Bray Wyatt Released from WWE Contract After 12 Years with Company

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

WWE announced another high-profile release Saturday: former WWE and Universal champion Bray Wyatt.

Wyatt signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2009 and had been part of the main roster since 2010. In addition to being a one-time WWE champion and two-time Universal champion, Wyatt held the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team championships.

WWE has parted ways with several big-name talents since WrestleMania 37 in April. Wyatt joined Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Mickie James and The IIconics, among others.

Wyatt had not appeared on WWE programming since the night after WrestleMania 37 during a Firefly Fun House segment. At WrestleMania, Wyatt competed as The Fiend and lost to Randy Orton because of a distraction by Alexa Bliss.

There has been a great deal of speculation regarding Wyatt's absence, but it was never made clear why he was held off television.

Last week, PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton) reported that some within WWE felt Wyatt's hiatus was "not related to a creative issue."

H Jenkins of Ringside News later reported the reason for Wyatt's absence from WWE programming was "medical."

Wyatt remained active on social media, including tweeting that he missed the fans:

Bray Wyatt @WWEBrayWyatt

I miss you guys too. Believe me

The 34-year-old Wyatt, who is the son of former WWE Superstar Irwin R. Schyster, broke into WWE under the name Husky Harris.

After a failed venture in the Nexus stable, Wyatt was sent to FCW and later NXT, where he developed the Wyatt character. Wyatt resurfaced on WWE's main roster in 2012 alongside Erick Rowan and the late Luke Harper—also known as Brodie Lee—as The Wyatt Family.

The Wyatt Family eventually added Strowman to the mix and experienced a great deal of success before breaking up.

Most recently, Wyatt had returned to prominence with his Fiend character, which debuted in 2019. Wyatt's character was partly The Fiend and partly the Firefly Fun House version of himself.

Wyatt became a two-time Universal champion using that persona, and he beat John Cena in a Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania 36 last year.

While the circumstances and reasons for Wyatt's release remain unclear, speculation regarding his arrival in AEW may ramp up in the coming weeks.

AEW has signed many former WWE talents following their releases from WWE since coming into existence two years ago. Among them are Malakai Black, Miro, Andrade El Idolo, FTR and Cody Rhodes.

AEW signed both Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho after they declined to sign new contracts with WWE as well.

Now, rumors are running rampant that AEW is bringing in two more former WWE stars in Daniel Bryan and CM Punk.

A return to WWE could always be on the table as well if Wyatt indeed wants to continue wrestling, but his departure undoubtedly was a shock given his lofty standing within the company.