face of Fear, even though many correctly assumed that Undertaker wouldn’t be booked to lose at back-to-back WrestleManias. Despite the obvious size different (Undertaker is 6’10 and Wyatt is 6’3), their win/loss records hardly put them in relative company. Yes, Undertaker has had a significantly longer career (26 years vs. 8 years), but over that span he has won 68% of the time. During Wyatt’s career, he has won about 39% of his matches (h/t Pro Fight DB)

More from Daily DDT

During the later months of 2015, the Wyatt Family was booked in even more questionable (and ultimately futile) matches against the likes of Roman Reigns and the Brothers of Destruction. As usual, Wyatt was booked strong on RAW and Smackdown and subsequently lost at the pay-per-views. You know, when it really matters. To add insult to injury, Wyatt was set to face Brock Lesnar at Roadblock earlier this month but didn’t compete due to his back injury. Not that it would have mattered because Luke Harper took the inevitable loss on his behalf. Unless something changes, no member of the Wyatt Family is even scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania 32. Ouch.

Related Story: Bray Wyatt's Rumored Post-WrestleMania Plans

Injured or not, keeping the Wyatts out of the biggest show of the year is a mistake. There is no promo that can make up for lost momentum and they should have been locked in a feud with Lesnar going back to the Royal Rumble which should have culminated in a handicap match at WrestleMania 32. The benefit of having a “family” is that even if Wyatt himself is injured there are several other members who can participate while he pulls the strings. As is stands, the WWE wants Wyatt to sift through the ashes of the WrestleMania fallout to find a worthy opponent and I guarantee the storyline won’t be half as interesting as he deserves.