Creative issues with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Vice President Kevin Dunn may have led to former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt's release.
During an appearance on The Ringer Wrestling Show, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., who had previously worked as a writer for the company, said he was told by contacts within WWE that Wyatt clashed with McMahon and Dunn prior to his release last month.
"I can't tell you everything I know. I know Bray, I wouldn't say we're friends but we're acquaintances, but I still have friends at the company," Prinze said via Cultaholic.com. "Like I said earlier, if you're willing to work a specific way, even if you have a bad match, in the eyes of the top two dudes at the company it's a good match because you're doing business their way. If you're wanting to step out of that lane and widen your river or just show there's some other streams, even if you have a great match, it's just a good match. And when you stick to your guns time and time again, they're gonna stick to theirs.
"Look, Vince is a product of the '80s. It's Reaganomics, when there's problems he throws money at it. It's an old-school way of thinking. It sometimes works. It sometimes doesn't, but they're men that will double down, him and Kevin. And for better or worse they will always double down.
"I don't think Bray had a good enough hand to play poker with them in that game. And that's why he lost the first time in a weird way in Abu Dhabi [Saudi Arabia] and that's why things kind of went south from there. His segments weren't suffering, his performance wasn't suffering. I just think if you're not willing to play ball then they let you know, 'Hey, you're not trying to play ball. We're not gonna help you out. We gave you this platform and you're not using it the way we want you to use it.' And it's business, you can understand that."
WWE announced Wyatt's release on July 31 after 12 years with the company.
"WWE has come to terms on the release of Bray Wyatt. We wish him the best in all his future endeavors," the company wrote on its official website.
Wyatt hadn't appeared on WWE television since being defeated by Randy Orton at WrestleMania 37 in April.
During the match, Wyatt's "Fiend" character was distracted by former ally Alexa Bliss, which led to Orton hitting an RKO and earning the pinfall victory.
Many fans questioned Wyatt's absence and a lack of explanation for the storyline's turnout in the months since.
Prior to his release, a photo of Wyatt surfaced online, leading to optimism among fans of a return due to the former champion appearing to be in the best shape of his career.
Wyatt, whose real name is Windham Rotunda, signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2009, initially debuting as Husky Harris during the then-reality show competition version ofNXTand later joining the group Nexus on the main roster.
Rotunda was repackaged under the name Bray Wyatt in the then-developmental brand Florida Championship Wrestling and later the current incarnation of NXT as a charismatic cult leader of "The Wyatt Family," working alongside Erick Rowan and the late Brodie Lee, then under the name "Luke Harper."
The trio debuted on WWE's main roster in 2013 and quickly emerged as a top faction, eventually adding future World Champion Braun Strowman and later Orton during the group's relaunch in 2016.
Wyatt's most recent run as 'The Fiend' began in April 2019, with ominous vignettes that eventually turned into a surreal children's program known as Firefly Fun House, showing an uncharacteristically cheery Wyatt as the host.
The vignettes eventually led to the debut of the 'Fiend' alter ego, a sinister, supernatural version of Wyatt wearing a mask.
Wyatt, a third-generation professional wrestler, is a two-time Universal Champion, one-time WWE champion, one-time RAW Tag-Team Champion with Matt Hardy, and one-timeSmackDownTag-Team Champion with both Orton and Harper.