On his hip surgery:
I have to have the hip resurfaced. There’s been some traumatic injury done to the hip in the match with Braun Strowman. It’s frustrating as hell to be in the best shape I’ve been in my career, but that match, I kind of put a lot out on the table and I’m paying the price for it now. Going forward, I’m very confident in the medical team that’s doing the surgery … we’re gonna go forward from there and see what my options are.
On if he was worried about hurting himself doing an elbow off the top rope:
The pain doesn’t factor into a match like that. Any of our guys that have worked, seasoned veterans, John Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, myself, even Mark Henry, we’ve all experienced pretty serious injuries in the ring, but we’re kind of the old-school warriors, we find out we’re hurt afterwards. During that match, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, this is gonna hurt,” I was thinking at one point when I was on the top turnbuckle, “Jesus, I hope this top rope doesn’t break.” That was about the only thing going through my head. I was thinking, “Well, you’ve lost a hundred pounds so you’re probably good, but I hope this thing doesn’t break.”
On what he thinks of Braun Strowman as a competitor:
I’m not going to take anything away from Braun Strowman. You could say I’m 100 pounds lighter, but I’m going to give credit where credit is due. I’ve wrestled some of the strongest, most athletic guys this business has ever seen. Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Mark Henry, Kane. These guys are phenomenal, phenomenal athletes and powerhouses. You can feel the power when they grab you, and I’m a big dude, so believe me: When someone makes me feel that power, I’m telling you they’re a strong guy. Braun Strowman has a great combination of all those put together. He has some of Brock Lesnar’s crazy athleticism, he’s got a lot of John Cena’s crazy power with that powerlifting background. He’s got a lot of my size and weight, which comes into play.
So, Braun is a super-hybrid of Brock Lesnar, Big Show and John Cena. He’s a newer evolution of what the big man of the future is. The big man of the ‘70s and ‘80s was Andre. Andre was athletic for his time; Andre could do a lot of things, but Andre always kept his feet on the ground because he didn’t have to move, and he made a very successful, wonderful career out of that. I came along, and modeled myself a lot after guys like The Undertaker and some of the smaller bigger guys that I thought were amazing. Bam Bam Bigelow was an amazing athlete for his size. These were all guys that were big guys that you weren’t used to seeing being as athletic as they were. And I thought to myself when I started my career, “Hey, you know what? I can be athletic too.” And then fast-forward 23 years, you’ve got this new athlete like Braun Strowman who is a powerhouse, who is fast, who is strong, and who is cunning. Braun Strowman is not a stupid competitor. Is he young and a tad bit aggressive? Sure. But he’s also a very cunning, malicious big guy, which is something that you can’t really pull off if you’re not that way.
A lot of big guys in our business haven’t been successful because they’re just not mean enough. You’ve got to have a mean streak to be a successful big man. Brock is a successful big man because he’s got a mean streak. Kane has a mean streak. Mark Henry has a mean streak. I have a mean streak. Braun Strowman definitely has a mean streak. So, to see the future of the big-man role and how it’s evolved in our industry, our fans are much more demanding than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago. Our fans don’t want to see lockup, wristlock, turn into a hammerlock, float over to a headlock, shoot up, double down, grab me again, or whatever. They don’t want to see that now. They want to see competition. They’ve been influenced by outside influences like martial arts that have been introduced into our sport and submission holds and stuff like that. The modern big man going forward is going to have to be a chameleon of a lot of different things. Braun is definitely on that track.