Just last week the pro wrestling community lost a legend. At 36 years old, Bray Wyatt (Windham Rotunda) passed away due to reported complications with Covid, and he suffered a subsequent heart attack. Today we’ll be looking at just 5 wrestling matches he put on during his short but influential time in the business.
Not many can say that by 36 they’ll have impacted an entire industry, but Wyatt most definitely could have. Son of IRS, or Mike Rotunda, Wyatt entered the business through the developmental system and shined on that platform, showing one and all that he had something special to offer.
If looking at the newer generation, and by newer generation, I mean post Ruthless Aggression era, an era that produced a plethora of incredible stars…essentially the FCW pack of pro wrestlers that as of this writing are dominating industry-wide. FCW was the developmental territory after Ohio Valley Wrestling which produced stars such as Brock Lesnar, Batista, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin and of course John Cena.
*above image via Wrestling News
FCW would serve as the launching pad for hungry talent and was the place to become a made WWE superstar before NXT came along. Windham was a product of that territory and shone, as stated.
It was clear that he would become a top performer in the industry, and as he debuted on NXT and later the main roster many became drawn to him, the phenomena reminding me of the ascension of the Undertaker…people were captivated at his athleticism, conviction and ability to tell one heck of a creepy story.
Bray Wyatt (Windham Rotunda) was one in a million; that’s for sure, and much like a poet or legendary actor, his work spoke for itself…and it will continue to speak as time goes on…. His legacy will be secure as being a legend.
It’s hard with someone like this to pick best matches, because there were more than fifty if looking at his whole career, so what I tried to do here was shine a light on matches that really showcased his artistry…
5. Strap Match with Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) at the Royal Rumble, 2020
Bryan Danielson is one of the greatest professional wrestlers the industry has ever seen, and pitting him against one of the greatest entertainers the pro wrestling world has ever seen was pure genius. The match was to be expected, or rather the sheer magnitude of its quality.
It was for the Universal WWE title and was a physical demonstration of what a strap match can be. It had been a long time since WWE had a strap match and in my opinion, it was just as good as the strap match Savio Vega had with one Stone Cold Steve Austin—the Caribbean Strap match at In Your House: Beware of Dog 2. JBL and Eddie Guerrero had a variation of this match as well and there were other great ones, but Danielson and Wyatt did a great job.
4. The Fiend vs. Finn Balor at SummerSlam, 2019
The Bray Wyatt character had an incredible run. The components of that story were perfectly executed and by everyone involved, but in particular, Bray put the magic touches on all of those storylines.
But he would have yet another character to unleash on the masses, and one more terrifying than Wyatt and even the Undertaker and Kane…essentially shattering the horror character gimmicks in wrestling.
The Fiend was and perhaps always will remain one of the most epic monsters in all of pro wrestling. This match was the perfect introduction and against a foe who helped elevate The Fiend even more if that was all possible.
3. Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match – Royal Rumble, 2023
His feud with LA Knight earlier this year shows just how important Wyatt was to the “making” of that LA Knight character. LA Knight right now is perhaps the most “over” guy on the program and a lot of that has to do with the momentum her garnered for himself during that feud with Wyatt.
This match was a culmination of that feud, but so much wasn’t known about the direction Wyatt would be taking after this point…the story and developing features of that story were still in development. The possibilities seemed endless of where that story and his character could go, and left the fans wondering. Even the introduction of Uncle Howdy was tremendous, and he even made an appearance during this match.
The lighting and effects during the match were great and really gave the viewers a great and original show.
2. The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield at Elimination Chamber, 2014
These two factions speak for themselves really, and if you combine the men involved, you have some pretty dominant players in the game today. And to have seen them feud and ultimately square off is something that this era of fans will never forget.
1. Firefly Funhouse Match against John Cena at WrestleMania 36
Cena and Wyatt faced off many times and all of the matches were great. To me, that’s professional wrestling…the hero vs. the monster…David vs. Goliath. That’s a license to print money if you ask me, and that was present here—always was when these two were put together.
It was the pandemic era of pro wrestling and you needed something original to entertain the fans that had paid for the show, and boy was this original. “Cinematic” doesn’t even begin to describe this one. It was quite plainly art, and darn good art at that.
Well executed by both parties…Cena had started to concentrate on his film career some time before this, and to have him going against Wyatt, who if you ask me would have made a darn good actor as well, was something to behold for sure.
Not too much in terms of wrestling, but the entertainment factor was huge. A great showcase of just what this man was capable of alongside John Cena and his other peers, and of how special he was.
Rest in peace, Windham. You will be remembered for your epic contributions to the industry.
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