By Brett White & Ben Morse
WWE continues its most chaotic and exciting period of the year this Sunday at the Elimination Chamber event, available on pay-per-view, as every Superstar attempts to cement their place on the road to WrestleMania XXX on April 6 in New Orleans. Also coming up this Monday, the WWE Network launches, giving fans unprecedented access to the incredible content the sports entertainment juggernaut has to offer.
In the midst of all this, former WWE Champion Sheamus has returned from a lengthy sabbatical recovering from injury to enter the mix. We sat down with the “Celtic Warrior”—not only a fierce competitor but also a rabid Marvel fan—to get his thoughts on his comeback, the Network, how he’d handicap a Hulk/Spider-Man smackdown and much more.
Sheamus: It actually has. I’ve had a lot of time to sit at home and think about what’s going on, where I’m at, where I’ve been, and as far as in my career, there are a lot of things that I wasn’t happy with. When you’re on the go all the time, you really don’t always have time to look back and reflect or [study] what you’re doing properly because there’s always a million things going on in your head. But I’ve had a lot of fun thinking about it. For the last six months, I changed my diet, upped my training intensity, and I’ve been able to change my conditioning, get leaner and sharper, and a little more athletic, work on my flexibility, all of that. My range of movement in the ring, I can definitely work on that.
As far as my character, it got a little bit jokey-jokey. It was fun doing 1-800-FELLA and all that stuff at the time but I felt like it wasn’t who I was or who the “Celtic Warrior” was. I kinda got back to being a very intensive fighter, very intensive and a lot more serious in the WWE. That’s not to say I’m not going to have fun, I just am here to make an impact. I want to be the guy that makes the impact, I want to be there and kick ass. I just don’t want silly stuff getting away from what I’m doing in the ring and who I truly am.
Marvel.com: On your downtime did you have a chance to watch any of the new Marvel movies or catch up with old ones?
Sheamus: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of all the movies. I really am. I really liked the first Spider-Man movies, the first two with the Green Goblin and Doc Ock. I’ve watched [“Thor: The Dark World”] and I’m looking forward to the new Spider-Man movie. I’m really looking forward to seeing “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” I’m also looking forward to Batista’s role [in “Guardians of the Galaxy”].
Sheamus: No, I haven’t actually. He’s come back but he’s been obviously on Mondays and he’s got his own things to do. I’ve seen him [wearing] the [Guardians of the Galaxy] jacket a couple of times so I know he’s very, very proud of the role and he has every right to be.
Marvel.com: Would you foresee your career going in that path? Are there any heroes or comic book villains you’d like to bring to life on the big screen?
Sheamus: Well, Spider-Man and the Hulk are my favorites. Ever since I was about five I’ve been a Hulk fan. I love the Hulk character. It’s funny to me: I’ve watched what Robert Downey Jr. did to Iron Man and to me, it’s incredible. Iron Man was always a successful comic book, hugely successful, but Robert Downey Jr. really brought that character to be one of the most famous comics [characters] out there. I think he did a phenomenal job. “Iron Man” is one of my favorite movies now, my favorite comic books.
I would love to play Eddie Brock. I liked the character from the Spider-Man cartoons, the one from the 90’s. And to me, I look like Eddie Brock, I have red hair, and when they did the alien costume story. I think I’d make a formidable opponent for Spider-Man in that role. I don’t know [if] Marvel true-bloods would be upset with Sheamus being Eddie Brock but I think I could do a hell of a lot better job than the last guy.
Sheamus: Yeah, I’m actually excited about seeing all the pay-per-views from 90’s. I’ve watched wrestling ever since I was a kid and when I first [saw] it was I blown away. To me, when I was a kid in school, a lot of people go through phases of different things; a lot of people watch wrestling as a kid and when they become teenagers they change their interests or they like different things but I was always hooked by WWE. I think the New Generation with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Kane, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, The Ringmaster—Stone Cold before he changed to Steve Austin—I loved that era. I loved WWE’s In Your House pay-per-views. Obviously, Diesel was there as well; the 1-2-3 Kid, Razor Ramon. That era, to me, was very very special. It actually made me even more engrossed in WWE. I loved watching the In Your House pay-per-views. They were so much fun. I felt like the Superstars that were wrestling were very relaxed in those matches. It wasn’t like it was WrestleMania or anything. I just felt like, [if all goes well] I’d be lucky enough to get in the ring with them. Those In Your House pay-per-views were very special to me. They’re very nostalgic to me; they remind of going into my teenage years and I’m obviously a big fan of Bret Hart and Shawn and to me that was great. I love that era. I’m looking forward to going back and watching those matches and enjoying them for what they are. It’s a great opportunity for people who loved wrestling as a kid, you can go back and watch those matches and relive those memories. There [are] a lot of opportunities there for new shows, new content. There’s a thousand hours of video on demand, all our pay-per-views which will be updated constantly. All of the WWE pay-per-views are going to be free and it all goes live and you can sign up at 9 AM on Monday morning.
And of course we go live with a pre-show before RAW on Monday night.
Sheamus: Yeah, I’ve already been involved. We’ve taped a lot of stuff. The Network guys are always there. They’ll ask questions about our favorite moments of Monday Night RAW, WrestleMania, or entrances. It’s a lot of fun to be able to talk about these things and we’ve had opportunities to give our comments and feedback. A lot of these shows are pretty fun and that’s going to continue. I don’t know if there’s an opportunity for me for a particular show for myself but I’d love to have the opportunity to do something where I go back with a crew to Dublin, Ireland and show people where I grew up in Ireland. And where I went to an Irish speaking school, where I played Gaelic football, which is an Irish sport; where I watched my first pay-per-view. I’d love to be able to do something like that and get it to the Network. I think that’d be pretty interesting and the fans would get to see another side of me, where I come from and what I’m about.
Marvel.com: One final question: as a self-proclaimed big fan of Hulk and Spider-Man, if you were forced to choose between supporting one in a fight, which one do you root for?