1987 - 2023
One of the most brilliant performers in the history of professional wrestling has left this world far too soon. Windham Lawrence Rotunda, who wrestled in WWE under the name of Bray Wyatt, passed away from a heart attack that was brought on as a result of a Covid-19 infection and a pre-existing heart condition. He was only 36 years old.
|Artwork by DaceDestiny|
I wasn't watching wrestling too much when Bray Wyatt first came up through the WWE system, so my first exposure to his work was at the 2014 Royal Rumble. He wrestled in the opening match of the event against Bryan Danielson, and his work absolutely blew me away. It was the most convincing performance of a professional wrestling character that I had ever seen. I began watching pay-per-view events on the WWE Network for the next several years almost solely because of him. He blended elements of horror cinema with pro wrestling in a way that no one could match... not even The Undertaker. He commanded your attention with everything he did, from his promos to his entrance to his terrifying work in the ring, which made you believe that a villain had stepped out of a horror flick and into a wrestling ring, and when the decision-makers behind the company he worked for failed to take full advantage of his first character, he reinvented himself into something else that we had never seen before.
Thirty-six years isn't nearly enough time to experience this world. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to see his work, both on television and in person at Raw in 2017 and the Royal Rumble in 2018, but for as much as the fans are going to miss him, I can't even begin to imagine how his family, including his four children, his friends, and his colleagues are feeling right now. There have been quite a few folks who knew him personally and have shared their thoughts and memories, and by all accounts, he sounds like a wonderful man. Rest in peace, Mr. Rotunda.