Bray Wyatt has been released by WWE, with colleague Alexa Bliss ‘lost for words’ at his departure.
The hugely popular and talented Wyatt last wrestled for the company at WrestleMania several months ago.
Fans had been eagerly anticipating his next on-screen comeback, with those hopes now dashed after WWE confirmed his exit on Saturday.
The former WWE Champion was widely regarded as one of the most creative and expressive talents on their roster, credited with the creation of his demonic Fiend character.
His undoubted qualities have been unable to save him from Vince McMahon’s empire calling time on his tenure, though, with a statement posted to their website to confirm the news.
“WWE has come to terms on the release of Bray Wyatt,” it read. “We wish him the best in all his future endeavours.”
The announcement was met with instant dismay from Wyatt’s fans and colleagues.
One took to social media to criticise what they felt was WWE’s chronic mismanagement of Wyatt and his on-screen characters, saying: “Bray has the potential to be an amazing star worldwide. He is a tremendous creative.
“Unfortunately WWE never let him reach that potential. They misused him and buried his characterisation tons of times. He deserves more.”
Another simply fumed: “What a waste of talent.”
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Fan frustration seemed to rest on the belief that Wyatt would routinely be built up into promising and prominent positions in storylines, only for that work to be wasted.
Wyatt was, for example, reigning Universal Champion in 2020 after a carefully-crafted build, only for WWE to have him lose to veteran part-timer Goldberg in a match that barely lasted a few minutes.
Mickie James, the multi-time world champ who was also released by WWE this year, hit back at the news of Wyatt’s release with similar criticism.
In response to their statement she replied: “I think what you meant to say was: “Thank you so much for coming up with such an incredible gimmick(time & time again)one so cool & over, we really didn’t know how to book it right. So we just gave it to someone else so we can still make ALL the money off of it & let you go” (sic)
One star certainly feeling the impact of the 34-year-old’s sudden exit is his on-screen partner, Alexa Bliss.
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Wyatt and Bliss were a sinister yet perfectly-suited tandem during the early part of 2021 before they effectively split on screen at WrestleMania in Tampa Bay.
In an emotional address on Twitter, Bliss used Wyatt’s real name and said the news had left her “in shock.”
She wrote: I really am at a loss for words… thank you so much Windham for everything you’ve done for this company.
“The most fun I’ve had is working with you. Such an amazing talent & the most kind person. I’m just in shock.”
WWE did not comment on why they’d come to terms on Wyatt’s release or any circumstances behind it, but prominent outlet the Wrestling Observer Newsletter cited financial reasons as the driving force.
They noted: “Wyatt was told his release was due to budget cuts. He had been preparing to return in August.”
His release is one of the latest in a string of cuts made by WWE this year.
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Braun Strowman, Alistair Black, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are all among the names to have departed in recent months.
Black has already made his debut in rival wrestling company AEW, where fellow WWE alumni Christian, Mark Henry, Rusev and Jon Moxley are all currently performing.
Speculation soon began to mount among fans that Wyatt will eventually join their ranks, too.
One said: “Congratulations, WWE, on gift-wrapping the competition your biggest star!”
Wyatt had been in WWE since 2009, rising through NXT before becoming a standout performer on SmackDown and Raw.
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