Bray Wyatt sadly passed away on August 24, 2023, at the tragically young age of 36 following a heart attack.
Wyatt’s legacy is one of astonishing creativity but also unrealised potential. During his WWE career, he had a vast amount of terrific matches and memorable moments.
This feature looks back on the five finest matches of Wyatt’s career.
#5 ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan – Royal Rumble 2020 (January 26, 2020)
Bray Wyatt’s wacky alter ego, ‘The Fiend’ was not renowned for having great matches, but his Strap Match with Daniel Bryan stands out as an exception.
For 18 minutes, the pair battered each other senseless with the strap in an expertly booked and exciting encounter. Bryan was aggressive and animated which injected pace into the match, as he worked around the more methodical Wyatt.
The finishing sequence was hot, wherein Bryan reversed a Mandible Claw into a Yes Lock with the strap. Wyatt escaped and attempted Sister Abigail, which Bryan also countered into a cradle which earned a two count. Bryan nailed Wyatt with a knee but was caught by a Mandible Claw slam, which earned ‘The Fiend’ the clean pin.
Terrific match which saw Wyatt retain the Universal Title. Definitely the in-ring highlight of his run as ‘The Fiend.’
#4 Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan – Royal Rumble 2014 (January 26, 2014)
Daniel Bryan was Bray Wyatt’s greatest opponent. Six years earlier at the Royal Rumble, the pair engaged in an even better bout. For 22 minutes, Wyatt and Bryan engaged in an intense brawl that had excellent psychology. Wyatt worked over Bryan’s head and shoulder and ‘The American Dragon’ targeted Wyatt’s knee.
The match was full on and the live crowd ate up every last second of it. They pounded each other with stiff shots and the finish was in doubt until the very end.
Wyatt ultimately hit Bryan with Sister Abigail into the barricade, then another inside the ring. That was enough to earn him the spotlessly clean win. At the time, it was Wyatt’s biggest career victory.
Bryan’s loss deflated the Pittsburgh crowd but not as much as the Royal Rumble match later in the show would do. For Wyatt, this bout put him on a collision course with John Cena at WrestleMania XXX.
#3 Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz – Elimination Chamber 2017 (February 12, 2017)
After several missteps in his booking over the preceding two years, few predicted that Bray Wyatt would emerge from the 2017 Elimination Chamber as the WWE Champion. However, that’s precisely what happened in one of the best Chamber matches in recent memory.
It was a star-studded field with defending champion John Cena clashing with Wyatt and former champions, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, and The Miz. Baron Corbin rounded out the field. Cena and Styles started out the bout which lasted an epic 35 minutes.
Wyatt entered the match-up as the number four entrant and cleaned house early. A memorable spot saw Wyatt launching Styles over his head with an overhead suplex. Wyatt reversed a Cena AA into a Sister Abigail to eject the reigning champion.
He then engaged in a thrilling five-minute back-and-forth contest with ‘The Phenomenal One’ which resulted in ‘The Eater of Worlds’ dodging a Phenomenal Forearm and nailing Styles with Sister Abigail. That was enough for Wyatt to pin Styles and capture his first World Title.
Excellent match packed full of big moves and star power, which culminated in a seminal victory for Wyatt after a couple of years of inconsistent booking. Unfortunately, for him he would drop the belt in a lacklustre contest with Randy Orton several weeks later at WrestleMania 33.
#2 The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield – Elimination Chamber 2014 (February 23, 2014)
When the triumvirate of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan debuted on the main roster of WWE television in the summer of 2013, most onlookers wondered what would happen if they ever clashed with the company’s other formidable trio, The Shield.
That came to pass in a series of well-received matches in early 2014; the first of which took place at Elimination Chamber.
In a terrifically, heated, fast-paced, and exciting contest, the two teams battered each other senseless for 23 minutes. It was packed full of big moves and world-class brawling. Dean Ambrose and Harper took each other out of the match after an intense back-and-forth.
The Wyatt Family nailed Seth Rollins with a double chokeslam through the Spanish announce table, ending his part in the match-up.
That left Roman Reigns alone against daunting odds. In a tense closing stretch, Reigns powered out of a Sister Abigail and nailed Wyatt with a Samoan Drop. He then threw Harper out of the ring, and nailed a Superman Punch on Wyatt and Rowan, before smashing Harper with a huge Spear. Taking advantage of the distraction, Wyatt grabbed ‘The Big Dog’ and hit Sister Abigail for the win.
This bout was one of the finest six-man contests WWE has ever produced, if not the best. Super hot from start to finish, with no let-up in the action. A truly magnificent match-up.
#1 ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena – WrestleMania 36 (March 26, 2020)
The pinnacle of Bray Wyatt’s career and legacy will forever be his greatest creative achievement: The Firefly Funhouse match at WrestleMania 36. Wyatt’s creation popularised the “Cinematic Match” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Longtime fans who remembered the trauma of Wyatt’s loss to John Cena six years prior at WrestleMania 30 would have been concerned history would repeat itself in WWE’s Performance Center. Happily, though Wyatt’s alter ego ‘The Fiend’ would overcome Cena in a pseudo-match-up that was preceded by a series of highly original and entertaining segments, which stunningly mocked and exposed Cena’s character as a sham.
We saw Cena revisit his WWE debut, prepare for battle in a Saturday Night’s Main Event promo, and get brutally torn to shreds and called a bully when he was forced to unearth his ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ character. Cena was then brought out as a member of the nWo, before finally clashing with ‘The Fiend’ inside the ring, where he was pinned and erased from existence.
Not so much a match but an experience. Wyatt exacted his revenge for his WrestleMania 30 loss in incredible fashion. To his credit, Cena played his part in what amounted to a brutal burial of his WWE career.
It defined what a ‘Cinematic Match’ should be. It redefined Wyatt as a character. It cemented his legacy as a hugely creative storyteller and one of the greatest wrestling minds of the 21st century. It remains his finest achievement.
You can watch all of these matches exclusively on the WWE Network.