In the past few years, Bray Wyatt (Windham Lawrence Rotunda) has become one of the more unique and charismatic superstars in recent memory. Fans knew about him from his time in WWE’s developmental system before finally making his debut on the WWE roster, where he feuded with Kane in an inferno match. He’s had memorable wars in the WWE ring against the likes of Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Chris Jericho.
While his overall win-loss record in big name events is not extremely impressive, he’s been considered someone who could be a top heel on the SmackDown brand after the recent brand split of the WWE roster. Everything about him screams that he is different from what fans have seen in the past decade. Everything about his look is unique, with the island-themed shirts and the fedora hats he wears during promos.
The words he speaks put him among the best promo artists in the WWE today and he has been able to develop his own cult following within the WWE Universe. But behind the giant beard is someone with an interesting history that led to him becoming the Eater of Worlds in the WWE. The following are 15 interesting facts you may not have known about the man known best as Bray Wyatt.
15 'Bray Wyatt' Is His Creation
In most cases today WWE talents are assigned a character to portray, often times having little say in the character they're attempting to portray on screen. While his initial run in WWE as Husky Harris saw him fall victim to this sad reality, Rotunda's transition into a Wyatt was completely self discovered. Triple H has gone on record as saying that while NXT gave Wyatt a place to experiment, that the character of Bray Wyatt was not Hunter's or WWE's idea.
The character that we have all come to know came exclusively out of the mind of Wyatt, and so were the vignettes that he debuted with, and the music that he enters the ring with. To the credit of WWE, they had so much faith in the package that Wyatt created, that they didn't change a thing during his WWE debut in 2013. In fact very little has changed, and by the looks of it very little will during his WWE career.
14 He's A Loser
Despite being billed as the "The Eater of Worlds", Bray Wyatt's win/loss record is pretty pathetic. While in WWE, Bray has lost nearly 70% of all of his matches, with him only winning one singles match cleanly during the second half of 2015. You may be able to justify his losses to the fact that he has remained a heel throughout his entire run in WWE, but at some point a man's gotta win. Wyatt is featured in most WWE promotional material, but is consistently jobbed out on WWE programming; in fact Bray is actually 3-64 when wrestling against John Cena alone!
In defense of his booking, Wyatt is often accompanied to the ring by three mountain of men known as the Wyatt Family, and it wouldn't look good for the babyfaces to get crushed every week. We'll now see how Wyatt does on his own on SmackDown.
Besides that, Bray actually does pretty well at pay per views, winning 53% of matches on big shows.
13 His Brother, Bo Dallas
Wyatt wasn’t the only child in his family who was watching wrestling growing up. His younger brother Taylor was also interested in becoming a wrestler. Growing up, he had a similar childhood to his other brother. Both had pretty successful athletic careers at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Fla., where Bray would qualify for the state high school wrestling championship tournament. But Taylor would find success in football that would lead to a full-ride scholarship to play college football at Webber International University in Florda.
However, the offer would did not work out and the young kid out of high school needed to find a new career. So he went into wrestling at Florida Championship Wrestling under the WWE’s developmental system. Since then, the younger brother would be able to make his own name in wrestling by transforming into Bo Dallas – holding the FCW Heavyweight Championship and the NXT Championship before getting the call to join the WWE’s main roster.
12 State Champion Wrestler In High School
It was previously mentioned that Wyatt’s younger brother would qualify for the state high school wrestling championship tournament years ago. But Bray not only qualified for the state wrestling tournament, he would win a state championship during his senior year at Hernando High School in Brookdale, Fla. Even during his youth, he was a big boy, wrestling as he won his state championship at the 275-pound heavyweight division.
His amateur wrestling background from his high school years was likely part of his introduction to the basics of being a professional wrestler. It was a start to teach him the basic technical maneuvers in being able to transition between different holds and submissions – like many great professional wrestlers have been able to do. However, wrestling took a back seat to another sport in Wyatt’s life as he had dreams of one day earning a scholarship to play football for the University of Georgia.
11 Played NCAA Division I Football
While he attracted plenty of attention on websites like Rivals.com, Wyatt played for a few seasons with the College of the Sequoias and earned himself some decent playing time at the Junior College level of college football. Wyatt was definitely a big and dominant lineman who earned himself a spot on the second-team All-American team for junior college football during his sophomore season.
He was a three-star recruit, according to Scout.com, as one of the best offensive tackles to come out of JUCO football before making a verbal commitment to transfer to Troy University for the 2007 season. Despite being a 6-foot-3, 310-pound lineman, he struggled to get beyond the second string before deciding to pursue a career in the WWE. Still, it is fairly impressive that he made it this far. Many a young man would do anything for the opportunity to get to that point, and many others would be quite pleased to end up with the WWE.
10 Studied Broadcast Journalism In College
If you have ever wondered how certain professional wrestlers have been able to speak clearly and with so much confidence, think about what they may have studied in school. Sure, not every wrestler went to college to study things like acting or broadcasting, but Bray Wyatt was one of those wrestlers. While playing college football at Troy University, he was studying broadcast journalism.
It sort of makes sense when someone studies any form of broadcasting, where you are encouraged to speak behind a microphone and oftentimes in front of a camera. While he obviously has plenty of wrestling abilities, which he likely earned from his bloodline, his education was likely a big factor in helping him to become just a great talker in the WWE. Unfortunately, he would leave college about 27 credits away from graduating. But being on WWE television as a regular star showed he made a good choice in the long run.
9 Weight Loss
It may be heard to see initially, since Wyatt has been on WWE programming since about 2010, but the man has lost a ton of weight. When he debuted as Husky Harris, Wyatt was being billed as 300 pounds, and he looked every pound of it. In fact, it is rumored that one of the reasons that he was sent back to NXT, was due to Vince McMahon souring on his look and physique. When Wyatt came back to the main roster in 2013 as Bray, he was noticeably slimmer, being billed as 285 pounds.
Recently Bray Wyatt shared a photo of him and a fan on his social media, which showed that the Wyatt Family leader had lost even more weight. While it's unknown how much he actually lost, it can't be denied that he is the best shape of his career, and his injury may be the best thing that ever happened to him.
8 Competed In Second Season Of NXT
Well before the days of being the Eater of Worlds in the WWE, Wyatt competed in the WWE system as Husky Harris. It was a much different look at the time as he had only a small fraction of the beard he carries now and his hair was cut shorter. Harris would be brought up to be one of the competitors in the second season of the NXT show that the WWE used as a different take on rookies doing challenges to earn points towards a WWE contract.
Despite not having won the second season of NXT, he was definitely turning heads as the announcers liked to call him an Army tank that had a Ferrari engine. Looking at him during the days of Husky Harris in 2010, it’s definitely weird to think that wrestler is the same one who looks like a Hawaiian tourist who has developed a cult following with his family faction.
7 Patriarch Of Wyatt Family
Believe it or not, originally while Bray was developing his Wyatt character in NXT, his "family" was literally supposed to be his kin. You may be thinking, well I could see them being brothers given the huge beards, and the lack of hygiene, but you would be wrong. Originally Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were introduced as the sons of Bray Wyatt. While the idea of the two giant men being Bray's legitimate sons actually stayed around for a while in NXT, the angle was soon dropped before coming to the main roster.
For whatever reason the WWE may have predicted that having a guy who looks like he is in his 20s, father two men who look to be in their 30s would get a bit messy. The name "Wyatt Family" is actually derived from this kayfabe angle however, and stuck with the group after their debut on the main roster.
6 An Early Form Of Wyatt Character?
The demotion to the FCW roster after the failed run with the Nexus in WWE was going to lead to some character changes for the former Husky Harris. During a FCW house show in March 2011, a new character debuted in a match with Ricardo Rodriguez. He was announced as Axel Mulligan, but fans obviously noticed someone familiar seemed to be wearing a mask that looked like something out of a horror film. There’s a good chance that this was the first incarnation of the Bray Wyatt character we know now, but this form didn’t last long beyond some FCW house shows.
This Mulligan character was partially a nod to his grandfather, but had a bit of a horror villain vibe as he was creepy and methodical in the ring in a dominant win. It was good for WWE fans that they tweaked the character a little bit into the Bray Wyatt that many fans know and love. This felt more like a knockoff of someone like Mankind and he needed something different to be truly successful.
5 His Debut Involved Eli Cottonwood
When Bray Wyatt debuted on FCW television, he didn’t have Luke Harper, Erick Rowan or Braun Strowman standing by his side. In fact, it was someone who isn’t even on the WWE roster now. Eli Cottonwood was actually the original big man who stood at ringside during Wyatt’s first matches in FCW and the original promo while Wyatt talked about how he hated his (storyline) dad who ran a shrimp boat.
Wyatt portrayed a very unique character who would read the “good book” while also claiming he learned how the world likes to throw people like him to the side. At first glance, he looked weird, with the island-themed tourist attire. But he showed how fierce and dark he was from the beginning. But Cottonwood was not a talented big man in wrestling and was unfortunately known best as the man behind the mustache promo in the second season of NXT.
4 His Wrestling Family Tree
Professional wrestling was in Bray Wyatt’s blood, but it didn’t come from the type of source you would expect. Growing up, his father Mike Rotunda was touring the world as a World Wrestling Federation superstar known as Irwin R. Schyster – also known as IRS. On paper, it was a silly gimmick. But Wyatt’s father was able to show he was very good in the ring after his 1991 debut. Many wrestling fans would know him best for his tag team partnership with the Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase.
The Rotunda family wrestling tree dates back to before the days of IRS in the 1990s, to the previous generation with Wyatt’s grandfather being a professional wrestling superstar in his own right. Robert Windham, known best as Blackjack Mulligan, was a tough man who was second only to Andre the Giant during the 1970s and 1980s. At 6-foot-9 and more than 340 pounds, he was physically imposing and had a trademark outlaw look complete with the black cowboy hat.
Competing as Money Inc., IRS would hold the company’s World Tag Team Championships with big wins over legendary teams like the Steiner Brothers and the Legion of Doom. It’s the type of personal factoid that the WWE wouldn’t necessarily mention in Wyatt’s bio page, so it’s definitely one of those types of facts that newer fans wouldn’t know by just watching WWE television.
Not only was Wyatt inspired by his father and grandfather, but he also had two uncles – Blackjack Mulligan’s children – who were also active in the squared circle. Most notably, Barry Windham was someone who once held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and was able to stand out with several different championships during the 1980s and into the 1990s between the National Wrestling Alliance, World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation.
3 Wyatt Is Actually A Family Man
When looking at someone like Bray Wyatt, it might be strange at first to think of him having a family at home. And yet, there is photographic proof that he is married with two daughters. The picture looks to have been taken around the time he was debuting the Bray Wyatt character, though he had a much smaller beard surrounding his face. It is a neat little thing knowing that the “Eater of Worlds” is a lot more like us than one would originally think.
Considering how some children might act with fathers who have facial hair, Wyatt’s daughters likely have fun trying to swing on his bush of facial hair. We just have to hope he doesn’t do the upside down spider walk around his kids for a very creepy version of playing “horsey.” Give his wife credit for handling the challenge of not letting her kids think dad is really evil.
2 Wyatt Used To Wear A Mask
Fans who have watched Bray Wyatt and his family members know that the group is synonymous with wearing masks. But Wyatt hasn’t really worn one during his stint on the WWE main roster. Besides the short run as Axel Mulligan, Wyatt did wear a mask in 2013 to the ring for a brief amount in time during his run in the NXT development brand. This mask looked more like something out of the Phantom of the Opera and a little bit like one worn by Cody Rhodes in 2011.
Eventually, a fan did tell him through Twitter about how he shouldn’t wear the mask anymore. Wyatt left a simple response of “broken nose, that is all.” The man doesn’t need to give any further explanation as it should be a perfectly acceptable reason for why he began wearing a mask without any storyline behind the mask. It was just another part of his costume, like the butcher’s apron he sometimes wore to the ring in NXT.
1 An Inspirational Messenger
It’s been easy to look at Bray Wyatt as a messenger of some kind, maybe for this “Sister Abigail” he has referenced in previous promos. But there’s at least some people who view him as an inspirational figure in a more positive manner. Back in February, a fan wrote a long message on Twitter about how he has had issues dealing with Asperger's syndrome and a number of people who have bullied him through school.
The fan wanted Wyatt to know that the WWE superstar and his group were inspiring to someone like him because of how different they were in the WWE. While many other Twitter users sent him positive messages, the original post would reach the Eater of Worlds, who left some kind words of his own. “Life, is our greatest gift. Keep your head up, you are never alone.”
Even when someone plays a heel in wrestling, they can always do something cool for their fans.