WWE SmackDown Opens With Ten-Bell Salute For Terry Funk And Bray Wyatt

WWE honored both Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt on Friday, opening  "WWE SmackDown" with a ten-bell salute after the passing of both stars this week. WWE Hall of Famer and hardcore wrestling legend Funk died on Wednesday, and Paul "Triple H" Levesque announced Thursday that Windham Rotunda, better known to fans as Bray Wyatt, had died as well. As previously reported, plans for "SmackDown" were scrapped after Rotunda's death to add a "significant tribute element" to the show.

Michael Cole opened up the show as "SmackDown" went on the air. Members of the WWE locker room, as well as Levesque and even Impact star Erick Redbeard, formerly known as Erick Rowan during his time in WWE as a member of the Wyatt Family, stood on the stage, emotional. Cole said the broadcast would honor both stars' legacies, a process that began with the ten-bell salute. A spotlight then showcased the rocking chair Rotunda used as the Wyatt character, empty on stage, before a video package honoring the star aired. The video showed highlights of Wyatt's career, from his time leading the Wyatt Family to his time with various championships. Photos of Rotunda with his wife, JoJo Offerman, and their children were also shown.

Later in the broadcast, WWE aired a video package about Funk's passing, as well, which was introduced to the live audience by Cody Rhodes. Both Funk and Wyatt also received packages showing the outpouring of grief for their passing on social media, alongside footage of their most iconic moments. Moreover, a series of QR codes — a reference to the White Rabbit storyline that heralded Wyatt's return to WWE last year, led to various YouTube videos highlighting his career.