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Windham Lawrence Rotunda (born May 23, 1987)[1][2] is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Bray Wyatt. He is a former WWE Champion and SmackDown Tag Team Champion.

Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt April 2014.jpg
Wyatt in 2014
Birth name Windham Lawrence Rotunda[1]
Born (1987-05-23) May 23, 1987 (age 30)[1]
Brooksville, Florida,
United States[2]
Alma mater Troy University[1]
Spouse(s) Samantha Rotunda (m. 2005)[3]
Children 2[3]
Family Mike Rotunda (father)[1]
Bo Dallas (brother)[1]
Barry Windham (uncle)[1]
Kendall Windham (uncle)[1]
Blackjack Mulligan (grandfather)[1]
Sarah Bäckman (sister in-law)[4][unreliable source]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Alex Rotunda[2]
Alex Rotundo[2]
Axel Mulligan[2]
Bray Wyatt[2]
Duke Rotundo[2]
Husky Harris[2]
Levi Wyatt[5]
Windham Rotunda[2]
Windham Rotundo[2]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[6]
Billed weight 285 lb (129 kg)[6]
Billed from Brooksville, Florida[7]
Lafayette, Louisiana[8]
Snake Bight, Florida[9]
Trained by Barry Windham[2]
Florida Championship Wrestling[2]
NXT[2]
Debut 2009[2]

Rotunda is a third generation professional wrestler, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Blackjack Mulligan, his father Mike Rotunda, and two of his uncles, Barry Windham and Kendall Windham.[10] His younger brother Taylor Rotunda also performs in WWE under the ring name Bo Dallas.[11] Alongside his brother, he held the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship twice while in WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where he wrestled under different ring names between 2009 and 2012.[2] He also briefly wrestled on WWE's main roster from 2010 to 2011, most notably as a member of The Nexus.[12]

After returning to WWE's developmental territories in mid-2011, Rotunda was rebranded as Bray Wyatt, the villainous cult leader of the eponymous faction The Wyatt Family, with the group eventually making its main roster debut in 2013.[13] Wyatt won his first championship on the main roster in December 2016 by winning the SmackDown Tag Team Championship with Randy Orton, and they defended the championship with fellow Wyatt Family member Luke Harper under the Freebird Rule.[14] Wyatt then went on to win the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber event in February 2017[15] before losing the title to Orton at WrestleMania 33.[16]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Rotunda attended Hernando High School, where he won a state wrestling championship at 275 pounds (125 kg) in 2005.[1][10][17] He graduated from high school in 2005.[10] He also played football as a defensive tackle and guard. Rotunda played at the College of the Sequoias for two seasons, earning second-team All-American honors as a sophomore offensive guard.[17] He earned a football scholarship to Troy University, where he played collegiate football for two years.[1][10] He left Troy 27 credit hours short of earning a Bachelor's degree after deciding to become a wrestler.[17]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWEEdit

Florida Championship Wrestling (2009–2010)Edit

He debuted in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in April 2009 with a victory, using the name Alex Rotundo.[10] He later changed his name to Duke Rotundo.[10] In June 2009, he began teaming with his brother Bo.[18] At the FCW television tapings on July 23, The Rotundo Brothers defeated The Dude Busters (Caylen Croft and Trent Barretta) to become the number one contenders to the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship.[18] That same night, they defeated Justin Angel and Kris Logan for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship.[10][18] They went on to successfully defend the championship against Dylan Klein and Vance Archer and the team of Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater.[18] At the FCW television tapings on November 19, The Rotundo Brothers lost the championship to The Dude Busters.[18]

The Nexus (2010–2011)Edit

 
Rotunda as Husky Harris during his tenure as part of The Nexus in November 2010

On June 1, 2010, he was announced as a competitor in the second season of NXT under the name Husky Harris, with Cody Rhodes as his WWE Pro.[19][20] Harris made his debut on the June 8 episode of NXT, competing in a tag team match with Rhodes against Montel Vontavious Porter and Percy Watson, which they lost.[21] Harris turned into a villain on the June 22 episode of NXT by attacking announcer Matt Striker, just as Rhodes had done the previous week.[22] The following week on NXT, Harris lost to Montel Vontavious Porter in a singles match, and was ranked seventh out of the eight rookies in the first poll.[23] In the second poll, Harris moved up to sixth place, narrowly avoiding elimination.[24] On August 9, the rookies appeared in a six-man tag team match on Raw, which Harris' team won when he pinned Kaval, but his team lost a rematch the following night on NXT.[25][26] In the poll later that night, Harris climbed to fourth place out of the six rookies.[26] Harris was one of two rookies eliminated from NXT on August 17 and, following his elimination, Harris and Rhodes attacked Kaval, resulting in a brawl also involving Montel Vontavious Porter and Kofi Kingston.[27] Harris reappeared in the season finale of NXT with the other eliminated rookies and joined in on the attack on the NXT winner, Kaval.[28]

While on NXT, Rotunda continued wrestling in FCW while retaining the Husky Harris ring name.[29] In September 2010 following his elimination from NXT, Harris began a feud in FCW with Percy Watson when he attacked Watson while teaming with him in a tag team match, which led to Watson being pinned for the loss.[30] When Harris and Watson faced off in a match, they were both counted out as they brawled out of the arena,[31] which led to a no disqualification match that Harris lost.[32] The feud ended in October, with Harris defeating Watson in a lumberjack match.[33]

 
Harris (left) with David Otunga (center) and Heath Slater (right) as part of The Nexus in December 2010

At the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 4, a disguised Harris and Michael McGillicutty interfered in a match between John Cena and Wade Barrett, and helped Barrett win, forcing Cena to join Barrett's faction The Nexus per the pre-match stipulation.[34] Harris' and McGillicutty's identities were revealed on the following day's episode of Raw, though Barrett claimed he had not asked for their help and refused to make them full-time members of The Nexus.[35] The following week on Raw, Harris and McGillicutty cost Cena a match against The Miz, prompting Barrett to give them the opportunity to win membership in the Nexus.[36] On the October 18 episode of Raw, Harris and McGillicutty failed to earn a place in The Nexus when they lost to Cena and Randy Orton in a tag team match.[37] In spite of their loss, Harris and McGillicutty were inducted into The Nexus on Raw the following week.[38] In January 2011, CM Punk took over The Nexus and had each of its members put through an initiation. Harris passed his initiation, a lashing from the rest of the group, and was allowed to remain a member of The New Nexus, alongside Punk, McGillicutty and David Otunga.[39] On the January 31 episode of Raw, Harris and McGillicutty unsuccessfully challenged Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov for the WWE Tag Team Championship, after which Orton attacked the duo as part of his rivalry with the Nexus and punted Harris in the head,[40] which was used to write Harris off television.[41]

Return to FCW (2011–2012)Edit

Following the punt by Orton on Raw, Rotunda returned to FCW and in March 2011 adopted the gimmick of the hockey mask-wearing Axel Mulligan, but the character never made it to FCW TV, and Rotunda continued to play the Husky Harris character on FCW TV.[42] In August 2011, Harris became embroiled in his brother Bo's (then FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion) feud with Lucky Cannon and Damien Sandow.[43] The two brothers later teamed up to defeat Cannon and Sandow in a tag team match.[44] Later, Harris voiced his displeasure of Bo's relationship with Aksana,[45] and when Bo suffered a legit injury his title was vacated and a tournament set up to determine the new champion, during which Harris defeated Big E Langston to make it to the final,[46] a fatal four-way match against Dean Ambrose, Leo Kruger and Damien Sandow, which he lost after Richie Steamboat (who was at ringside to aim for Ambrose) performed a superkick on Harris instead.[47] Despite Aksana managed to get Steamboat to attack Harris again, he still won a triple threat match against Ambrose and Sandow to earn a match for the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship against Kruger,[48] which Harris lost when he was distracted with Steamboat's interference once again.[49] As a result, Harris and Steamboat began feuding, with their first match ending in a no contest.[50] Kruger later defeated the pair in a triple threat match to retain the title.[51] However, Harris would defeat Steamboat in a No Holds Barred match.[52] After the pair continued to frequently attack each other, they were suspended for 30 days.[53] Upon their return, Harris defeated Steamboat in a bullrope match to end their feud.[54] On February 2, 2012, Harris and Bo Rotundo defeated Brad Maddox and Eli Cottonwood to win the vacant FCW Florida Tag Team Championship for the second time.[55] They successfully defended the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship against Antonio Cesaro and Alexander Rusev,[56] but lost the championship to Corey Graves and Jake Carter on March 15.[55]

The Wyatt Family (2012–2014)Edit

 
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper at an NXT event in October 2012

In April 2012, Rotunda debuted a new character, Bray Wyatt, who initially associated himself with Eli Cottonwood in FCW.[57][58] When WWE rebranded FCW into NXT Wrestling,[59] Wyatt debuted on the July 11 episode of the rebooted NXT' taped at Full Sail University, where he defeated Aiden English.[60] Wyatt's character was that of an evil cult leader who believes himself to be more monster than human.[61][62][63] The character drew comparisons to Max Cady of the 1991 film Cape Fear and Waylon Mercy.[61][64] In July, Wyatt suffered a torn pectoral muscle and required surgery.[65] Despite the injury, Wyatt continued to appear on NXT, founding a faction known as The Wyatt Family in November, with Luke Harper as his first "son" and Erick Rowan as his second.[66][67][68] Wyatt had his first match back from injury on the February 21, 2013 episode of NXT, where he defeated Yoshi Tatsu.[69] Wyatt suffered his first loss on the March 13 episode of NXT to Bo Dallas.[70] On the May 2 episode of NXT, Wyatt was defeated by Chris Jericho.[71] On the May 8 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan defeated Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.[72][73] The Wyatt Family began a feud with Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno, with Wyatt defeating Graves on the May 22 episode of NXT.[74] The following week on NXT, Wyatt eliminated both Graves and Ohno during an 18-man battle royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship, being eliminated by Neville.[75] On the June 19 episode of NXT, The Wyatt Family defeated the team of Graves, Neville and Ohno.[76] On the July 10 episode of NXT, The Wyatt Family defeated Graves, Neville and William Regal in a six-man tag team match.[77] On the July 17 episode of NXT (which was taped on June 20), Harper and Rowan lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to Neville and Graves.[78][79]

 
The Wyatt Family at WrestleMania XXX, with Wyatt (center) sitting on the top turnbuckle

From the May 27 episode of Raw, WWE aired vignettes promoting the upcoming debut of The Wyatt Family.[80] The vignettes showed The Wyatt Family's backwoods origins and Rowan wearing a lamb mask.[81][82] On the July 8 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family made their debut by assaulting Kane.[13] The Wyatt Family continued their attacks on wrestlers such as R-Truth, Justin Gabriel, Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal while sending cryptic messages to Kane asking him to "follow the buzzards".[83][84] Following another assault,[85] Kane challenged Wyatt to a Ring of Fire match at SummerSlam on August 18,[86] which Wyatt won following interference from Harper and Rowan. After the match, Harper and Rowan again attacked Kane, carrying him away.[87] Wyatt's next targeted Kofi Kingston,[88][89] who he defeated at Battleground on October 6.[90]

The Wyatt Family began feuding with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in late October,[91] leading to Punk and Bryan defeating Harper and Rowan at Survivor Series on November 24.[92] The Wyatt Family continued their feud with Bryan as Wyatt attempted to recruit Bryan,[93] and The Wyatt Family defeated Bryan in a handicap match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 15.[94] On the final Raw of 2013, Bryan defeated Harper and Rowan in a gauntlet match so that he could face Wyatt, where Harper and Rowan interfered for a disqualification and attacked him until a frustrated Bryan finally gave up and joined The Wyatt Family.[95] After Bryan joined them, The Wyatt Family could not find success.[96] This caused Wyatt to punish Bryan, leading to Bryan attacking all the other members of The Wyatt Family on the January 13 episode of Raw to signal him breaking free of the group.[97] At the Royal Rumble on January 26, Wyatt defeated Bryan.[98] Later at the event, The Wyatt Family would cost John Cena his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Randy Orton, with The Wyatt Family attacking Cena also after the match.[99]

 
Wyatt in his signature rocking chair

On the January 27 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family attacked Bryan, Cena and Sheamus during an Elimination Chamber qualifying match against The Shield, meaning Bryan's team won by disqualification and The Shield lost a chance to enter the Elimination Chamber match.[100] A six-man tag match was instead set up between The Shield and The Wyatt Family at the event on February 23, which The Wyatt Family won.[101] They later interfered in the Elimination Chamber match, leading to Cena's elimination.[102]

 
Wyatt facing off against John Cena at WrestleMania XXX in April 2014

After Elimination Chamber, Wyatt feuded with Cena, with Wyatt wanting to prove that Cena's heroic act was a facade characteristic of "this era of lies" while also trying to turn Cena into a "monster".[103][104] Wyatt went on to accept Cena's challenge for a WrestleMania match,[105] with Cena successfully resisting the urge to become a "monster" and overcoming interference from Harper and Rowan to defeat Wyatt at WrestleMania XXX, thus marking Wyatt's first pinfall loss on WWE's main roster.[106] The feud continued after WrestleMania XXX based on the story that Wyatt was capturing Cena's fanbase, which was exemplified by Wyatt leading a children's choir to the ring on the April 28 episode of Raw, with the children later putting on sheep masks.[107] At Extreme Rules on May 4, Wyatt defeated Cena in a steel cage match, after repeated interference from the rest of The Wyatt Family and a "demonic" child.[108] Cena's feud with Wyatt continued with a Last Man Standing match being set up for Payback on June 1, where Cena buried Wyatt under multiple equipment cases to win the match and end the feud.[109] On the June 13 episode of SmackDown, Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose to qualify for the 2014 Money in the Bank ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship on June 29,[110] which Cena won.[111]

The following night on Raw, The Wyatt Family attacked a returning Chris Jericho.[112] This led to matches between Wyatt and Jericho at Battleground on July 20, where Jericho won,[113] and at SummerSlam on August 17, where Wyatt won with Harper and Rowan banned from ringside.[114] The feud with Jericho ended on the September 8 episode of Raw, when Wyatt won a steel cage match by escaping the cage.[115]

Singles competition (2014–2015)Edit

 
Wyatt's entrance at WrestleMania 31

Beginning on September 29, vignettes were shown of Wyatt "setting Harper and Rowan free".[116][117] Wyatt returned alone at Hell in a Cell on October 26, during the main event match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, costing Ambrose the match.[118] In the following weeks, Wyatt would taunt Ambrose while offering to "fix" him like he had done with Harper and Rowan.[119][120] On November 23 at Survivor Series, Wyatt eventually defeated Ambrose by disqualification after Ambrose used a steel chair to attack Wyatt.[121] At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 14, Wyatt defeated Ambrose in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match which main evented the event.[122] Wyatt would once again defeat Ambrose on the December 22 episode of Raw in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight.[123] The feud culminated in an ambulance match on the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw, which Wyatt won to effectively ending their feud.[124]

At Royal Rumble on January 25, Wyatt competed in the Royal Rumble match entering at number 5, and he lasted for almost 47 minutes, eliminating six other contestants before being eliminated by Big Show and Kane.[125] Following the Royal Rumble, Wyatt began a series of cryptic promos, referring himself as "The New Face of Fear", and at Fastlane on February 22, a casket would be brought to the ring by druids, with Wyatt revealed to be inside, who would issue a challenge to The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania 31 on March 29,[126] which Undertaker accepted,[127] but Wyatt was unsuccessful in defeating The Undertaker.[128]

Following WrestleMania 31, Wyatt launched another series of enigmatic promos, which were revealed to be directed to Ryback on the April 27 episode of Raw, after Wyatt attacked Ryback following his match with Bo Dallas.[129] On the following episode of SmackDown, Wyatt would again attack Ryback after his match.[130] This would lead to a match between the two at Payback on May 17, which Wyatt won.[131]

Return of The Wyatt Family (2015–2017)Edit

At Money in the Bank on June 14, Wyatt interfered in the Money in the Bank ladder match and attacked Roman Reigns (who had defeated him in a qualification match on Raw) as Reigns was close to retrieving the briefcase.[132] This led to a match between the two at Battleground on July 19, where Wyatt defeated Reigns with the help of former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper, reforming the team (without Erick Rowan, who was injured at the time, but that would rejoin the group later).[133] At SummerSlam on August 23, Wyatt and Harper lost to Reigns and Ambrose.[134] The following night on Raw, Wyatt introduced a new Wyatt Family member named Braun Strowman, who attacked both Ambrose and Reigns.[135][136] At Night of Champions on September 20, The Wyatt Family defeated Reigns, Ambrose and Jericho in a six-man tag team match.[137] At Hell in a Cell on October 25, after Wyatt was defeated by Reigns in a Hell in a Cell match to end their feud, The Wyatt Family attacked The Undertaker and carried him backstage, reigniting their feud.[138] The next night on Raw, Wyatt was confronted by former rival Kane, who was attacked by the Wyatts and also carried backstage.[139] On the November 9 episode of Raw, The Brothers of Destruction returned and attacked The Wyatt Family.[140] At Survivor Series on November 22, Wyatt and Harper lost to The Brothers of Destruction.[141]

 
The Wyatt Family confronts The Rock at WrestleMania 32

At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13, The Wyatt Family defeated Team ECW in an eight-man tag team elimination tables match.[142] Wyatt was scheduled to face Brock Lesnar (who The Wyatt Family eliminated from the 2016 Royal Rumble match)[143] at Roadblock on March 12, but Wyatt revealed that he would be facing Lesnar alongside Harper in a two-on-one handicap match, which they lost.[144] It was reported that Wyatt was likely replaced in the match due to a serious back injury he was legitimate suffering from.[145] The Wyatt Family appeared at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, where they confronted The Rock, who defeated Rowan in an impromptu match in six seconds and the Wyatts were fended off by the returning John Cena and The Rock.[146]

On the April 4 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family attacked The League of Nations, starting an unexplained feud between the two villainous factions.[147] On the April 11 episode of Raw, Wyatt teamed with Roman Reigns to defeat League of Nations members Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus.[147][148] On April 13, during a match against Reigns at a live event in Italy, Wyatt suffered an injury to his right calf and was pulled off WWE's European tour.[149] His injury resulted in the suspension of the feud between The Wyatt Family and The League of Nations.[147] The Wyatt Family returned on the June 20 episode of Raw, subsequently getting into a feud with the WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, who interrupted Wyatt during his return speech.[150] The New Day would later confront The Wyatt Family at their compound[151] before the Wyatts defeated them at Battleground on July 24 in a six-man tag team match.[152] In the 2016 WWE draft, Wyatt and Rowan were drafted to SmackDown while Strowman was drafted to Raw.[153]

 
The "New" Wyatt Family as SmackDown Tag Team Champions: (from left to right) Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton.

On the August 16 episode of SmackDown Live, Wyatt walked away from Rowan after he lost his match against Dean Ambrose, leaving Rowan's sheep mask on Wyatt's rocking chair.[154] Wyatt confronted Randy Orton,[155] who he called "damaged" and challenged him to a match at Backlash, which Orton accepted on the August 30 episode of SmackDown Live.[156] At Backlash on September 11, Wyatt attacked Orton before the match, winning by forfeit.[157] Wyatt then faced Kane in a No Holds Barred match, which he lost when Orton interfered.[158] Orton then challenged Wyatt to another match at No Mercy on October 9, which he accepted and won with the help of the returning Harper.[159] On the October 25 episode of SmackDown Live, Orton interfered on Wyatt's behalf in his match with Kane, leading to speculation that Orton had joined The Wyatt Family,[160] which would be later confirmed.[161]

At the 30th annual Survivor Series on November 20, Wyatt and Orton were the sole survivors for Team SmackDown in the traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match after Orton saved Wyatt from a spear from Roman Reigns.[162] The pair then began focusing on stopping the momentum of American Alpha, and to a bigger degree capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, defeating them in a match to become number one contenders.[163] At Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 4, they won the championship against Heath Slater and Rhyno, marking Wyatt's first title win in WWE.[164] While Wyatt and Orton retained the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against the former champions on the December 6 episode of SmackDown Live, it was announced that The Wyatt Family invoked the Freebird Rule, thus allowing Harper to also defend the championship.[14] On the December 27 episode of SmackDown Live, The Wyatt Family lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championship to American Alpha when Orton and Harper were defeated in a four corners elimination tag team match also involving The Usos and the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno.[165] This started dissent between Harper and Orton, who faced each other on the January 14, 2017 of SmackDown Live, which Orton won, leading to Wyatt delivering Sister Abigail to Harper, exiling him from the group.[166] On January 29, Wyatt entered the Royal Rumble match as the 21st participant, and lasted until the final three before being eliminated by Roman Reigns, after which Orton eliminated Reigns to win the Royal Rumble.[167]

WWE Champion and brand switches (2017–present)Edit

On February 12 at Elimination Chamber, Wyatt defeated John Cena, AJ Styles, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, and Baron Corbin in an Elimination Chamber match to capture the WWE Championship for the first time in his career and his first singles title in professional wrestling overall.[168] The following night on SmackDown Live, after Wyatt successfully defended the WWE Championship in a triple threat match involving John Cena and AJ Styles (despite a pre-match attack by Harper), Orton came to the ring, pledging allegiance to Wyatt and refusing to face him at WrestleMania 33.[169] However, the "allegiance" was a ruse by Orton which did not last long as he burned down and destroyed The Wyatt Family compound two weeks later, knowing that the spirit of Sister Abigail is underneath the compound.[170][171] At WrestleMania 33 on April 2, Wyatt lost the title to Orton, ending his reign at 49 days and suffering his third consecutive WrestleMania loss in the process.[172][173] On April 10, Wyatt was moved to Raw as a part of the "Superstar Shake-up" and announced he would invoke his rematch clause for the WWE title at Payback in a House of Horrors match, but the match was changed into a non-title match, in which he was successful at the event by help from Jinder Mahal.

Upon moving to Raw, Wyatt debuted on May 1 and told general manager Kurt Angle not to meddle, and let him do his work. Later that night, both Wyatt and Samoa Joe interfered in the main event, a triple threat match between Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and The Miz to decide the new #1 contender to Dean Ambrose's Intercontinental Championship. Wyatt attacked Bálor, enabling The Miz to pin him while Rollins was incapacitated by Joe at ringside. The following week, Wyatt defeated Ambrose after interference from The Miz.[174]

Personal lifeEdit

Rotunda is married and has two daughters.[3] He is a fan of the Oakland Raiders[175] and the Toronto Maple Leafs.[citation needed]

In wrestlingEdit

Wyatt preparing to perform Sister Abigail on Big E
Wyatt performing his signature "spider walk"
Wyatt's signature entrance

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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