World Wrestling Entertainment’s live “Friday Night SmackDown” served as a tribute to wrestlers Bray Wyatt (real name Windham Rotunda) and Terry Funk, who both died earlier this week. Funk, 79, died on Wednesday, while Wyatt, 36, more unexpectedly passed away on Thursday.
“SmackDown” opened with a graphic paying tribute to both Funk and Wyatt. They then cut to the roster standing on stage in an out-of-character moment in front of an arena full of fans, many of the wrestlers appearing emotional.
“This past week, we lost two beloved members of our WWE family: Hall of Famer Terry Funk and the one and only Bray Wyatt,” WWE announcer Michael Cole said, standing next to the stage. “Tonight on Friday Night SmackDown, we will honor their legacy and celebrate their lives — the lives of two incredible men who have touched all of us with their passion, their creativity, and their spirit.”
This was followed by a moment of silence amid a “10-bell salute,” as the ring bell was rung 10 times in honor of Funk and Wyatt.
This week, we lost two beloved members of the WWE family, Hall of Famer Terry Funk and the one and only Bray Wyatt.
Tonight, we pay tribute to their incredible careers. #SmackDown pic.twitter.com/rekZls2GrF
— WWE (@WWE) August 26, 2023
The show then played a tribute video — you can watch that video at the top of this story.
The program came back from the tribute video to the wrestlers still standing on stage as fans chanted “Thank you, Bray.” Fans then sung a song that Wyatt used as part of his character: “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” The camera panned from Wyatt’s fellow wrestlers to an empty rocking chair, another prop used by the late performer.
The Wyatt tribute was followed by a video for the older wrestler Funk. This included a social media post from Sylvester Stallone, who Funk worked with in multiple films as both a character and on stunts. You can watch another tribute video posted earlier this week by WWE for Funk here:
Early in the show, announcers told fans that Cody Rhodes would have a special tribute for Terry Funk later in the evening, as Rhodes’ father Dusty Rhodes was also a wrestler who had a famous storyline rivalry with Funk.
“Both of those men wanted to do nothing more than entertain you,” Cole said as he introduced the rest of the show.
Fans and colleagues have paid tribute over the last several days to both performers. Wyatt’s death came as a particular shock due to his young age.
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