Erick Rowan

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Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg
Rowan in April 2016
Birth name Joseph Charles Ruud
Born (1981-11-28) November 28, 1981 (age 36)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Residence Minneapolis , Minnesota
Alma mater University of Minnesota Morris
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Erick Rowan[1]
Thoruf Marius[1]
Billed height 6 ft 7 in (201 cm)[2]
Billed weight 301 lb (137 kg)[2]
Billed from Minneapolis, Minnesota[3]
Trained by Eddie Sharkey[1]
Pro Wrestling Noah Dojo
Debut September 3, 2003[1]

Joseph Charles Ruud (born November 28, 1981)[1] is an American professional wrestler signed to WWE. He performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Rowan (shortened from his previous ring name Erick Rowan) and is part of the tag team The Bludgeon Brothers with Harper, but is currently inactive due to an injury.

Ruud previously wrestled in Japan, training and performing for Japanese professional wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling Noah. He signed a WWE contract in 2011 and was sent to its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), before debuting in NXT the following year as a founding member of the Wyatt Family stable. He is a one-time NXT Tag Team Champion with Wyatt Family teammate Luke Harper.

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]

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 after 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 (2015–2017)[edit]

The Wyatt Family confronting 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. The feud culminated at Battleground, where the Wyatts defeated New Day.

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]

On the April 4, 2017 episode of SmackDown after WrestleMania 33, Rowan returned from injury after nearly eight months of inactivity, sporting a new steampunk-style sheep mask, assisting Bray Wyatt and attacking Randy Orton. Later that night, Rowan participated in a tag team match, teaming up with Wyatt facing against Orton and former Wyatt Family partner Luke Harper in a losing effort. On April 10, The Wyatt Family seemingly disbanded again when Wyatt was moved to the Raw brand during the 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up.

On the April 18 episode of SmackDown, Rowan failed to become the #1 contender for WWE Championship after losing a six-pack challenge match. The short rivalry between Rowan and Luke Harper was ended at Backlash on May 21, where Harper defeated Rowan.[68] On the July 4 episode of SmackDown, Rowan participated in the Independence Day Battle Royal, which was won by AJ Styles.[69]

The Bludgeon Brothers (2017–present)[edit]

The Bludgeon Brothers at WrestleMania 34

On the October 10 episode of SmackDown, Rowan returned to television in a vignette where he was once again aligned with Luke Harper.[70] The duo were dubbed as "The Bludgeon Brothers" and Rowan subsequently dropped the first name Erick from his ring name. The team wrestled their return match as The Bludgeon Brothers on the November 21 episode of SmackDown Live, defeating The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder).[71]

After dominating most of the tag division for months, the team won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 34 from The Usos, a match also involving The New Day; this marked Rowans' first main roster championship win.[72] Harper and Rowan successfully defended their titles against The Usos at the Greatest Royal Rumble event.[73] The two once again retained the titles against Team Hell No at Extreme Rules. The win came after Rowan and Harper attacked Kane backstage prior to the match.[74]

The team lost by disqualification in a championship defense against The New Day at Summerslam, resulting in them retaining the titles.[75] Two nights later on SmackDown Live, The New Day won a no-disqualification tag team match to win the championship, ending The Bludgeon Brothers' reign at 135 days.[76] The following day, it was announced that Rowan had suffered a torn right bicep and would have surgery later in the week.[77]

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.[78] He also appears in WWE 2K16,[79] WWE 2K17, WWE 2K18 and WWE 2K19.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Rowan and Harper after winning the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 34


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External links[edit]