Erick Rowan’s 8-year tenure with the WWE came to a sudden end on April 15th when he was suddenly released with several other wrestlers due to Covid-19 budget cuts. Before being released, Rowan was involved in a strange gimmick that had him carrying around a mystery creature in a cage. Rowan recently sat down with Sportskeeda to discuss how the cage storyline was pitched to him.
“I’ll never forget that. That was, I think it was over in the UK was the first day I was informed of that. And it was basically right after the Draft. So like, I just had a program with Roman [Reigns], reunited with Harper for a little bit and the Draft happens and they put me to Raw and everybody else was on Smackdown. And I was like, ‘Okay well, hopefully they continue with what I was doing and they can just explore that character.’ And I think I debuted on Raw against Seth who was champion at the time, and we had some Falls Count Anywhere match and they left me strong in that match. I felt like things were going great. Then I showed up to the UK and I was informed I was carrying a cage. And I said, ‘Well, what’s in it?’ And I was told, ‘You’ll find out.’”
After months of speculation the mystery creature in the cage was revealed to be a giant spider, that was quickly squashed by Drew McIntyre to end the storyline completely.
“Originally they had pitched that it was going to be some sort of rodent, a rat that was going to be killed by the babyface champion to show that I had cared about something. And then that babyface turned heel, so it was like ‘Okay, that didn’t work. Well, what is it now?’ And they just kept extending it, and extending it, and extending it. And yeah, I mean I pitched a couple different ideas the longer it went. But you know, it kind of fell on deaf ears, which sometimes your ideas do.”
“And then I was pretty much told, ‘This is what it is.’ And yeah, I remember the day they told me I had to unveil it, and I was like, ‘No, no, it’s fake.’ It was like, all that build for something so trivial. It was kind of sucky for me. Because you know, we go to work, we put in all these things, you have all these ideas in your head and that’s what it is.”
The “mystery cage” was not the only time that WWE tried to repackage Rowan, as just the year before he returned to Smackdown as the partner to Daniel Bryan.
“They had not used Brodie (Luke Harper) once the entire time that I was out. That’s five to six months. That’s crazy. Barely doing anything, nothing like house shows, nothing like TV. I thought maybe they are just waiting for me to get back. I get back and I was told, ‘Hey man, you are going to go to Rumble with Bryan.’ I was like what? They were like, ‘Yeah, you got a plaid shirt?’ I go, ‘What do you mean a plaid shirt?’. They go, ‘He wears plaid so you should wear plaid.'”
Having Rowan change his clothes was almost not the only thing that was done to make him look similar to Daniel Bryan, as Rowan’s trademark beard was almost trimmed as well.
“I remember I had to have a meeting with Vince. They were this close to trimming my beard all the way down. I was told, ‘He wants you to look like Bryan.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa.’ I am remembering who it was, probably Dean Malenko. He was grabbing me by the arm and trying to get me to get the cut. I was, ‘No no, let me go talk to Vince and find out what he wants before we just start cutting.’ We had the meeting and it ended up not having to cut it. He said this was a good opportunity for me to not be a background character, which is exactly what it was again. I barely got to have any personality and barely got to talk. It’s not fun to be the background character.”
Thank you to Sportskeeda for transcribing the quotes. The rest of the interview can be seen below.
Matt’s Musings: For the life of me I still cannot figure out how a giant mechanical spider didn’t get over.