RIP BRAY WYATT
I don’t know if I’ve become desensitized to the world or not, but I can honestly say not a lot catches me off guard anymore.
That was until Thursday evening.
I was at work, trying to pass the time away, waiting to finish up at my job. I went on my X account and started scrolling down my timeline. Suddenly, a tweet from Triple H popped up, and it literally stopped me where I stood.
Wow. Just wow.
Bray Wyatt passed away. It’s just an eerie thing to process.
Earlier this year, I was happy to see the creative performer return to wrestling, taking on LA Knight in a MTN Dew Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble. I even wrote about it, including the journey of trying to find the limited edition beverage at multiple stores. The branding, mixed in with the aesthetic of the match, was entertaining. It was peak Bray Wyatt.
To me, he was the most creative performer in WWE over the past twenty years.
Bray Wyatt was the only performer I’ve ever seen that had reached the peak of WWE, becoming World champion, stepping away to completely reinvent himself, and reaching the peak again. It was unheard of, especially in this generation where, in my opinion, creativity from a character perspective is a dying art. Going from “the New Face of Fear” and leader of a band of misfits called the Wyatt Family to a throwback horror monster called “The Fiend” is such an arc.
In fact, Jon Harder wrote an article in 2019 on this new character in its early stages and how it was compelling television. If many do not remember, after the first Firefly Funhouse, many fans in the internet wrestling community outright said that Bray’s career was over. Of course, due to the drastic change in character, many did not know where it was going. However, it not only succeeded, it became mainstream. Pro wrestling, especially in the world of WWE, needed this outside the box thinking to reestablish the creative parameters that the promotion was known for in yesteryear.
And that is a testament to the man behind the literal mask, Bray Wyatt.
I always harken back to Summerslam 2013. My brother and I hung out with Leon and Max St. Giovanni at Buffalo Wild Wings in North Brunswick, NJ to eat and watch both the pay-per-view and the Yankees/Red Sox game, infamous for Alex Rodriguez getting hit by Ryan Dempster, days after returning due to his steroid test war with Major League Baseball.
Anyways, the pay-per-view started and opened with Kane facing Wyatt in a Ring of Fire match. Wyatt beat the Big Red Machine, thanks to help from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. After the match, Wyatt, as the manipulative cult leader that he was, got his monsters of mayhem to systematically destroy the veteran.
I remember being in the restaurant and just watching all the patrons just watching on television, mesmerized by what they saw. It was silent. Many fans were saying how Bray was just different than everyone else in the company.
That, to me, was a star-making moment. I will never forget it.
Ultimately, the character Bray Wyatt goes only so far.
He was only 36 years old. 36! The only thing that matters now is what is left behind due to his passing. His wife, Jojo, his four kids, his father and mother, brother and sister, countless friends and colleagues, and his fans.
That is what always gets me in these situations. A lot of heartbreak. As a person, I can only hope that his family and friends can remain strong through these incredibly tough times and bond together.
As a fan, of course, his void will be forever felt in the world of wrestling. But that’s just selfish thinking, in my opinion. His kids are the ones who feel the void more than anything.
Wrestling needs more Bray Wyatts than ever before. The man’s creativity was second-to-none. Being able to create without boundaries is what’s needed. I hope every performer, whoever worked with him, is able to learn that ideas, no matter how crazy they are, can be manifested with hard work and passion. Never be afraid to expand your mind.
He will be missed. God bless to his family and friends who knew him on a personal level. As Billy Joel sang, “Only the Good Die Young”.