We were recently lucky enough to get some time to talk to everyone’s favorite Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman, for the With Spandex podcast. While you can hear the full interview by clicking this link, we absolutely had to get down in writing his explanation for how he managed to stay alive after being crushed in a real garbage truck, as well as his “fat kid” love of the Game Boy when he was little. If you can imagine Braun Strowman ever being “little,” that is.
WITH SPANDEX: Did you play video games at all as a kid? You don’t strike me as a video game playing kid. Also, I can’t imagine you as a kid at all. I can’t imagine you as a small human being.
Braun Strowman: It’s funny; a lot of people say that. I was never really a small [kid], per se. I’ve always been a little bit larger. For a while, I was a little butterball running around. Luckily I just stretched out and that dispersed throughout my body, instead of just keeping short and portly, so I got lucky on that end. I decided to grow tall along with my width.
No, growing up my dad played softball, and we traveled all over the country every week and stuff like that. And I can remember sitting in the back of the van for hours and hours and hours playing Game Boy as a kid, and stuff like that. Still to this day, I’ve never beat Mario for Game Boy, and it drives me insane. You get to so many levels, then you die and you just gotta start over. I’m like, “Why? This is so cruel.” Why were video games so hard back then, and now you get infinite lives and you just run around and you just start back over after you die? I don’t get it.
What were your favorite Game Boy games? Zelda, obviously.
Zelda, I liked for Game Boy. Kid Icarus I remember playing a lot when I was kid on Game Boy. I really liked that, and then just Tetris and simple games like that just were easy to keep me occupied. Not to age myself, but I was born in ’83 so I’m a first, maybe second generation video gamer. All that stuff was just coming out. I remember getting the Game Boy when it came out, and that was like pulling teeth to get my parents to get me one. I think they finally just bought one to shut me up.
That was the only console they ever bought. They never got any for the house, because I wasn’t allowed in the house because I was a maniac like I am now when I was a kid. Probably even worse when I was a kid and they were [saying] every day, “Get your ass outside, because you’re not staying inside, because you’re going to drive us crazy.” I would go out and torment the neighborhood instead of my parents.
Recently on WWE television you were murdered in the back of a garbage truck. What was that like?
That was actually terrifying. I never thought to myself I was claustrophobic or anything, but being in the back of that and knowing I literally had split seconds to per se get out of the way of the compactor from being crushed, it was a little nerve-wracking.
All these crazy stunts and stuff that I do, the boss pitches a lot of them to me and I don’t really worry that much, because I know he would never ask me to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself. At the end of the day I feel comfortable doing it, because we have an unbelievable special effects team and stunt crew on hand and stuff like that, and safety is the first and foremost thought in their mind when we’re going through all this stuff.
So at the end of the day I feel safe doing it, but it’s still a little nerve-wracking being in the back of a garbage truck with the potential of being crushed.
Yeah, it was pretty scary, and I know when you showed back up to put the fear of God I guess into The Miztourage, you showed up in a different garbage truck. Was the idea that you were supposed to have been living in the garbage truck for the past week, or did you just get a new garage truck in Baltimore, or —
It took me. I had to … No, I was in a garbage truck for a week, and so I had to jump from nine different garbage trucks to make it across the country to show up there.
What’s it been like going from — you were in NXT, but you were never really in NXT on TV. Do you think that helped you, showing up on the WWE main roster as this fresh commodity, or do you wish that you had gotten onto NXT TV? What was that like for you?
I think in the fans’ eyes, it was both. I think they were excited, because when I debuted the whole crowd was chanting, “Who are you? Who are you?” So we got that shock value out of basically the people not having a clue who I was, but then at the same time, people hated me for it. “Oh, you skipped NXT, he didn’t pay his dues. He didn’t do this and that.”
Well, a lot of people that are that arguing I didn’t pay my dues, they don’t understand that I traveled around the world competing in strongman competitions. Paying out of my pocket for two of them to fly to all these contests. Paying the entry fees, and stuff like that. I might not have paid my dues wrestling in the indies, but I paid my dues and worked my butt off to get to where I am.
I used to get a little bitter for that and stuff, but I didn’t fault fans, because they don’t know. Fans are blind to certain things and they only want to hear and see what they want to hear, and so I just welcomed those haters with open arms laughing in the back of my mind, knowing that what I was capable of bringing to the table with WWE would just let me do it. While they did, now we’re here, and I think I’ve turned a lot of those naysayers into fans.
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