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Wrestling / The Wyatt Family

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Catchin' fliiiiies... in his moooooouth... note 
"I have no... followers. I only have brothers and sisters, all in the name of cause. People are sheep, you understand me? They can't lead themselves— they need to be led. People buy and sell fear. They worship war, they crave war, but I'm not afraid of their wars! [I CREATED WAR! And I think it's time for the masses to wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! WAKE UP and look at this LIE they're living in! The world is deteriorating between their toes, and they do nothing about it. They only stand there. They whisper and wonder but never do anything about it! But I've seen it all in my dreams and in my thoughts, and above everything else I understand: this is not the beginning... it's the end.

"TV Tropes... we're here."

*fast-paced montage of disturbing imagery* *DEA-*

The Wyatt Family was a professional wrestling stable formerly consisting of Bray Wyatt (real name Windham Rotunda), and his followers Luke Harper (real name Jon Huber), Erick Rowan (real name Joseph Ruud), and Braun Strowman (real name Adam Scherr). Their gimmick is somewhat hard to describe, but think of the hillbillies from Deliverance mixed with a creepy Charles Manson-esque cult. Wyatt himself has a bit of Max Cady from Cape Fear and the mannerisms of a Southern bayou preacher. They are a very dark, creepy bunch with an ominous presence enhanced by Wyatt's incredible mic skills and hypnotic charisma. They debuted on the July 8, 2013 edition of Monday Night Raw attacking Kane and injuring him. Since then, they have engaged in a number of feuds, including mid-late 2014 storylines with John Cena, The Usos and Chris Jericho.

In late 2014, after being absent for approximately two months, Bray Wyatt revealed, through pre-recorded vignettes, that Erick Rowan and Luke Harper had been "set free," effectively disbanding the group and sending all three into singles competition. Wyatt retained all the qualities of his entrance (the theme, lantern, "I'm here" pre-intro, and the rocking chair), and Rowan and Harper were given their own themes respectively. However, the family was later reunited in mid-late 2015, with Braun Strowman initially replacing Erick Rowan due to an injury until his return to the fold prior to Hell in a Cell 2015. Strowman left the stable in the summer of 2016 after the brand split. After feuding with the Family for some time, Orton forged an alliance with them and later became a full-time member.

While they are portrayed as heels, they won the fans over with their charisma and their unique gimmick. They are cheered often, and fans typically turn on their cell phone flashes and wave them as if they were lighters when they make their entrance for a match.

At TLC 2016, they became the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions; with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton defeating Heath Slater and Rhyno. The reign wasn't extremely long, though; they would lose the titles to American Alpha on the last Smackdown of 2016. Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble as a Wyatt Family member, while conspiring with Wyatt to kick Harper out of the group.

After Wyatt became the WWE Champion, Orton revealed his ruse to destroy the family, burning down Wyatt's house where Sister Abigail's ashes lay. The two collided at WrestleMania 33 with Randy coming out on top in a heavily-panned match. After the even more awful "House of Horrors match" at Payback 2017 the feud mercifully ended and Bray moved on.

The stable remains defunct and is unlikely to reform anytime soon due to two of the four primary members having other things on their plates and two of them having passed away:

  • Patriarch Bray was out of WWE for months starting towards the end of 2018 due to a battle with meningitis, before returning after WrestleMania 35 repackaged with a new gimmick as the host of the Firefly Funhouse, along with a Jekyll & Hyde-style Monster Clown persona known only as "The Fiend" which is his new nom de guerre outside of segments and promos. The popularity of his new persona exploded, leading to a Universal Championship run at the end of 2019. After two years, he was released from the company before making his return in October 2022. He sadly passed away in August 2023.
  • Luke Harper had not been seen on television for some time, only making sporadic appearances and then being granted his release from WWE in December 2019, before signing with All Elite Wrestling in 2020 (playing, ironically, a creepy and charismatic cult leader). He sadly passed away in December 2020.
  • Erick Rowan, who also had a bout with meningitis that kept him off TV, returned at the 2019 Royal Rumble and joined forces with then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, helping him win his match that evening and leading to the pair joining forces as a duo of deranged environmentalists. After that alliance ended when he turned on Bryan, he too fell down the card and was released in April 2020.
  • Braun Strowman, since leaving the family, has long since been firm about going his own way and made it clear to Bray the last time they were in the ring together (at Survivor Series 2016) that he was done with him. He has been in and out of the world title scene since, culminating in his winning the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania 36. A year later, he was released from the company, only to return in September 2022.

Follow... the tropes...

  • Aborted Arc:
    • During his last few months in NXT, Bray Wyatt began cutting promos challenging then-NXT Champion Big E. Langston, and appeared to be heading towards a showdown with him. This ended up not happening, possibly due to the Wyatt Family being called up to the main roster sooner than expected, meaning it wouldn't have been all that worth it to put the title on Bray.
    • There looked to be a feud in the works with Big Show for Bray in mid-2014, but, perhaps due to the Wyatts' overall decline in recent months and the feud with Chris Jericho doing little to help re-elevate Wyatt, Show was placed into a feud with Rusev while the Wyatts have been repackaged with vignettes indicating Bray has "released" Harper and Rowan into the world.
    • Following WrestleMania 32, the Wyatts were supposed to have a feud with the League of Nations, which would had been a possible Face turn for the stable. Unfortunately, Bray suffered an injury, suspending the feud and the League broke up shortly afterwards.
  • Abusive Parents: During his early hype vignettes, Bray said his daddy was a mean man who made Bray work on his shrimping boat instead of going to school. Bray set fire to his dad's boat - and implied that his dad died in that fire.
  • Acrofatic: While Wyatt himself is not exactly "fat" compared to how he used to be, he is definitely overweight compared to most of the roster. That does not stop him from being a very agile wrestler and flexible enough to do the reverse spider crawl from The Exorcist for real in the middle of the ring (on live television no less).
  • Affably Evil: Sure Wyatt is a cruel, psychotic egomaniac cult leader who fancies himself some kind of primordial force of nature, but he has a good sense of humor, is incredibly polite and is highly charismatic. Plus he's got a really nice singing voice!
  • A God Am I: Wyatt said as much to John Cena:
    "If you look up at me, you will see a friend. If you look down at me, you will see an enemy, but if you look me in the eye, you will see a god."
  • All There in the Manual: The story behind Sister Abigail, the namesake of Wyatt's finishing move, is told exclusively through an eerie video on WWE's website here.
  • Animal Motifs: Sheep. Wyatt often gives speeches about the sheep walking upright and turning on the wolves, and Rowan wears a child's sheep mask when not wrestling... not to mention Wyatt's occasional singing of "Mary Had A Little Lamb." Braun Strowman is described as "the black sheep of the family" and wears a black version of Rowan's mask.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Luke Harper may count as one of these. In the early days of the team, Wyatt was the mouthpiece, Rowan was the monster, and Harper was mostly just there to take bumps. But between how well his old Brodie Lee style offense adapted to the WWE (Harper simply doesn't have bad matches), and how well he took to the character, he's gotten over in his own right. He holds the record for being the first member of the stable to win a title on the main roster, the Intercontinental Championship.
    • Wyatt himself is an ascended extra after spending the first part of his career as Husky Harris and essentially being used as roster filler in the CM Punk-led incarnation of The Nexus.
    • Braun Strowman was also this as he was a former Rosebud.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • It's a bit unclear, as the Wyatts go after everyone. Even The Shield. Then they targeted Daniel Bryan, and have since targeted John Cena, The Usos, and Chris Jericho. As the years have gone on, though, The Shield is the one group that is constantly on the Wyatts' (mainly Bray's) radar. Bray has gone after all three over the years, and makes it clear that he will never leave any of them alone.
    • The Cena rivalry is a great example thus far; Cena took his rivalry with Wyatt more personally than he did his rivalry with Randy Orton, who has put Cena's father in the hospital on multiple occasions.
    • Dean Ambrose is becoming a fairly violent one as well. It all started when Bray wanted to "heal" Ambrose but Ambrose declined by smashing him with a chair. This spiraled down into Ambrose breaking his "sacred" rocking chair and Bray smashing Ambrose's neck with a chair against the steel steppes.
    • Roman Reigns. What started as a feud between Reigns and Wyatt after the latter cost the former the Money in the Bank briefcase escalated into a virtual turf war between the reunited Wyatt Family (with Strowman replacing Rowan) and Reigns, Ambrose, and their allies, most prominently Randy Orton. At the center of the chaos, however, is Roman and Bray, as indicated when Roman challenged him to a one-on-one Hell in a Cell match to finish their feud.
    • The Undertaker and Kane in Survivor Series 2015.
    • The Dudley Boyz, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno in TLC 2015.
    • The New Day after they interrupt their promo.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: During the 2014 Royal Rumble, Bray told Harper and Rowan to go in the back so he can deal with Daniel Bryan on his own, and then proceeds to do so.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Luke Harper once said something in a vignette which pretty much sums up the Family:
      "Send us someone. Just don't send anyone you want back."
    • Bray laughing to himself during a promo to Kane, explaining that his flames could not hurt him, culminating in the rather unsettling claim of:
      "I'm already dead."
    • During a fight with Justin Gabriel, Bray let out this gem.
      "Foolish child! I am the eater of worlds!"
    • Luke Harper gets back in on the action in a promo against the Shield:
      "You three boys picked a beautiful hill to die on."
    • Towards Chris Jericho on July 4, 2014:
      You may call me Bray Wyatt... but I have a thousand faces, and a million names! Seducer! Accuser! [whispers and smiles eerily] ... destroyer. [returns to normal cadence] I am the color red in a world full of black and white, and if you value your ability to breathe... don't get too close.
  • Badass Preacher: Wyatt in particular... although what he's preaching is still anybody's guess.
  • Bald of Evil: Erick Rowan - although he more than makes up the difference in facial hair.
  • Beard of Evil: All four of them. Harper's is especially notable as it hangs down to his chest.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Harming members of the family is this for Wyatt; if they're in a match, you've got leeway. If they aren't, leave them be. When John Cena drove Luke Harper through the barricade at WrestleMania XXX, Wyatt went ballistic.
    • Dean Ambrose found out the hard way that disrespecting Sister Abigail is a one-way ticket to Bray Wyatt's bad side, as he suffered a steel chair to the throat for destroying Bray Wyatt's sacred rocking chair, which he revealed was a remnant of Sister Abigail herself. We know almost nothing about Sister Abigail, though, so it's not often that she's the target of other wrestlers' mockery/disrespect.
  • Big "YES!": Luke Harper's "YEAHYEAHYEAHYEAH" chanting, which were more trance-like in NXT but louder on Raw and SmackDown (likely due to venue sizes).
  • Black Sheep: Braun Strowman was not only this literally with his black sheep mask, but also figurativley as he was the only one to ditch the family without any sort of mistreatment being sent his way, having abandoned Bray entierly for his own selfish reasons.
  • Bookends: In his farewell promo (as a regular member of the NXT roster that is) to the NXT crowd in July 2013, Bray ends his speech with his creepy rendition of "Time Is On My Side", as he did in the early days of the gimmick on FCW/NXT.
  • Bring It:
    • During the February 3 2014 edition of RAW, the Shield told the Wyatts that they're not scared of them and are gonna put them in a world of hurt. Bray just laughs and shouts "I WELCOME THIS WAR!"
    • When Sheamus threatened to shove his foot down Bray's throat, Wyatt just laughed and clapped and shouted, "I LOVE IT!"
  • Bully Hunter: Erick Rowan during his brief face run. Unfortunately, he wasn't very good at it.
  • Call-Back: During their mid-2014 feud, Wyatt constantly taunted Chris Jericho to "Save us" and to "Save yourself," both of which are phrases used by Jericho during his comeback in 2007.
  • Carpet of Virility: Luke Harper, who has an odd blend of both types 1 and 2.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The most simple, to the point one you could possibly come up with. It's a single word. "RUN."
    • "Follow the buzzards."
    • Every now and again, "Down with the machine."
    • "YeahyeahyeahyeahyeahYEAHYEAHYEAHYEAH," Luke Harper's trance-like chant that he uses at seemingly random times.
    • [whispering] "We're/I'm here."
    • "♫He's got the whoooooole world in his hands...♫"
  • Characterization Marches On: When the Bray Wyatt character first debuted, he was more of a preacher and less of a messianic archetype. He was also ambiguously Christian - he was careful never to outright refer to Christian mythology, but he often talked about "the Good Book" and once cut a promo comparing himself (unfavorably) to "a certain carpenter." He also had a backstory in which he grew up poor white trash on the bayou, working on his father's shrimping boat. His father died in a fire on that boat that Wyatt implied he set himself. It's possible that the retcon of Wyatt's backstory was done because on the main roster it was harder to ignore his past as Husky Harris, and so his backstory was reworked to include Harris.
  • Cheap Heat: A rare, weird example of a heel using this to great effect. At some point in early 2014, Bray started preceding his "We're here" Catchphrase with the name of whatever city they were in for the episode.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dear lord... every promo Bray Wyatt cuts is basically a scenery buffet.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bray Wyatt is a villainous version of this. He's extremely eloquent and yet most of the time nobody but he himself (and maybe Rowan and Harper) knows what he's actually saying.
  • Composite Character:
    • John "Bradshaw" Layfield described Wyatt as "Duck Dynasty meets Charles Manson." A more accurate description would probably be "Max Cady meets The Brood."
    • They have a bizarro Horsemen feel about them, from their claims of being the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse right down to the upside down 4 they flash after each match or spot. They got some good heat as heels who challenged multiple levels of WWE, but they just kinda got swallowed up in the midcards.
  • Continuity Snarl: As Bray Wyatt's gimmick evolved since his NXT times, we have got at least three distinct biographies for his character: a disturbed bayou dweller who burned his father alive, a dark cult leader whose very birth is related to the enigmatic 'Sister Abigail', and now an ancient evil possessing Husky Harris's body. But the scariest part is that the three lives are implied to be somehow one and the same. We just could realize how little we know about him. According to one interpretation, his different life histories could belong to his previous vessels, whose personalities he keeps in some way. The implications don't make the matter less eerie, certainly.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Elimination Chamber 2014. The crowd was eating it up and were chanting "This is awesome!" even before the bell rang!
  • The Corrupter: Bray officially became this to Daniel Bryan on the last episode of Raw in 2013, though this proved to be a ruse on Bryan's part two weeks later. Bray also did something to Kane after kidnapping him that drove Kane into a Face–Heel Turn when he finally resurfaced, and tried in vain to tempt and cajole John Cena into giving into the monster Bray saw inside of him.
    • Implied to be this to the entire fanbase during the course of his feud with John Cena, mostly as a way of justifying the fact that he frequently gets cheered over Cena and tying it into the storyline.
    • It's also worth mentioning that the first signs of The Shield imploding happened while they were feuding with The Wyatt Family...
    • After several weeks of feuding with Randy Orton, he eventually succumbed to the Family's influence.
  • Creepy Children Singing: On April 28, 2014, Bray scared the living hell out of John Cena by bringing in a crowd of children who sang "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" while wearing sheep masks. Taken even further at Extreme Rules 2014. And on the June 16, 2014 edition of Monday Night Raw, Jerry Lawler claimed that earlier in the week, a four-year-old girl asked him for his autograph. While he was signing it, he asked her who her favorite Raw superstar is, and she replied by staring Lawler square in his eyes and singing "He's got the whole world in his hands..."
  • Creepy Doll: Several are seen in their promos. The significance is unknown.
  • Cult: Though how old the whatever the group is has not been established. We know Bray Wyatt was introduced to it by 'Sister Abigail' (about whom we know almost nothing), who he claims told him he was chosen before he was even born.
    • Although it may be Wyatt himself that seeks to elevate his belief system from cult status. More often than not, cults may give lipservice to expansion but are decidedly insular. It seems that Wyatt, on the other hand, would like nothing more than to see his message reach every distant corner of the (WWE) Universe.
  • Darker and Edgier: Most would probably agree that The Wyatt Family stands out distinctly from the less extreme gimmicks in the "Early-mid 2010s" era of WWE. Normally, the darkest character WWE would create during the Cena Era is someone like Randy Orton, who "hears voices in his head" and has "anger management issues." Then, enter The Wyatt Family, led by a possibly-demonically-possessed, ax-crazy, backwoods cult leader who speaks in dark, cryptic riddles and preaches sermons about death and destruction on a nearly weekly basis. He can also manipulate (and possibly possess) children in a somewhat hypnotic manner, and pretty much anyone he wants (including the entire WWE Universe— the commentators often note that "The movement is spreading" as the crowd supports Wyatt more and more despite being a heel). Their entrance begins with a sudden flash of horror-movie-esque images and sounds, and the things Bray Wyatt does in the ring are creepy and unnerving to say the very least.

    In terms of being dark and edgy, they give Ministry Undertaker of the late 1990s a run for his money, and he was known for (amongst other things) crucifying people, kidnapping them and taking them to God-knows-where, and even in one instance attempting to embalm Steve Austin alive. The Wyatt Family's creepiness factor can probably be perfectly understood by watching this video of a visit by WWE to their home, especially the seemingly random Madness Mantra that occurs roughly 20 seconds in.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In his face incarnation, Erick Rowan wears the attire he debuted in (sheep mask included), with the only change being that it's all black.
  • Dark Messiah: Bray presents himself as one but unlike most examples, his rhetoric is quite disturbing and he isn't afraid to agree with that sentiment. However, he still fits the criteria.
  • Deep South: The Wyatt Family was based in Louisiana on NXT. Parts of the pre-Family Bray Wyatt hype vignettes took place out in the bayou, and Bray's father was a shrimp boat captain. They're now based in the real Ghost Town of Snake Bight, Florida. This is noted when the group fought on April 8, 2014: the New Orleans crowd was ecstatic.
  • Defector from Decadence: Daniel Bryan ended his tenure with the group in grand fashion, costing himself and Bray a cage match and delivering one hell of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the Family's patriarch. Strowman is in a similar situation; during the build-up to Survivor Series 2016, he would no longer respond to any of Bray's commands - Strowman was a member of Team Raw (or rather, Team Braun, as he put it) while Wyatt and Orton joined Team Smackdown.
  • Determinator: In a meta sense, Bray Wyatt. Where losses like the one to Cena at WrestleMania and Payback would normally deter an opponent or force them to take a different tack or approach in their character, Wyatt's still preaching his word, his hope that the rest of the world will "open their eyes" like he did. JBL summed it up best when he said that to Bray, "wins and losses don't matter." Bray, one way or another, finds a way to his goal regardless of the setbacks he suffers. and even then, victories against him and the family can come at a physical and mental cost.
  • Demonic Possession: Whilst never made entirely clear, Bray is implied to be some malevolent entity that's using Husky Harris' body as a vessel. A few of his NXT promos have shown him briefly slip back into using Husky's voice and mannerisms, before promptly switching back.
    • At least one fan recalls him openly telling them this when asking him "Whatever happened to the Army Tank with a Ferrari Engine?" (Husky Harris' former Red Baron) during an autograph session.
    • Wyatt has also confirmed this on Twitter, answering a fan's question on the matter with "he needed me, and I needed a vessel."
    • Harper and Rowan might be possessed men as well, given their blank personalities and especially Harper's facial expressions.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Harper returning, joining Team Authority and winning the IC Title in his first match back since the Family split was a surprise. Rowan of all people coming out and joining Team Cena not only shocked Harper and The Authority, but Cena himself.
  • The Dog Bites Back: This was the impetus behind Rowan's face turn. Harper had taken to slapping Rowan around in tag matches, ostensibly to psych him up, but while Rowan was willing to tolerate it if Bray Wyatt told him to, he wasn't about to just take it from Harper for no reason.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The vignettes introducing Wyatt in NXT would have clips of Wyatt preaching to an audience, where Luke Harper could be seen among them. It would be months before he officially debuted.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Quite possibly so. At the very least, he portrays himself as such.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Introduced themselves to the WWE in person by beating the hell out of Kane and giving him a Con-chair-to with steel steps.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Fits the trope pretty solidly. Bray himself is the shortest at 6'2" (not exactly small, but he's dwarfed by his stablemates), but weighs about 285 or so (and that's down significantly from his Husky Harris days). Luke Harper stands 6'5" and weighs roughly 270 pounds, and Erick Rowan comes in at about 6'8" and well over 300 pounds. No flyweights in this stable. This was taken up to eleven with the appearance of Braun Strowman, who replaced Erick Rowan in the family's second run (Rowan would since rejoin the group, however) and makes the latter look like a slim fellow; he comes in at 6'8" and about 400 pounds.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Subverted slightly when Wyatt, instead of yelling, dropped his voice in a whisper while warning Kane: "I heard you like to call yourself 'The Devil's Favorite Demon.' You might want to be careful who you say that in front of, because you never know who might be listening." But then double subverted when the next thing Wyatt did was scream at the top of his lungs, "FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS!" loud enough for half the arena to hear him without the aid of a mic.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The three of them live in a dark shack in the middle of nowhere with very little electricity. Their entrance is through a darkened arena, lit only by Wyatt's lantern.
  • Evil Laugh: Wyatt has a very high pitched, almost childlike giggle. It is eerie.
  • Evil Redhead: Erick Rowan and his fiery red beard.
  • Expy:
    • Bray Wyatt is this to Max Cady (and by extension, to Waylon Mercy) and that might just be the obvious one. The underlying hints that he's possessed by an abomination also liken him somewhat to Azazel from Fallen.
    • In terms of other well-known wrestlers, he compares in a lot of ways to a young Mick Foley (the original Mankind persona in particular). He even uses a variation of the Foley pop. Foley himself even signs off on this comparison, tweeting the day of WrestleMania XXX that Wyatt is “A darker, meaner, more athletically gifted version of what [he] brought to the table.”
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has compared the transition from the deadend Husky Harris gimmick into the exceedingly popular Bray Wyatt gimmick as having shades of his own transition from The Ringmaster to the Stone Cold persona.
    • Arguably, Harper is one to Ministry of Darkness-era Bradshaw with the dark hair, imposing presence, cultlike devotion to his leader, and his finisher being a ''really hard'' clothesline.
    • Erick Rowan could be considered an expy of Jason Voorhees. He's a tall, imposing figure who hides beneath a mask, says VERY little (he's only spoken one word after over two years of being a member of The Wyatt Family on the main roster: "Run"), and he tilts his head in a very similar fashion to Voorhees (and Michael Myers before him).
  • A Father to His Men:
    • An interesting example, since Bray Wyatt is many years younger than both Rowan and Harper in kayfabe and reality (See "Freeze-Frame Bonus" below), but he is clearly the leader, and is a damn good one. He doesn't hide behind Rowan and Harper and allow them to come into harm to save himself, nor does he mistreat them overall. As well, hurting either of them is a one-way ticket to a beatdown from Bray Wyatt. Say what you will, but he does seem to actually care about his family on a significant level, flying into a rage at WrestleMania XXX, for example, when John Cena drove Luke Harper through the barricade; his first priority was checking on Harper to see that he was all right. He even refuses to refer to them as his "followers", instead considering the whole Family his "brothers and sisters in cause."
    • Adversely, Bray once did a running senton over John Cena while he was locking Rowan in the STFU, showing an utter disregard for his partner being directly under Cena and thus eating the move as well. He seems to be belligerently against any person harming his brothers - except himself.
  • Finishing Move: Wyatt's 'Sister Abigail', Rowan's splash, Harper's monstrous discus clothesline, Strowman's lifting arm triangle choke and Orton's RKO.
  • Forced to Watch: On May 26th, 2014, he tried to force John Cena to watch him beat down Jerry Lawler, having Harper and Rowan hold John's eyes open. Thankfully the Big Damn Heroes came before he could do it.
  • Foreshadowing: In one early promo, Bray said that the Family would 'pry open their eyes and force them to watch'. Fast forward a couple of years, and that's exactly what they did to Cena.
  • Found Footage Films: The promos hyping them up on the Raw of their debut were done in the style of shaky hand-camera horror movies.
  • Four Is Death: It was after they became a foursome that Bray started referring to them as the "Faces of the Apocalypse" according to his cult's understanding: Destructionnote , Desolationnote , Vengeancenote , and Fearnote . And of course, there's that thing where—DEA-
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: April 7, 2014. The audience displayed what could be described as cult-like behavior with the Wyatt Family... clapping, swinging their arms in the air and the... oh yes, sending "BRAY IS GOING TO KILL YOU!" chants (yes, the same lethal badass chant previously invoked by the likes of Tazz, Kurt Angle, and Samoa Joe) to Big E., Wyatt's opponent that night. Creepy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The mid-2014 pay-per-view "Battleground" used a futuristic heads-up display for its matchup promos, featuring facts such as height, weight, hometown, and birth date. If one watched in high-definition and paused at the right time (as seen in the screenshot), it's possible to see information unavailable anywhere else (officially), such as Luke Harper's hometown (Lincoln, Nebraska) and birth date (December 16, 1979, making him 34 in kayfabe), and the same for Erick Rowan (Minneapolis, Minnesota and November 28, 1981, respectively, making him 33 in kayfabe).

    The same can be done by the viewer for Bray Wyatt, who the promos confirm is 27 years old (born May 23, 1987) and is from Brooksville, Florida. Bo Dallas, Wyatt's brother in real life, is also booked from Brooksville. Now that's continuity.
  • Friend to All Children: Bray played with this trope for Nightmare Fuel - very effectively - in his feud with John Cena. When you consider Cena's main target demographic, it's probable that Bray did this just because he knew it would mess with Cena's head.
  • The Giant: The Family, at its peak, boasted two men that arguably qualified. Erick Rowan was a big, big man at 6'8" and about 315. When he went down with an injury, he was replaced by Braun Strowman, who is also 6'8", 385 with ungodly strength.
  • The Ghost: Bray Wyatt's beloved "Sister Abigail," whom he refers to often in his promos and has even named his Finishing Move after, but who has yet to actually appear. (Assuming that she is a person, not a disembodied entity. Also assuming she even exists. For what it's worth, what Bray's said about her heavily implies that she is a real person, but she died some time ago.) From what he has said of her, she is responsible for making him into what he is today (so she's either evil herself or just plain messed up bad) and possesses the power to save the world with a touch or destroy it with a kiss.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Wyatt wears a Hawaiian shirt, but he is far from a harmless tourist...
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bray Wyatt's last promo on NXT was definitely face-y. He didn't break character at all, which actually made it kind of scary...
    • Erick Rowan actually did turn face not long after the Family's dissolution. However, his face run was interrupted by an injury and when he returned he was affiliated with the Wyatts again.
    • The whole family appears to have turned face now, as they spent the most recent episode of RAW attacking the villainous League of Nations. Except Luke Harper, who is currently out injured.
  • Hell Is That Noise/Interrupting Meme/Jump Scare:
    • Their Titantron video starts with a muddle of screechy sounds as well as a very fast slideshow of disturbing images that take over the full screen out of absolutely freaking nowhere. They even used this to interrupt WWE's "Then. Now. Forever." opening on May 19 of 2014. It's officially no longer safe to watch Raw with the lights off.
    • Most TV segments end with a quick few frames of a close-up Erick Rowan's masked face, and Wyatt's voice yelling something (it sounds like "DEATH!") before it cuts out.
    • Anyone watching their entrance for the first time is likely to jump upon noticing Erick's sheep mask right behind Bray just before he says "We're here."
    • Their tendency to use the Titantron effect, cut the lights, and then, just when you're expecting the Wyatts to start their long, deliberate entrance, the lights come back on and the Family is instead already standing around or in the ring.
  • Hidden Depths: According to Tom Phillip's research, Erick Rowan has a genius level IQ (143, allegedly) and is a guitar prodigy as well as an award-winning winemaker. To drive the point home, Rowan solved a Rubix cube during the (less-than-one-minute) interview in which this was revealed.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The Wyatt gimmick as a whole owes itself to the subgenre and the tropes associated with it.
  • The Illuminati: Bray has periodically RT'd tweets from a philosophical Twitter account bearing their name, as well as made reference to them in a short few of his own tweets.
  • Irony: For all the praise he gives his "brothers" Rowan and Harper and the others who follow and be a part of his "family", Brays's greatest successes in the WWE have often come when he's been alone, against the likes of Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, without the Wyatt Family at ringside. He may have realized this with his later decision to set them free at the tail end of 2014, as all three men have come back stronger since going their separate ways.
  • Kiss of Death: Wyatt kisses his victim on the forehead right before executing his Finishing Move.
  • Knight of Cerebus: With the WWE's current Lighter and Softer atmosphere of PG-rated family friendly fun, it's really jarring to see a gimmick like this one, especially considering it may be one of the most disturbing and genuinely unnerving characters in the history of the company.
  • Large Ham: ...doesn't even begin to do Bray Wyatt justice.
  • Leitmotif:
    • "Live In Fear" by Mark Crozer and the Rels (formerly known as "Broken Out In Love" prior to WWE buying the rights to the song) is an incredibly unnerving track with a perfect creepy backwoods Southern sound that accompanies their promos and entrance. Since Orton joined the Family, they've added a small intro where the opening riff of his first theme "Burn In My Light" and the first few lyrics of his current theme "Voices" play before breaking down and being replaced with "Live In Fear".
    • Has taken a habit to using "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" as one of these.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: Have made use of this on occasion, a la The Undertaker, to appear in the middle of the ring for a surprise attack on whatever poor dumb bastard is there.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While Wyatt is no slouch in this department, himself, the real stand out is Luke Harper, who pulls of some exceedingly impressive moves for a man his size, including standing dropkicks, suicide dives, and at one point, a damned impressive Hurricanrana.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Harper stands out. Wrestlers wearing the same ring gear for several months at a time is pretty common, but Harper takes it a step further. That suspicious-looking stain on his shirt never goes away, suggesting that not only does he wrestle in the same outfits, he wrestles in the same one shirt, which, by the way, doesn't appear to have been washed since he debuted in WWE.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Their intro has become this.
    Bray Wyatt: [city/arena name]... we're/I'm here.
  • Madness Mantra: In one of the vignettes leading up to their debut, a reporter toured their residence, a dimly lit shack of sorts with minimal technology. The reporter ignored Harper's warning not to stray and stumbled upon a room where an unknown man stood on his knees repeating the word "obey" endlessly. Surprisingly, for a cult, Wyatt and Harper weren't bothered at all by the immediate disobedience, with Harper only closing the door and reminding the reporter "[he] told you not to stray," and Wyatt himself ignoring it entirely.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Erick Rowan's aforementioned sheep mask. Wyatt himself also wore a half mask while tending to a facial injury. It gave him a very creepy, serial killer effect.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Either the Wyatts are a supernatural cult led by the demon inside Bray Wyatt, or they're a group of delusional hicks who most people are too afraid to argue with because they'll get beat up... or worse. Neither choice is comforting.
  • Meaningful Name: The sound that a sheep makes is often referred to as a "bray."
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • Erick Rowan is the definition of this trope. 6'8", 320 pounds, and about as agile as you'd expect for someone that size that isn't named Kane or The Undertaker. And when he hits you, you know it. Although he does have some moves in his arsenal that you wouldn't expect from somebody that big, like a spinning heel kick.
    • Luke Harper subverts it, being only a couple inches shorter, maybe 30 pounds lighter, and a course-load more athletic and agile.
    • New family member Braun Strowman is... not fast. But when you're a 6'8", 400 pound former strongman, you don't need to be fast.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: They took out Randy Orton simply for talking to Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, most likely to prevent him from possibly partnering up with them at Night of Champions. This led to Randy joining up with them for real when he returned the night after the PPV in question — and unlike Chris Jericho, Orton has great chemistry with Ambreigns, almost at the level of teamwork the original Shield stable had together.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Wyatt himself, what with his kissing victims on the forehead and whispering directly in people's ears. It adds to his creepiness factor. He's also, at least once, slow-danced with the limp body of John Cena during a match. It's exactly as disturbing as it sounds.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Tend to ambush people and subject them to these.
  • Oddly Small Organization:
    • While promos have shown that the Wyatt cult is comprised of about a dozen people, it seems that the only ones among them who can wrestle are Rowan and Harper, besides Bray himself.
    • It's possible that at some point more wrestler members of the group were planned - see The Pete Best on the Trivia page for more.
    • Hinted to be a subversion during a confrontation with the New Day. After taking the fight to the Family's home and getting the upper hand, they're surprised at the very end by blinding lights... Which is revealed to come from quite a number of vehicles each with a few people surrounding them. Along side that, the first thing the New Day encountered upon arrival was a young woman draped in white and wearing a sheep mask while holding a lantern.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • Bray Wyatt (or rather, Husky Harris) appears to be possessed by some kind of demonic entity with the goal of spreading his influence and gaining followers. Well, it wouldn't be the first time demons decided to go into the wrestling biz...
    • A few promos have very heavily implied that the demon possessing Bray Wyatt is none other than the Devil himself, or that he at least has some sort of tie(s) to Lucifer
      Wyatt: I heard you like to call yourself "The Devil's Favorite Demon." You might want to be careful who you say that in front of, because you never know who might be listening...
  • The Pig-Pen: Luke Harper has been noted to be unhygenic. In his "Big Rig" Brodie Lee days, it was joked that he donned a wifebeater when he first became a trucker and has never washed it since.
  • Place Worse Than Death: Their "compound". Just ask a certain trio who dared but ultimately failed try to bring positivity while there. Oh, and also the man who burnt the corpse of Sister Abigail in flames, claiming that the compound is NOT his world.
  • Power Stable: A group of big, strong wrestlers with a charismatic leader.
  • The Quiet One: Erick Rowan isn't much for talking, but when he does speak, he gets in on the action with a single word.
  • Red Baron:
    • The Eater of Worlds, The Angel in the Dirt, The Necessary Evil, The (New) Face of Fear, among many others for the big man himself.
    • The commentators seem to like calling Bray "The False Prophet."
    • They've also taken to calling Erick Rowan "Big Red", referring to Rowan's sheer size and thick, red beard.
  • Restart the World: Bray admits to Cena in the May 5, 2014 edition of RAW that he wants to watch the world burn so it can be reborn in his image.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: Of WWE NXT season 2. While Curtis Axel has won the Intercontinental Title, Bray Wyatt is getting a much bigger push than Axel ever got.
  • Scars are Forever: The bald spot on Luke Harper's head is actually a scar from taking an unprotected chair shot during his indie days. He actually chose to keep it instead of having it repaired.
  • Serial Escalation: When Wyatt debuted, he was not portrayed as anything more mundane than a mildly crazy Southerner in the vein of Waylon Mercy and Max Cady. When Harper and Rowan joined, he became a less civilized, wilder hillbilly in the vein of Deliverance before they started playing up the cult aspect until it completely overtook the rest of the gimmick. As of mid-2014, he's hinted to be some supernatural force of an unknown kind (He needed me, and I needed a vessel.), akin to The Undertaker, circa late 1990s.
  • Shout-Out: The whole family reminds some of Deliverance. Bray himself is a Call-Back to former WWE wrestler Waylon Mercy, down to the Hawaiian shirts and soft-spoken demeanor. This is mostly due to sharing a mutual inspiration in Robert De Niro's Max Cady portrayal. The scream of "DEA—" is similar to the way Current 93 ends some of their songs in the Inmost Light trilogy, specifically "The Frolic."
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Averted. Bray Wyatt has a tendency to interrupt the promos of others and start rambling in riddles and mysterious speech, yet everyone he interrupts simply stands there and listens rather than cutting him off mid-sermon. Perhaps Fridge Logic in that part of Bray Wyatt's character is his hypnotic charisma, which can possibly make even his enemies unable to resist listening to his words. Eventually, however, Jericho became the first to play this trope straight, interrupting him with the words "QUIET, WYATT!"
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Luke Harper's discus clothesline can really connect. So can his big boot, for that matter.note 
  • Silent Antagonist: Erick Rowan spoke in a couple of the hype videos, but mostly he just silently stares behind his sheep's mask. To a lesser extent, Luke Harper, who talks normally but only when Bray Wyatt isn't around... eventually though, it got to the point where Harper began to split segments with Bray, roughly 80/20.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Luke Harper, in his archetypical white trash getup of a plain white wifebeater and dirty jeans. Erick Rowan too, in a jumpsuit with the sleeves ripped out. Possibly an Inverted Trope, considering the wardrobe choices of the one they serve - although when Bray himself steps into a fight, he dispenses with the shirt and favors a sleeveless tank top as well.
  • Spiritual Successor: The most obvious is The Flock, to take a non-WWE example. Another example is Kevin Sullivan’s Army of Darkness stable in the 80s, which would be ironic since one of the stables biggest enemies were Bray’s own family members listed below.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A strange, rare storyline example saw the Wyatts end up in a feud because their actions inadvertently pissed off a third party. They went after John Cena during an important match teaming him and two other Superstars against The Shield, with the winning team being awarded the three spots that were left in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Since they attacked Cena, the Shield were disqualified and lost their shot at headlining WrestleMania. The Hounds of Justice, predictably, were not happy about this, to the point where they demanded that Triple H give them a match against the Wyatt Family. The result was AWESOME.
  • Take That!: Delivered a subtle one in a promo against John Cena when he referred to Cena's 'plastic girlfriend'. Most people that have done their homework (or watch Total Divas) know that Cena is dating Nikki Bella (and for an extra point, Nikki got a boob job during the time she and her sister spent away from WWE).
  • "Take That!" Kiss: As part of Sister Abigail, Bray Wyatt will plant a quick kiss to his opponent's forehead before planting said opponent on the ground.
  • Terrible Trio: Wyatt is the leader, with Harper and Rowan his devoted followers and henchmen.
  • The Unintelligible: Appeared to go through a combination of this and Convulsive Seizures on May 23, 2014, during a promo on John Cena. Neither Rowan nor Harper, standing behind him silently, so much as batted an eyelash as Wyatt dropped to all fours and went through some sort of supernatural/religious breakdown. Bray himself didn't miss a beat, either, as he began singing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" only seconds afterwards. Just another average day with the Family.
  • Verbal Tic: Initially (right after their debut), Bray Wyatt appeared to be unable to keep from using "man" as a filler word during promos ("They lied to you, man!"), but has gotten much better with avoiding the tic since then. Interestingly, there is a not-small segment of the fanbase who enjoyed it because it lent Bray's promos a unique cadence and went a long way towards making them sound unscripted and genuine.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: It may be a bit inaccurate to call WWE "saccharine," but when most of the bad guys are just cowardly Smug Snakes and brutish Jerk Jocks, it definitely makes the Family stand out.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    • Back on NXT, Wyatt would often break out into a creepy rendition of The Rolling Stones's "Time Is On My Side" as a punctuation to end his promos. He doesn't do this anymore, but he did treat us to a similar rendition of "Mary Had A Little Lamb."
    • In the Sister Abigail promo he opens and closes with a rather creepy version of "Down to the River to Pray." During his feud with Cena leading up to a match at WrestleMania XXX, Wyatt began singing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" during promos. This lead to the New Orleans crowd to sing the song during the match, and since then, he's used it as a Villain Song to enchant his "followers" (and the crowd buys it hook, line, and sinker).
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • Said several times to Daniel Bryan during he lead up to TLC 2013. And then, finally, Bryan joined the Wyatt Family on December 30 on Raw. Only to turn on the Wyatts two weeks later.
    • The entirety of Bray's match against John Cena at WrestleMania 30 is basically an extended attempt by Bray to invite Cena to become a monster like he is.
    • The feud with Randy Orton culminated with his defeat at No Mercy, leading to Orton giving into his instincts and joining the Family under Wyatt's command.
  • Wild Card:
    • Just to reiterate, they go after everyone. The only people they have not antagonized when given the chance to do so are Triple H and the McMahons. But would you put it past them?
    • Bray can be extremely detrimental to the plans of even The Authority as well. At Money In The Bank 2014, when Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Randy Orton and looked to capture the WWE World Title, Triple H and Stephanie had a massive Oh, Crap! moment that he could come away with the championship, because they know there's no way he could realistically be corralled under The Authority.
    • In the 2016 Royal Rumble, Triple H tried to strike up a temporary alliance with Bray Wyatt to eliminate Roman Reigns. Bray briefly seems to agree and menacingly approached Reigns... before he immediately starts beating the hell out of Triple H instead. It took Triple H and the Authority-aligned Sheamus to get rid of him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Can invoke this in-universe; on more than one occasion, the Wyatt Family has beaten the tar out of someone only to carry them off to God-knows-where. Kane disappeared for several weeks and was not the same guy when he came back. Daniel Bryan has similarly been assaulted and abducted, and it's subverted for he returns 1 week later.
  • Worthy Opponent: Bray seems to consider Roman Reigns to be this; while he viciously mocks Dean Ambrose, and denounces the likes of John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk, he treats Reigns with the closest we've seen him come to respect, and describes him as an "interesting creature." Part of this may be due to the fact that Reigns is being built as the next Rock-like superstar, so treating him as a main-eventer would make sense. However, this respect for Reigns went to hell after Wyatt started to feud with him after Money in the Bank 2015, with Wyatt outright bringing Reigns' push as the reason, telling Reigns that he wishes "anyone but you" to have that opportunity.
  • Wrestling Family: Bray Wyatt's real name is Windham Rotunda. He is the grandson of Blackjack Mulligan, nephew of Kendall and Barry Windham, and son of Mike "IRS" Rotunda. He has a younger brother who also wrestles as Bo Dallas.
  • Younger Than They Look: Wyatt, with his voluminous beard and world-weary promos, doesn't come off as a guy that hasn't even turned thirty yet.

Run. *DEA-*

Alternative Title(s): Wyatt Family