Braun Strowman recently appeared on Busted Open Radio, joining hosts Dave LaGreca and Sexual Chocolate himself Mark Henry to discuss his current tenure in the WWE. Special thanks to Rajah.com Matt Boone and NoDQ.com Aaron Rift for the transcript.
Right from the start, Braun Strowman credited Mark Henry as being responsible for bringing The Monster Among Men into the wrestling fold.
“Truth be told, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Mark Henry. I traveled around the world doing strongman competition. That’s the first time I met Mark, back in 2010 when I competed as an amateur. I introduced myself and said ‘I’ve always been a fan of his in WWE and what he’s done in the strength sports world.’ We sparked a friendship from there and he pretty much turned WWE’s eyes on me. Long and behold, here we are today.”
With his relatively short time in wrestling, Braun has done a lot of his learning on-the-job. Like anyone coming up, sometimes they listen to the wrong people.
“The one thing, if I could go back and do it all over, just at the beginning, being a little bit smarter with protecting myself and my brand, you know being a big man and not letting people talk me into dumb things that I shouldn’t be doing.”
Strowman also revealed that his WWE run was in danger of ending before it began:
“Injuries happen, and one injury in particular was really close to ending my career, I ruptured a disc and it cut into my side nerve and it paralyzed my left leg. The folks with WWE, they take such great care of us with injuries, and making sure we’re running at peak performance. I went to Pittsburgh with one of the head neurosurgeons in the country, and they got in there and I had to be pushed through the airport to the plane and into the hospital in a wheelchair. My leg was 100% paralyzed, I couldn’t use it.
I went in and had surgery, and an hour and a half after I came out of anesthesia I got up and walked to my recovery room.”
Despite not seeing live in-ring action on NXT during his stay in Florida, Braun’s two years at the Performance Center helped with his WWE career:
“The biggest thing was probably finding out and figuring out how to relate to the people, having the character development. That’s been the craziest thing, getting to play something that I’m not personally in real life. For the most part, I’m a very fun, easy going guy that likes to have fun. It was finding that niche that was to play Adam, but use Adam’s strengths and weaknesses to turn into Braun, and I think I’ve done a good job meshing the two together.
The things I learned in developmental was I learned I could do damn near everything someone 200 pounds lighter than me can, but the big question was ‘Why’ would I do that. That’s the biggest thing I learned. I was injured a lot when I was in developmental and that’s because I was out there trying to work like a 180 pound Lucha wrestler, flying around and going off the top rope. I was young and excited to learn.
I took wrestling the same way I’ve taken everything in life, and that’s I want to be the best in the world at it or I don’t want to do it all. I thought that’s what I needed to be doing. It took a few injuries, but I learned that I’m a ground based athlete. You’re 380 pounds. I bounce from 360-380 pounds depending what I depending what I e needed to be doing. It took a few injuries, but I learned that I’m a ground based athlete. You’re 380 pounds. I bounce from 360-380 pounds depending what I eat. People come to see that, not to see me do flips and flops.”
— WWE (@WWE) February 14, 2018
After Mark Henry brought up the concert highlights from last week’s Raw with Elias, Strowman touched on his working relationship with Vince McMahon, as well as adapting on the fly.
“It was hard to keep it straight for that part because of the bass deal, the strings breaking on it was an accident. I just had to play it up to the whole deal, and that’s what I love about our boss. Vince, his mind and the whole creativity it’s… I’ve never seen anything like it. We’ve continued and continued to over the last year of all the different, crazy stunts that we’ve done, I think to myself ‘what are we going to do to, how am I going to top that?’
And it never fails where he thinks of something and it just hits a home run with the crowd every time, and if it’s just my being lucky and me being in the right place at the right time, I don’t know what it is. I’m enjoying the process, it’s awesome. It’s a fairy tale to me, this has happened so fast; July will be five years that I’ve been with the company. August will be three years that I’ve actually been wrestling, so it’s just still surreal to me.”
While there’s a vocal part of the WWE Universe who would love to see The Monster Among Men at the top of the mountain, Braun Strowman has no complaints when it comes to the chances he’s been given.
“They have given me so many opportunities. They give everyone opportunities for everyone to grab the brass rings. I love competition and I’m a sore loser. In my opinion, losing is when I mess up a spot. I’m really hard on myself and it pisses me off. I want to be perfect. I want to be the best, or I don’t want to do it at all.
The man upstairs has looked out for me throughout these times with stuff like that, and with veterans like Mark [Henry] and Big Show and the big men that have paved the road for where I’m going now. Taking me under their wing and teaching me a lot of the things to do, and the things not to do; I couldn’t have been put in a better position with everything. I’ve just… I feel like I’ve hit the wrestling lottery.”
Tommy’s Thoughts: The only thing I love more than “BRAAAAAAAUUUN!” is when Adam Scherr gets to go be himself in an interview. One listen to his episode of the Steve Austin Show #349 back when he was the Least Qualified Wyatt Family member made me fall in love with him forever, so it’s been a welcome surprise to see him busting his ass and earning his place.
Plus, he gets bonus points for the subtle shot at Brock Lesnar: “protecting the brand” has to be my new favorite way for the full-timers expressing the difficulty of working with Brock after Dean Ambrose put him on blast. I’m still mad that Brock wasted the “never off his feet” blowoff after not even five months of build up in a throwaway Rumble spot, so more power to Strowman for not only calling it like it is but also bouncing back from that bad advice.