On the Aug. 26, 2021 episode of Talking Strongman — an interview show on Laurence Shahlaei‘s YouTube channel — Big Loz sat down with 2021 Giants Live World Open winner and former professional wrestler Evan Singleton. Nicknamed “T-Rex,” Singleton is a 6’6″, 350-pound strongman still in the honeymoon phase of his professional career. At age 28, he is competing against the best strongmen in the world. He stood two places above 2020 WSM champion Oleksii Novikov on the 2021 World Open podium. He also beat out 2021 WSM champion Tom Stoltman by three ranks in the 2021 Strongman Classic (Singleton bagged silver).
Singleton, who’s currently training in England, discussed what went wrong during his 2021 WSM performance and how he turned things around to score his recent streak of podium finishes. The most notable admission from Singleton during the interview was that he did not even know about the sport of strongman until he was 25 years old. Check out the full interview below:
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On His 2021 WSM Performance
Shahlaei got right into what happened at 2021 WSM. Tom Stoltman became the first Scotsman to win the title, and four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw proved he’s still at the top of his game by winning silver at age 39. However, Singleton failed to make the contest’s Finals, ranking fourth in his group won by American Trey Mitchell. It was a disappointment for Singleton, who expected to not only win his group but land on the podium.
A few days before the start of the competition, Singleton threw up a pizza he ate when he got to his hotel. The next day, he kept vomiting and couldn’t keep down food or drink, including water.
I was just purging everything that was in my body. I think it was a stomach virus.
Singleton believes he dropped 35 to 40 pounds in the days leading up to Day One of WSM. Although his hopes of a high finish at the “Super Bowl of strongman” were dashed, it motivated him to bounce back stronger. His recent results confirm he’s done just that.
The difference-maker for Singleton at the moment seems to be the length of the contests. Shahlaei equates Singleton’s career thus far to his own, suggesting that they both perform better at single-day contests. T-Rex agreed and noted that he is figuring out the mindset required to succeed in multi-day contests. For reference, the 2021 WSM contest lasted five days with a one-day break between the Qualifying Stage and the Finals.
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Singleton was not shy about asserting himself as a future WSM champion. His win at the World Open and runner-up finish at the Strongman Classic confirms to Singleton that he can beat the best in the world and that the best in the world are beatable. He believes that with the right mindset, he “can eventually take the [World’s Strongest Man] title, which he ultimately will do — it’s just a matter of time.”
Learning About Strongman
At age 28, Singleton has been to the WSM three times — twice as a competitor (2020, 2021) and once as an alternate (2019). However, he only learned about the sport in 2018 at the age of 25. Initially, Singleton aspired to be a professional wrestler. He was signed by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) at age 18 after graduating high school. His in-ring persona was “Adam Mercer.” He left professional wrestling due to injury and a dislike for the culture backstage.
His first foray into the world of strength sports was as a bodybuilder. However, after following a strict diet with no cheat meals and training for eight months, he knew it wasn’t for him.
I gave that one show…proved that I could do it. Never again. Ever.
Still wanting to continue training in strength sports, Singleton thought he might give powerlifting or strongman a try. At his hometown gym, McMillan Training Systems in Lancaster, PA, an athlete was training the log press and invited Singleton to join in. After a few weeks of training strongman, Singleton knew it was the sport for him.
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His professional strongman debut was a first-place finish at North Carolina’s Strongest Man. It only took him a year after learning about the sport to reach its biggest stage as an alternate in 2019. At the 2020 WSM, he had to withdraw due to a biceps tear.
Titles Over Records
If Singleton is ever in a position to shoot for a world record in the midst of competition — meaning he is capable of a lift and the competition standings incentivize him to attempt it — he will go for it. However, if those circumstances don’t align, he’d rather win the contest.
I will never pursue a world record over a title. I want to be the World’s Strongest Man. I want to win titles.
In Singleton’s opinion, a record is only worthwhile if you currently hold it. From his point of view, no one remembers who held the record before the current record holder. (One exception, Singleton says, being the 2017 WSM champion Eddie Hall’s 500-kilogram deadlift since he was the first human ever to deadlift that milestone weight.)
“I want to bring home as many Giants Live trophies as I can,” Singleton says. “I want to win the Shaw Classic. I want to win titles. If you win World’s Strongest Man, forever, until the day you die, you will be a World’s Strongest Man winner. “I want to build a legacy and winning World’s Strongest Man is the first step to doing that.”
Onto the Shaw Classic
Singleton is competing in the 2021 Shaw Classic on Aug. 27-28 in Estes Park, CO. It features some of the sport’s biggest names, including the event’s namesake, Brian Shaw. Shahlaei is confident in Singleton winning the contest, and Singleton says he is entering the show “f***ing hungry.”
Featured Image: @evan_trex_strongman on Instagram