In my last edition of Wrestling Purgatory I wrote about how having a certain name in wrestling almost immediately gives you astronomical heights to live up to. Other times you can have a name with a pedigree but not many recognize it. Entering the picture is Windham Rotunda. While at first read you might not know who that is but then you remember that you clicked on a link that advertised Bray Wyatt and it says Bray Wyatt right above here. Then you realize that Windham Rotunda and Bray Wyatt are one in the same. Crazy right? Let’s just call him Bray for the remainder of this article just for continuity alright? Anyway, Bray’s grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan and his dad is Mike Rotunda (aka IRS). His uncles are Barry and Kendall Windham and even his brother, Bo Dallas, and sister are wrestlers. If wrestling could be inherited then his family has that gene.
While Bray’s athleticism was never in doubt his look never really was what WWE looks for. He was successful in football before transitioning to wrestling full time and signing a developmental deal with the E. In Florida Championship Wrestling he trained under Dr Tom Prichard and became a rookie on the second season of NXT (when it was just a silly reality-esc show) under the name Husky Harris. They used this name because the WWE thought that Fat Francis and Chubby Charles were too offensive. His size was constantly brought up by commentary, as if the viewing audience couldn’t tell he was a bigger dude on their own. Despite that size though he could move quickly and perform fast and devastating maneuvers. He was eliminated from NXT and then joined the Nexus, and we know how that went. He was written off TV with a kick to the skull from Randy Orton and went back to FCW. After a hockey mask wearing gimmick didn’t pan out and a tag title run with his brother Bray Wyatt was born.
A man that demanded the attention of everyone within ear shot, Bray Wyatt was a breath of fresh air. As FCW rebranded as NXT Bray Wyatt would make NXT his playground. He incorporated parts of Max Cady, the lead character in Cape Fear, and Waylon Mercy, Dan Spivey’s ahead of it’s time and underrated character from 90’s WWF. His cult leader like persona brought along with him some followers in Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and before long the Wyatt family brought terror all over NXT but it wasn’t long before the main roster was to feel the effects of this terrifying trio.
They Wyatts received dark, demented vignettes to hype of their arrival. Their entrance had an eerie, goosebump inducing tone with the ominous glow of Bray’s lantern. I knew these guys were different and I knew these guys were going to be good. Right off the bat I felt like Bray could be this generation’s Undertaker. He struck fear in the babyfaces and the little kids that cheered those faces. How is that not a perfect heel? They destroyed everything in their path. Kane and Kofi Kingston were first and then they were inserted to work with 2 of the best in the world, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. His program with Bryan, who was arguably the most over guy with the crowd, was slightly rushed but it gave Bray a big win over Bryan at Royal Rumble 2014 (aka The Night of Boo-Tista). Things were looking good for Bray. He beat the crowd’s guy and now he was moving on to the company’s guy, John Cena.
A really good build had Cena questioning himself and wondering why he does what he does. This lead to a Wrestlemania match that could have launched Bray into the upper reaches of the card with a win over the golden child. But after a very entertaining match “the ultimate underdog” John Cena emerged victorious. Little did we know at the time but this would almost become a gimmick of Bray’s, always getting so close but losing the big one.
He beat Chris Jericho (who will put any young star over), Dean Ambrose (his babyface equivalent) and Ryback (like that means something) in the time after this but was dumped unceremoniously from the Rumble in 2015 after a strong showing and then he lost to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania Play Button after carrying the entire build up to the match. Holy run on sentence Batman! This was a moment for Bray to be given the torch, so to speak, from the Undertaker and truly be the New Face of Fear that he claimed to be. No, instead the Taker is given his win back after losing to Brock the previous year. This same exact story line was run in late 2015 as Bray and his family entered another feud with the Undertaker. Once again they carried the program and were practically squashed at Survivor Series.
Today we wait for the continuation of Bray’s assumed next feud with Brock Lesnar, which seems to point to a match at Wrestlemania Star. The family looked strong ahead of Royal Rumble and looked alright during the match itself. Will this be another program that the Wyatts put in the heavy lifting only to take the fall? How long can the WWE sit by and expect people to be afraid of Bray Wyatt and his family when they are made to look like toothless and clawless bears when it comes to the payoff? The Undertaker would have never worked if the WWE booked him like they have Bray. It’s time to give Bray the big win he deserves. The fans will believe him as a credible threat. Then eventually you will have a white hot babyface that you can create, just like Undertaker. Please WWE, take the handcuffs off of Bray and let the Face of Fear bring it.