This Sunday’s WrestleMania promises to be a memorable one.
The card is stacked from top to bottom with a variety of matches featuring superstars of the past, present and future battling it out on the grandest stage of all.
Amidst the promotion and hype of the two top matches – John Cena vs. The Rock and Triple H vs. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee – WWE has been building the next generation of stars, the ones who will continue to evolve and represent the WWE for at least the next decade.
One man stands out from the rest. Since his debut on WWE’s ECW program in 2009, Sheamus has quickly established himself as a leader of his generation.
Within months of his debut, the Irishman had done the unthinkable and won the WWE Championship.
At the time, his run was met with mixed reaction from fans. But now, with three years experience on the main roster under his belt, Sheamus is ready to show the world just what he’s capable of, and he plans on doing that at the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania.
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to speak with Sheamus about WrestleMania, his career this far, his influences in wrestling and whom he is supporting in the battle between Cena and The Rock.
Here’s what he had to say:
You're going to be facing Daniel Bryan next weekend for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. On last year's show, you two were in a match together for the United States Championship that was put on the pre-show. How does it feel to be here a year later, redoing the match with one of the company's biggest prizes on the line this time?
I think it's great. Just the fact we're in a main-event match at WrestleMania, regardless what happened last year, is unbelievable. It just shows what a difference a year can make.
You can go from being in a pre-show match to be actually in a main-event match for such a prestigious title at WrestleMania 28, especially when there's so much else going on on the show - the huge main event obviously with The Rock and John Cena, a once-in-a-lifetime match, and Hunter, Triple H, and Undertaker with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee in Hell in a Cell, and of course, Punk and Jericho, along with Randy Orton and, of course, Kane, as well.
There's so much going on on the show that, as I said, I really cannot wait for April 1.
The roles are reversed this year, as well, with you being the fan favorite and Bryan being the villain. What's that transition been like for you, and what do you think it will add to the rematch this year?
It's actually been very, very strange. Obviously again, going back to it, this match is for such a prestigious title, and of course, with the roles reversed, I think that element, Daniel has had a very successful second half of the year, just like myself. Obviously I think he's become a little bit befuddled with the championship, over-obsessed with the championship, as well. He's done everything he can to keep it. Really, his character has changed a lot from this time last year.
I think success has kind of gone to his head a lot, which can happen to certain people. Obviously for me, the opposite happened. I didn't make Mania last year; I was little bit humbled about that. I realized I've got to start again. What I was currently doing wasn't working, so I changed up things about my style. I became more aggressive, more dedicated, more intense -- taking it match by match, night by night -- to literally crawl and scratch my way back to the top.
I think it's proved successful. I got tired of Mark Henry there before SummerSlam just mowing through everybody, and in the back of my head I believed I can easily take him. And obviously me standing off to him, a lot of the crowd actually sided with me, which was a really cool moment and it's stayed with me the whole time. It's been a really, really cool feeling having the crowd cheer me on rather than boo and heckle me for the last six to eight months.
You've mentioned some of the other matches on the card. This is obviously a stacked WrestleMania, and some people are saying that makes the championship matches seem not as important. How do you respond to those people, and does that motivate you even more to put on a show-stealing match?
Absolutely. I think the titles will always be important. The thing is there are four main-event matches -- CM and Chris Jericho for the WWE Championship, myself and Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship. ... There are two matches there, [and] obviously John Cena and The Rock, which is a once-in-a-lifetime match, and also with Taker and Hunter -- the match they had last year was probably one of the best matches I've ever seen -- going at it again in the Hell in a Cell.
But I think the way the show is, it's a four-hour show, I think each match is definitely as important as the next. You're looking at an end-of-the-era match with Triple H and Undertaker; you're looking at a once-in-a-lifetime match with Cena-Rock and you're also looking at guys who are really pushing to step into the limelight for the future, for the next 10 years or so -- myself, Daniel Bryan, Punk and obviously Jericho has been around for quite a while, but you're looking at three superstars who want to take over those roles of Undertaker and Triple H and everything.
You're looking at a complete mixture of, I don't want to say old because old is such an offensive word, but more experienced against younger guys, younger superstars. There's a great mix there, and I think every match really is as important as the next.