'WWE Smackdown!' Pays Tribute to Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk After Their Deaths

Friday night's episode opened with a moment of silence and the traditional 10-bell salute in honor of Wyatt and Funk passing earlier this week

WWE Smackdown! is paying tribute to Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk, who died earlier this week.

The wrestling program honored the late athletes on Friday night’s episode with broadcaster Michael Cole announcing, “Earlier this week, we lost two beloved members of our WWE family, Hall of Famer Terry Funk and the one and only Bray Wyatt.”

“Tonight on Friday night Smackdown. We will honor their legacy and celebrate their lives,” Cole continued. “The lives of two incredible men who have touched all of us with their passion, their creativity, and their spirit.”

Related: WWE Star Bray Wyatt Dead at 36

Cole asked viewers at home to join the arena in a moment of silence and “our traditional 10-bell salute,” which is a special tribute in professional wrestling in which the bell is rung 10 times for wrestlers who have died.

Once the bell was rung for the 10th and final time, the crowd gradually erupted into a roar in honor of Wyatt and Funk.

Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE executive, announced Wyatt’s death at age 36 on Thursday via Twitter (now known as X).

“Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda - also known as Bray Wyatt - unexpectedly passed earlier today,” Levesque wrote. “Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time.”

<p> Chad Matthew Carlson /Sports Illustrated via Getty</p> Brad Wyatt

Chad Matthew Carlson /Sports Illustrated via Getty

Brad Wyatt

The WWE confirmed his death in an official statement on Thursday: "WWE is saddened to learn that Windham Rotunda, also known as Bray Wyatt, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 36.”

“Known for his captivating performances and incredible in-ring presence, Wyatt was a defining Superstar of his generation and accomplished many feats in WWE, including becoming WWE Champion in 2017,” the statement concluded.

News of Wyatt’s death came a day after WWE shared that Hall of Famer Terry Funk had also died on Wednesday.

<p>Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty </p> Terry Funk

Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty

Terry Funk

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“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk has passed away at the age of 79. WWE extends its condolences to Funk’s family, friends and fans,” the statement read.

Funk competed for the organization for the first time in 1985 during the height of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling era alongside his brother, Dory Funk Jr. He became “one of the most beloved legends of the All Japan Pro Wrestling promotion” and was “an instrumental figure in the growth of Extreme Championship Wrestling,” according to the WWE website.

WWE also calls him “an innovator of hardcore wrestling alongside WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley” in which they crawled through tables, chairs and barbed wire. Funk was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his brother in 2009 in recognition of nearly 50 years in the industry.

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Meanwhile, Wyatt won the WWE Championship and the WWE Universal Championship, as well as two tag team championships over the course of his career.

Wyatt's WWE bio describes him as “one of the most captivating Superstars in WWE history,” adding that he left an indelible mark on the WWE Universe and his legacy as one of the most gifted, talented, and creative Superstars of all-time will live on through the generations to come.”

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