WWE used Friday Night SmackDown this week to pay tribute to a pair of individuals who recently passed away. On Wednesday, the legendary Terry Funk died at 79, and one day later, Triple H announced the tragic news that Windham Rotunda, known to wrestling fans as Bray Wyatt, died at 36.
Rotunda had not appeared on television for WWE in months after being abruptly removed from the card at WrestleMania 39, and while reports indicated he was getting closer and closer to a return from the illness that made that happen, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com reported that he suffered a heart attack on Thursday. The entire wrestling community paid tribute to a life lost far too young, and unsurprisingly, SmackDown started with the entire WWE locker room — along with former Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan — honoring them with a 10 bell salute.
This week, we lost two beloved members of the WWE family, Hall of Famer Terry Funk and the one and only Bray Wyatt.
— WWE (@WWE) August 26, 2023
From there, WWE jumped into a video package that remembered Rotunda for his life in and out of the ring.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) August 26, 2023
When the cameras cut back to the roster standing on stage, a round of applause broke out. And in a beautiful moment in the face of an unspeakable tragedy, the crowd began singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands” before the lights went out and a single rocking chair went under a spotlight.