In a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, Erick Rowan discussed his time with the WWE before his release. Rowan enjoyed success in the company as a member of the Wyatt Family. He also had an impromptu match with The Rock at WrestleMania 32.
Rowan spoke about how he felt when he was first told about the formation of the Wyatt Family.
"So, when it kind of got all thrown together, Bray and Luke were always kind of in it together," Rowan explained. "They had filmed vignettes. I was still doing the Viking thing. I was told that wasn't going to work during that time, and then it wasn't until the week of NXT tapings where I was told, 'Well, okay, you're going to be the second son'. We had done some promos back with them. I didn't know what I was wearing. I was wearing pajamas and rocked around a pig mask, and we just tried different things."
Rowan said that he only had gear for his previous gimmick and wasn't sure what he should wear when being introduced as this new character.
"Then, I get to the TV tapings. I was going to work Oliver Grey in some squash match," Rowan recalled. "But I was introduced as the second son of The Wyatt's, and I was like, 'I don't have anything to wear. What am I going to wear?' I got the Viking symbol on the back of my black trunk. So, I got a pair of maroon trunks with another Viking symbol. I was like, 'I can't wear that because Brodie's wearing jeans at the time. What am I going to wear?' I happen to have a pair of old coveralls from a Norwegian reality show I did that were still just in the trunk of my car, and I'm like, 'Well if I cut the sleeves off of this'. It was really tight. They didn't fit me too well, but I was like, 'Would this work?' And it was like a green jumpsuit, and that's how that worked."
Bray Wyatt was the leader of the family and Rowan said he was always being groomed for the main roster. He said that he and Luke Harper were unsure if they would follow him up there, though. He said they were originally told that it would just be Wyatt who was getting the call up.
"Fast forward to when we get called up onto the roster, we always knew Bray was getting called up to the roster," Rowan explained. "We [Rowan & Harper] didn't know if we were. We were told by Bill DeMott, me and Brodie were told, we weren't getting called up. So then they're filming these vignettes, and then we're like, 'Oh, well, they're going to need you for the vignettes'. 'But are we getting called up?' and then, Bray's like, 'Yeah, you guys are getting called up'. And then Bill, 'No, you guys aren't getting called up'. It's like, 'What the hell?', but this is another thing where I get to the vignette and I just happened to have all these masks in my back seat still from all these promos we were trying like months ago."
Rowan said that the rush and confusion led to him to scramble to try and figure out what to wear for the vignette. He said that the masks were just something he had and they went with it.
"It was just a Party City sheep mask, and I think we were filming with Chris Chambers. And I pull it out of my trunk and I say, 'What do you think about this? Can we use this in this vignette," Rowan said. "Because Dusty [Rhodes], who was also there, he was the guy doing all the promos for NXT, FCW, and I remember, I tried some of these masks with him and he's like, 'No, no, baby, we want to see your face. It's ugly. It's money'. And so, I was like, 'All right, all right, I get it'. And then when I was there, I really liked that sheep mask. So I'm like, 'Hey, what about this?' and they're like, 'Okay, yeah', and then that's how that happens."
When speaking about his match with The Rock at WrestleMania, Rowan said he always knew it was going to be a short match.
"Yes, yes, and I don't know if he had some sort of deal where he couldn't do a lot of physicality. I get that," Rowan said. "He was the highest-paid actor in the world. So, yeah, I get that… I mean, if you blink your eye, it probably passed."
The match was portrayed at the show as just happening in the moment, but Rowan did say he knew about it a little earlier than that.
"I think I found out like three days before," Rowan said.
Despite it being so short, the moment still is remembered, and Rowan had success in his career with the company. He said he doesn't currently have any plans just yet for his future in the wrestling business.
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.