In the world of WWE, coming up with the right character can make or break a performer. As an extension of that, finding a name that fits the character can be just as important.
Just ask “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, arguably the most popular performer in WWE history. His debut as “The Ringmaster” fell flat with viewers because the character limited Austin’s personality and the name couldn’t make up for it. The same could be said for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who started as the happy-go-lucky Rocky Maivia, a name chosen in honor of his Hall of Fame father and grandfather, Rocky Johnson and Peter Maivia.
A change in character, not to mention much cooler names, helped launch both men into superstardom, but the challenge of finding the right character and a marketable name continues on with WWE’s newest batch of talent.
For Braun Strowman, finding a character wasn’t as difficult. At 6-foot-8, 385 pounds, he stands out as a monster among men even in WWE. Yet when it came time to step into the spotlight, he still needed a name that would fit his persona and resonate with WWE’s world-wide fanbase.
That problem was solved in an instant when one day Strowman glanced at the television and saw Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun.
As Strowman explained to TMJ4 in Milwaukee this week, at that very moment something clicked and his version of Braun was born.
Funny story, I wanted to meet [Brewers right fielder] Ryan Braun because that’s a big influence of where ‘Braun’ came from. I had pitched a bunch of different names to the company and they turned them all down. It got down to a time crunch, and it’s ‘we need to figure something out’ and we were sitting around the [WWE] Performance Center and ‘SportsCenter’ was on. They were talking about Ryan Braun and I was like, ‘Braun. Braun… that sounds pretty good!’ Look at me; I’m 6’8’’ and 385 pounds and Braun’s pretty fitting.
No one could argue with that. Not that anyone would want to.
Braun — Strowman that is — is a former strongman competitor who two and a half years after his debut is one of WWE’s biggest stars. He’s coming off a year of battling the likes of Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Big Show on a regular basis, and his popularity is threatening to surpass all of them based on the recent social media push for Strowman to be included in this year’s Wrestlemania main event.
As Strowman’s star power continues to grow, so too has his relationship with the Brewers organization. Not long after taking Braun’s — Ryan, for those keeping track — name, he attended a Brewers game and has been embraced by the team ever since.
The Brewers welcomed me with open arms. Last year I wanted to come to a game, and they found out, I didn’t really reach out. I went with my cousin, and where he worked, every month or so, his boss would take him to watch a Brewers game. I just happened to be in town and they asked if I wanted to come, so I jumped along and went and someone noticed I was there. All of the sudden, I’m getting phone calls, and the Brewers [public relations] guy comes and grabs me and take me and my cousin down to the press box and takes us downstairs to meet the players.
That relationship was on display earlier in spring training when Strowman met up with several Brewers when the WWE was in Phoenix for a live Monday Night Raw. The Brewers’ welcoming committee included Eric Thames.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) February 20, 2018
If you thought Strowman’s connection to home run hitters ended there, you’d be mistaken. It turns out his father, Rick Scherr, is a legendary slow-pitch softball player known for hitting some pretty incredible bombs. Scherr earned the nickname “Crusher” and you’ll understand why in the video below.
Strowman often describes himself as a country boy with a cool job.
Aside from awesome beards, that’s another great trait he seems to share with his dad.
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