Bray Wyatt sadly passed away at the age of 36, and the pro wrestling world is still in mourning. He reportedly passed away in his sleep, and there is a lot of sadness and grief right now as the world tries to figure out a world without his laughter. His creative influence on the pro wrestling was also unmatched.
Bray Wyatt was involved in some fantastic creative storyline during his time in WWE. After he was brought up as Husky Harris, Wyatt was able to turn things around and reinvent himself in NXT before making history with the Wyatt Family.
While speaking to Wrestling News, Brian Gewirtz spoke about Bray Wyatt, and what it was like to see him grow in WWE. It was certainly something special, and that was always clear to see.
“I could tell, from Bray’s standpoint, obviously Husky Harris wasn’t something that he wanted to do. But at the same time, you get called up, and you get an opportunity to perform on television, you’re really not in a position to say anything otherwise. So he kind of paid his dues, I guess, but you could tell that there was a lot more going on in the brain than being part of a group. Yes, you’re on television, and yes, you’re getting exposure. You’re even working with top talent, but you don’t have much opportunity to show your personality and show what you’re capable of.”
“So it was really post-Nexus 2.0 Bray coming back and him, him being Windham, putting in the work and the effort and the creativity to emerge as this brand-new character, this hypnotic, mesmerizing character.”
“I likened it to this. Imagine 1920s basketball, where they’re all throwing it through a peach basket and doing all those old-timey moves and everything, and then LeBron shows up. You’re like, ‘Yes, we’re technically playing the same sport, but this person is on a completely different level than anything we’ve ever witnessed before.’ That was Bray Wyatt. As a writer on the creative team, this happens to everybody I think on the creative team, sometimes you get stuck in a funk, where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, this has been done before, and this has been done. Everything’s been done before. How can we possibly do something new when literally every story, every iteration of wrestling…’Yes, that’s just like McMahon and Austin’, or , ‘Yes, that’s just like Hogan versus Andre’, or whatever. Here comes Bray, doing stuff that had never been seen before. It’s all coming out of his brain. The promos, the first time you saw Firefly Fun House. My brain was like, ‘What is this? This is insane, this is hypnotic.’ When he’s doing the dance and the song and the Vince puppet, and the match with Cena at the COVID WrestleMania, and all that stuff, it was truly mind-bending. That all comes from Bray. That wasn’t Bray sitting down. I know he worked with several members of the creative team and collaborated with them. But he was the driving force behind all of this stuff.”
The former WWE writer reminisced about his collaboration with Wyatt during the promo segment with The Rock at WrestleMania 32. He explained that he provided Wyatt with an outline rather than a scripted dialogue, highlighting his desire to allow Wyatt creative freedom.
Brian Gewirtz reiterated that Wyatt’s character and performance were entirely his responsibility, and he commended Wyatt’s exceptional talent in this regard.
“Even when we worked together at WrestleMania 32 with The Rock, we wanted to, I know taking to Rock, it was like, ‘This guy, Bray Wyatt, he doesn’t have a match. This is the promo we should be doing.’ That’s basically what we discussed with each other. Rock wanted to work with him, I wanted Rock to work with him. Bray obviously would be more than happy to do a segment with The Rock. But even when we put that segment together, it was like, ‘Alright, Bray, you’ll say your stuff, I’ll just let you do it. Because I’m certainly not writing anything for Bray Wyatt. Here’s the outline. Whatever you say, Rock will respond to.’ That’s sort of, it’s not necessarily a given with a lot of performers. A lot of performers can and do write their own promos. But Bray, from the start, from the incarnation of the Bray Wyatt character, it was all him putting forward the character, the aura, the mood, the atmosphere. He’s just really, really remarkable.”
When discussing that particular segment, Brian Gewirtz emphasized The Rock’s intent to elevate Wyatt as a compelling character. He reflected on how engaged the audience was, attentively absorbing every word spoken by Rock and Wyatt. Gewirtz further expressed his pleasure in collaborating with these two stars on the segment.
“The other thing I would add is that in putting that promo together, the one key in that promo that we wanted to do, above everything else, is Rock putting Bray over. Usually, there’s this dynamic where the heel comes out, and maybe there’s a line, some lip service or whatever, of ‘Yeah, you’re a great athlete, but,’ blah blah blah, typically with a heel and babyface. But in this particular case, we had the spotlight on us. The world of wrestling is watching. This is a good opportunity for The Rock to really put over the dynamic personality, the magnetic presence, the fact that he’s supposedly a heel, and 101,000 people are holding up their cell phones. I always thought, certainly at the time, at WrestleMania 32, that the Bray Wyatt character should transcend babyface/heel.”
“He’s just this agent of chaos, and you can either like him or not like him. I don’t like that be as sometimes pigeon-holed as, ‘You gotta be a heel because wrestling is babyface and heels.’ I thought he was just an anomaly in the sense that he transcends that and is much more than that. So we definitely took that opportunity for The Rock, and the fans responded too, by the way.”
“When The Rock’s talking about how he’s got the look, he’s got the charisma, he’s got this magnetic power about him, and of course, you can’t teach this stuff, and I couldn’t teach it, but Bray and Rock, with the presence to take that moment and take their time, acknowledge the crowd. They’re popping, they’re responding to it. There’s not a ‘What?’ in the building during the time where lots of ‘Whats’ would happen, where Bray and Rock would go back and forth. Everyone was truly listening to hear what they would have to say. So yeah, that was really great to be able to work on that promo with those guys.”
Brian Gewirtz went on to share his belief that Bray Wyatt could have ascended to the next level of stardom by branching into film and television because he was such a talented actor and performer.
The ex WWE writer then detailed how Bray Wyatt was ahead of his time by playing a horror character in the wrestling world, as this combination sometimes contradicted itself. Gewirtz closed out his message by stating that the numerous tributes to Wyatt spoke to the kind of person that he was.
“When we talked about it before, the ascension or progression from WWE to film and television, with Rock and Cena and Batista and several others have made inroads. But in the back of my mind, and the back of probably lots and lots of people’s minds, that was where you could easily see Bray, Windham, ascending to. Because he’s such a good actor and such a good performer, and had such great instincts, and so genuine.”
“This scary guy, this horror character, was really ahead of his time in a wrestling world. It’s difficult in a wrestling world. It’s not easy when you’re sitting in the rocking chair going back and forth, and talking about these cryptic promos, otherworldly type promos. But at the end of the day, your goal is supposedly pin someone’s shoulders to the mat for a count of three and/or get them to submit in order to win a championship. The motivation and the goals aren’t necessarily aligned in that particular case, and so it’s a challenge sometimes to have them be aligned.”
“It’s like, ‘Yes, if you’re not trying to be champion, then what are you doing?’ Well, Bray Wyatt is operating on a much different plane than everyone else. I would have loved to, like everyone… basically, yeah, I agree. Go back, treasure back the materials that we do have, the legacy that he left as far as a performer. But all these outpourings, the tributes that are coming, you can tell, whether you knew him or you didn’t know him, what a genuine human being he was, above being a performer, and he was a remarkable performer. He was even more valued and more loved and treasured as a human being,”
Brian Gewirtz also stated that he doesn’t believe Vince McMahon is sweating the AEW All In attendance turnout at all, either. He’s seen a lot in the pro wrestling business, including Bray Wyatt’s creative rise.
The stars aligned uniquely for Bray Wyatt, and we all miss him dearly. Our thoughts continue going out to JoJo Offerman, his children, and the entire Rotunda Family.
What is your favorite Bray Wyatt memory from his WWE career? Sound off in the comments to let us know what you’re thinking!