WWE's Sheamus Talks WWE 2K17, Cesaro And Returning To The UK Next Month
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TheSPORTbible had the pleasure of speaking to WWE superstar Sheamus; one of the most hard-hitting men in professional wrestling.
Now 38, Sheamus is a four-time world champion in WWE and only the second man to win the King of the Ring tournament, Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank briefcase.
A former security guard and I.T Technician, Sheamus now spends his time dishing out beatings on a weekly basis and garnering the most incredible heat from fans whilst doing so.
The fiery Irishman talked in detail about his series of duels with Cesaro, the imminent release of WWE 2K17, his dream match, the energy of the WWE fans in the United Kingdom, Sami Zayn really being 55-years old and which Liverpool player he would like as a tag team partner if given the opportunity.
TheSPORTbible: Sheamus, great to speak with you. WWE 2K17 is released on October 11. These games seem to improve in all aspects every year, what is it that you think will make WWE 2K17 go up another level?
Sheamus: Well I think the roster again, the largest roster ever with the NXT roster and the Hall of Fame guys. Last year I remember watching the graphics and I was blown away but this year the graphics have got even better. They have watched hours and hours worth of footage of each superstar, male or female, NXT, Raw and Smackdown and they are getting every little characteristic; everything from the taunts to the entrance, the body movement, the way they do the moves - they've got them all down to a tee and how close it is to what you seen on TV, it's incredible. Graphics is at this stage now where it's like "how much further can they get?" but you see with the gameplay how close to realism it is with every move and every characteristic. To be a part of, it's pretty incredible.
TheSPORTbible: In this year's My Career mode you can choose between honing your craft in NXT or bypassing the performance center and immediately becoming a Paul Heyman guy. Hypothetically, which one would you choose?
Sheamus: I've always been a huge admirer of Paul Heyman, I'm not saying something's going to happen there! I think there's pros and cons each way you go. When I was in FCW, I had great training with Dr Tom Prichard and Steve Keirn so there are success stories either way, it's just whatever works best for you.
TheSPORTbible: And a huge reason for why these games are so popular is that you can make dream matches, which haven't happened or maybe cannot take place in real life. Of all the 150+ roster members in the game, which one would you liked to have locked up with? Any of the legends you would have liked to have worked with?
Sheamus: I would have loved a match with Macho Man [Randy Savage]. He really was the one who stole me as a kid when I was getting into WWE. Ever since 'the Cup of Coffee promo'? That was just an example of how charismatic and crazy he could be. The gear he wore out there, his personality, his in-ring ability - he was the total package. I would have loved to have wrestled Macho Man Randy Savage.
TheSPORTbible: Switching gears to your run in WWE at the moment. An excellent best of seven series with Cesaro, including an absolute barnstormer in the finale. Did you feel as though the program revitalised you both after a patch where you perhaps weren't being featured as you would have liked?
Sheamus: Yeah I do, it was a golden opportunity to really get out there and steal the show and that's what we did. We had already wrestled twice before the best of seven series was announced after my match with Sami [Zayn], we knew what we could do, we didn't treat any match less than the other. The match we had in London [as part of a live event at the O2] was great because there was something on the line, it wasn't just a regular match. We knew what we had as an opportunity and we knocked the hell out of each other for seven matches and the best thing coming out of it was after nine matches [in total] people were wanting us to keep fighting. It was incredible for both of us and now we're in a tag team, stuck with each other - which is an interesting dynamic! I've won the Royal Rumble, WWE champ, US Champ, King of the Ring, Money in the Bank - I'd love a tag team title to go with that but the storyline is the most important thing at the moment.
These are exciting times for me. I was talking to [Chris] Jericho when we did that four-way going into Summerslam when Finn [Balor] won the title and we had these two four-way matches. After that match I felt I was getting back where I was after the League of Nations and all that, sometimes you need a match or some sort of feud to kick you back into gear and that's what happened. I had that match with Cesaro, had that match with Sami Zayn, right off the cuff we were brawling all over the place and got people involved. I don't know if you know this but Sami Zayn is 55-years old, so to be able to go in that match like he did was incredible.
TheSPORTbible: You were in the UK just a month ago for the One Night Only show in London, which went down really well. WWE are back across the pond again in November for a tour. There's often a lot made about the way in which British crowds get involved in the show, what is it exactly that makes the UK fans stand out?
Sheamus: Just look at some of the matches; the football matches, they want to have 'the crack'. Yeah they will criticise like they all do but they are there for the crack. UK and Irish fans, they are up for a laugh. Shite weather and a lot of muck but we still drink the beer, have a drink and have a good time; that's the culture. Any American I talk to that comes over to the UK and Ireland, they love it. I just think they have the mentality of "work hard, play hard" and when you want to play hard you want to go and see something you like and go and have fun, that's the beauty of the fans. The UK fans are extreme, I don't care what anyone says, [they are the] best fans in the world. They set an example, they get the chants going, it's incredible and that just gives all the guys and the girls so much energy. You go out there and they give people a load of stick and abuse and it's an incredible experience.
I literally have wrestled all over the world and they are the best; the South American fans are up there too, they're amazing but there is no way anyone can compete with the UK and the Irish fans. I probably had the best tour ever when I went back there last April in Ireland, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Scotland too. Everyone knows they are taking the piss, that's what we do; we take the piss out of each other. Nobody comes close to those fans, going on those tours is the highlight of the year for me and I love it. We're looking forward to coming back.
TheSPORTbible: As we know, you and Cesaro aren't getting on great on screen at the moment. So with you being a big Liverpool fan, if you could pick one Liverpool player past or present to replace Cesaro as your tag team partner, who would it be?
Sheamus: Obviously Coutinho's the main man at the moment and also Firmino but what a difference Sadio Mane has made to that team. I'm a big Sadio Mane fan, he's added so much excitement to that team so I'd have to pick him.
Sheamus was speaking ahead of the release of the new WWE 2K17 game.