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“When I first beat John Cena to become the world wrestling champion on WWE Raw, fans didn’t like it one bit,” said WWE’s Sheamus.
“The last thing the fans wanted is you coming from another country and beating their poster boy. They didn’t like me one bit and it didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t move to America to make friends, I came here to work,” continued the Irish wrestler.
This turn of events made sure that anyone who was a wrestling fan would know of Sheamus and the kind of damage he could do.
“I was a brand-new kid who no one knew. In the past I had cut my red hair, but I decided to do an image change and let it grow so people would remember me. Also, they saw the pale white skin which became part of my look. My success in a matter of months even had some wrestlers jealous, but I was happy to announce that I was here to stay,” he said.
If you have never heard of him, Sheamus is a formidable force in the WWE franchise’s line-up.
He has deadly finishing moves which match those of any of the greats from Hulk Hogan to The Undertaker.
Known as the Great White, or the Irish Curse, Sheamus forms part of the line-up that will be coming to South Africa at the end of this month for a three-city tour in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg.
“This will be my second time in South Africa and I am excited,” he said.
“The last time we were there was in 2011 and because one of us, Justin Gabriel, is from Cape Town, we had a lot of fun there. The guys loved checking out Table Mountain and just relaxing in the African sun. We all can’t wait to do that again,” the Irishman said.
Sheamus said he knew how big the WWE brand was in South Africa.
“I was one of those people who said they would never be on social networks, but I realised that’s where the world is going. I only joined Twitter last September.
“I can see from there how much support we get from South Africa and it is humbling given that you guys are so far out there,” he said.
Asked how the wrestlers managed to do dangerous routines time and again but avoid serious injury, Sheamus attributed it to serious training schedules.
“The reason why we always say ‘kids should not try this at home or school’ is because we know what we are doing. Although it may not look like it in most cases, we actually do get injured, but in most cases it is not as bad as it would be for an untrained person. This is why we encourage the fans to rather come to see us do it or play the video game and avoid physical contact,” he said.
Most wrestlers, including Cena, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Batista, have branched out of wrestling and tried their luck in the acting arena. While Sheamus hasn’t had any acting offers, it is something he would like to try out.
“If something I like comes along in the form of a pitch then I will consider doing it. It is just that right now wrestling keeps me so busy there is hardly ever time,” he explained.
A staunch Liverpool supporter when it comes to football, Sheamus confessed that when he was not working he tried to catch up with his team by watching recorded matches at home.
If you missed the WWE tour last time the wrestlers were in South Africa, then you will be happy to know that five dates have been set for some mind-blowing action.
“It is going to be intense. The guys who are coming include Randy Orton, Big Show, Justin Gabriel, Mark Henry, The Great Khali and Cody Rhodes.
“We are all bringing our A-game and it will be a lot of fun, so please come through.”
• The dates of the shows are as follows: July 30 and 31 at GrandArena, Cape Town; August 1 at Westridge Stadium, Durban; August 2 and 3 at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Joburg. Book at Computicket or www.bigconcerts.co.za. Tickets priced between R225 and R600.