Big man Braun Strowman among WWE superstars headed to Mohegan Sun Arena
Forget what the Chinese zodiac says — 2018 is the year of the monster.
On the Jan. 15 episode of “Raw,” World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Braun Strowman flipped a tractor-trailer. Within 24 hours, that feat of strength garnered approximately 2 million views on YouTube. The year of the monster had its first monster hit, and Strowman plans to keep them coming for the crowd at WWE’s live event Friday at Wilkes-Barre Township’s Mohegan Sun Arena.
“People realize they want to watch me because WWE’s done such a great job with my booking and letting me be the monster that I am and destroy things,” Strowman said. “It’s catching wildfire, and I love it. I love the wave that I’m riding right now with the WWE Universe behind me and the sky’s the limit, man. We’re going to take this thing as far as we can.”
The tractor-trailer toppling was Strowman’s latest in an escalating series of incidents. After his WWE debut in 2015, Strowman endeared himself to wrestling fans by supplying a brand of violence unique to someone billed at 6 feet 8 inches and 385 pounds. Everything is fair game for the former competitive strongman, from the office chairs Strowman throws like horseshoes to the vehicles he overturns on a semi-frequent basis.
Strowman said this unpredictability is at the core of his popularity.
“I think that’s where we hit a home run with the Braun Strowman character with the fans, because you never know what to expect with me,” Strowman said. “You’ve got to keep on the edge of your seat because at any given moment I might flip a truck over or launch a human being 20 feet across the room — or eat a piece of cake. You never know what’s going to happen with Braun Strowman.”
Before the superstar ends his weekly warpath on WWE’s “Raw” on Monday night, an active online fan community has already immortalized the moment with memes, .gifs and video clips.
“I don’t have to Google myself and look for them — before I even get back to the locker room, it’s either friends have texted me or guys in the locker room are showing me stuff,” Strowman said. “It’s pretty overwhelming the social media buzz that I create every time we do something.”
In a few short years, Strowman became one of WWE’s most shareable superstars. However, the imposing figure — nicknamed Monster Among Men due to his distinct physical advantage over most peers — is also working to reinvent the “big man” role in professional wrestling.
“I want to be the best there ever was at this as far as a big man,” Strowman said. “I’m trying to change the game and evolve the character of the giant, per se, in WWE. I want to show the world a 6-foot-8, 385-pound guy that moves like a 200-pound guy and suspend everyone’s belief because, lets be honest, I’m not supposed to be able to do some of the things I can do. I even know that, and I take a step back and look at it and go, ‘Wow, how did you just pull that off.’ I don’t know, but I’m going to continue to do that.”
On Friday, the year of the monster continues at Mohegan Sun Arena. With only 48 hours separating the event from his WWE Universal Championship opportunity at Royal Rumble, Strowman sees it as his penultimate challenge before letting opponents Brock Lesnar and Kane “get these hands,” as he calls it.
Regardless of who gets those hands in Wilkes-Barre Township, Strowman is grateful for the opportunity to entertain.
“It’s just crazy to see that I continue to push the envelope of what the human body is capable of doing and I’m having an unbelievably good time doing it at the same time,” Strowman said. “It’s kind of the best of both worlds, man. I love being a WWE superstar. I was without a doubt put on this Earth to do that.”
IF YOU GO
What: WWE Live professional wrestling
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, 255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre
How Much: Tickets range from $15 to $120, plus applicable fees.