Former WWE Universal champion Braun Strowman recently spoke with Sports Illustrated to discuss a variety of topics, including his WrestleMania 37 cage match with Shane McMahon, and how he's finally getting over his body image issues. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
On his cage match with Shane McMahon:
Let’s be real here. I’m a ground-based athlete, so that was unreal. You have to give mad credit to Shane. I could hear the crowd come alive when we were on top of the cage. Shane literally gave his body to me, trusting his life in my hands, and that rumble from the crowd gave me goosebumps. It was an honor to go out there with him.
On ripping through the cage with his bare hands:
Ripping through the cage, that was an important moment. We’re here to show something that’s never been before. That’s where you become a legend in this business, so I hope those moments live on. I was very happy with what we did, and I’ll remember those reactions from the crowd for a long time.
On the story they told:
My whole life, I’ve always been judged,” the 6' 8. That’s what I liked about this story line with Shane. I look like a giant, and I’ve always dealt with stereotypes. That’s what I was trying to tell in the story with Shane. Just because I look a certain way, that doesn’t mean I can’t be more than that. I love to read, I love to learn. There’s a lot more to me than just my size.
On having body image issues:
I hated the way I looked. I’ve always struggled with body dysmorphia. It’s still a tough battle, but I try to remind myself it’s a process and I have my whole life to work on this. I admire the work I’ve put into this to change my life for the better. I needed to make some changes in my life, and since I was given some extra time at home because of the pandemic, I wanted to do something positive with it. I worked with a nutritionist, I worked with a new trainer, and I revamped the way I ate and what I do at the gym. It’s a whole new lifestyle. It’s been really cool for my mentality, and the feedback from people around the world has been so inspiring. I’ve had mothers message me that they’ve changed the way they cook for their kids. Someone messaged me saying he lost 200 pounds after seeing my transformation. That’s very humbling. It’s been a learning process for me, and I am really enjoying the experience.
On Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre:
Bobby is a specimen, Drew is a specimen and I am a specimen. This is King Kong meets Godzilla meets the Incredible Hulk, and we’ll see who is the top of the food chain. Bobby and Drew are so talented. The Last Man Standing match I had with Bobby [at Extreme Rules in 2019] is my favorite match of all time and they pull out a different side of me. There is nowhere else you’ll see three guys go at it like this.
On how much he's improved in the ring:
This is a profession that takes time. I have less than six years on the main roster, and less than eight years in a wrestling ring. Working through the pandemic without a crowd, that was hard. It was so strange to have nobody there, hearing every breath you’d take. Looking back, that experience has made us better. We had to tighten up our game. I’m a big advocate of learning something new every day. That’s what happened for me in WWE. This is where I belong. I love learning more about adapting and entertaining. I’m my own worst critic, and I read more of the comments than I should, and I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I know I’m good at this. I’m the best damn Braun Strowman, I’m the best big man in the world. I’ll swear on that. There ain’t nobody on this planet my size that can do what I can do, talk like I can talk and wrestle like I can wrestle. I’m going to continue with the mindset. Why would I think any less of myself?
Hypes up the Backlash showdown:
It’s going to be hard-hitting and it’s going to get physical. This isn’t going to be a superkick party. We’re going to beat the hell out of each other.