Erick Rowan

Erick Rowan Honors Bray Wyatt & Brodie Lee, WWE Return, AEW Appearance, Beating Roman Reigns

Joseph Ruud (@erickredbeard) is a professional wrestler known as Erick Rowan when he was in WWE as part of the Wyatt Family. He currently wrestles under the name Erick Redbeard. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet in Hollywood, CA to talk about the passing of Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) and Jon Huber (Brodie Lee/Luke Harper), how he joined the Wyatt Family, being The Rock’s last opponent at WrestleMania 32, having the distinction of being one of the last 4 people to pin Roman Reigns, what got his wrestling journey started, his brief appearances in AEW, will he return to WWE, forming The Bludgeon Brothers with Luke Harper, the original plan for what was inside of his cage, his recent acting roles and much more.
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Quote I’m thinking about: Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right.

On the sudden passings of Brodie Lee and Bray Wyatt:

“I’m doing okay. I mean, it’s obviously been rough for the wrestling world. And, you know, it’s just one of those things. And with, you know, the passing of Jon, you know, Brodie, it was a shock. And then with, with Windham, it’s like, you don’t know where to start or begin. And it’s, it’s one of those things that, you know, when you experience loss, it’s like, you don’t know how to react, then I still don’t know how to react. And no matter what I do, I always feel, you know, them with me. And wrestling’s worse, I think, because when I’m in the ring, I spent so much time with them that when I do any show lately, it’s constantly reminded, either by just popping myself in the ring by doing a move and thinking of somebody yelling in the corner at me and laughing or the crowd, reminding me it’s just one of those things. And keeping busy is, you know, my key, to just kind of moving on and, you know, concentrating on my family and myself.”

On becoming a family:

“I mean, each journey is different for everybody. You know, there’s some wrestlers that can’t stand each other, don’t talk to each other outside the ring. It’s just what happens. And, you know, of course, I think me and me and Jon, we went through that stage early on, that’s well publicised that we had this friction between us. And I think it wasn’t until like, towards the end of the Wyatt stuff. And like really, like, when we did The Bludgeon Brothers stuff, that we just had this mutual respect of each other, and basically said, Hey, we’ve been stuck together, we wanted to do single stuff. And for some reason, like, it brought us closer together, which, you know, would have torn apart many teams. But, I think the more time we spent together, the more we gelled as a team. And the more we gelled as friends. And, you know, Windham was no different he was, he was always there, you know, then when I don’t know life, it’s just hard to reflect on these memories and to be able to come up with the correct thing to say because there is no correct or right things to say it’s just, we spent so much time together. And you have tiffs with your family. We have tiffs as a team, we have, and but like, the good thing with the three of us is we usually had one, you know, like, oh, woah guys, calm down, this will be good, like, so like, we never had like crazy fights or anything I can remember it was, it was literally just a family dynamic. And I think that’s what I always remember, especially when we’re riding together early. And we learned really quickly, that we needed to all ride. Nothing, nothing ever happened. But I like I remember, in the beginning, we had to share rooms, and I’m a horrible snorer, like, I need to go get a sleep apnea machine or something because I’m loud. And if you’re sleeping in the same room with me, you’re not getting much sleep. I’m getting great sleep. But getting a pillow thrown at you every night in the middle of the night. And me waking up mid-sleep straight up being like, I can’t help it. Like, I don’t think that’s really gonna help, you know, it’s gonna cause a little friction. So I remember that once we stopped riding together, I think that really helps, you know, all of our friendships because I think we’re all getting better sleep. You know, plus, it’s always good to have a little bit of privacy on the road. You know.”

On being challenged to a fight out of nowhere:

“I mean, it happened to me today. I went to the signing today. It was at 7/11. And this guy was up front this frail individual. And he basically said, you tough, you can fight. And I was like, I don’t fight. I said, and then he’s like, Well, I do. And then he, like, try to get my face. I just walked past him I wasn’t going to start anything. I go in, I buy some energy drinks, whatnot. And as I’m checking out five cop cars are outside, five, which was nuts and obscene to me. And I look, look around with the guys, you know, being talked to by five police officers. And I’m like, as people are working on, like, what happened? Well, I guess the guy’s been threatening everybody that’s been walking through the whole day. So they called the cops and they said, This is LA. So usually the cops don’t show up. But five is pretty overkill.”

On the original Wyatt Family pitch:

“I don’t think there was an original type pitch. I know Windham was trying out this Waylon Mercy-type cult character but there’s no way the company was gonna have a 30-person cult come out you know and travel on the road every week. So I know with Dusty Rhodes’ class we had different people in different versions of people come out with them, one was Rick Thicke who was later in The Ascension. Brodie and me and like one promo we did we kidnapped Enzo for making fun of us, just weird stuff we would try. And when it came time to like they did like a video, but I wasn’t included in this video. I think it was like Eli Cottonwood and I think Audrey Marie and Brodie and they all did like this video concept for the Wyatt family. And then Brodie debuted as the first son on NXT. And then like, two weeks later, like a day before TV they said alright, we want you to be the second son. Okay. Because me and Brodie have been taken for a while down in NXT. It made sense. So I was like, okay, but all I have is trucks. You know. And I was doing like this, this Viking stuff, which I was told it would never work by the way. Viking gimmick won’t work and would never work. So luckily in the trunk of my car, I had pyjama bottoms you know I had jeans but I didn’t want to wear what Brodie was wearing because he was wearing the jeans and the flannel and a shirt. I was like, What the heck am I gonna wear luckily I had a pair of coveralls from a rally shot in Norway from a farm with the bird green coveralls with reflective yellow on them that looked horrendous. But I cut the sleeves off and it seemed to be a good look. Because I was a fan of horror movies just the same as Windham and the Michael Myers aesthetic, the slipknot aesthetic of the coveralls and like cut the sleeves off. So you can actually show some, you know, like physique, because those things don’t really show much physique at all. And they’re very hard to work in. So my movements were extremely limited.”


“I mean, I think there was always something about like, possibly in the future. And it’s always that possibly in the future thing that I always hear. It’s like if it’s the right time, it’s the right time. If it’s the right thing, it’s the right thing. What I loved about wrestling was always surprises. And guys would come out and it’d be like holy crap, this guy just came out. Oh, now he’s got this storyline, this feud, and now he’s a hot commodity. Instead of like, Oh, this guy just came out, where is he now? He hasn’t been on TV for like three weeks. That’s not exciting to me. Like what was exciting to me was these guys like I remember when Nash, Hall and Hogan came. And this was during No Way Out With WWE and it was like, Holy crap. These guys are here now and like then they got stuck in all these top feuds with like the rock, and it was like, it was exciting, because it was like something different to watch. And you are instantly. Hey, this is who I am and this is what I’m going to do and here’s why I’m doing it. Like, and I don’t think there’s a lot of that happening right now.”

On possibly being in The Dark Order:

“So we talked a lot like up when he was doing it because I was always like, I’m so happy for you, you look you’re having a blast. He’s never was given much promo time in WWE. So like watching them do even the BTE episodes, I would watch that just to watch his segments because he’s having fun. He’s speaking and is being this character he wanted to be. And he was a fan of mobster movies and stuff like that. So here I’m watching this giant man doing a Joe Pesci like, it’s crazy, like just is drawing papers that people and you can tell, he’s just having a blast. And I was on the phone with them talking about how happy I was for him. And like he had this like, spark under him about how much fun he was having. And at the same time, I think I had started doing some films, and he was throwing back the same things to me and how excited he was for me, and like what was gonna happen for me in the future. So it was that kind of mutual thing. And then there was never any talk of it. I mean, we talked about maybe doing some signings together, or maybe like doing a couple, you know, like, shows, maybe in Japan or something, but like, we had never talked about doing anything there because he was building something for him. And we had fought so hard to like, get out of each other’s shadows for so long, because we were always connected. And we wanted something for ourselves. And to see him start to get something for himself and for me to be able to branch off and do stuff for myself. Like, those were great conversations to have, you know, and as far as like, after he passes, like, I wouldn’t want anything to do with Dark Order, ever. And it’s not because I don’t think those guys are cool. It’s because that was his legacy. He created that in such a short amount of time, he made them something very special. And nobody should try to replace that. And those guys do good by honouring him, but I don’t see them ever being as big as they were with him.”

On possibly reuniting with Bray Wyatt:

“Windham talked to me about wanting to involve me. But you know, it’s all about timing, and places, and story, and what works best for the company, you know, and it’s not all an individual’s decision. So, yeah, we’ve had conversations about like things we’d like to do and like stuff in the future, but like, you know, life happens and things happen, and unfortunate things happen that are way more important than anything to do with this fictional wrestling that we do.”

On the match with The Rock at WrestleMania 32:

“Well, it was a short one. I don’t know why you gotta remind me of this.  You know, you say it’s an honour. But then I started really thinking about some fan came into the signing today and he was wearing The Rock’s Brahma Bull shirt and I was like, really? Like, come on. You gotta put this in my face and he starts laughing. And it got me thinking, What does Brahma Bull stand for? So what does the Brahma stand for? So I looked it up. Because I was I was curious. Brahma is the Hindu god, that means the creator, the creator bull. So it got me thinking, what the hell does that mean? I really want to know like, how did he come up with that? And you’re gonna gotta be able to ask him that question. Let’s find out why he wanted to be the Brahma Bull. That’s like me being the Loki sheep to the God of mischief. I mean, it’s ridiculous sounding but it actually might work. [How were you selected for that?] Because Braun couldn’t be beat, they had to protect Windham and Jon had just suffered a torn patella. So it would have been paper rock scissors between me and Jon taking the quickest pin. So yeah, I just happened to win the short straw on that one. As Joseph Ruud Yes, it was an honour. As Erick Rowan, that was humiliating.”

On the Daniel Bryan team:

“I mean, we were on the pre-show as tag champions. I mean, what’s that tell you about how they viewed the tag teams at the time, especially when Daniel Bryan was, you know, just World Heavyweight Champion and the Eco Champion. So to go to trying to make the date titles mean something and then being on the pre-show. You know, it’s kind of like kind of like an insult, I guess. But like we, we tried the best we could and at least led some sort of feud. You know what I mean? And then to me, I was happy with the end of it because I finally got to get a microphone and start talking for a few weeks. You know, so, which again, was probably the most fun I’ve had when they’re letting me talk and, you know, kind of like, be a character that I want to be and then the cage stuff happens. But like, you know, I can beat that in the head all I want, you know, but like when you go from talking about a microphone and having a story to basically having no direction and being told not to speak Yeah, it’s kind of a creative headache. It’s kind of like being cast in a TV show and every every week you got like, you know, like your own backstory. And like, you’re like, explaining more yourself to the audience at home and people are getting invested. And then all of a sudden you’re like, in like three episodes in the background, it’s kind of like a deflator.”

What is Erik Rowan grateful for?

“My wife, my kids and my health.”

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