Braun Strowman puts over Roman Reigns in major way during wide-ranging interview
WWE's breakout performer has plenty of praise for its top dog entering SummerSlam
When Braun Strowman takes part in the main event of SummerSlam on Aug. 20, it will mark nearly two years to do the day that he made his main roster debut with WWE. And he's spent much of that time feuding and getting better acquainted with one man, who just so happens to be the top dog in the entire company.
Strowman, a former professional strongman champion from North Carolina whose real name is Adam Scherr, first appeared on Raw the night after SummerSlam in 2015 as a henchman for the Wyatt Family, attacking Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.
Just two years later, the 6-foot-8 and 385-pound giant has completed an impressive leap to a viable main event attraction. In just over a week, he will join the Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe in a Fatal 4-Way main event match for Lesnar's WWE universal championship.
The turning point in Strowman's development as a singles star, which began with him being drafted to Raw following last summer's brand extension, came during that aforementioned feud against Reigns, which has been WWE's top overall storyline over the last few months.
Strowman, 33, seemed to reach a new level in popularity and critical respect when paired opposite the three-time WWE champion Reigns, who has main-evented the last three WrestleMania cards.
"Roman Reigns is, if not the best, one of the best performers in the world, hands down," Strowman told CBS Sports on Wednesday. "I don't care what anybody says. He does it night after night, and it doesn't matter who he's with, they tear the place down. Lately, it has been me and him blowing the roof off the arena on every place we walk into on God's green earth."
The Reigns-Strowman feud began in February. Following a short break for WrestleMania, it picked up again with a bang in April. From there, the pair has gone on to produce one of WWE's most consistently violent and action-packed programs in recent years.
"That's the thing that people just don't get and that's the work ethic behind Roman Reigns," Strowman said. "He's just a tough S.O.B. I've spent so much time in this program, just nailing him and nailing him, and whether it's stubbornness, stupidity or heart, he just keeps getting back up, which just keeps giving me a reason to knock him back down."
Strowman certainly entered his program with Reigns as the heel and went as far as flipping over an ambulance with Reigns inside. But their roles have seemed to evolve over the course of the feud with the polarizing Reigns, who attempted storyline vehicular manslaughter against Strowman at Great Balls of Fire, consistently getting booed and "The Monster Among Men" mostly drawing babyface cheers.
Despite Reigns undergoing what feels like a soft heel turn of sorts, Strowman believes the idea of playing a specific role -- whether it be fan favorite or villain -- is an outdated concept.
"That has been brought up before, and I feel like the days of faces and heels are coming to an end," Strowman said. "We are two superstars. We are just megastars going out there and doing what we do which is entertaining. It doesn't matter who you love or who you want to cheer for; at the end of the match, you are on your feet, you are going crazy, you have lost your voice, and we did our job."
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Strowman also believes that giants his size have become an equally outdated role in today's pro wrestling climate. Because of that, "The Monster Among Men" takes pleasure in being one of "four dinosaurs" along with Lesnar, Reigns and Joe in such an important match at SummerSlam.
"In today's era, the giants are trying to be phased out," Strowman said. "Three of the four guys are over 300 pounds in this match, and the other one is no slouch at 270 or 280. We are throwbacks; we are what put WWE on the map. We are attractions, and we are superstars and larger-than-life characters that you can't walk around on the street and see so you buy the ticket. You come to the show and you watch us tear the Barclays Center apart for the universal championship."
Strowman is grateful for his opportunity at WWE and believes he has "put my head down and run as hard as I can until there's nowhere left to run" each time he has been handed the ball. He also believes he has yet to show the full arsenal of his capabilities.
Impressed already by a man Strowman's size being able to perform kip up's and missile dropkicks? Just wait and see what happens next.
"There's quite a few things I haven't shown yet. I'm just beginning to open the pages in the book of Braun Strowman and bring out some of the things," he said. "I've shouted this from the rooftops, and I'll say it again: There's not another man on this Earth who is my size who can do what I do."
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