Just days before the most significant match in his young career, Bray Wyatt is reflective and articulate when speaking about facing WrestleMania’s greatest legend, The Undertaker.
Wyatt, a third-generation star who’s father is Mike Rotundo (also known as Irwin R. Schyster), and his grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan, says that there is no bigger stage than WrestleMania and no bigger foe than the legendary ‘Taker.
“If you think about it, when I look at it, back in the grand scheme of things, when I was a child watching him on TV, looking at him, he’s so much larger than life,” Wyatt conceded in an interview before WrestleMania. “Then everything followed him, and everything’s he’s accomplished. He’s just kept that aura, which is impossible in this, in any business, really. He’s kept that aura for all these years. He’s the untouchable, he’s the untouchable. Lots of people have been champion, but no one else has had a streak like his at WrestleMania. For me, it is the omega.”
Like his opponent, Wyatt is an imposing figure. He stands over six feet tall and his mere presence commands the room. While his character has emerged in World Wrestling Entertainment as one of the most mysterious and unpredictable and maniacal when the cameras are rolling, on this day, he’s thoughtful and appreciative of the opportunity he faces Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.
“It’s an honour that they put me in the same category, because to me, there’s a lot of greats, but Undertaker is THE greatest,” Wyatt answered when asked what he thinks about the comparisons fans and others have drawn between Wyatt and the Undertaker.
“For them to put me in the same category is an honour, but I want them in the same respect, I want them to understand that I am not trying to be the next Undertaker. I’m not trying to be anything but myself, and that’s all I want.”
“However, for me, the ultimate goal would be one day, when a younger guy finds out that he’s working, wrestling against Bray Wyatt, at WrestleMania, I want everyone around him to congratulate him on what a big achievement that is. I want that same respect that Undertaker has. That comes with earning it, but that’s what this is.”
As good as Wyatt is inside the ring, he possesses microphone skills far beyond his years, shades of grandpa Mulligan. It was suggested that few are in Paul Heyman’s league nowadays — “He’s incredible,” Wyatt added — but if anyone could make a case, it is Wyatt.
“When I started this, I’ll put it this way, I wanted to give something whole, you know,” Wyatt said, his mood suddenly turning somber. “I wanted confidence again, because when I got thrown away, when I got taken back down after the Nexus days, I just felt like trash, and I knew that I was so much more than what I had given everyone. I wanted to prove that I was special too, and that I would be remembered for something.”
They say you can’t keep a good man down, and Wyatt dusted himself off, dropped the Husky Harris name, reinvented himself, literally, and re-emerged as one of the most polarizing and dominant characters of this generation.
“Through my darkness came my greatest gift, because it was that motivator that gave me the ability to project and give real thoughts. It was therapy. It was, ‘I’m just going to take everything off of my shoulders and everything that’s holding me down, and I’m just going to put it out there.’ And I did that. Whether it was from one person, like it is for you and I, or 10 people sitting around, or millions watching, it became my therapy because I can’t bottle this in. That’s not who I am. I have to project and get it out there, or else I go insane.”
The reinvention of Bray Wyatt has been therapeutic not only for the man himself, but for the WWE and for its fans. There is a saying that the truth shall set you free. Bray Wyatt is living proof.
“That people connect with this is (because) I’m not giving them anything false. Everything that I say, and everything I do, every movement, is all real and all me.”
WrestleMania 31 is available on the WWE Network. Go to http://network.wwe.com for details.