After more than five months the “Celtic Warrior” finally cashed in and struck gold in the final minutes of Survivor Series. Roman Reigns had just won a tournament to crown a new title holder before the superstar ruined his victory party with a Brogue Kick to the face.
The new champion sat for an hour in the locker room after the event to take it all in. No time to mark the occasion with a pint, he did enjoy some Muscle Milk on his drive from Atlanta to Nashville for “Monday Night Raw” Mondays at 8/7CT on USA Network. A bit before show time, Sheamus took questions on a media call to explain what his latest accolade meant to him.
“I’ve been a fan my entire life and ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “I watched the first Survivor Series. So being part of that 25th anniversary of The Undertaker last night. Being a boyhood fan and involved in a moment like that is unbelievable.”
The 37-year-old is one of the most accomplished performers in WWE history, but Sheamus has never been one to rest on his laurels. He is always striving to work his way back up the proverbial ladder. There have been points in his stellar career where Sheamus felt stagnant and lost in the shuffle. Needless to say winning the World Heavyweight Championship in such dramatic fashion has renewed his passion for his profession.
“I’ve been in this position before,” he said. “I’ve faced a lot of scrutiny as everyone has seen the last couple of years as a heel and as a babyface. Right now I’ve been raring to go for such a long time since I won the Money in the Bank contract. I started off with Daniel Bryan and [Dolph] Ziggler and just got stuck in. I was raring to go back as a heel. I feel the last few months I’ve been stuck in first gear just waiting to go. As far as pressure goes, no doubt about it there is always pressure. I actually look forward to that. The opportunity that I have right now is one I’ve been waiting on for a long time.
“I’m in a different part of my career right now, Sheamus continues. “I’m six years in. I’m a different person than when I first came into WWE I really was like a deer in the headlights. Everything happened so quickly. I was in there with [John] Cena, [Randy] Orton and Triple H. I was learning on the fly. I would take it all in. That was a huge amount of pressure back then. Now I’m much more comfortable where I’m at. I know what I’m doing. I’ve waited for this opportunity for such a long time. I’m not going to let it pass me by. There are a lot of superstars on the sidelines right now.
“Obviously, what happened to Seth Rollins is unfortunate. I know he is going to be back stronger and better than ever because that’s the type of person he is. He is very committed to what he does. He trains hard. … At the same time I’m not going to let the opportunity pass me by. I’ve been on the sidelines more than I’d like. I’m going to take this and run with it as far as I can and give it everything I possibly can as well. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve never felt better and more comfortable in my own skin.”
Sheamus has been a polarizing figure to the WWE Universe. This dates back to when he defeated Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XVIII. When he returned from his recent hiatus in March, Sheamus decided to give the fans something to boo about by attacking Bryan and Ziggler. He returned with a new look complete with mohawk that has been the subject of “you look stupid” chants. Sheamus embraces has embraced it all ever since and is looking forward to stepping in the ring with the current crop of potential challengers. These include Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. He also referred to a potential showdown with Brock Lesnar as a “dream match.” The man who loves to fight is proud to represent his heritage and Ireland.
“Pound-for-pound, the Irish are the greatest fighters on the planet,” he said. “Finn Bálor and myself were on the European tour the first week we wrestled each other from Dublin, and it was off the charts. They were really great and inspired me. It was amazing to be in there with such a talented superstar. There is no doubt about it the future of the Irish is bright. Finn Bálor as NXT champion and the flagship superstar of that [brand], he can literally be as far as I’m concerned a future WWE World Heavyweight Champion.”
He also predicts big things for Reigns, who has gotten a similar hot-and-cold response from the audience.
“I think Roman has been dealing with it pretty well,” Sheamus said. “He still goes out there and works his arse off. He leaves nothing left in him after his match. He is very passionate about what he does. I think he is great superstar. I think he is a great poster boy for WWE. I think from my own experiences, I’ve been there. I became the world heavyweight champion in 18 seconds. I was out there with a smile on my face and cracking the jokes trying to endear to crowds. The harder I tried the more they turned. I realized no matter how much I go out there and beat myself up or how many crazy falls I took, the universe had made up their mind. The most important thing for Roman is to stick to who he is and not try to be someone else and be anybody. He believes in himself and believes in what he is doing. As long as he sticks to that, I think he will be fine.”
Sheamus practices what he preaches and found more success because of it. His mindset applies to social media as well.
“If you stand there and analyze every single thing a person is saying, you’ll go mad,” he said. “You would absolutely lose your mind. Social media is a great tool, but it can also be a negative tool depending on how you use it. Some of the comments I read on Twitter were absolutely hilarious. I’m laughing now because I know I’m in a different place. The only opinion that really matters is my own. I’m my own biggest critic regardless of what anyone else thinks. There are a couple of guys I talk to: Triple H, Fit Finlay and Arn Anderson. They are my mentors.
“They had [my back] since day one. Anyone in the public eye, everyone has an opinion about them. Not just in WWE, but movies, TV, musicians. It doesn’t matter. There is always going to be a lot of negative and a lot of positive. To be honest I read a lot of stuff in when I was going belly up as a babyface. ‘You got no reaction tonight. ‘The reaction was great, but a lot of people like to create a negative atmosphere around what I was doing.
“…It’s about reaction. It’s about going out there and getting a reaction. I always get a reaction, whether it’s in a match or to boos or cheers. It’s that the people are mostly invested, that’s all that matters. I know they are. I read stuff that they are, but you have confidence in who you are and what you do. I have the utmost confidence in my own ability, of who I am and what I’m capable of. Social media, it can eat some people up. It pops me when I read people’s stuff, especially on Instagram. It’s great. It just means I’m doing my job, and I’m doing it well because I’m getting under people’s skin and antagonizing them. To me, that’s what I’m here to do.”
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Photos Courtesy: WWE