As the wrestling world continues to mourn the loss of Windham Rotunda, also known as WWE’s Bray Wyatt, Zelina Vega (real name Thea Trinidad) shares some of the positive memories she experienced with the former WWE Champion. Speaking with Steve Fall of WrestlingNewsCo, Vega recounted Wyatt’s everlasting kindness behind the scenes.
“I feel like the cool thing about listening to everybody’s stories about Bray is that there was always a common thread in everybody’s story, and it was always his smile, his laugh. He had the best hugs. He always had like these big bear hugs that you would just look forward to,” Vega said. “I don’t want to say I’m a very affectionate person necessarily, but I you look forward to those Bray hugs because you just knew that they were filled with so much — there was no bad bone in his body. It was met with such love. He was always looking to help people. Even if they weren’t in WWE, even if they were trying, we were all so passionate about just wrestling and being in and growing as characters and growing as people.”
Wyatt Roots On Vega During Her 2015 WWE Tryout Match
For Vega, one of her fondest memories stems from a WWE tryout match she competed for in 2015. While the opportunity was nerve-inducing, Vega, luckily, had a cheerleader rooting her on at ringside. That cheerleader, of course, was Bray Wyatt.
“To have him actually backing me was just such a cool feeling and just hearing all of the just advice that I would get from him was really cool,” Vega recalled. “I tweeted this too, but probably the coolest thing for me is, is seeing how much he cared as a person to person level. He knew how badly I wanted to be in. I had been trying since 2010. I didn’t get there until 2017. One of the scariest things to do as an extra is to have a tryout match before SmackDown started. So every week we’d have it because I was traveling with them as a Rosebud, just trying to like hopefully one time they’d be like, ‘You know what? Let’s just throw her in there.’ I just was hoping to get a second look.”
“I had a match and I remember at that point, if you got the attention of the boys — the boys, meaning like everybody in the locker room, people surrounding the ring because people are off talking about their matches. They’re talking the producers, whatever. But the second I got in there, I remember Bray turning around and seeing me and started watching. He’s kind of there and he’s watching. I see him at the corner of my eye is watching, and he gets so into it that he started a ‘Thea’ chant. He started cheering for me during the match, and it was right as I was hitting my comeback. He was getting everybody else involved. Everybody at that point was cheering for me, and then they started clapping after the match was done. He led that whole thing.”
After Vega completed her tryout match, Wyatt approached the Head of Talent Relations, urging them to hire Vega to WWE. In response to this gesture, Vega recalls feeling a sense of astonishment, and gratitude.
Wyatt’s Supportive Presence
Following Wyatt’s unexpected death, WWE held a special tribute episode of SmackDown in honor of Wyatt and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk, who passed away that same week. During their opening tributes, Vega was visibly emotional. Later in the show, Vega challenged IYO SKY for the WWE Women’s Championship. Despite the lingering sadness inside of her, Vega said she felt a supportive presence during the match, which she attributes to that of Bray Wyatt.
“I could not keep it together at all. Before the match with IYO, I was a wreck. After the match, I was a wreck. But you felt like you were doing it for him. For some reason, during that match, people will say this it’s so cliche, but I felt him there. I felt like his supportive presence there. I think we’ll always kind of have that no matter what,” Vega said.