Bray Wyatt: A Modern Legend

Yesterday I would have told you that Bray Wyatt is my favorite wrestler. Sadly, now Bray Wyatt was my favorite wrestler. The impact he had on me is immeasurable. I spent weeks trying to decipher his Firefly Funhouse code. I wrote a poem thinking it was the story he was telling, he responded to me and retweeted that what I had written was beautiful. He inspired me to write about professional wrestling and his passing has hit me hard. 

I wrote this original article, way back when Bray was released from WWE. Today upon hearing of Bray’s passing I realized we need to give him all the flowers he deserved. We need to give him credit for his brilliant creativity, and we must lament the loss of such a brilliant mind and all the potential stories that will have to go untold. 

NXT Bray

Bray started on WWE TV as a member of Nexus, Husky went the way of Nexus. 

He did his thing, he made every gimmick work. I think anyone would agree, while he was obviously very talented out the gate, he wasn’t playing the right character. Remember his pro on NXT was Cody Rhodes.

The Wyatt Family

The Wyatt family was such a cool concept, so well designed and the members were absolutely perfect! In NXT they were very fun giving us a great Tag Team title reign ended by none other than Corey Graves and Pac. Their debut on Monday Night RAW was legendary. 

The airing of the Wyatt family vignettes on RAW told such a great story and created such a huge buzz, that by the time they actually showed up on RAW. Bray Wyatt already had the whole world in his hands! 

During their run they held the SmackDown Tag Titles under the New Day Rule and Bray held the WWE Championship for a short time. 

Each member of the Wyatt family brought something so unique and special. Bray was the Papa Bear. He was the brilliant mind behind the gimmick. He was the puppet master… 

February 12, 2017 

Bray Wyatt entered and won the Elimination Chamber with John Cena, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship. His reign lasted less than 2 months. The Wyatt Family had so much potential that was never reached. Such a good group of talented individuals. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get to see more success. 

The Deleter of Worlds

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt created magic together. They were ahead of the times and brought something really special to the screen. I think their feud culminated in the Ulitmate Deletion Match. Was one of the greatest WWE feuds of all time. I am so thoroughly entertained by both of them. After that Bray turned face for the first time. He tagged with Hardy and Beat the Bar for the Tag Titles. Then lost them a month later to the B-Team. Wyatt struggled to hold onto any WWE Championship even though he was clearly loved by the WWE Universe, his Fireflies. He took some time off until we let him in. 

The Firefly Funhouse 

We’re really glad that you’re our friend and this is a friendship that will never ever end! It started with some very strange vignettes with a bunch of puppets. Then we got some of my favorite RAW segments of all time. The Firefly Funhouse was an episodic show that was telling a tale of warning. It was almost like a video diary from a prisoner of war being told what to do and say. The kids involved all looked possessed and glazed over. Bray was playing this Mr. Rodgers mixed with Dexter type character. He was a friendly guy with a darkness deep behind his eyes. 

His soul was gone and owned by The Fiend, this Demon type creature. He seemed to be a virus of sorts infecting his host and giving them supernatural powers. At least that’s what I was able to gather. Bray seemed to be trapped in the Funhouse and did not know how to get out. He had Let Him In… 

The Fiend eventually showed up on Raw. He attacked Finn Balor. Put him on the shelf and ended up sending him back to NXT. He made his in-ring debut at SummerSlam and he had the world in his hands again. He came out with a Bray Wyatt skull as a lantern and a new Code Orange version of his Entrance Song. It went from swamp creepy to overtly demonic. He beat Finn Balor and that was that. Such a rich untold story there. 

After Finn got crossed off, he started attacking the Legends. Then he attacked Mick Foley and ended up taking his Mandible Claw finisher. He attacked Kurt Angle and Jerry Lawler. He even attacked Kane! The Fiend was being built as one of the strongest superstars of all time. 

Then…

The Fiend then attacked the Universal Champion Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions. Which led to that fateful match in Sacramento. Hell In a Cell Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship. The fans did not like the ending. I thought it was clever storytelling. The idea was that the ref had to stop the Hell in a Cell match before he died because no human could take that kind of punishment. Then the Fiend got up and attacked Seth again. This match was a harsh lesson in the toxicity of the IWC for me. 

People did not respond well to the Fiend not winning the title. I thought the whole time was he should not be Champion. He should be strategically picking his victims and telling stories. But he had his rematch with Seth Rollins and won the Universal Title. 

He got traded to Smackdown. It was a strange move, it led to Kofi losing his Title in seconds so Brock could bring the WWE Title back to RAW. I will never understand the point of the show and the title change. But Funhouse Bray debuted two new Title Belts a Blue Universal title! The one Roman holds and the Fiend custom belt. Featuring his impressive Joker inspired face mask stretched across the big plate. It sold for a ridiculous amount of money on the WWE Shop. Bray Wyatt was a merchandise machine. Between the puppets and shirts from Firefly Funhouse, and all the Fiend items.

Becoming Champion

Once he was Champion he started a story with Daniel Bryan, beating him at Survivor Series and seemingly dragging him to hell. After Bryan, he began an angle against the Miz, and for the first time, he wrestled as Funhouse Bray. Super creepy, really fun to see him work a totally different style than he does as the Fiend. Bray was having a great run after he beat The Miz, a clean-cut Daniel Bryan reappeared and challenged Bray to a strap match! 

The Strap match was great. Super intense and brought that story to an end. Then it happened. He came out and said I’m next.

He flew to Saudi Arabia and 20 seconds a couple of spears and a Jackhammer later and the hottest thing in Wrestling lost his title to the hottest thing in wrestling in 1999. I do believe that the WWE has no idea how to properly book The Fiend Bray Wyatt, he held the title for just over 100 days. Shortly after that, the pandemic hit. 

The Funhouse Match

Bray and Cena had a Firefly Funhouse match. It was weird and highly entertaining. Was the night after the Boneyard match. It was a wild time for wrestling. Without the fans’ presence, Bray’s character developed slowly, he started a long feud with Universal Champion Braun Strowman, and they had a swamp fight match, and a couple of other matches, ultimately Braun’s crush on Alexa is what led Bray to attack her and making her into the character she is today. Bray beat Strowman for the Universal Title but in typical fashion when Bray wins a WWE title, he loses it To Roman Reigns!! 

Bray was then released by WWE not long after.

The Return

Then Bray came back to WWE. He brought with him a whole new story, all we ever got to see was the tip of the iceberg. His Mountain Dew Pitch Black match with LA Knight is going to go down in history. Bray was a great wrestler, but what made Bray special was his unique way of bringing people into his stories. For weeks he had me watching old promos trying to figure out the hidden message of what became the names of the Firefly Fun House episodes. Everything that came along with the fun house, was so unique. 

Then there was the white rabbit. We can’t forget the white rabbit, during a time when WWE was struggling to find itself again, Bray came out with the white rabbit, and clues to what was coming next. Clues that would have led us to finish some of the previously unfinished stories. Clues that Bray was returning and we’d get to see him again.

Things I’ve taken for granted because I figured he was taking his time and letting the story play out. I am deeply saddened by the passing of Bray Wyatt. He was two years younger than me. He was ripped from the world far too soon. I wish his wife, kids, and family some measure of peace in a time of turmoil. The Universe will miss Bray. He will always be remembered because even from the other side, he’s got the whole world in his hands. RIP Windham Rotunda. 

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