The Wyatt Family made an immediate impact when they debuted on WWE’s main roster. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper (portrayed by the late Brodie Lee), and Erick Rowan (now known as Erick Redbeard) were called up from the NXT brand in 2012. However, Redbeard says the company’s original plan was to debut Wyatt as a solo act.
“I didn’t think we were going to get called up to the road,” Redbeard recalled on the Wrestle Buddy podcast. “We were told to our face that it was just going to be Bray, that us, me and Luke, wouldn’t get called up with him. Like that was just unfathomable and you know, we were, I was like, close to quitting. Like I had been in developmental for a few years. I wasn’t making [any money] at all. Like it’s kind of hard to support people when you’re making less than $750 a week. Like it was, it was, it was bad. It was a struggle.
“I started having to take out AmScot loans to try to survive,” Redbeard continued. “And I basically said, ‘If I don’t get this call-up, like, I’m gonna have to quit because I can’t afford to’. I left a steady job where I was making money and it’s like, what am I supposed to do? But luckily everything worked out the way it did and you know, we got called up when we did and I think it was after we shot those vignettes and we started seeing the reactions and when we first came out that we were like, ‘oh sh-t, this is going to be a big deal.'”
The vignettes for the Wyatt Family started airing on WWE TV more than a month before the trio made their on-screen debut on the main roster. Erick Redbeard says it was challenging for him to define his own character while barely saying a word.
“Obviously, Bray was the mouthpiece,” Redbeard explained. “So the mouthpiece, he’s creatively thinking of how to explain himself and do things in different directions, and then we have these two guys in the background. Well, we have to be completely different, but we have to look like we belong with him. And so there was always, you know, like ideas that me and him would for things that didn’t get shot like, go get shot down.
“I remember we wanted to do these kidnapping angles,” Redbeard continued. “But they never let us show what happened when he kidnapped them because that would have been great character development for me and, for me and, you know, Brodie, where I always tried to be the one that was like, nice. Kind of like Leatherface where he’s trying to be nice to somebody and then you got, you know, Chop-Top slapping them across the face being like, ‘Don’t do that. What are you doing?’ Ties them back up and then I give the guy some food. Then I give the guy some food feeling bad but then he spills the food. Like just little things like that I think would’ve helped. But like, I think we portrayed that without having to show that to the best of our abilities.”
One of the unanswered mysteries that surrounded the Wyatt Family was Sister Abigail. Bray Wyatt would frequently make references to her, but she was never shown on-screen. Erick Redbeard knows who he would’ve chosen to play the role.
“Luna Vachon,” Redbeard said. “If I had to go any female ever. Yeah, because, because I could only imagine her as that character and the moment she like, screams, or speaks, you know what I mean?”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the Wrestle Buddy podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]