While many parts of the world shut down during the pandemic, WWE kept moving forward. The company moved to an empty Performance Center before entering the ThunderDome.
Braun Strowman (Adam Scherr) was one of the faces of the Performance Center era, winning the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36 from Goldberg, holding the title through SummerSlam, and having a cinematic match with Bray Wyatt.
Having to perform during the pandemic era, and the criticisms that came along with it, took its tolll on Strowman.
"When I started hating myself and realizing that I wasn't happy," Strowman said when asked when he felt like leaving wrestling and WWE in an interview with JC of Free The Narrative. "A lot of it boils down to having to be on all the time and criticism from the fucking fans. It's not the fans, it's the dorks on the internet with opinions who couch cushion book shows and just nonstop talk shit about what we're trying to do. I didn't see any of you guys getting cast and thrown into the deep end of the pool in the middle of the pandemic when the whole world is in a frenzy, not knowing what's going on, I jumped on a jet and flew back. I had no idea they were putting me over to beat Goldberg. I came back because people needed an outlet. People needed a way to check out from reality. By me going to work and being selfless and putting my health on the line and not knowing what's going on, I knew in the back of my mind that not everyone was going to be happy. There are people sitting at home who are scared and don't know what's going on in the world. If I could take them out of that reality for three minutes while I'm wrestling, then I did my job. At the end of the day, that's what it's about. People watch wrestling to get caught up in it and forget about the bullshit that is going on in their lives. Having to listen and hear and read all this crap about 'this sucks.' I would love to see any of you get handed a 1500 word script on a piece of paper, get 15 or 30 minutes to memorize it, then go out there and do it on live television in front of no one. You can hear your heartbeat out there. That's when it got to the point of, 'I don't know.' I know it comes with this stuff, but the nonstop negativity that there is in the wrestling community is so toxic, it made me hate going to work and hate this stuff. I know I shouldn't read this stuff or care, but I do."
Strowman continued, telling how he collapsed in his house after filming the swamp fight with Bray Wyatt.
"I care about my work and care how I'm projected. I want to be the best at everything I do. It's a fault at times, but it's a fact of life, listening to these guys bury you and crap all over the cinematic matches I had with Bray Wyatt and say it's the worst match of the year and the worst thing they've ever seen," he said. "If anybody...people don't have a clue what went into doing that. I worked for 28 hours straight trying to get this out to our fans, trying to get a product out to get people to take their mind of what's going on in the world. I went to work the next day after filming to wrestle on television. I got home that night at like 12 at night to take a shower and collapsed and had to have an ambulance come get me from my house because I collapsed from dehydration. i went into full-body cramps. They double-plumed me on the way to the emergency room. I took four liters of fluid to get myself to stop cramping. To have to sit there and listen to people criticize and naysay, it made me hate everything. Not only having to go to work, but people in my life that care about me, hate myself, and sent me into this really bad place and the only way I could get away from it is in the gym. That's why I've worked so hard on training because it's one of the only things I can control."
Strowman said he feels at home in the gym because he can control how he feels when he's working out.
Strowman was released by WWE on June 2. He returned to wrestling at Free The Narrative II, battling EC3.
Elsewhere during the interview, Strowman opened up about his WWE release. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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