RICHMOND -- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will be stopping through Richmond, Dec. 30, for a special Sunday night taping of WWE SmackDown. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets start as low as $15.
I recently had the chance to speak with WWE Superstar “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus regarding his life, career and his plans for the future.
Jonathan McLarty: First and foremost, what were some of the highlights from your recent visit with the troops in Norfolk?
Sheamus: We had a great time with them, actually. We got to hang out and play dodge ball with some of the groups. We got to walk around the USS Boise (SSN 764) submarine, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) aircraft carrier and the USS Porter (DDG 78). It’s amazing to meet all of these Sailors – to see how young and enthusiastic they are, how much they love serving their country and how much they love their job. They take great passion and pride in serving their country. It’s really great to see.
JM: Who did you look up to most when growing up?
S: I was really a big fan of WWE as a kid. I used to love watching “Mr. Perfect” (Curt Hennig), “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Bret Hart. I’ve always been a fan of numerous Superstars and have taken inspiration from different guys in different ways, but those are really the four I loved watching as a kid.
JM: You started your career with independent organizations in Europe. What are some of your favorite memories coming out of that scene?
S: I remember the first match I had in Dublin ... I didn’t even have my own pair of boots. It was kind of sprung on me because I had only been training for a little while. I remember I wore a pair of combat shorts, a pair of black boots and wrist tape. I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing. It takes a lot of time to get comfortable in the ring and with what you wear. Originally, I remember feeling so nervous ... so out of sorts. It’s a great feeling, though, ‘cause every time I think of where I am now, I think back to that moment where it all began for me. (My) first show was in Dublin in front of 50 people. In April of this year, I came back (to Europe) after WrestleMania 28 as World Heavyweight Champion and the O2 arena was packed to the rafters. It’s been an incredible journey.
JM: You’ve shared a lot of TV time recently with William Regal. With his nearly 30 years of experience in this business, has this extra time together allowed you to pick his brain?
S: One of the first guys to really text me or call me up was William Regal. He offered to help me and have me travel with him. We have the same sense of humor, same pop culture background. We got on right away from the start. He’s been a great help to me by watching my matches and critiquing them. There have been others like Triple H … Arn Anderson as well. I’m always motivated to pick the brain of people who have been so successful. Great number of minds and talents in WWE and they’re all at your disposal. It’s definitely helped me to progress faster than I would have on my own. … It’s about drive – never be happy with what you do. You can’t rest on your laurels because you’re only as good as your last match. There are a lot of hungry Superstars ready to come in here and want to knock you off your spot.
JM: Most Superstars visit the tanning bed. The fact that you are of a pale persuasion is what helps make you unique.
S: What do you mean? I tan five times a week ... no I don’t, I’m only joking. It’s cool the fact that I don’t tan. I’m happy I don’t have to drag myself to a tanning bed for 10 minutes everyday, except for the fact that I may lack Vitamin D. I’ve got to keep that up by taking supplements.
JM: You’ve won the WWE, World and United States championships. You also won the 2012 Royal Rumble and were the 2010 King of the Ring winner. What other goals do you have in mind for the remainder of your career?
S: Foremost, I want to win the World Heavyweight Championship back from The Big Show. I will get that opportunity in Richmond at SmackDown TV. I would love to do a WrestleMania match with The Undertaker. I don’t know how many Mania matches he has left in him, but I would love to be the guy who breaks that streak.
JM: What is your favorite ice cream?
S: I am a big ice cream fan, so this will be hard one. Birthday cake ice cream is my favorite. The first time I came over to the states, I was 18 and had never heard of Ben & Jerry’s. I was training at the time and I remember looking at the “Chunky Monkey” carton where it said “Fat Content per Ice Cream Tub = 16 grams.” I thought, “Hey, there’s only 16 g of fat in this tub!” So, after a few weeks of eating Ben & Jerry’s, I realized it was 16 g of fat per serving. There were about six servings in one tub and I was eating 100 grams of fat every couple of days. I was wondering why I wasn’t losing any weight!
JM: What can the readers expect out of you and the rest of the Superstars and Divas of WWE when SmackDown comes to Richmond on Dec. 30?
S: They can expect the greatest show in entertainment. They can expect a fun-packed show with comedy, romance and (most importantly) a whole lot of wrestling. I’m sure people will be bored in their houses after unwrapping all of their presents and watching 170 hours of “A Christmas Story” on television. It’s going to be a great show for the whole family and a great way to end the year.
Jonathan McLarty is a contributing writer for The Flagship, as well as a local sports and event photographer. If you have any questions or comments, connect him on Twitter (@JonathanMcLarty).