WWE

WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt

WWE superstar Bray Wyatt real name was Windham Lawrence Rotunda was an American professional wrestler. He was best known for his appearances in the WWE from 2010 to 2021 and then again from 2022 until his death in 2023, where he appeared under the ring name Bray Wyatt.

WWE Bray Wyatt

Early Life

Windham had a younger brother Taylor, who is also a wrestler and performed under the ring name Bo Dallas. Windham Lawrence Rotunda was born on May 23, 1987, in Brooksville, Florida. He attended Hernando High School, where he won the state championship in wrestling at 125 Kg (275 pounds) in 2005, the year he graduated. He also played football as a defensive tackle and guard. Rotunda played two years at University of the Sequoias, where he was a second-team All-American selection as a sophomore offensive guard. He earned a football scholarship to Troy University, where he played two years of university football. He left Troy with 27 fewer credit hours to complete his bachelor’s degree after deciding to become a professional wrestler.

Professional Career of Wrestling

Bray Wyatt made his in-ring debut in a dark match on the February 5, 2009 episode of Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), defeating Brian Jossie. On the July 23, 2009 FCW telecast, The Rotundo Brothers defeated The Dude Busters (Caylen Croft and Trent Barretta) to become the #1 Contenders for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. That same night, they defeated Justin Angel and Kris Logan for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. They were able to defend the championship against Dylan Klein and Vance Archer and the team of Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater. On the FCW telecast on November 19, The Rotundo Brothers lost the championship to The Dude Busters.

Bray Wyatt made his debut on the July 11, 2012 episode of the rebooted NXT, taped at Full Sail University, where he defeated Aiden English. In July, Wyatt suffered a torn pectoral muscle and required surgery. Despite the injury, Wyatt continued to appear in NXT and formed a faction called The Wyatt Family in November with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Wyatt had his first match after his injury on the February 21, 2013 episode of NXT, where he defeated Yoshi Tatsu. On the May 8, 2013 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan defeated Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey to win the NXT Tag Team Championship but they they lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to Neville and Corey Graves on the July 17, 2013 episode.
On the July 8, 2013 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family made their debut by attacking Kane. The Wyatt Family continued their attacks on wrestlers such as Justin Gabriel, R-Truth, Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater. Rowan and Harper lost to Daniel Bryan and CM Punk at Survivor Series on Nov. 24, 2013. The Wyatt Family defeated Bryan in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 15, 2013, and Wyatt defeated Bryan at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2014. Later that night, The Wyatt Family cost John Cena his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Randy Orton. At the event on February 23, The Wyatt Family defeated The Shield.

Wyatt returned alone at Hell in a Cell on October 26, 2014 during the main event between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, costing Ambrose the match. On November 23, 2014 at Survivor Series, Wyatt defeated Ambrose by disqualification after Ambrose used a steel chair to attack Wyatt. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 14, 2014, Wyatt defeated Ambrose in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match. Wyatt defeated Ambrose again on the December 22, 2014, episode of Raw in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. The feud culminated in an ambulance match on the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw, which Wyatt won to effectively end their feud. After the Royal Rumble, Wyatt began a series of cryptic promos, referring to himself as “The New Face of Fear”; at Fastlane on February 22, 2015.

Wyatt emerged from a coffin and challenged The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania 31 on March 29, 2015, which The Undertaker accepted, but Wyatt was unsuccessful in defeating The Undertaker. On February 12, 2017, Wyatt won the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber by defeating AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, John Cena, The Miz, and Baron Corbin in an Elimination Chamber Match to win the first World Title of his career. However, Randy Orton defeated Wyatt for the title at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, 2017. Wyatt defeated Orton after being assisted by Jinder Mahal, ending their feud. On January 28, 2018, Wyatt took part in the #8 contender’s Royal Rumble match, but failed to win after Wyatt and Hardy eliminated each other at the same time.

At Elimination Chamber on February 25, 2018, Wyatt lost to Hardy. At WrestleMania 34 on April 8, 2018, Wyatt returned to face after interfering in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and helping Hardy to victory. They teamed up and won the vacant Raw Tag Team Championship on April 27, 2018 at the Greatest Royal Rumble, defeating Sheamus and Cesaro. In their first pay-per-view title defense on July 15, 2018 at Extreme Rules. They lost the titles to The B-Team. On the July 23, 2018 episode of Raw, they invoked their rematch clause against The B-Team, but were unsuccessful.

Bray Wyatt with Braun Strowman

On the July 15, 2019 episode of Raw, Wyatt as The Fiend attacked his former rival Finn Bálor with a Sister Abigail, establishing himself as a heel once again. At SummerSlam on August 11, 2019, The Fiend quickly defeated Bálor. Over the next few weeks, The Fiend attacked several WWE Hall of Famers and legends, including Jerry Lawler, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley and Kane. The Fiend defeated Rollins at Crown Jewel on October 31 in a Falls Count Anywhere match to win the Universal Championship. The title was later transferred to SmackDown, as Wyatt is a member of this brand.
Wyatt retained the title on November 24, 2019 at Survivor Series against Daniel Bryan. After Bryan accepted a rematch at the following SmackDown event, The Fiend attacked Bryan and tore out his hair. With Bryan absent the following week, Wyatt began a brief feud with The Miz, culminating in a non-title match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 15, 2019 in which Wyatt, wrestling for the first time as his Firefly Fun House character, defeated Miz. After the match, Bryan came back and attacked Wyatt. Atthe Royal Rumble on January 26, 2020 The Fiend defeated Bryan in a strap match to end their feud.

On the February 7, 2020 episode of SmackDown, Hall of Famer Goldberg challenged The Fiend during an on-screen interview for the Universal Championship scheduled for the February 27, 2020 Super ShowDown event, where The Fiend character suffered his first loss to Goldberg, ending his reign after 118 days. The following night on SmackDown, The Fiend confronted a returning John Cena and challenged him to a match at WrestleMania 36, which Cena accepted. The Fiend eventually defeated John Cena, giving Wyatt his first and only WrestleMania victory.

On the April 10, 2020 episode of SmackDown, Wyatt challenged new Universal Champion Braun Strowman, who had won the title at WrestleMania. At Money in the Bank on May 10, 2020 a title match was set between the two, which Wyatt lost. On July 19, 2020 Wyatt defeated Strowman at “The Horror Show” at Extreme Rules in a non-title match called “Wyatt Swamp Fight.” On the July 31, 2020 episode of SmackDown. SummerSlam on August 23, 2020 The Fiend defeated Strowman to win the Universal Championship for the second time. After the match, both were attacked by a returning Roman Reigns. At Payback on August 30,2020 The Fiend defended the title against Strowman and Reigns in a Triple Threat Match, which he lost after Reigns defeated Strowman to win the title.

WWE Fiend
The Fiend returned on the October 2 episode of SmackDown and attacked Kevin Owens. Soon after, he reignited his old feud with Randy Orton and at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in December 2020, Orton defeated The Fiend in a Firefly Inferno match before setting his body on fire. At Fastlane on March 21, 2021, The Fiend returned as a tweener with charred skin and scorched clothing; he attacked Orton with a Sister Abigail during his Intergender match with Alexa Bliss, allowing Bliss to win by pinfall. This was Wyatt’s last appearance during this time in WWE, as he was released on July 31, 2022. After his feud with Knight ended, Wyatt promised to attack whoever won the match between Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber, which Lashley won by disqualification after Brock Lesnar hit him with a low blow. After that, however, Wyatt quietly disappeared from television and his storyline with Lashley was dropped, with later reports suggesting that this was because Wyatt was struggling with a real-life illness.

Personal Life

Rotunda and his ex-wife Samantha married in 2012 and had two daughters together before she filed for divorce in 2017. It was revealed that Rotunda and WWE announcer JoJo were dating during that time. They later had a son (born in May 2019), whose godfather is wrestler Braun Strowman, and a daughter (born in May 2020). in 2022 they got engaged.

Death

Rotunda died of a heart attack on August 24, 2023 at the age of 36. His death was announced by WWE chief content creator and former wrestler Triple H on X. Prior to his death, Rotunda had been battling an undisclosed illness since February that was reportedly life-threatening. According to reports just days before his death, he was making positive progress toward recovery and had been medically cleared for a WWE return just two weeks before his death. Performers from across the professional wrestling industry, including The Usos, The Rock, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Tripple H and John Cena, paid tribute to Rotunda on social media.

Championships and Accomplishments

  • Comeback Wrestler of the Year (2019)
  • Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) Florida Tag Team Championship (2 times in year 2010 and 2012) – with Bo Rotundo
  • Best Return in year 2022 at Extreme Rules
  • Gooker Award (2019) vs. Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell by WrestleCrap.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated

  • Feud of the Year (2010) – The Nexus vs. WWE
  • Match of the Year (2014) vs. John Cena in a Last Man Standing match at Payback
  • Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (2010) – as part of The Nexus
  • Ranked No. 6 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2014

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

  • Best Gimmick (2013) as part of The Wyatt Family
  • Best Gimmick (2019) as “The Fiend”
  • Most Overrated (2020)
  • Worst Gimmick (2017) as Sister Abigail
  • Worst Gimmick (2020) as “The Fiend”
  • Worst Feud of the Year (2017) vs. Randy Orton
  • Worst Feud of the Year (2019) vs. Seth Rollins
  • Worst Feud of the Year (2020) vs. Braun Strowman
  • Worst Feud of the Year (2021) with Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton
  • Worst Worked Match of the Year (2014) vs. John Cena at Extreme Rules
  • Worst Worked Match of the Year (2017) vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33
  • Worst Match of the Year (2019) vs. Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell
  • Worst Match of the Year (2020) vs. Braun Strowman at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)

  • WWE Championship (1 time) in Year 2017
  • WWE Universal Championship (2 times)
  • WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Matt Hardy
  • WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Randy Orton and Luke Harper
  • Tag Team Eliminator (2018) – with Matt Hardy
  • WWE Year-End Award for Male Wrestler of the Year (2019)

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