wrestling / Columns

Bray Wyatt’s 10 Greatest Moments

August 25, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Bray Wyatt Finn Balor SummerSlam 1 Image Credit: WWE

-Today has been a heartbreaking day as Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) passed away at the age of 36. My friend sent me a FB message of the news while I was at work. I didn’t believe it, but I also knew he wouldn’t make it up. I quickly went to all the sites, but nothing was up yet until I saw HHH’s post on Twitter. I have been refreshing and reading everything I can since and my head has been in kind of a fog. I went to YouTube while sitting in my office at work and played “Shatter” and I pounded my desk and had tears in my eyes. Thirty-Six! Terry Funk left us yesterday and any loss of life is sad, but that one I could wrap my head around. This I really can’t yet, and probably never will. Sadly, there are people throughout the world dying younger, older, and it’s all tragic. Nothing is promised and this is another reminder.

-Bray Wyatt was a force of nature on the wrestling scene. His charisma and natural speaking ability sucked your attention through the TV screen. In a world today where everyone goes crazy over star ratings and MOVEZ, Bray was not that. He was a storyteller, and I was captivated every time he was on the screen. Even when things would get really out there and wasn’t my cup of tea with pro-wrestling, I couldn’t help but watch. The initial Bray Wyatt was my favorite version of the character, and I was there in Pittsburgh at The Royal Rumble for what most consider his “best” match (vs. Daniel Bryan). I popped when he won The WWF Title because it just seemed destined to happen for some reason and you could see the joy on his face much like happens when a lot of men and women win their first WWE World Title.

-The first vignette for the Firefly Fun House caught me off guard as I thought it was a commercial for new show, and then I realized Bray was reinventing himself. Again, I couldn’t keep my eyes off every vignette. The Fiend debut against Balor at SummerSlam has always been a favorite video on YouTube for me. The “holy shit” chants from the crowd when he debuted were justified. Everything we knew had changed and again, while not everyone’s cup of tea, I couldn’t stop watching. The Fun House Match with Cena at WrestleMania had me laughing my ass off, and while some hated it, I felt it was perfect for what was an unusual WrestleMania due to the pandemic. I was enthralled by the story with Alexa Bliss because I am a sucker for things like that in pro-wrestling. The on and off again feud with Randy Orton was so bad at times it was entertaining, and again, the story kept my eyes on the screen.

-When Bray was released, it sucked, but you kind of figured he would pop up again. He has a loyal fan base and I figured someone would try to capitalize on that. It didn’t happen even with rumors of him going to AEW or showing up in Japan. Instead, it took HHH gaining power and bringing Bray back with some of the most creative teases of all time. The White Rabbit ruled, and again my eyes were glued to the screen. His return at Extreme Rules was epic and you felt great for Bray and for his fans that had waited for that return. The real story for me was his actual return on SmackDown where everything came out and all the emotion was released. He just seemed so happy and grateful. Then he disappeared again, and as the IWC is one to do, rumors spread about what was happening. We came to find he was out with a medical issue, and it was nobody’s business but his and those he let know. Now he is really gone, and it sucks. A wife lost her husband! Four children lost their father! Parents lost a son and siblings lost a brother. Then there is the loss by his friends and co-workers that spent years on the road with him. We all have been told life on the road is hard and then they have something like this dropped on them. The show will eventually go on…it always does. It will be interesting to see what they do with SmackDown tomorrow, but is there really a right or wrong answer? Some will want to work as that is where they handle grief and others will need time away. Respect whatever decision each person makes.

-I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do tonight. The WWE Network has a Best of Bray Wyatt up for anyone to watch. I thought about reviewing some of his matches, but star ratings seem silly right now. When Scott Hall passed, I reviewed his documentary, but Bray doesn’t have one. I hope the WWE does one down the road and I assume Bray will be in the Hall of Fame, possibly as soon as next year. He was going anyway, but it sucks why it has to be now. For those wanting to watch something I recommend the previously mentioned match vs Daniel Bryan at The Royal Rumble. You can also check out The Shield vs. Wyatt Family classic from Elimination Chamber. That looked like the future of the WWE and 4 of the 6 ended up being WWE Champion. There is also The Elimination Chamber Match where he became WWE Champion for the first time. I will probably let matches run all night while I go to sleep. So, I am still left with what to do to process this and so far, it’s been what I am writing. I started this with the idea of just doing an opening and getting to something from The Network/Peacock, but I have gone this far with this tribute already. A few of the items on Peacock look like short Top 10 lists, and I think I will just touch on the first one they have. The other two are about his scariest moments and his best moments with Cena. I will just stick with his Greatest Moments! Remembering Bray’s work is probably the easiest thing right now and perhaps it will make me smile.

Bray Wyatt’s Greatest Moments

10: Ring of Fire Match
-Bray Wyatt makes his in ring main roster debut with a win over Kane at SummerSlam in a Ring of Fire Match. It set the tone from the start that this cat was different and facing Kane was a smart decision as it instantly gave him credibility as he knocked off the resident WWE monster.

9: Tag Team Champions
-Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton win The SmackDown Tag Team Titles from Slater and Rhino. This was just after the WWE brought back the brand extension. If you go back and watch this story it had some precursors to what happened with Sami Zayn joining The Bloodline and winning over Jey Uso. Only in this case it was Randy Orton that had to win over Luke Harper and then like Sami, Randy turned on Bray and they would meet at WrestleMania for The WWE Title. I remember some thinking Harper should have been added to make it a Triple Threat.

8: The Fiend Arrives
-The Fiend shows up in the ring for the first time on RAW, attacking Finn Balor. The pop is still crazy and the strobe light effect with the screeching sound was so perfect. They nailed the presentation immediately with this one.

7: Steel Cage Win over Cena
-Wyatt was pegged for a feud with Cena less than a year in his main roster run and they had their first match at WrestleMania XXX. The would have many more matches that followed, but this one was inside a steel cage and gave Wyatt a win over Cena. It is infamous for the little kid freaking Cena out as he “sings” about having the Whole World in His Hands. Wyatt then walks out the cage and embraces the little boy (I believe the kid was the same one that was in the NFL commercial with Cam Newton. You know the one).

6: Second Universal Title Win
-Bray was already a former WWE Champion and Universal Champion at this point, but he was given another run with The Universal Title when he beat Braun Strowman at SummerSlam 2020 in The ThunderDome. Bray was The Fiend at this point and the close of the show is more remembered for Roman Reigns making his return and debuting what would become The Tribal Chief character.

5: Wyatt Family vs. The Shield
-As I mentioned this is a must-see match that the fans had been clamoring to see for months. You had two heel stables that were kept away from each other and then they teased a showdown at a RAW in London and the crowd went crazy for it. The WWE had to deliver at some point, and it happened at Elimination Chamber (the last PPV before The Network). The match was just amazing, and they knocked it out of the park. The Wyatt Family gets the win as they were teasing the breakup of The Shield due to Ambrose being a hot head. Bray even got to pin Roman for the win!

4: Firefly Funhouse Match
-We were getting Cena vs. The Fiend at WrestleMania 36 and then The Pandemic happened. Everything changed and I guess they wanted to do something creative knowing there was no chance of fans being in the building. The previous night Taker and AJ Styles had a Boneyard Match that got rave reviews. The Funhouse match was way more divisive, but I had a blast with it. In no way was it a wrestling match, but I didn’t need it to be at that point. It was all about The Fiend playing mind games with Cena and tearing his character down. It worked for me, but I can see why others didn’t like it. Cena wearing a nWo shirt was enough for me!

3: Extreme Rules Return
-Crazy this was less than a year ago, and now he is gone. The White Rabbit puzzle was fun, and we realized soon where it was leading. What the WWE and Bray pulled off with his return was epic and the crowd ate up every second. The place went crazy when he burst through the door and rocked the old school lantern. Another video I watch often on YouTube.

2: First Universal Title Win
-The Fiend debuted in the ring at SummerSlam and it was apparent he needed to be Universal Champion. The WWE went for a slower burn as they butchered Fiend vs. Rollins at Hell in a Cell, but finally got it right when The Fiend beat Rollins for the Title at a Saudi PPV. Thankfully, the WWE eventually did away with the red lighting for Fiend matches. No matter how they got there though, it was the right call to make him Champion.

1: WWE Champion
-The WWE Title was playing hot potato as Cena beat AJ Styles in Jan at The Royal Rumble (his last World Title win) and then lost it inside Elimination Chamber to Bray Wyatt in Feb. Cena was eliminated earlier in the match, so Bray pinned AJ Styles to get that elusive first World Title. It was a great moment for so many of Wyatt’s fans and it just felt right for some reason. He would lose the title to Orton at WrestleMania, but Bray will always go down as one of the small number of men to be WWE Champion.

-Rest in Peace good sir! For a brief moment in time, you DID have the whole (wrestling) world in your hands! Thanks for reading!

article topics :

Bray Wyatt, WWE, Robert Leighty Jr.