Erick Rowan

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This article is about the State-American professional wrestler. For the South African cricket player, see Eric Rowan.
Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg
Rowan in April 2016
Birth name Joseph Ruud
Born (1981-11-28) November 28, 1981 (age 34)
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
United States
Alma mater University of Minnesota Morris
Children 2
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Erick Rowan[1]
Thoruf Marius[1]
Billed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)[2]
Billed weight 315 lb (143 kg)[2]
Billed from Minneapolis, Minnesota[3]
Trained by Eddie Sharkey[1]
Debut September 3, 2003[1]

Joseph Ruud (born November 28, 1981)[1] is an American professional wrestler signed to WWE, but is currently on hiatus due to injury. He performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Erick Rowan. He is a former one-time NXT Tag Team Champion.

Early life[edit]

Ruud was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota,[1] and grew up in Montrose, Minnesota. His family is Norwegian, and emigrated from Nannestad, Norway. Ruud is a trained guitarist, and attended the University of Minnesota Morris, where he played football.[4]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (2003–2011)[edit]

Ruud began his wrestling career after training with Eddie Sharkey in 2003, going by the ring name Thoruf Marius and competing for various promotions throughout the Midwest until 2007. He was invited to go to Pro Wrestling Noah's (NOAH) dojo in Japan to live, train, and wrestle. During this time, he competed in both tag team and singles matches.[5] Following his tour in Japan, Ruud returned to the United States in 2008 and began competing for the Minnesota-based F1rst Wrestling promotion. Upon joining the promotion, he began feuding with Brody Hoofer, with the pair exchanging wins across several events.[6]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE[edit]

Florida Championship Wrestling (2011–2012)[edit]

In February 2011, Ruud signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was assigned to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) under the ring name Erick Rowan.[7] He made his FCW TV debut in August 2011 with a win over Kenneth Cameron, while being accompanied by Byron Saxton and James Bronson.[8] To tie in with Saxton's feud with Titus O'Neil, Rowan and Bronson lost to O'Neil and Leakee in a tag team match.[9] Although Rowan continued to compete in both singles and tag team matches with Bronson, he was not involved in any further feuds and did not challenge for any titles on FCW TV.[10]

The Wyatt Family (2012–2014)[edit]

Main article: The Wyatt Family
The Wyatt Family – Erick Rowan (left), Bray Wyatt (center) and Luke Harper (right)
Rowan wearing his sheep mask as part of The Wyatt Family

After FCW was rebranded to NXT Wrestling,[11] Rowan made his debut on the December 12, 2012 episode of NXT as a follower of Bray Wyatt, who introduced Rowan as his "second son".[12] As a member of The Wyatt Family, Rowan formed a tag team with Wyatt's "first son" Luke Harper,[13] and they defeated Percy Watson and Yoshi Tatsu on the January 9, 2013 episode of NXT.[14] On the January 23 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan again defeated Watson and Tatsu in the opening round of the NXT Tag Team Championship tournament.[15] Following a win over Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty in the semi-finals with Wyatt's interference,[16] Harper and Rowan were defeated in the finals by Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey.[17] On the May 2 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan won a triple threat elimination tag team match by last pinning Neville.[18] On the May 8 episode of NXT (which was taped on May 2), Harper and Rowan defeated Neville and Bo Dallas (who was filling in for the injured Grey) to win the NXT Tag Team Championship, Rowan's first professional wrestling championship.[19][20] On the June 5 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan successfully retained their championship against Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno,[21] and on the June 19 episode of NXT, The Wyatt Family defeated the team of Graves, Neville and Ohno.[22] On the July 17 episode of NXT (which was taped on June 20), Rowan and Harper lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to Neville and Graves.[23]

From the May 27 episode of Raw, WWE aired vignettes promoting the upcoming main roster debut of The Wyatt Family.[24] The vignettes showed the Wyatt Family's backwoods origins and Rowan wearing a sheep mask.[25][26] On the July 8 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family made their debut by assaulting Kane.[27] Rowan made his WWE in-ring debut on the July 26 episode of SmackDown, where he and Harper defeated Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) in a tag team match.[28] Over the next few months, Rowan and Harper competed as a tag team and went on a winning streak over many teams,[29][30][31] until Cody Rhodes and Goldust handed them their first loss on the October 11 episode of SmackDown.[32] In early 2014, Rowan took part in The Wyatt Family's feud with The Shield,[33][34][35] while also supporting Bray Wyatt in his feud with John Cena.[36] While Wyatt and Cena's feud continued, Harper and Rowan also started a feud with The Usos, unsuccessfully challenging for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Money in the Bank[37] and Battleground.[38]

Singles competition (2014–2015)[edit]

Beginning on September 29, vignettes were shown of Harper and Rowan being "set free" by Wyatt, marking the dissolution of The Wyatt Family and the transition of its members into singles competition.[39][40] On the November 17 episode of Raw, Rowan turned face for the first time in his WWE career and had a brief feud with The Authority when he joined Team Cena for Survivor Series, going after his former Wyatt Family member and then Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper, who had joined Team Authority.[41] At Survivor Series, Rowan scored no eliminations and was himself eliminated by Harper, with the assistance of Seth Rollins; however, Team Cena later won the match.[42] After Survivor Series, Rowan started a feud with Big Show, the team member who had betrayed the rest of Team Cena at the event.[43] At TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs in December, Rowan faced Big Show in a stairs match in a losing effort.[44]

On the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw, Rowan along with former Team Cena teammates Ryback and Dolph Ziggler were (kayfabe) fired by The Authority for being a part of Team Cena.[45] On the January 19 episode of Raw, Rowan, Ryback and Ziggler were rehired after Cena won a 3-on-1 handicap match against Seth Rollins, Big Show and Kane following assistance from Sting.[46] On the January 22 episode of SmackDown, Rowan lost to Luke Harper in a qualifying match for the 2015 Royal Rumble.[47] Despite this, Rowan appeared during the Royal Rumble match and attacked #6 entrant Curtis Axel before Axel could make his entrance to the ring, sparking a brief Wyatt Family reunion with Harper and Wyatt before all three men brawled.[48] At Fastlane, Rowan competed together with Ziggler and Ryback in a six-man tag team match against Rollins, Big Show and Kane, which they lost.[49] Rowan participated in the second annual André the Giant Memorial battle royal at WrestleMania 31, but was eliminated by Big Show.[50]

Return of The Wyatt Family (2015–2016)[edit]

The Wyatt Family confronts The Rock at WrestleMania 32.

In May, Rowan reunited with former tag team partner Luke Harper after attacking Harper's opponent Fandango, turning heel in the process.[51] In late June, Rowan suffered a torn bicep, leaving him out of action.[52]

Rowan made his return on the October 19 episode of Raw, when he filled in for Harper (who was unable to show for personal reasons), against Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, which his team won by disqualification after Ambrose attacked Strowman with a kendo stick.[53] Rowan took part in The Wyatt Family's feud with The Brothers of Destruction, after the Family kidnapped The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell,[54] and Kane on the October 26 episode of Raw.[55] At TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, The Wyatt Family defeated Team ECW in an eight-man tag team elimination tables match, with Rowan being the only Wyatt Family member eliminated from the match.[56] Rowan would go on to compete in the Royal Rumble match with fellow Wyatt Family members and was eliminated by Brock Lesnar,[57] but he would later return to the ring along with the Wyatts to eliminate Lesnar.[58][59] On April 3, Rowan competed in his first ever WrestleMania singles match at WrestleMania 32 against The Rock, after the latter confronted The Wyatt Family.[60] Rowan was defeated by The Rock in 6 seconds (which broke the record for the quickest WrestleMania match of all time) and, after the match, when The Wyatt Family attempted to attack Rock, they were fought off by both Rock and a returning John Cena.[61] On the April 4 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family attacked The League of Nations, starting an unexplained feud between the heel factions.[62] Rowan and Strowman were set to compete in a match at Payback,[62] but Wyatt suffered a calf injury[63] as well as Harper, who dislocated his patella and tore his medial patellofemoral ligament in late March.[64][65] These injuries resulted in the suspension of the feud between The Wyatt Family and The League of Nations.[62] The Wyatts (minus Harper) returned on the June 20 edition of Raw, subsequently getting into a feud with the WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, who interrupted Bray Wyatt during his return speech.

On July 19 at the 2016 WWE Draft, Rowan was drafted to SmackDown along with Bray Wyatt while Strowman was drafted to Raw. On the August 2 episode of SmackDown, Rowan resumed his alliance with Bray Wyatt by attacking Wyatt's opponent, Dolph Ziggler, as well as the WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose.[66] It was thought that Rowan had split away from Wyatt after losing to Ambrose on the August 15 episode of "SmackDown", but he then began attacking Wyatt's enemies again, thus the alliance resumed. In October 2016, Rowan underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and would be out of action for four to six months.[67] He also tweeted a strange video, where his sheep mask was shown being buried. During his absence, Luke Harper has since returned to help Bray Wyatt.

In other media[edit]

In 2010, Ruud participated in Norwegian reality series Alt for Norge and finished in fifth place. In 2014, he made his video game debut in WWE 2K15 as a playable character.[68] He also appears in WWE 2K16 and WWE 2K17.[69]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


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External links[edit]