Erick Rowan joined Chris Van Vliet recently to discuss his career in the WWE as well as his future in the business. Rowan was a part of the group who was cut in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rowan had his best success in the company as a member of the Wyatt family. Once the group split, he had trouble finding his footing on TV but was being featured more at the time of his released. He explained how sudden release affected him and how he felt blindsided by it.
"I mean, going from being used every week, having no inkling that I was going to be let go," Rowan explained. "Told the last day I was used that I was in good standing with the company to just a complete blindside and just a 'bye-bye, see you later'. No thanks for your service, just good-bye. Have fun during the COVID. That's kind of the initial blindside and bitterness of it all. Yeah, you feel banished and cast aside."
Rowan said at the time he was beginning to get more comfortable with his character and portrayal on TV.
"Yeah, I mean, I thought I was doing well," Rowan said. "I started to get a character I really felt like most me and how I was feeling disrespected with the whole Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns storyline. Things were looking bright for me, I thought and then, the draft happened and I was informed I'd have the cage and I basically wouldn't talk anymore, which was a giant step back, but you do your job because you do it the best of your ability and you hope to have some sort of plan because why else would they be using you so much?"
According to Rowan, he was told he was going to be jobbed out to Drew McIntyre to get him over heading into his feud with Brock Lesnar. Rowan said this was also the end of the cage gimmick he had been given.
"I was told this is what it was, you're working Drew," Rowan recalled. "Got to get him ready for Brock, so you can't get any offense in. Just never something you want to hear when you have a match with somebody at the caliber of Drew McIntyre. You got a 4-minute segment to get the business done, you know, the cage gets killed and when I'm informed of, 'you're not going to get any offense on the guy and we're killing this gimmick', which if it was going to be the spider and that's what it was, I'm just happy that it's dead, but I was upset that my ideas weren't thought through enough to say, 'Okay, we'll use those' because this spider thing obviously wasn't going anywhere anyway, because they killed it'."
Rowan said that after this he wanted to speak with Paul Heyman because they had just killed his gimmick. Heyman reportedly told him not to worry about his future bookings or his job because he was going to be fine.
"So, I went to Heyman and I said, 'Hey, am I doing okay?' I couldn't make this work, I feel bad I couldn't make it work because I'm proud of what I do at work because it's art what we do," Rowan said. "You're given whatever on a piece of paper and you have to make it work the best of your ability as a performer. It's no different than acting. You want to act out a scene. It could be the crappiest script you've ever written in your life, but you try to make it work to the best of your ability because that's your job and when I couldn't make it work to the best that I thought it could make it work. Maybe it's because a mix of my creative ideas tossed aside and this and that, but yeah, directly to my face, he says, 'Don't worry, you're killing the cage. Better things are coming. You're in good standing with the company'. Why tell me something and then this whole thing hit and I wasn't used at all during this whole time. So, it's just kind of sitting at home. So, if I'm going to sit at home, I might as well be let go and not making money, because I'm not doing a job."
Some of the talent who have been released by WWE have ended up in AEW. Rowan's former tag-team partner and fellow Wyatt Family member Brodie Lee is one of those people. Rowan gave his thoughts on Lee's work in AEW and if he could ever see himself joining the company.
"He's happy," Rowan said. "He gets to boss people around. What's not happy about that… "It's wrestling. You never say never. Me and him have always been joined at the hip. I know he had very, very high singles aspirations, where he wants to be the World Champion and all that. To me, I just want to wrestle and have fun doing it and be creative, whether it's like a character backstage, and doing that."
Rowan said that he enjoys anything he does in the ring and enjoys tag-team wrestling. He said Lee always had his sights on being a singles star and is happy he is being given that opportunity.
"I have fun doing just tag stuff," Rowan said. "I have fun in the ring like if I'm doing the tag stuff, I don't care either way. I just love performing. He wants to be the best in the world at what he does. He's very meticulous with how he is in the ring and I want to give him a chance. I don't want to step on any toes. I don't want to be there, 'Oh, here I am again!'. Let him do what he wants to do and I'm sure we're going to come around and do something in the future together, but for right now, let him do his own thing. Let me do my own thing and let's meet back in Year whatever."
When discussing his future plans in the business Rowan explained that he doesn't feel the need to rush a decision.
"I mean, with COVID-19 right now, my last match was in front of a full live crowd, I don't feel the need to rush it," Rowan said. "Maybe, because I got my mind occupied, doing other things as well. My foot's not necessarily on that gas, revving, trying to get going like some of these other guys are. I saw it impact a lot of guys. I'm very happy for over there right now, doing some stuff, but it's just a matter of, 'Do I really want to go in front of a crowd of nobody?' and it's the same thing. You're going to have bosses and I'm so weird about how stuff works in the WWE. I have to be talked into something and if it's going to be good for my benefit and as well as the benefit of the company."
You can view the full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.