November 13, 2005. It was another Sunday for me, and then I checked out one of the dirt sheets. There it was. “BREAKING NEWS: Eddie Guerrero found dead in hotel room”.
Raw and Smackdown were taped together that day because of international shows that week. The sight of the entire roster standing there, the ten bell salute, the vignette to Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, the testimonials, and at the end of Raw, John Cena laid his WWE title atop Eddie’s shirt. Smackdown was no less sad. Batista in tears just about wrecked me.
What happened to Bray brought those memories back.
Deep down, I knew why he had passed. Call it a gut feeling.
Much has been said and will still be said about Bray Wyatt. To say his “Eater of worlds” gimmick was unsettling just doesn’t do it justice. The Fiend? Forget about it.
You really can’t sum up his career easily. One moment he supposedly got buried and the next his run gets rehabbed. Case in point: Wyatt pins both John Cena AND AJ Styles in the same match to win the WWE title then comes with feud with Randy Orton.
The fans loved him anyway. They were drawn to him whatever character he was. The “fireflies” during his entrance was a phenomenon onto itself. He had a way of making his gimmicks resonate like no other. He got cheered when he wasn’t supposed to, even when he feuded with Daniel Bryan of all people.
Hell, the Fiend outright broke John Cena so bad everyone thought that was the end of him.
BTW, the Fiend was all about exploiting a weakness to defeat his enemies. Maybe he lost to Goldberg because he didn’t have a weakness to exploit. Just a thought.
What about the man behind the masks? The social media posts about Windham tell the story. I can’t think of one time anyone had a bad word to say about him.
I wonder what it was like for him growing up. Being third generation and being named after one of the Four Horsemen is a lot to live up to.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how he was booked. What matters is the man, what he brought to the business, and what he left behind.
If we’re confused, angry, and sad, we’re supposed to be. Let’s all send prayers and good thoughts to his family. They need them right now.
The Rotunda family aren’t the only ones that need our support.
I didn’t have much to say about Terry Funk because I didn’t follow his career too closely. I wish I had. Sad that the business lost not one but two living legends.
RIP Windham Lawrence Rotunda and Terry Funk.