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(This article is nothing more than my own personal hypothesis of the origins of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan, collectively known as The Wyatt Family. As we all know, Bray Wyatt was formerly Husky Harris and is actually the son of WWE legend Mike Rotundo AKA Irwin R. Schyster (IRS). Luke Harper gained notoriety on the indy circuit as Brodie Lee. I don't know too much about Erick Rowan though. I never saw or heard of him until he joined The Wyatt Family in NXT. This article will not have anything to do with the Husky Harris character or Mike Rotundo or Brodie Lee. This is all about The Wyatt Family and the background story on the characters.)
In the span of one year, The Wyatt Family have established themselves as one of the most... perplexing factions in WWE history. They are certainly not the only dark and mysterious characters that wrestling fans have seen over the years, as there have actually been many sinister stables that have come and gone such as The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness, Raven's Flock, The Brood, and Kevin Thorn and Ariel, just to name a few. However, The Wyatt Family could ultimately turn out to be the longest-lasting and possibly the most successful of these morbid alliances.
So what do we know about The Wyatt Family so far? We know that Bray Wyatt is unquestionably the leader of the group and that his disciples, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, will obey his every command without question. We know that Bray was once under the guidance of a woman by the name of Sister Abigail, who he named his finishing maneuver after. And we also know that Bray is from Lafayette, Louisiana, as he mentioned it once during a promo in WWE developmental and also Tweeted that he was coming home to Louisiana for his match against John Cena at WrestleMania 30 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
At this point, it seems best to look at Bray's history first.
Bray Wyatt revealed in the FCW developmental territory that his father was the captain of a shrimp boat. Bray had a bad relationship with his father. His father may have been abusive towards him. He pulled Bray out of school at the young age of eight, feeling for whatever reason that young Bray didn't need to be in school. Bray went on to educate himself, even teaching himself how to read. However, this was not before Bray's father was killed out at sea, quite possibly at the hands of Bray himself. These are facts, as given in the following video:
Now the lines become more blurred.
As was previously stated, we've heard bits and pieces about a mysterious Sister Abigail who took Bray under her wing. The way I imagine it, Sister Abigail found Bray some time after his father died at sea. Although Bray had already educated himself somewhat, it was Sister Abigail who helped him find his purpose in life and had him read the Holy Bible on a daily basis for years. For some reason I'm thinking of the character Silas from the 2003 movie The Da Vinci Code. Silas was a criminal who was "saved" by a priest who charged him with a holy mission. I imagine something like this between Bray Wyatt and Sister Abigail.
As for Sister Abigail herself, the general feeling from most fans is that she was indeed a woman of the church, a nun. But here's a new thought: What if she wasn't just a nun? Imagine this if you will. What if Sister Abigail was, perhaps, an African-American woman who practiced Voodoo? I say this for two reasons. First, there was a Voodoo display for Bray Wyatt's entrance at WrestleMania 30. As we all know, Louisiana is a hotbed for Voodoo, but why would there be a Voodoo element to Bray Wyatt's WrestleMania 30 entrance? And the second reason is because of The Wyatt Family's display, albeit a limited display, of seemingly inhuman supernatural powers. They seem to have the ability to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye, and can also interrupt live WWE television feeds and arena lights.
They haven't displayed anything close to the powers that Kane and The Undertaker used to do back in the day, such as making bolts of lightning shoot down from the ceiling or manipulating fire at will, but The Wyatts do seem to have some degree of supernatural abilities. What if this was the work of Sister Abigail and her Voodoo?
Sister Abigail's ultimate agenda for Bray Wyatt has been shrouded in mystery. Was she a good woman or an evil woman? Bray has said of Sister Abigail, "Her touch could save the world... but her kiss burns it to the ground." Bray also said that Abigail "led him with love, but taught him that the fires are our friends too."
To me, this indicates that Sister Abigail raised Bray Wyatt to be a fair person. No racism, no prejudice, nothing like that. However, she also seemingly taught him to be much more than just cautious. She may have taught him to be... ruthless.
So when and where do Luke Harper and Erick Rowan come into the picture?
I would say that Bray met Harper and Rowan at a young age. They all seem to be like brothers, and Bray has even stated that he thinks of them as being his "brothers" and not his "followers". Perhaps they were all under the guidance of this Sister Abigail. Just judging by their behavior, I would say that Harper seems to be more methodical, and maybe just downright more intelligent, than Rowan. This could all go back to their childhood. I can't begin to speculate what their lives were like in their earliest years, but I would imagine that they were both abandoned by their parents at a young age and went to live with Sister Abigail. This was where they met young Bray Wyatt.
Bray Wyatt was clearly the proverbial chosen one as far as Sister Abigail was concerned, but what about Harper and Rowan? I would say that Harper could be considered Bray's first disciple, the General of Bray's army. As I said earlier, Harper seems to be fairly intelligent and has proven himself to be a very proficient in-ring performer. Although Harper's body language and facial expressions are downright bizarre and unsettling, there definitely seems to be a method to his madness.
Erick Rowan seems to be the more... wild of the three. Rowan often has to be restrained by either Harper or Bray himself. Rowan seems to be the one who needs the guidance, and at times, the discipline. It could be that Erick Rowan was always like this, going back to his childhood. And perhaps this could explain the meaning behind his mysterious sheep mask. What if Rowan as a child was something of a "wolf in sheep's clothing"? Maybe he had a rather innocent appearance as a child but a terribly disturbed mind. Whatever his issues are, he is clearly loyal to the cause and to Bray and Harper.
Bray Wyatt revealed that Sister Abigail is deceased. I'm thinking that she may have passed away, whether by natural causes or whatever other means, while Bray, Harper and Rowan were teenagers and were starting to mature. Bray Wyatt, being her chosen one, continued to act as a brother and somewhat of a father figure to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and constantly reminded them of the lessons that Sister Abigail taught them.
I don't imagine that Sister Abigail chose the professional wrestling business for her boys to spread their message to the world. That was probably Bray Wyatt's decision for his family. Professional wrestling, especially WWE, gives you worldwide exposure. It also gives them the opportunity to inflict pain on innocent, unsuspecting humans who don't know where The Wyatt Family came from. The wrestling business gives The Wyatt Family a platform, perhaps even a battlefield, to rise up and act as the holy warriors for Sister Abigail.
I would imagine that they all knew how to fight before even stepping foot in a wrestling ring. However, if they truly wanted to succeed and to perfect their craft, they knew that they had to do some basic professional wrestling training. There are pro wrestling academies all over the country. It's not a stretch of the imagination to say that they found one somewhere in Louisiana, and they probably intimidated whoever was running the school into giving them free lessons until they learned what they needed to learn.
Enter WWE developmental.
Before NXT was WWE's developmental territory, there was FCW: Florida Championship Wrestling. This was where Bray Wyatt initially made his WWE debut. However, Harper and Rowan weren't there with him in the beginning. It could be that Bray simply developed quickly in his pro wrestling training, while Harper and Rowan still needed work.
The Wyatt Family would enjoy success in WWE's NXT developmental territory, even capturing the NXT Tag Team Titles. However, they weren't destined to stay in NXT for too long. It was their destiny to debut on WWE's main roster sooner or later.
On Monday, May 27th, 2013, WWE aired a debut vignette for The Wyatt Family on Monday Night Raw. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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