The entire elite wrestling superstar Brian Cage stands 6 feet tall and weighs over 270 pounds. Even so, he can jump around the ring like a cat.
In a long, successful career that has crossed several top promotions including IMPACT and Lucha Undergound, the Swolverine's dedication to ring conditioning still enjoys great respect.
Cage, now under contract with AEW, shocked wrestling fans around the world after blowing up wrestling icon Sting with a thundering powerbomb in a recent episode of Dynamite. In the upcoming AEW Revolution pay-per-view on March 7th, Brian Cage will again lock the horns with the Stinger in a tag team street fight.
In addition to wrestling, Brian Cage, who appears on AEW Dynamite every Wednesday night, has a bodybuilding background, a love of travel, and a unique approach to health and fitness.
What are some of your personal highlights from competing as a bodybuilder?
I've competed five times. My first competition was in 2012 and I won the beginner overall. I also took second place on the list of judges for the main competition. Then (in my second competition) I won another overall victory and was awarded a trophy by guest poser Kai Greene, my all-time popular bodybuilder. That was in 2013 and to take it forward, I'm now sponsored by Redcon1, as is Kai Greene. You recently approached me about making a video with him and that's great. From where we started training together for a sponsorship video, that's pretty exciting.
How hard was it to juggle bodybuilding with a hectic wrestling schedule?
I won a total of four overalls and I won my class but not the other competitions overall. I was preparing for the Miami Nationals in 2015, and the second season of Lucha Underground started two weeks earlier. When I found out, I wanted to get around it because I was preparing for Miami. But in short, "Lucha Underground" paid me a decent bonus for missing out on Miami. That was cool because I would have spent a lot of money to get to Miami.
People don't know how much it costs to get your pro bodybuilding card. I wanted to enter a bodybuilding competition the following month to re-qualify. But then AAA (the wrestling promotion) had a big pay-per-view and I had to cancel plans for the NPC show. By 2016 there was another NPC show on the same day as a "Lucha Underground" shoot, and I was determined to do both shows. It sounded crazy so we had someone film and document the run up to that day. But the NPC show was canceled and I said, “You know what? Forget that, I'm not preparing anymore, I'm over it! "(laughs)
What is your personal approach to nutrition?
I'm pretty low in carbs and high in protein. I did a bit of the carnivore diet at the end of 2020 and I liked that. In general, I only have carbohydrates in my pre and post workout meals. Since I don't prepare for bodybuilding shows when I want to cheat and there is a chance to eat something unique, or someone cooked for me or something special there, and when I'm in a new city then I'll get into that . But in general, I eat around 100 grams of carbohydrates a day and very high in protein.
Since your wrestling debut in 2005, what have been some of your great travel memories from around the world? I've wrestled in India, Pakistan, Korea, and Japan. All of them are obviously quite different from one another. Korea was the first international wrestling I ever did. That was a dream, but a bit of a culture shock. We had to go to the demilitarized zone, which is the border between rth and South Korea. The South Korean soldiers have to stand there all day and look at the rth Korean soldiers, and they all have weapons. And then we were here, of course only Americans would do this (laughs) and look at it all as if it were a tourist attraction. We're over there taking photos and stuff. But it was a cool experience.
Many wrestlers have said that traveling to different cultures can be difficult on their diet because if they don't like the local food they tend to get interested in fast food restaurants. Is that true in your case?
Japan is one of my favorite countries abroad that I have been to. I liked the food; I didn't mind the food at all. While I was there, another bodybuilder friend gave me my heads up at this cool place where I could get some chicken and rice dishes or steak and rice. Every time we (wrestlers) went out after a show we got the grill or the sushi and I don't mind, so I got along pretty well.
In terms of physical recovery, you recently tried hammer and chisel therapy on your shoulder. How was it?
Basically, it pushes the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) down, leaving much more room to rotate inside the cup. That gives you more freedom of movement, and then you want to sit back and retrain your muscles. You'll need to go back if it contracts again or you can combine it with physical therapy.
It's great to see you represent the big boys in pro wrestling after things move towards a cruiserweight technique. Do you need to work on conditioning to keep up with some of these easier opponents?
I train pretty hard. You made a good point; I represent the big boys … I'm a dying breed (in pro wrestling) I think. However, I like to stand out as my own breed because of my athleticism and agility, which is rare. People who see me for the first time might think, "Oh no, it's another big body that can't move." Then they find out that I can go. I'm not a bodybuilder who tried to become a wrestler, I'm a pro wrestler who likes bodybuilding.
With kind permission of AEW
As part of Team Taz, you shocked wrestling fans when you bombed the legend Sting with a power bomb. Given that Sting last wrestled in 2015 and retired after an injury in a match with Seth Rollins, how stressful was it making sure you made that move safely?
When they asked me about it, I thought it was cool, but I didn't really think about it until after that, so it was like, "How cool is that? I just bombed Sting." But yeah, here's a guy who's not just one A legend in the business but also the first action figure I owned. He's 61 and hasn't had a bump in six years, he's had his injuries and his problems. I was very grateful he confided this to me. I would have it as the most perfect and safest power bomb ever, but even then something (bad) could have happened if you had a (health) problem. It's a bit like Seth Rollins. I don't think Seth did anything wrong I think it was just one of those things that we call it a "bump card" in wrestling where it's just some kind of freak accident. Sting was a soldier. I'm glad I didn't get too much until after that thought about it.
Get your hands on it again at the AEW Revolution March 7th (available from FITE TV and other pay-per-view outlets) when you team up with Ricky Starks to bring Sting and Darby Allin in encounter a street fight.
I'm very excited to be a part of this game and I know Sting has worked on a lot of things so many questions are answered. Darby Allin is a little nugget and Sting's time was and is over. So if any of them think they can approach me, or Ricky Starks or anyone else on Team Taz, it's a little ridiculous.