Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman On Bray Wyatt, WWE Return, Neck Injury, Brock Lesnar Receipt

Braun Strowman (@adamscherr99) is a professional wrestler with WWE. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet at a WWE Priority Pass On Location event in Philadelphia during WrestleMania week to talk about the neck injury that kept him out of action for over a year, returning to WWE after being released in 2022, his friendship with Bray Wyatt, how being part of the Wyatt Family changed not only his career but his life, the receipt that Brock Lesnar gave him in the ring during the 2018 Royal Rumble, wrestling The Undertaker and Kane early in his career, getting into the best shape of his life and much more.

Quote I’m thinking about: “The greatest lesson I’ve learned in life is that I still have a lot to learn.”

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On being massive:

“Honestly, I don’t realise that I’m this big. I just feel like a normal person until I see pictures with my friends and fans and things and I go Holy sh*t. I’m pretty frickin big.”

Were you always this big?

“Honestly, no. So when I was born I was a normal size kid. I think I was 17 inches or something like that and seven and a half pounds and I was kind of normal-ish for a while. And then around 11 or 12 years old, I went through this crazy growth transformation. I remember how miserable it was with growing pains and stuff. And I started high school at five foot eight or five foot nine. And then when I graduated at 17, I was six-five and 300 pounds. Yeah, thinking about that I still have PTSD from the good growing pains and everything that I went through when I was a kid, but it all worked out.” 

On how his neck is feeling:

“It feels great. I mean, look at this range of motion I got in this thing this thing. I’m pretty much Wolverine I got some titanium in there and things like that. I was a little nervous, I asked doc when they put all this hardware and I was like so am I going to set off metal detectors when I go to the airport? Because we are in airports more than we are in our houses.”

On when the return will be?

“We’re getting close. So I’m actually having dinner with my doctor tonight Dr. Cordover, an unbelievably talented doctor one of the absolute top neurosurgeons, spinal surgeons in the world. I was very blessed, and fortunate to be able to go to have him do the surgery on me at Andrews Medical down in Birmingham, Alabama. So actually gonna have dinner with him tonight and talk and I have another CT scan in I believe, like two weeks, so we’re getting really, really close.”

On realising this was an issue:

“So I didn’t know. I come to find out, I didn’t know I had stenosis to the spine. So stenosis of the spine, yeah, it’s basically where it’s tightened around your spinal column. So I only had nine millimetres of clearance around my spine between my C4 and C5 vertebrae. I didn’t know that and I got hit wrong during a match and my head whipped back. When my head whipped back and pinched my spine it felt like a lightning bolt shot out both my arms and my arms went limp. So if you watch the match back, you can see in the match where it happened. There’s a point where you see me, my arms dropped to my side, and I kind of look around really weird and I find my hands and stuff start to move again. And I’m like looking at my hands and I go to take off running and I’m all wobbly my balance is off and things like that. We got the match finished and got in the back, and it felt like someone was pouring boiling hot water down both of my arms, it was on fire. So I was in this really terrifying place for a couple of weeks of not knowing am I ever going to have a normal life again? Am I going to be able to do what I love? Am I going to be able to just do anything? So it’s very fortunate that I’ve become friends with so many of the legends and things like that in this business. So I called Stone Cold, because I know Stone Cold went through something like this, because come to find out his injury was almost exactly like mine, it was just a little bit more severe. So he had stenosis in his spine when he got the Piledriver. And it pinched his spine and it pushed all the fluid out of his spine and bruised and he was actually paralysed from the neck down for like 30 seconds. So having him talk to me and kind of almost giving me the proverbial it’s gonna be okay, it was a very big breath of fresh air. Because like I said, I didn’t know what was going on. And WWE takes unbelievable care of their talent and, talking with Hunter and stuff like that, and him going look, what we’re doing right now is not as important as what you’re going to be doing in 15 years of your life, get it taken care of, you’re important, you’re not going anywhere. If you can wrestle again, you can, if you can’t, we’ll figure it out. So having that pat on the back again, like giving that reassurance because you’re not guaranteed anything. So having them be able to put me in the place to have the best surgery that I can, go into the WWE Performance Center, having the best rehabilitation that I can. I couldn’t be more thankful that I’m taken care of by such an amazing company.”

On not wanting to be off TV:

“I was like, How can I work around this? Because that’s what I’ve done my whole career. A lot of people don’t realise WWE stars are banged up all the time. There is no offseason, like this the longest break that I’ve had doing this in 11 years. So for me to be sitting at home and doing nothing for four months, losing my mind, like watching my muscle mass that I work so hard for diminishing and just sitting there like, I’m not gonna lie it weighed. 2023 was rough. I mean, my neck injury and then you know.” 

On the passing of Bray Wyatt:

“I see him all the time. It’s crazy. It really is crazy. I don’t know how spiritual anyone is or this and that, but I had a very deep connection with him. I mean, I see him and there’s things that remind me of him and constantly, every day there’s something, I can feel him he’s still around.”

On how much The Wyatt Family changed his career:

“It changed my entire life. I was this kid that was told he was never gonna make it, never gonna be anything, bullied, fat kid growing. Having a group of guys, three talented, unbelievable human beings take me under their wing and show me the ways through this crazy business. Words can’t really explain how grateful I am for that because I’m not where I am in life without those guys.”

On the Bray Wyatt entrance:

“I’ll never forget my first WrestleMania walking out at AT&T Stadium with 101,000 people shot in their flashlights when we’re about to go out and face off against The Rock and John Cena. Like it doesn’t get any bigger than that. I mean, how like, for this kid from Sherrils Ford, North Carolina, walking out with two of his best friends in front of 101,000 people to wrestle two of the absolute most iconic wrestlers of all time. I constantly have to pinch myself because I don’t believe there’s a reality, I’m living an absolute fairy tale.”

On winning a championship:

“In my mind, I didn’t know how long it would take, but I knew it was gonna happen. I’ve been very good at manifesting things in my life because I just grew up with nothing. So I had to work for everything. The only thing I’ve ever had given to me in my life is a f*cking hard time and pardon my French. But yeah, so like just knowing that, I can’t remember what documentary it is I start off talking at the beginning of it, it shows the full circle where at one point, we were getting close for me to be the champion, something happened and Vince had changed his mind on it. And the show comes to this interview after I had this meeting with him and I was pissed off about it. Because I was like I don’t know what I’m not doing right what I’m not doing wrong, this and that. And that whole documentary leads up on me being told that it’s not my time to be champion. And it led to me beating Goldberg to become the Universal Champion. And it’s so crazy to see all that come to fruition in the story.”

On what it meant to win the championship:

“It meant the world because I like I said, as a kid growing up idolising him to becoming friends with him you know, unfortunate circumstances with everything going on with the pandemic and what happened, he wanted me. So he picked me to do that and do the honours and pass that torch. [Did he reach out to you to tell you that?] Not initially they reached out but when we got there was a whole thing. He goes to me he’s like, look let me not paraphrase it wrong. He said I can count on one hand how many people that I would do this for and I still have three fingers left.”

On being released in 2021:

“It f*cking sucked. I mean, at the end of the day how else do I say it, it sucked. I had no intentions of going anywhere. But that’s an unfortunate part of the business, you know, business is business. And that’s the time that was the decision, I guess that they needed to make. And clearly it wasn’t the right one because I’m back.”

On knowing he would return:

“I knew, I knew for a fact. And that’s what I said, I got reached out by everybody, come here, come wrestle for us. And I’ve said it time and time again. I’m loyal to this company. Because what this company has done for me, my family, my loved ones, I’m just loyal. And I knew for a fact that I would be back because this is where I belong. I truly believe I was put on this earth to be a WWE Superstar.”

On the 2018 Royal Rumble with Brock Lesnar:

“I got a little overzealous with him and he had to check me. And that’s just at the end of the day it’s two big, dominant dudes out there going at it and things happen. This ain’t ballet. I stiffed him on accident with a knee and he wasn’t happy with it. So he clobbered me on the side of the head. And I like to think I’m the only human on Earth that’s ever taken a right hand for Brock that didn’t go night-night. I went 20 more minutes in the match. It didn’t feel good. I mean, you see the slow motion my skull moves and then the skin catches up.”

On his favourite match:

“Honestly, as hard as it was, the swamp match I had with Bray. Because that was my teacher, my mentor, my master. Being able to go out there and use the tools and assets that he taught me and he gave me and be able to go out there. What a lot of people don’t realise with that match and stuff that we had, it took us like 32 hours of continuous work to film this in hot-ass Florida. And it really put a toll on both of us, I ended up in the hospital after it. So I got home and I collapsed in my house with full body cramps, I had to be pulled out of my house by the EMS and have double IVs hooked up. It took four litres of fluid to get my body to stop cramping. So that’s when I got a little you know, you got your critics on the internet and people were bashing it and I’m like, I get it, it’s your opinion you’re entitled to it but like, I almost killed myself to make this happen for y’all. So it’s kind of hard dealing with the critics at times when he when you’re sacrificing your health and well-being to put smiles on other people’s faces. [Was it dehydration?] Yeah, it was just a lot. I mean, you’re out in the middle of a swamp all day long and then literally getting it done and then going straight to Monday Night Raw right after. I went home, took a shower, went to TV got that done and then got home and collapsed while I was taking a shower. But I wouldn’t change the thing. Because I know how important what we do on television to the people out there in the world when they need an escape from reality. As I said, nothing I would change, all the surgeries I’ve been through the pain, the missing out on normal life, whatever normal is anymore. To see in the videos of kids that are going to have brain tumours removed as they’re going under anaesthesia, they’re holding my action figure. That’s what it’s all about.”

What is Braun Strowman grateful for:

“My family, my loved ones and the ability to travel the world.”

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