Bray Wyatt: The Champ is fear!
A story of hard work, dedication and simply refusing to quit.
The road to super-stardom in the WWE is a long, hard and rocky one, that most people will never get to experience. For Bray Wyatt, it sometimes appeared that he may have been destined for a future of mediocrity and disappointment. However, this is one Superstar who refused to accept the past, as a future forecast of things to come.
As a child, young Windham Rotunda grew up in a family of pro wrestling royalty. This third-generation Superstar is a descendant of the legendary Windham/Rotunda family. His grandfather is the late, great, Hall of Famer known as BlackJack Mulligan.
His father, Mike Rotunda, is more commonly known by his Money Inc. alias, which was Irwin R. Schyster, or “I.R.S.” Windham. He also had a two notable uncles who competed in the ring as well- Barry and Kendall Windham. Needless to say, growing up in a wrestling family has always been the norm for Windham.
While in high school, Windham and his brother were both exceptional athletes. Both of whom competed in wrestling, as well as football at Hernando High School, which is located in Brooksville, Florida. Brooksville is a small city located just north of the greater Tampa Bay region, which is known for being an area that has always produced top-tier football stars.
With this said, Rotunda knew the meaning of tough competition at an early age. Despite growing up and competing in an area so rich with quality talent, Windham would go on to win State Championships in wrestling, as well as be regarded as one of the top defensive linemen in the State of Florida.
After high school, Windham went on to become an All-American lineman in Junior College, at the College of the Sequoias, before earning a division one scholarship to Troy University. After two years of division one college football, Windham would make the difficult decision of leaving college, to chase a more fitting dream for someone in his shoes...to become a professional wrestler.
After training with his uncle, Barry Windham, Rotunda would go on to train at Florida Championship Wresting (FCW), which was the developmental brand for the WWE at the time. In 2009, Windham was ready for his in-ring debut.
In the early stages of his career, Windham worked under numerous different names and personas. This was a period of trial and error for the young prospect. As we all know, one name that would eventually stick for a brief stint was Husky Harris.
Following a couple of years of intense training, “Husky Harris” made his main roster debut with the hostile faction known as The Nexus. While both the original, as well as the New Nexus would both see a pretty substantial amount of dominating success, Husky Harris would not be as fortunate.
For the entire duration of The Nexus’ main roster run, Husky would always appear as if he was the odd man out. Quite frankly, Husky was the joke of the stable, never taken seriously as a competitor.
Once the story lines were all used up and the purposes for The Nexus had come to a conclusion, Husky Harris was beaten and whipped by fellow Nexus members, before finally being punted in the head by none other than Randy Orton, which was designed to write him off of television.
Following a less-than-flattering experience on the main roster, Husky was sent back to the developmental system, where he would await to see what was in store for him next. In recent years, Bray Wyatt has gone on various interviews and stated that when he was written off of TV as Husky Harris, it was the darkest time in his career.
Bray once told Peter Rosenberg that Husky Harris was a mere illusion of a man who pretended to be him...an imposter, so to speak.
During this period of his career, Windham could’ve easily just tucked his tail between his legs and just given up. After all, no one would've ever taken him seriously again, or would they? Instead of taking the easy way out, Rotunda went back to the drawing board, determined to redeem himself.
At one point, Dusty Rhodes challenged Windham to reinvent himself....which is exactly what he would do.
This was a pivotal time in WWE history. FCW was being converted to what would become the developmental juggernaut now known as NXT. During this process, the level of competition was rising to an all-time high. If you did not deliver your very best, you would be left behind. With this thought in mind, Bray Wyatt was born.
After an unsuccessful run with Eli Cottonwood, WWE creative officials found the perfect band of henchmen for Bray Wyatt. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would be paired with Bray, in what would become known as The Wyatt Family.
It would be a matter of very little time before The Wyatt Family had destroyed everything in their path. It would soon become obvious that it was time to take this show to the main roster.
In mid-2013, there would be a series of vignettes being aired on Raw, and Smackdown. While these cryptic videos were mysterious in nature, the message they delivered was very intriguing. As we now know, The Wyatt’s would eventually make their main roster debut, going after Kane, which would set-up for the payoff match between Kane and Bray Wyatt, in the Ring of Fire match, at SummerSlam.
The Wyatt Family would have a lot of success before things would ever become rocky between the members. Since their initial debut, a lot has changed for the faction. Erick Rowan, while being on the shelf due to injury, is still considered a member of The Wyatt Family.
However, Harper has since gone his own way, leaving Randy Orton the only active member with Bray, as of now.
Bray Wyatt has had a roller-coaster type of run, since arriving on the main roster. WWE officials have always harped on wanting Bray Wyatt to be considered as “The Face of Fear.” The problem Bray has had is that his booking has made him seem like not very much of a threat.
While he’s a master on the mic, his words eventually became nothing more than empty, mindless jabber.
Bray has had a number of high-profile feuds, but they would all end with Wyatt losing in the pay off bout almost every single time. It got to the point that if he was booked on a pay-per-view card, you could pretty much bet the farm that Bray would lose the match.
As a Bray Wyatt fan, there have been so many missed opportunities in which it appeared as if Bray might finally be catching a break and maybe...just maybe, he was about to score a big win, over a big-time opponent. Unfortunately, the outcome would almost always not be in out favour.
This run of hard losses has been another testament of just how dedicated Bray has been at getting to the top.
2017, The Elimination Chamber is upon us. Here we have yet another opportunity in front of Bray Wyatt, where he could not only get a big win, but he actually had the chance of becoming the new WWE Champion. Is this real life?
I think it’s safe to say that we, as loyal fans were extremely excited for this, but the reality of the situation was at the forefront of our minds. We knew that if history was any sort of indicator of things to come, there was very little chance that we would see Bray Wyatt walk out of the Chamber with the title.
As the dust settled and the smoke cleared, Bray Wyatt would have the match of his life. In the Elimination Chamber, Bray would pin John Cena, as well as AJ Styles, en-route to winning the match and capturing his first WWE Championship title win. As I am typing this, I get goosebumps.
Yes, the impossible has finally happened. Bray Wyatt is finally the champ. After years of trials, setbacks and disappointment, he never quit and now, Bray Wyatt sits high atop the wrestling world, as the new WWE Champion.
Bray Wyatt’s story is more than just a wrestling story line. His story is one of perseverance, discipline, and believing in yourself. When his back was against the wall, he could have easily packed it in and called it quits.
However, Bray Wyatt is a winner. He is a winner, and he is a champion. Bray comes from a family of winners. The lessons he learned while sitting on his grandfather’s lap in the early 90’s have carried over to his professional career, resulting in him living up to his family legacy.
BlackJack passed away last year before he had the opportunity to witness his grandson reaching the pinnacle of his career. However, I'm certain that he is proudly looking over him now.
When the history books are re-written, and they get to the chapter where the career of Bray Wyatt is written, pay attention to the details of how he responded when he was down and out, when his back was against the wall. He stood firm, never wavered, and never gave up on becoming a Champion.
Bray Wyatt’s victory at the Elimination Chamber was about more than just a championship, it was about an ordinary young man, who worked extraordinarily hard to reach his goals. Congratulations to Bray Wyatt, as well as everyone who has supported him along the way. We got the whole world in our hands now.
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