Chris Van Vliet, a television and wrestling / entertainment reporter and part-time broadcast team member for All Elite Wrestling (AEW), recently caught up with former WWE Superstar Erick Rowan (Joseph Ruud) for an in-depth interview on his podcast, “The Chris Van Vliet Show.”
During the discussion, the former member of The Wyatt Family and The Bludgeon Brothers spoke about the origins of The Wyatt Family debuting on the WWE main roster, how his sheep mask became part of his character in the group and his WrestleMania 32 match against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Featured below are some of the highlights of the new Erick Rowan interview, as well as a video archive of the entire discussion.
On how he felt when he first found out about the formation of The Wyatt Family: “So, when it kind of got all thrown together, Bray and Luke were always kind of in it together. They had filmed vignettes. I was still doing the Viking thing. I was told that wasn’t going to work during that time, and then it wasn’t until the week of NXT taping where I was told, ‘Well, okay, you’re going to be the second son’. We had done some promos back with them. I didn’t know what I was wearing. I was wearing pajamas and rocked around a pig mask, and we just tried different things.”
On only having ring gear from his previous character at the time and not being sure what to wear when debuting his new character: “Then, I get to the TV taping. I was going to work Oliver Grey in some squash match. But I was introduced as the second son of The Wyatt’s, and I was like, ‘I don’t have anything to wear. What am I going to wear?’ I got the Viking symbol on the back of my black trunk. So, I got a pair of maroon trunks with another Viking symbol. I was like, ‘I can’t wear that because Brodie’s wearing jeans at the time. What am I going to wear?’ I happen to have a pair of old coveralls from a Norwegian reality show I did that were still just in the trunk of my car, and I’m like, ‘Well if I cut the sleeves off of this’. It was really tight. They didn’t fit me too well, but I was like, ‘Would this work?’ And it was like a green jumpsuit, and that’s how that worked.”
On being told mixed messages about whether or not he would be called up from NXT to WWE alongside Bray Wyatt: “Fast forward to when we get called up onto the roster, we always knew Bray was getting called up to the roster. We [Rowan & Harper] didn’t know if we were. We were told by Bill DeMott, me and Brodie were told, we weren’t getting called up. So then they’re filming these vignettes, and then we’re like, ‘Oh, well, they’re going to need you for the vignettes’. ‘But are we getting called up?’ and then, Bray’s like, ‘Yeah, you guys are getting called up’. And then Bill, ‘No, you guys aren’t getting called up’. It’s like, ‘What the hell?'”
On the sheep mask part of his attire for the new character being a coincidence: “This is another thing where I get to the vignette and I just happened to have all these masks in my back seat still from all these promos we were trying like months ago. It was just a Party City sheep mask, and I think we were filming with Chris Chambers. And I pull it out of my trunk and I say, ‘What do you think about this? Can we use this in this vignette. Because Dusty [Rhodes], who was also there, he was the guy doing all the promos for NXT, FCW, and I remember, I tried some of these masks with him and he’s like, ‘No, no, baby, we want to see your face. It’s ugly. It’s money’. And so, I was like, ‘All right, all right, I get it’. And then when I was there, I really liked that sheep mask. So I’m like, ‘Hey, what about this?’ and they’re like, ‘Okay, yeah’, and then that’s how that happens.”
On always knowing his match with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at WrestleMania 32 would be short and finding out about it only three days before the big event: “Yes, yes, and I don’t know if he had some sort of deal where he couldn’t do a lot of physicality. I get that. He was the highest-paid actor in the world. So, yeah, I get that… I mean, if you blink your eye, it probably passed. I think I found out like three days before.”
Check out the complete interview with Erick Rowan from The Chris Van Vliet Show podcast below, or by visiting Stitcher.com.
Follow Wrestling-Edge reporter Matt Boone on Twitter @MattBoone1984.