Recently released WWE superstar Erick Rowan (Joseph Rudd), who is now going by Erick RedBeard, was on the "The Lewis Nicholls Show" where he talked about his start in pro wrestling and how he got into WWE. Erick discussed how his last SmackDown run ended and whether more could have been done with it.
"They can always do more with it," Erick admitted. "Like you said, yes, it was too short, and I think a lot of that was a victim of having the draft coming up [and] switching networks to FOX. They didn't have a plan for me going out because they didn't think I was going to succeed.
"I know they didn't think I was going to succeed because I wouldn't have had people going up to me backstage going, 'oh my gosh. I can't believe you're doing this,' and then week after week after week, all of sudden they're letting me talk. They're letting me do more and more, so they were trusting me more and more, and then it just stopped when I got put onto RAW."
Erick's last storyline in WWE involved him carrying around a mysterious cage. There was speculation on what could have been in the cage, but the reveal of an animatronic spider perplexed many fans. Erick talked about what he once put in the cage before the reveal and chose not to say what his reaction was when told what the reveal was.
"I put something just in case somebody peeked through," Erick revealed. "You never know if something is gonna fall out. Nobody told me to do it, but I put stuff in there just in case. One week, I didn't have anything, so I took a t-shirt and some duct tape and made like a stuffed animal. I just did stupid things, so that if somebody looks through. They can see some sort of shape. I didn't know what was going to be in there.
Nicholls asked, "When they told you, were you a little bit underwhelmed?"
"Plead the fifth," Erick laughingly said.
Erick talked about his release from WWE. He said that while there was shock, there was word that a number of releases and furloughs would happen. He talked about how he is still young and able to show people more of what he can do as a wrestler.
"The thing about all this is we did get a message, like we have an app that we had, and it had a message from Vince," Erick explained. "It kind of explained that there's gonna be some lay-offs. There's gonna be some furloughs. How the whole economy is churning, they basically have to let people go, and when I heard that, I was like, 'well, I'm under contract, so I can't be furloughed. So if they're gonna let me go, they're gonna let me go.' To me, even the last time I was on television was when they killed the spider like the day after because of Backlash because I don't know why else they would kill it.
"There's no plans for it, so I was just sitting at home. Like, a lot of guys were just sitting at home. You get that initial shock, and then it's like, well, OK, what's next because you got to keep going. My family, they know I got goals and things I want to do outside of wrestling as well as still in wrestling. I'm not event 40 yet. I haven't even hit the peak of my career. These interviews that I do are so beneficial to show people that hey, I have a voice. I'm more than just some brute in the background of some weekly show or some guy that just terrorizes people with the cage that are smaller than them."
Erick's former tag team partner Luke Harper, now Brodie Lee, is with AEW, and Erick gave his thoughts on AEW and the possibility of working there. He noted that he is still under a 90-day no-compete clause and that there are other places that he would like to work as well, but he also noted that he and Brodie could use some time apart after being a team for so long.
"I haven't had any conversations. I'm still under a 90-day no-compete clause," Erick noted. "But as far as something like that, yes, that would be awesome to be able to show your talents on a national level because they do have a contract through TNT, and they get great exposure. They have a lot of really good guys that work there that know they're doing, and they're giving kids chances.
"So yes, I do watch. I do find it entertaining at points and not entertaining at other points, which every show's like that. There's other guys on the independents that I'd love to work with. They got some big boys over at Impact. They got some big boys over at ROH. That's not even getting into overseas stuff, but as far as AEW would go, for me, and I think Brodie would say this as well, we need to stay the hell away from each other. We just keep finding each other somehow."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Lewis Nicholls Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.