Bray Wyatt held a special place in the heart of professional wrestling. One that will never be duplicated.
One day after the passing of Terry Funk, the professional wrestling world lost another individual. William Rotunda, better known by his moniker Bray Wyatt, passed on Thursday at the young age of 36. Sean Ross Sapp revealed via Twitter that Wyatt got COVID which further exacerbated heart issues, leading to the heart attack that caused his death. Fans, colleagues, and media members around the world mourned his loss and pointed out that Wyatt was one of the most creative minds of this generation.
Wyatt will hold a very special place in the hearts and minds of professional wrestling fans, one that will be nearly impossible to duplicate. From the days of the Wyatt Family, through The Fiend, and his latest iteration, Wyatt kept fans clinging to his every action and word. His 2022 return to the WWE showed that long-term storytelling and “lore” have important places in professional wrestling when played right.
Just look at the millions of individuals who searched for context clues in all his videos, social media posts, and television segments. His return at Extreme Rules in 2022 currently has 3 million views on YouTube and his segments were some of the most talked about moments of that time. While his return didn’t pan out on camera as millions hoped, and no one expected this tragic ending, his impact on the WWE and the industry as a whole cannot be denied.
At times, that innovation and creativity almost made it seem like Wyatt didn’t fit in the WWE product. That was mostly due to Vince McMahon’s tired and contrived way of presenting professional wrestling, but fan support quickly proved to him how wrong he was. His first appearance as The Fiend against Finn Balor at SummerSlam in 2019 has nearly 10 million YouTube views. It left wrestling buzzing, even getting lapsed fans curious about this new character and where it would go. That will be the power of Wyatt’s legacy, his ability to spark the curiosity of what made so many people professional wrestling fans begin with.
Professional wrestling is going to miss Bray Wyatt. The industry doesn’t have an individual whose passion for telling stories of his own infused excitement in millions of fans around the world. That type of influence may never be seen again. Too many individuals are touted as “once in a generation.” But truly, Bray Wyatt is a once-in-a-generation personality to step into the crazy world of professional wrestling. Rest in Peace.