If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, then you know that this past weekend, WWE held their biggest event of their year, WrestleMania, over the course of two days. The first night of matches featured reigning Universal Champion, Bill Goldberg, defending his title against the “Monster Among Men”, Braun Strowman. In a match that lasted less than three minutes, Strowman emerged victorious and became the new champion.
The Universal title is recognized as a world championship for the “Smackdown” show in sports entertainment, and it is Strowman’s first in that profession. However, it’s not his first major victory ever.
Some of you may recognize Strowman as Adam Scherr, the former competitive strongman.
In that phase of his athletic career, Scherr won a few contests including the North America Strongman US Championship. The most notable of his victories was the 2012 Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships. He won that contest in dominating fashion by taking five of the seven events and placing second in the other two.
That victory in Columbus, Ohio not only made him the amateur world champion but also allowed him to compete in the 2013 Arnold Strongman Classic. The 6’8”, 380 pound North Carolina native placed 10th in the lineup which included champion Vytautas Lalas, Brian Shaw, Jerry Pritchett, and a young up and comer named Hafthor Bjornsson. It wasn’t long after that contest when he made the decision to sign with WWE and start training to join their NXT brand. He would become a part of the Raw brand in 2015 and has been a prominent figure since.
Before WrestleMania, Strowman was most famous for a TV segment that saw him flip an ambulance with rival Roman Reigns inside. The moment went viral instantly but was heavily criticized by many people because of how unlikely it is to flip a vehicle that size.
The new champion wasn’t even supposed to be in this match originally. The plan was for then champion Goldberg to face Reigns for the title. However, Reigns removed himself from the match due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a survivor of leukemia and was considered high risk were he to catch the virus. When Reigns was removed from the match, Strowman was called in to take his place with less than a week’s notice.
Strowman isn’t the first strongman in recent years to have success in WWE. Mark Henry was the inaugural Arnold Strongman Classic in 2002 while he was early in his pro wrestling career. He went on to become a world champion himself in 2011. He is recognized for both careers in the International Sports Hall of Fame as well as in the WWE Hall of Fame.
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