Braun Strowman joined Mark Henry and Dave LaGreca on Busted Open to discuss his desire to become a WWE Hall of Famer and leave a legacy behind, his long-term career goals, his competitive nature, how he transitioned from strongman competition to WWE, and more. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Owing his career to Mark Henry
“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.”
Lessons he learned from his time in WWE’s developmental system in Florida as part of NXT:
“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 eat. People come to see that, not to see me do flips and flops. They come to see a larger than life character like Mark himself.
“What put WWE on the map are these larger than life human beings that Vince McMahon has been able to find around the world that shocked and awe people because you don’t see human beings like that walking around on the streets. Take myself for example, Big Show, Mark Henry, it doesn’t matter what’s going on or where we’re at, when we walk in the room, we steal all of the attention because people go ‘oh my god, look at this human being. I’ve never seen anything like this.’
“It’s been an unbelievable rise to where I am and what I’ve been able to do in such a short amount of time.”
Any regrets he has in his career so far:
“If I could go back and do it all over again, I would be smarter with protecting myself and my brand, being a big man, not letting people talk me into doing stupid things I should not have been doing.
“One injury that was really close to ending my career is I ruptured a disk in my back and it cut into my side nerve and paralyzed my back. The folks at WWE take such great care of us with injury and make sure we are running at peak performance. I went to the doctor in Pittsburgh, I had to be pushed through the airport in a wheelchair because my left leg was 100% paralyzed. I had surgery and when I woke up, I walked to my recovery room. The man upstairs is certainly looking out for me.
“Having peers like Mark and Big Show, these big men that have paved the road to where I’m going and taking me under their wing and teaching me the things to do and not to do… I could not have been put in a better position. I feel like I hit the wrestling lottery. I’ve been in the right place at the right time.”
WWE giving him the opportunity to thrive:
“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.”
You can listen to the interview in the video below.
Busted Open airs live weekdays 9:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m. EST.