Bandys alumnus Strowman prepared for first match at Wrestlemania

Cody Dalton
Sports Editor

At 6-foot-9, 385 pounds, Adam Scherr isn’t easy to miss, especially in front of a sold out crowd of 101,763 people.

Last year, the Sherrills Ford native and WWE Superstar, who goes by the ring name Braun Strowman, participated in his first-ever Wrestlemania in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — the largest Wrestlemania in history.

Strowman stood side by side with his fellow Wyatt Family members Bray Wyatt and Erik Rowan, going toe-to-toe with wrestling royalty in The Rock and John Cena.

“I get goosebumps thinking about it,” Strowman said of his Wrestlemania debut. “When I went through the curtain, I saw 100,000 flash bulbs go off. It doesn’t really hit home until you go through that curtain what the magnitude of Wrestlemania is. I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

On Sunday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Strowman experiences another first in his pro wrestling career — his first Wrestlemania match.

“It’s the biggest sports entertainment event in the world,” Strowman said of Wrestlemania. “There’s a lot of hype behind it. We are all excited to get out there and perform.

“We go over the top when we do Wrestlemania,” he added. “That’s what made WWE what it is. We are ready to go out there and show what we can do.”

Strowman was named one of 23 participants in the fourth annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal during Monday Night Raw this past week, clearing his uncertainty about his status for this year’s Wrestlemania.

The annual battle royal first took place during Wrestlemania 30, honoring the late great Andre the Giant — a WWE Hall of Famer.

So far three men have won the battle royal — WWE Superstars Cesaro, the Big Show and Baron Corbin — and presented with the signature bronze statue of Andre.

“I had no idea exactly 100 percent what was going to happen this past Monday,” Strowman said. “I’m excited to be a part of (the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal). Any opportunity this company gives me, I take the ball and run with it. Any opportunity you get, you need to make the most of it, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

Strowman, a 2001 graduate of Bandys High School, had been in the middle of a feud between The Undertaker and Roman Reigns, who will face off one-on-one in Sunday’s Wrestlemania.

Strowman said being involved with a future WWE Hall of Famer like the Undertaker has been a plus for his career.

“Being in the ring with The Undertaker — I don’t know how to put it in words,” Strowman said. “When his music hits, it makes every hair on your body stand up, and everyone in the arena stands up.”

Sunday’s Wrestlemania is rumored to be the last match for the Undertaker, but Strowman is hoping Sunday isn’t the last match from the wrestler better known as “The Deadman.”

“I definitely want to see more of Taker,” Strowman said. “I want a program with Taker. I’m going to be selfish. I’m envious of Roman Reigns. That’s the Undertaker. That’s his yard. Who doesn’t want to have an opportunity to have to work with the Undertaker? There’s nothing like it. He’s the Phenom. I’m really hoping he wants to come back and do one more (Wrestlemania). The people want it, and I want it.”

Despite his large frame, Strowman has defied the normal limitations of most giants in the wrestling industry.

During his pay-per-view match last month at WWE’s Fastlane event against Reigns, Strowman climbed up and launched himself off the top rope.

“I push the bar a lot,” Strowman said. “I’m setting new standards for big men in the industry. I still have so much stuff hidden away waiting for the right moment. I’m proud of my spot. With my size, speed and athletic ability, they are letting the reins loose.”

Last year, Strowman came up with his moniker — “The Monster Among Men” — while talking amongst his fellow wrestlers backstage.

“Someone said it one time, and I said ‘man, that’s really me,’” he said. “I don’t feel like a normal human being, and I’m not a normal human being. There are guys the Big Show, Kane and the Undertaker who are ready to pass the torch in the business. They’ve taken me under their wing and shown me what I need to do to get over.”

Not only does Strowman take pride in what he does in the ring, but also what he does outside of it — serving as a role model to the young people that he encounters.

“It is what makes me work so,” he said of being a role model. “The money and fame are cool, but you can get that doing anything. I was just at Walmart buying socks the other day, and just because I’m TV doesn’t mean I don’t still shop at Walmart. I ran into a group of kids in the store, and I could tell they noticed who I was. They were whispering behind me, and they followed me around the whole store and were peaking around the corners. It was the cutest thing in the world. It melted my heart. Sometimes that stuff slips your mind because we are so busy. You get caught up in the hustle and bustle. It’s those little things like that which keeps me grounded.”

Despite being separated from The Wyatt Family this past year and placed on a separate show, Strowman remains close with Wyatt, who main eventing Sunday’s pay-per-view and defending the WWE championship against “The Viper” Randy Orton.

Strowman is happy for his friend and mentor’s success.

“He deserves it so much,” Strowman said of Wyatt. “That guy has worked so hard. He’s such an unbelievable talent, character and wrestler. He has everything. It’s about time they did that for him and let him run with the strap and let him be Bray Wyatt. He’s a main event talent and has been one ever since he walked in the door.

“When I was with the Wyatt family, I’ll hold that near and dear to my heart,” Strowman added. “They helped me get to where I am now with my wrestling ability, my talking ability and how I carry myself.”

Strowman hopes to one day join Wyatt’s status as an elite performer on WWE’s roster.

“Here in the next year or two, I hope to main event Wrestlemania,” he said.

Strowman’s parents — Sara and Rick Scherr — will be a part of the expected 75,000 to 80,000 people in attendance for Sunday’s show. Rick is a former standout softball player for Howard’s Furniture Company and better known by his nickname “The Crusher.”

Strowman is hoping to put on a show for his family in attendance.

“I’m going to go out there and do me,” he said. “I’m going to be the monster. I’m going to chuck bodies like rag dolls. I want to solidify myself as that giant and the monster.”

For those people who know him, but don’t know a lot about wrestling and are interested in ordering the show on Sunday, Strowman said Wrestlemania 33 — dubbed “The Ultimate Thrill Ride” — is definitely something they should see.

“You’re going to see the best matches in the world — the best sound, the best lighting, the best pyro, the best wrestlers,” he said. “It’s the best show in the world. Nothing can hold a candle to it. If you’ve never seen it, spend the money. It’s worth it.”