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Wrestling / Erick Rowan

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Joseph Ruud (born November 28, 1981) is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his time in WWE, where he performed under the ring name Erick Rowan. He is a former member of The Wyatt Family and is a one time NXT Tag Team Champion and a two-time Smackdown Tag Team Champion, first with his tag team partner, former fellow Wyatt Family member turned fellow Bludgeon Brother Luke Harper, then with Daniel Bryan.

Prior to being signed by WWE, Ruud competed in Japan, where he competed in both tag team and singles matches, albeit without much success. Following his tour in Japan, Ruud returned to the United States in 2008 and began competing under the ring name Thoruf Marius for the Minnesota-based F1rst Wrestling promotion.

In February 2011, Ruud signed a developmental contract with WWE and was assigned to their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling under the ring name Erick Rowan, where he debuted as a member of the Wyatt Family.

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. A short time later, Rowan turned face for the first time in his WWE career when he joined Team Cena with fellow former heels Dolph Ziggler and Ryback, going after his former Wyatt Family member and then-Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper, who had joined Team Authority.

Shortly after Wrestlemania Erick Rowan turned heel and rejoined with Luke Harper, teasing a potential feud with The Dudley Boys but Rowan was injured with torn biceps before that could happen.

Rowan made his return months later, rejoining The Wyatt Family on the Raw before Hell in a Cell 2015, helping Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman to defeat Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a handicap match. Later, he would join Luke Harper in the tag team "the Bludgeon Brothers" until they were both taken out by injury.

In 2019 he returned as the acolyte of Daniel Bryan.

His return was short-lived as he was released from his contract in Spring 2020. He returned to the indie circuit afterwards under the name "Erick Redbeard". His next major televised appearance would be at the AEW tribute show for his late brother-in-arms Brodie Lee (the former Luke Harper), making a run-in to save Alex Reynolds from interference by Wardlow. He made another brief appearance for the promotion again in 2022, joining Death Triangle for their match against the House of Black on the Buy-In for Revolution.


  • Animal Motifs: Fitting the Family's sheep motif, Rowan wore a child's sheep mask when not wrestling, and kept it for years even after the dissolution of the Family.
  • Ascended Extra: Initially a henchman to the charismatic Bray Wyatt, Rowan has since become his own wrestler and given his own motif, much like Harper.
  • Bald of Evil: When a heel, and notable because it made him stand out from Bray, Luke and Braun, all of whom had big shaggy manes of hair.
  • Being Good Sucks: The only cultist of the Wyatt Family to turn Face at any point in time, which he did during the group's initial dissolution. Unfortunately, he would get constantly squashed by the Big Show and Rusev in matches when on the side of good. This is implied to be why he would turn Heel and join up with former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: He's formed an alliance with Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble (2019).
  • Bully Hunter: During his 2014/2015 face run. Unfortunately, he wasn't very good at it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sadly, WWE management never really seem to have any faith in Rowan. His first singles run as a face was a joke (spending most of it getting fed to The Big Show and Rusev) and any time someone in the Wyatts is going to eat a pin, you can bet it'll be him. Oh, Harper will often eat more of the offense (because he's amazing at selling it) but Rowan is constantly made to look weak by the booking and is very rarely allowed to really do any actual wrestling. If you need proof, he was the one who lost to The Rock in six seconds at Wrestlemania 2016.
  • The Cameo: A more tragic example than most as Rowan made his first WWE appearance since 2020 on the August 25, 2023 episode of Smackdown... to stand front and center for Bray Wyatt's ten-bell salute after he had died not even 24 hours prior to the episode.
  • Companion Cube: In late 2019, Rowan took to carrying a covered cage/pen containing... something. Curiosity on the part of his opponents..... has not been rewarded.
  • Cool Mask: Has worn a number of variants of the Sheep Mask, including the first White Mask of Doom, one that had clown make-up, one that looked like a ram and one that wouldn't look out of play in a radioactive wasteland.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A decidedly more harmless variant than his boss. He's ultimately very intelligent, but has a childlike approach on things.
  • Creepy Doll: He has one on a table in his shed, wearing all black and an appropriately-sized sheep mask. It seems to be the source of the hair sewn into some of his masks.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In his face incarnation, Erick Rowan wears the attire he debuted in (sheep mask included), with the only change being that it's all black.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Rowan of all people coming out and joining Team Cena not only shocked Harper and The Authority, but Cena himself.
  • The Dragon: To Daniel Bryan in 2019.
  • Evil Is Bigger: During his time in the Family, Rowan came in at about 6'8" and was well over 300 pounds, easily making him the biggest member, until Braun Strowman's debut that is.
  • Evil Redhead: Obviously the "evil" part is debatable.
  • Expy: Erick Rowan could very well be considered an expy of Jason Voorhees. He's a tall, imposing figure who hides beneath a mask, says VERY little (he's only spoken one word after over two years of being a member of The Wyatt Family on the main roster: "Run"), and he tilts his head in a very similar fashion to Voorhees (and Michael Myers before him).
    • Rowan is also considered one to Sheamus, largely due to his long beard contrasting with Sheamus's long spiky hair, as Big Show lampshaded. Also, both men's attack on a much smaller competitor (Curtis Axel and Daniel Bryan respectively) ultimately shot their victims' popularity through the roof
  • Facepalm of Doom: Uses a variant of a chokeslam in which he does this instead of putting his hand around the victim's neck.
  • Finishing Move: Formerly, The Running Splash and The Torture Rack. Currently, The Full Nelson Slam.
  • The Giant: At 6'8", he's no Big Show, but as a 320-pound Mighty Glacier that dwarfs anyone on the roster not named The Undertaker, Braun Strowman or Big Show, he plays this trope pretty straight.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: THE RAGE features Rowan creating a misshapen mask with glowing eyes.
  • Hidden Depths: According to Tom Phillip's research, Erick Rowan has a genius level IQ (143, allegedly) and is a guitar prodigy as well as an award-winning winemaker. To drive the point home, Rowan solved a Rubix cube during the (less-than-one-minute) interview in which this was revealed.
  • The Jannetty: To both Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt, the former winning his first singles title in taking the IC Championshp from Dolph Ziggler, while Bray, who was the face of the stable from the beginning, has been immersed in high-profile feuds with Dean Ambrose and The Undertaker.
    • Rowan's found himself on the wrong end of beatdowns from the Big Show, lost his first and so-far only PPV singles match to the giant in a Stairs match at the TLC PPV, and when the Ziggler-Ryback-Rown trio's Royal Rumble spots were on the line, he was the only one to lose and not be entered in the Rumble match. If his beat down of Fandango on SmackDown is any indication, he may be having second thoughts about his time away from The Wyatt Family.
  • Last-Name Basis: After re-debut as The Bludgeon Brothers.
  • Last of His Kind: After the tragic deaths of Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt in 2020 and 2023 respectively, Rowan is the last of the founding members of the Wyatt Family.
  • Lighter and Softer: Slightly compared to the rest of the Wyatt Family, much more obvious nowadays. His theme music alone is this compared to his contemporaries'. Compared to Bray's creepy neo-bluesy "Broken Out Of Love" and Harper's distorted "Swamp Gas", Rowan's theme "Sheepherder" is a jolly (if slightly unnerving) little bluegrass number. He's also the only member to have turned face at any point prior to 2017.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The aforementioned sheep mask. He's also worn a brown goat mask, curled horns and all, of a similar design. Nowadays, he wears a fusion of his sheep mask and a gas mask.
  • Metal Head: After his alliance with Daniel Bryan, he's wearing a metal band shirt. He also involved with Amon Amarth music video Raven's Flight, Crack the Sky and Mjolner, Hammer Of Thor as Thor. Rowan or Redbeard involved in Amon Amarth 2022 music video Get In The Ring.
  • Mighty Glacier: Erick Rowan is the definition of this trope. 6'8", 320 pounds, and about as agile as you'd expect for someone that size that isn't named Kane or The Undertaker. And when he hits you, you know it. Although he does have some moves in his arsenal that you wouldn't expect from somebody that big, like a spinning heel kick or a top rope splash.
  • Mook Carryover: Wyatt, Harper, Bryan... he spends an awful lot of time taking orders from other heels. Notably The New Day mocked him for it, and in September 2019 he claimed he'd tried to kill Roman Reigns because he was tired of it and wanted to break away from his latest taskmaster.
  • The Quiet One: Erick Rowan isn't much for talking, almost less so than his form partner Luke Harper. He's been a little more vocal since turning face, but his time with the family can be summed up in one word:
    Rowan: Run.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The shed seen in his YouTube videos, particularly WHAT I SEE. Its sole visible wall is covered in his various sheep masks, newspaper clippings, and (by the table) locks of human hair.
  • Serial Killer: Implied by his YouTube videos. WHAT I SEE opens with him dragging a body in a bag through the woods, and he has a newspaper clipping about an escaped inmate's body being found. And that human hair taped to his wall came from somewhere.
  • Shout-Out: Since joining up with Daniel Bryan, he's taken to wearing merch shirts of (typically obscure) metal bands.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: One of the rare times he did speak was four choice words to the Big Show, who had recently turned against Team Cena and joined the Authority.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: His very farmer-like jumpsuit.