STAMFORD, Conn. — What has already been a year of surprising talent cuts continued Saturday. News emerged that former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt was released from his contract.
Josh Nason at Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online reveals that WWE officials announced the release on Twitter, but then later deleted the tweet. The news was again tweeted a short time later.
Wyatt (real name: Windham Rotunda) last appeared on Monday Night Raw following WrestleMania. In the April broadcast, Wyatt appeared as part of a Firefly Fun House segment.
Wyatt held the WWE Championship once and the Universal Championship twice. He has also held the Tag Team Championships for Raw and Smackdown.
Wyatt, the son of Mike Rotunda, has been around WWE since 2009. He was originally Husky Harris in NXT and later became part of The Nexus. Later, he went to what was then FCW and rebranded. He would become Bray Wyatt, a charismatic cult-like leader of The Wyatt Family. Erick Rowan and the late Brodie Lee as Luke Harper were called up the main roster in 2013. Braun Strowman was a part of the faction for a period of time.
In 2019, Wyatt developed his alter-ego “The Fiend.”
He is married to WWE ring announcer JoJo Offerman, and the couple have two children together. His brother, Bo Dallas (real name: Taylor Rotunda), was released earlier this year.
Speculation on the release
Not much is known about the details surrounding the release. However, there is a bit of speculation on the matter.
Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer told Nason that Wyatt was told the reasoning for his release was due to budgetary cuts. The validity of this speculation remains uncertain. However, Meltzer did state that Wyatt was slated to return to the ring in August.
Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful Select elaborates on the release further:
Fightful was told that Johnny Ace (John Laurinaitis) made the call and also sent out a notification out to shocked wwe talent moments after the news broke online that Wyatt had been released. The message that WWE talent received from talent relations also indicated it was a budget cut.
The notion of further budgetary cuts was something of instantaneous surprise within WWE. This is considering that Wyatt is known to be a great merch seller when he’s active on the roster. Wyatt was a moneymaker for the company.
Wyatt was among a list in recent round of cuts
Sapp alludes to additional information that Wyatt’s name was mentioned for another recent round of cuts, including multiple other wrestlers. They also confirmed Wyatt’s intended return for August with tentative creative plans in store.
Fightful was also told that the company’s creative team was told that Wyatt was getting protective of his character. This is likely due to what have been seen as poor creative creations and ideas thrown in his direction. However, members of the creative team did not speak to Wyatt directly. In other terms, the creative department wasn’t sure if it was all hearsay.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.