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AICN ON THE MAT: The Dean goes toe to toe with WWE Superstar Sheamus!

Q’s by The Dean!

@’s by Sheamus!!!

Welcome, everyone, to another edition of AICN ON THE MAT! The Dean, here, proud to say I made it through an entire twenty minutes with WWE Superstar Sheamus without trying to emulate his charming Irish brogue! Believe it or not, that was a very real concern of mine going into this.

Anyway, Sheamus is now one month into his return to action after a pretty devastating shoulder injury left him sidelined for six months. Last night, the Celtic Warrior faced off against five other Superstars in one of the most grueling matches in pro-wrestling history at ELMINIATION CHAMBER, but he was cool enough to chat with me before heading into the Chamber for what was likely his last shot at getting himself into the main event scene of WRESTLEMANIA 30. So if he lost, I guess I’m partially to blame for cutting into his prep time…

As if celebrating thirty years of the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ wasn’t enough, the WWE is also launching the revolutionary WWE NETWORK this Monday. For only $9.99 a month, you get all 12 WWE Pay-Per-Views, a variety of original programming, and access to the expansive WWE video-on-demand library (which includes stuff from WCW and ECW), totaling more than 1,500 hours to binge on at launch with new content added regularly. Say goodbye to your friends and loved ones, wrestling fans!

Sheamus and I touch on a range of topics, including the Network, his injury, today’s fans and more, so check out the Q&A and then sound off with your thoughts on ELIMINATION CHAMBER and the WWE NETWORK in the Talkbacks below!

DEAN: Hey, Sheamus! How ya doing?

SHEAMUS: Good, Marty. How are you doing, buddy?

DEAN: I’m good, thanks! So how’s the shoulder treating you?

SHEAMUS: Shoulder’s fine, yeah, it’s all good. It hasn’t let me down yet, so I’m uhhh…I’ve tested it out pretty good over the last month by getting the crap kicked out of it by either Curtis Axel, or Ryback, or Randy, so uhh…no, I feel good, I feel good. I’m delighted to be back. I’m pumped to be back. I spent a couple of months at home, six months at home, and any more than that I think I’d be losin’ me mind, so I’m really delighted to be back.

DEAN: Well it’s a shame they couldn’t roll the Network out when you were rehabbing, you could have really killed some time with that.

SHEAMUS: I could have, yeah! I mean we get all the DVD’s, which are great, but man there’s nothing like the Network itself and the library you’re going to have at your fingertips. Everything’s going that way anyway, I mean, I was telling someone the other day I have an Xbox 360 at home and I play games every now and then but I generally use it for Netflix, and HBO Go, Hulu, and all that sort of stuff, you know? So this is just a great step forward, especially for WWE, to have any match, all the Pay-Per-Views, all this new content, you’ll have hours and hours, thousands of hours of content right at your fingertips.

DEAN: Oh yeah, it’s a huge deal! I mean, I come from a WWF exclusive household, my older brother was loyal to Vince from an early age, so I can’t wait to finally catch up on all the WCW stuff I wasn’t allowed to watch back in the day.

SHEAMUS: (laughs)

DEAN: But what about you? Anything you’re excited to catch up on or relive on day one?

SHEAMUS: Yeah, I’m a really big fan of the New Generation – Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, ‘Taker, Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor, 1-2-3 Kid. Ya know, I um…I really like that era because it was just, it’s definitely nostalgic for me, ya know, since that was my teenage years. I really love those old Pay-Per-Views , they were really, really cool and there were a lot of great matches in that era as well. Other things like WrestleMania 12, too, Shawn and Bret; bits of WrestleMania 18, you know, Rock/Hogan, I think it was Austin against Razor as well, Scott Hall, umm… Taker and Triple H from 17, you know, there’s just so much in there. Brock and Angle had a great WrestleMania match, too, so many different matches you can watch, they’re opening up with like a thousand hours of Pay-Per-View footage which is updated all the time along with every Pay-Per-View going forward, WrestleMania 30 onward, so for $10 a month, man, you just can’t beat that.

DEAN: No, you really can’t, I mean the monthly Pay-Per-Views alone would have been more than worth it, so this is just amazing. But so obviously you got to watch all the WWE stuff over at home in Ireland, but what else did you watch there? I mean was wrestling huge in Ireland without the WWE, did they have their own promotions?

SHEAMUS: Uh, well, the first thing we used to watch when I was a kid, before WWE made it across the pond, was uhh, was World of Sport, which is where William Regal, Fit Finlay, Robbie Brookside, and Dave Taylor came from. They all started in World of Sport in the UK scene, and umm…they were on TV every Friday mornin’, and it was just a great show to have, you know, I used to watch it with my grandmother and grandaunt as a kid growin’ up. Then when WWE came over they just blew everything away because they had these larger than life personalities and superstars. You know, the whole platform that the WWE’s based on is just so over the top, so fantastic, it just captivated my imagination as a kid.

So, WWE goes to Europe twice a year actually, especially UK and Ireland, we pack the place in every time. I saw my first live event in Dublin – it’s called the O2 Arena now but it was called the Point Depot – I think I went there in 1991 I believe it was, and, uhh, the main event was the British Bulldog vs. The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. It was classic. Such a great, great time.

DEAN: Yeah, that’s definitely a good one. So how did you spend your time off then? I think I read you’re a history buff right?

SHEAMUS: Yeah! I do read a lot. Obviously a lot of Celtic mythology and Celtic history, umm…yeah, history, that was always my favorite subject in school. It’s so easy for me to study and read, as opposed to, well, my worst obviously being math. I might as well be reading Egyptian, to be honest with you (both laugh). But I got a lot of stuff done, I got to go home to Ireland and see my family and friends and everything. Got my house sorted, and everything back in order, got all fixed up, ready to go. I just spent a lot of time rehabbin’, studyin’, and stuff like that. I was able to watch a lot of old stuff, too. Of course now, obviously I wish the Network was out when I was off, that would have made things much easier (laughs) having to shift between DVDs with one arm was pretty difficult.

DEAN: It’s funny to me because you hear about guys in the old days and how if they weren’t wrestling they were living like rock stars, partying with booze, pills, whatever. But now when you hear about life outside the ring it’s, you know, Sheamus curling up with a book, Kofi playing video games, AJ reading comics. Is it just a change in the type of talent the WWE attracts nowadays, more creative types as opposed to just big tough guys, or is it partially a mandate from the top now too, since the WWE is the huge family friendly product it is now?

SHEAMUS: No, I don’t think it’s a mandate from the top, I think it’s just a lot of different guys or girls that are into different things. To me, WWE itself really is like, you know, it’s real life superheroes. And I’m not trying to say that from the perspective of being arrogant, like, “Hey, we’re real superheroes.” I mean it’s just the stuff we do in the ring, some if it’s really incredible. It really is like every match is like watching a movie or something, because you watch Rey in there or watch Kofi do his thing, some of the athletic stuff they can do is incredible, it defies gravity, ya know? You got giants like The Big Show, “World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry, you know what I mean? That’s what it is, I think kids who are attracted at a young age, like me, these are real life superheroes , that’s what I saw when I was a kid, too. That goes hand-in-hand with comics and stuff like that, it all comes together in one way or another, do you know what I’m trying to say? It’s all relevant to each other, I think, and that’s why kids are so fascinated by it as well, so intrigued by it. Then the storylines that happen in between, the drama that happens brings in a lot of the older crowd as well, and fans who’ve been fans for life as well, do you know what I mean? It’s such a great mix of fans, age range of our fans, and the type of superstars and athletes that we have now.

DEAN: No, I see what you’re saying, that makes sense. Because yeah, they very much are real life superheroes, at least as much as they can be, so guys like you or me grow up on the whole, “drink your vitamins, say your prayers…” or wait no, not drink your vitamins…

SHEAMUS: (laughs)But you can really drink your vitamins now, right?

DEAN: (laughs) I suppose you could, I guess it’s not that far off. But yeah, you’re the generation that grew up on that stuff, that’s what you wanted to be and live up to, so that with the varied interests or talent you have, it’s…I don’t know, I guess a lot of that might be that it’s not just a bunch of men sitting around in smoke filled gymnasiums anymore, it’s the larger than life aspect that really took off and attracted kids and everyone else. But that lifestyle is definitely a stressful one, constantly on the go, so with your injury and being out for six months, what’s it like to come back and have to hit the ground running? How quickly do you adjust to that schedule again?

SHEAMUS: Well, there’s no choice but to get there pretty fast, so literally I’m home for all this time and now I’m pretty much gone all the time. I got back yesterday at 4:00 from Denver after doing SmackDown! In Colorado Springs, ummm, I filled up today, got some stuff done early, doing two, two and a half hours of media for the Network and ELIMINATION CHAMBER, and ‘Mania. Now I’ll go work out, get some other stuff done, then leave at 6:00 tomorrow morning to go to Calgary for a signing, and then Minneapolis, then I get back next week late Wednesday night, have an appearance Wednesday afternoon but head back after that. I get Thursday off, Friday I’ve got an NXT taping then I’m gone Saturday morning again, so literally I’m probably only going to be home this month for about four days for the whole month. So yeah it goes from all this time off to that, but I’m so happy to be back. This is what I want to do, this is why I get frustrated at home, because I get bored really easy, I get tired sitting at home any more than two days. Any more than two days in my house, and this might sound weird or OCD or whatever, but after two days off I start, you know, trying to paint the walls a different color or something, do you know what I mean? (both laugh)I need to do something, I like to be busy. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do when I retire, man.

DEAN: (laughs) well hopefully retirement’s a while off, so let’s not think about that yet.

SHEAMUS: (laughs) I hope so!

DEAN: So getting back to the network a bit, I want to talk about the perception of fans. Fans are always clamoring for the Attitude Era or whatever era they grew up in, and now with the Network, they’ll be able to relive those eras almost in their entirety whenever they want. How do you think this will affect their perception of the current product? Do you think maybe they’ll realize those glory days they remember weren’t as constantly amazing as they remember, and that the current stuff is actually pretty good by comparison?

SHEAMUS: I think that when people go back they’ll see obviously a lot of great characters and a lot of great things that happened in those eras. But I still think, I really think right now, this era here, is the best era in the history of the WWE. I think that our superstars are more committed, they’re highly, highly athletic, umm, they’re highly trained, and I think you’ve got some great personalities that have great matches. I mean you watch regularly there are great matches happening all the time, they clearly just tear it up all the time, keep pushing the boundaries.

Everything is an evolution, from the Hogan era, and Savage era, you go back and watch matches, you know, it’s a slower pace, and you know someone does a double axe handle off the top and people are like, “Oh my God! He just did a double axe handle off the top rope!” (both laugh) you know what I mean? Obviously now you see people like Rey, Justin Gabriel, or Kofi do these things that are just phenomenal, you know? It’s all an evolution, and everything is relevant to where we are now. We wouldn’t be where we are now without the Attitude Era. Without the New Generation the Attitude Era wouldn’t be there. Everything just complements itself, just keeps pushing the boundaries more and more, further and further. It’s just really, it’s for the WWE Universe, for our fans, it’s why we do what we do.

It’s going to be a great opportunity to go back and look at those matches. There’s a lot of great matches in every era, a lot of great moments as well, you know, great stories, great rivalries, especially between WCW and WWE, that’s a real life, true story, with both trying to outdo each other, and WWE obviously coming out on top at the end. But I think it’s great, you know, whatever mood you’re in, to watch nostalgia stuff, if you’re going to watch the legends go at it in LEGENDS HOUSE, if you’re looking forward to new content, if you’re looking to see what the current guys or girls think about certain matches at WRESTLEMANIA or SUMMERSLAM, or certain entrances, or certain interviews, you’ll be able to see that too, you know? So we’ll all be doing that stuff as well to add content to the programming that’ll be on the show, so we are giving feedback on certain different shows and we’ll be doing that for quite a while, so we’re all involved in some way or another. Then of course with the Pay-Per-Views being free, $10 a month for all that, and every Pay-Per-View including WRESTLEMANIA, I mean…that alone, that’s just so worth it, do you know what I mean?

DEAN: Oh absolutely, this is really just the greatest fan service I’ve heard of from anyone in the entertainment business, it’s such a cool service. But going back to the fans, I think you guys are dealing with the most challenging fan base there’s ever been; it just seems like it’s really tough to please them. You look back to last year with your match against Randy Orton after WRESTLEMANIA, you guys put on a great match but the fans seem disinterested and just start chanting for whatever. So what goes through your head when that stuff happens and what does it take to entertain today’s fan?

SHEAMUS: Uhhh, well the stuff that happened after WRESTLEMANIA was, you know, was very, very interesting. The crowd that was there for RAW wasn’t a New York crowd, it was a crowd probably from New York and all over the place, and we always see that after every WRESTLEMANIA. They’re there to, you know, they’re there just to literally amuse themselves, so…which is fine, I mean, it’s funny you just have to adapt to that, you know what I mean? It was a very, very interesting experience. I wrote a tweet after that saying “Just wrestled Randy Orton. Did anyone notice?” (both laugh) you just have to sort of take the piss out of it, like, but umm…yeah, I mean the fans are very, ummm, vocal of what they want, when they want it. It’s interesting, because it’s great that, uhh…one thing I remember Triple H saying in a meeting to all of us before was, something like…what were we talking about? We were talking about social media! And literally WWE is the first interactive social media program ever, because you know fans have been bringing signs for years, and getting involved for years, they’ve always had a deciding factor in who they really are behind and who they’re not.

Now I, you know, some places I’m popular, some places I haven’t been popular, and that just goes with the territory. I’m used to taking criticism and I take it well. It’s something that’s very intriguing and something that’s intriguing for the show because not only are people watching the show, what we do in the ring, they’re watching how the crowd reacts. So the crowd is just as much a part of the show as we are and I’ve always said that, they’re as big a part of the entertainment value as we are, you know what I mean? They can decide what’s a great match or not, and I mean like talk about the two of three falls match with Daniel Bryan, the crowd in Chicago (EXTREME RULES 2012) was unbelievable. Unbelievable. That really helped put the icing on the cake for that match. I think it’s great, and you know, you have to because they all have a voice, they’re going to tell you who they want to see and what they want to see, and it’s great. It’s great for everybody. It’s great for you, and it’s great for us in the ring because it definitely help us to perform better.

DEAN: Yeah, and I love that you mention Chicago because that’s my home town and it really is one of the best crowds out there for wrestling. It’s always magic when you guys are here, so I swell with pride whenever someone mentions us being a great crowd.

SHEAMUS: Oh yeah it is great, and I’ve got family in Chicago, actually. Family in Chicago, family in Boston, and family down in, uhhh, Florida. So yeah, Chicago’s an awesome crowd. Lot of Irish roots in that city as well. Growing up in Ireland, they’re one of the cities you hear about, do you know what I mean? Chicago, and Boston, and New York. Those are the three you really hear about growing up, and a lot of Irish back in Ireland have been really influenced by America, and not just because of the people who left Ireland back in the famine years and the immigration to the states, but also because, you know, American culture has crept into Ireland, influenced by their music, their movies, American movies, and everything. I remember as a kid watching Karate Kid, and Back to the Future, you know what I mean? All these things, you see these American neighborhoods and you’re always intrigued by them, you know, America’s a place I always wanted to come to, a place I’ve always wanted to be.

DEAN: And look at that history knowledge you started dipping into, that was nice! I feel like there’s a lot more you could go into there.

SHEAMUS: (laughs) yeah! It’s pretty cool.

DEAN: So just a few more questions for you before I let you go. Regarding the injuries, Cody Rhodes actually said in a Q&A session on twitter the other day that you’re the hardest hitter in the WWE. When you get hurt, and you’re taken out of the picture for a number of months, does your style have to change to compensate? Do you try to be a little less physical maybe to keep yourself in the game longer?

SHEAMUS: No, absolutely not. I couldn’t do that, that’s who I am. I can’t change who I am. To be something else, or to come back like a watered down version, I …I just wouldn’t be able to do it. If I can’t perform to the level that I’m expected to perform then I just, I would not be happy. I have to go in there and be able to do exactly what I did before. I mean, in my time off I was able to get my diet right and come back leaner, stronger, and put a lot of things that were wrong, right, and, uhh, I need to keep that... you’ve got to keep that instinct up. If you start losing your instinct, or your edge, or your passion, or your drive, then forget about it, man, it’s just…you’re done.

So no, and unfortunately If I do get a hold of Cody Rhodes again I’ll be hitting him about as hard as I’ve ever done (both laugh) so, uhh…it’s funny that Cody said that, yeah. We’ve never had a TV program, but we’ve always had great matches, great chemistry.

DEAN: Well with ELIMINATION CHAMBER on Sunday, I mean, just the structure itself is intimidating, it’s a scary thing to look at, so anything in your head about the injury going into a structure like that?

SHEAMUS: No, I mean, my shoulder really has been tested for the past couple weeks, ever since I came back, people stompin’ the hell out of it, and throwin’ it into things. Even on Monday night with Randy I got thrown into the post and spun out onto the floor, so uhh…it’s pretty solid. But it does hurt sometimes, I might wake up sometimes and if I was sleeping on it I’ll wake up in pain for about an hour and a half or two hours, but then I’ll stretch it out and it’ll slowly get better. It’s still sore though, man, it’s pretty in pain, you know what I mean? It’s not healed or completely healed, but you know, I’ve just got to live with that for the next few weeks or whatever time it takes to stop hurting me whenever I wake up.

But you know, I got knocked out in the Chamber in my first one in 2010, knocked me completely loopy. But I mean, you can’t, like anything else, you can’t be fearful, you’ve just got to go in there, and go in there head first. The WWE Championship is at stake, the main event at WRESTLEMANIA 30 is at stake, so whatever sacrifice needs to be made, as long as you win, it’ll be well worth it.

DEAN: Hard to argue that, and then I’ve got one question I skipped that a few people wanted me to ask you. The Celtic Cross: are we going to see it more again or have you gone to the Brogue Kick exclusively, and why the change?

SHEAMUS: The Celtic Cross is special, too, but you watch the Celtic Cross and it’s not something that can do outta nowhere or something that can come pretty fast. Especially with opponents like Big Show, or Mark Henry, and Khali, no matter how strong you are, lifting ‘em can be awkward. I’m sure if I was able to get Big Show up in the Cross his feet would still be touching the floor (both laugh) you know what I mean? But the Brogue has been pretty effective for me. I can hit it out of nowhere, I can set it up, and it really has been a great, great finishing move for me. So why take thirty seconds to set something up, when I can hit ‘em with something out of nowhere in less than a second, and it’s, uhhh, it’s been getting better and better (laughs), I’ve been hitting ‘em harder and harder. So I’m not saying I’m finished with the Cross, it’s just that the Brogue has been a great, great move, and it’s proven my most effective move.

DEAN: Alright, man, well thanks so much for your time today, huge thrill to talk to you. I’m glad you’re back, glad you’re healthy, and all the best to you this Sunday!

SHEAMUS: No, thank you so much, I really appreciate your time. Between the Network and the Pay-Per-Piew it’s just, it’s an awesome time, an awesome period for the WWE and for all the fans as well, so again, thanks a lot.

DEAN: Be sure to check out Sheamus in action tonight on RAW for the big NETWORK and WRESTLEMANIA season kickoff, and head on over to for more on how to get setup for today’s launch of the WWE NETWORK!

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Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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