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WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt Dead at Age 36

The WWE Universe is collectively heartbroken over the sudden death of Superstar Bray Wyatt.

By Chris Phelan
Close up of Bray Wyatt in 2016

Early Thursday evening, Triple H had the unenviable task of announcing to the world that Windham Rotunda – known to the WWE Universe as Bray Wyatt – had unexpectedly died. He was 36.

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The WWE Universe is understandably shocked to its core. In all of his iterations, Windham Rotunda was one of the most creative minds the wrestling industry had ever seen, and the wrestling world is worse off without him in it. 

Who Was Windham Rotunda?

Bray Wyatt waves to the crowd during a WWE event.

Windham Rotunda was a third-generation wrestler who broke into the business in 2009. He began his in-ring career in Florida Championship Wrestling before making his WWE debut under the moniker "Husky Harris" as part of The Nexus faction. However, Rotunda's best days were ahead of him. In 2012, he returned to NXT as Bray Wyatt, the persona he would adopt for the better part of the next ten years. From the minute Bray Wyatt spoke, the WWE Universe listened – his promos and in-ring interview segments captivated fans worldwide. From a very early stage, it was clear that the fans had never witnessed someone with the unique charisma and creative mind that Windham Rotunda presented as Bray Wyatt. It quickly became evident that Rotunda was a visionary – someone capable of turning everything we thought we knew about pro wrestling completely upside down.

When Bray Wyatt – and the rest of the Wyatt Family – made their main roster debut, Rotunda reached new heights. Listing all of his accomplishments here would be futile – he won the WWE Championship once and the Universal Championship on two occasions – but it was never about the way Windham Rotunda performed in the ring. For millions of fans, it was about how he made them feel. 

From his unforgettable (and bizarre) "match" with John Cena at WrestleMania 2020 that consistently broke the fourth wall to his run as The Fiend to his classic Firefly Funhouse segments, Windham Rotunda perfected multiple personas over his career to ensure that he didn't walk in any other WWE Superstars' footsteps. Rotunda blazed his own trail from day one. From the very beginning, Rotunda captivated fans in a way that no matter where his career took him, the WWE Universe supported him. Some WWE Superstars live and breathe the professional wrestling business, and Rotunda made no secret that he wore his wrestling heart on his sleeve. In turn, the WWE Universe always cheered him. Bray Wyatt could commit some of the most brazenly evil acts in the history of sports entertainment, and it wouldn't matter to his fans – they respected every ounce of passion Rotunda put into the Bray Wyatt character.

Windham Rotunda decided early in his wrestling career that he would live on forever as one of the most creative minds and unique individuals to ever compete in WWE. His mission was simple: To give the WWE Universe nothing that was ordinary – nothing that they'd seen before. Rotunda built a career by shocking the world, making jaws drop, and reminding everyone how much he loves being a professional wrestler. In a way, it's fitting that Bray Wyatt shocked the world one last time with the untimely news of his passing.

Rotunda leaves behind his wife JoJo and four children. 

When Was Bray Wyatt's Final WWE Appearance?

Bray Wyatt smiles at the crowd while kneeling in the ring

The last time the WWE Universe saw Bray Wyatt was during a February episode of Monday Night RAW, when he interrupted Bobby Lashley to taunt him in his trademark bizarre style:

In true Bray Wyatt fashion, Windham Rotunda intended to put a different spin on his upcoming feud with Bobby Lashley. Although health issues kept him from ever appearing on WWE television again, rest assured that the WWE Universe would've been treated to yet another memorable Bray Wyatt feud. But sadly, it wasn't meant to be.

Every time a Superstar passes away is a time for sadness. But Windham Rotunda's passing hits close to home for many fans and wrestlers alike. There was no mistaking the passion and love Rotunda had for everything wrestling represents – he rightfully deserves to be seen as someone who helped transform WWE into something bigger, better, and more awe-inspiring. 

The wrestling world is in mourning. Men and women from all over the globe, from fans to fellow wrestlers, from WWE Superstars to athletes in different promotions, have taken to social media to express their sincere condolences. They say WWE is a brotherhood – and every man and woman in the locker room has lost a brother. 

Rest in peace, Windham Rotunda. 

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's Payback on September 2. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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