Posts Tagged ‘daniel bryan’

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler on WrestleMania: “This Could Be the Defining Match in my Career”

March 25, 2015

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

When the WWE World Championship was dominated by big, bruising brawlers like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Sgt. Slaughter, it was the Intercontinental Championship that often boasted the more exciting, fast-paced matches.

So, who better to help return the Intercontinental Title to its previous show-stealing prowess than the “Show Off” himself, Dolph Ziggler?

I spoke with the former host of “WWE Download” (man, I loved that show) in the days leading up to WrestleMania and asked him about his upcoming ladder match, Sting’s return, and Roman Reigns’ arrival…

Contact Gordon Holmes on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Gordon Holmes: The term “WrestleMania Moment” gets thrown around a lot. This ladder match seems like a golden opportunity to make one of those happen.
Dolph Ziggler: I’m really good at talking about how great I am, but let’s talk about everyone else in that match. It’s jam-packed…I have a reputation for stealing shows when I’m not supposed to. Going above and beyond to make myself stand out. And every single person in this match is a person who gives everything he can possibly give. We have these Superstars, some are up and coming, some have been around a while, they have to find a way to define themselves and have a WrestleMania moment. I don’t think I’ve had a WrestleMania moment. And so this could be it. This could be the defining match in my career that sends me to that upper echelon level, and there are a bunch of other guys that feel that way. That’s what’s so great about it. If this match doesn’t steal the show, then we didn’t do our jobs. We’re going to pull out all the stops.
Holmes: Looking at this list of guys; yourself, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett, Stardust, R Truth, and Luke Harper…in my notes I just wrote “Guys with a grudge.”
Ziggler: (Laughs)
Holmes: And by that I mean, in the past few years WrestleMania has featured top matches with a lot of part-time performers.
Ziggler: Sometimes other people come in for a couple of weeks and get the giant matches. But if I had a career like that, I wouldn’t want this as much as I do now. I know I have to take it. And that’s what everyone in this match feels like.

Holmes: You mentioned elevating the Intercontinental Championship. When I was a kid, that was the belt that the quicker, more technically sound wrestlers held. Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Curt Hennig…and now it doesn’t seem to have that same prestige. Is this the first step toward returning that title to prominence?
Ziggler: The first step was a couple of months ago when I became champ and defended it not only with the Authority trying to take it off of me, but it almost felt like an old Saturday Night’s Main Event with it constantly being on the line and you thought this was the time I was going to lose it. This Smackdown I was going to lose it, this Raw I was going to lose it. I defended it twenty something times in thirty days or something like that. And I loved it because I knew every day I was making it mean a little more. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been this prestigious title. It’s been on the backburner a lot of the time with other storylines. But when I get an inch, I try to take it a mile. When I say, “I dare someone to try and pry this out of my hands,” I mean it. And now, all the sudden people are talking about the title. And that’s real. People are talking, and that’s the start.

Holmes: Were you a WCW fan back in the day?
Ziggler: Yeah, but I always felt a little disloyal because in my head since I was five I was WWE.  But I was such a wrestling fan that it didn’t matter. And luckily for me I didn’t sleep a lot. So, WCW would rerun right afterward so I could watch Raw, then when it was over I could turn to WCW.
Holmes: Was there ever an instance where a young Dolph Ziggler was running around in white and black face paint?
Ziggler: No, there never was. I wasn’t a face paint guy. I was a Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Billy Gunn…well, I did enjoy watching Ric Flair vs. Sting ten thousand times. That was awesome. And I mean that in the most positive way. I was a big Goldberg fan. I’d watch him beat someone in ninety seconds then flip back to Raw.
Holmes: I was more of a surfer Sting kind of guy.
Ziggler: Oh yeah, I loved 80s Sting. I wasn’t one of the young teens who loved the Crow Sting. But, obviously he’s an icon and I loved Flair so much that I had love for both of those guys.
Holmes: So, the hot pink, Sgt. Pepper’s jacket…the Bart Simpson haircut…
Ziggler: Yeah! (Laughs) Big fan! I didn’t even mind the rat tail.
Holmes: Must’ve been nice to get to be a part of his WWE debut.
Ziggler: It’s unreal. As a fan, it blew my mind that his first-ever appearance helped me win a match. That blew my mind. Period. Survivor Series down three to one, scratching and clawing, Triple H trying every chance he could to knock me out. And then Sting’s first-ever appearance…it was goosebumps down my back as he threw me on top of Seth Rollins. I couldn’t believe it. As bitter and with a chip on my shoulder and grunting every day to get an inch in the WWE, there’s a small part of me that is a huge wrestling fan who lives for moments like that. And it doesn’t matter how that match goes, it’s gonna be great because Sting and Triple H are in it. It doesn’t matter how it goes. The spectacle will be unreal.
Holmes: That had to kill you that for his big appearance you were knocked out.
Ziggler: (Laughs) Yeah, luckily when I woke up he was in the back for about thirty more seconds and I said, “Hey kid, thanks for everything.”

Holmes: Our main event is going to be Roman Reigns taking on Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I was in Philly for the Rumble, and the crowd wasn’t too kind to him.
Ziggler: Roman had a hell of a match with Daniel Bryan, so let’s give this guy a chance. He’s done nothing wrong but take advantage of every position he’s been in. I can’t be down on that for one second. And last year, I was one of the guys cheering for him to get rid of Batista out of the ring. Now they’re booing him because it’s cool to do. He has every possible ounce of respect from me. I want to see if he can prove himself because proving yourself at WrestleMania is one thing, doing it against Brock Lesnar? Nobody has been able to do that for the last two or three years now. My career has been built on being flashy, but I was the all-time winningest wrestler at Kent State. I can be a hard-nosed wrestler if I need to be. But nobody can do what Brock does.
Holmes: Seeing Lesnar in person is something else. It’s like if you were to create a perfect wrestler in a lab, it would be Brock Lesnar.
Ziggler: You can hit him with an object and I don’t know if he’d know it happened. There’s nobody like him. I saw him do that moonsault against Kurt Angle where anyone else’s neck would snap in half. He just kind of shook it off. They’re going to beat the hell out of each other and it’s going to be cool.
Holmes: It’s a shame that ladder match is going to steal the show.
Ziggler: It is absolutely not a shame. It’s exactly how it should be. Certain matches get the build, they get the time, they get the story, they get the creativity, you get everything. And then certain matches go out there with a chip on their shoulder and go, “This is the one we’re all talking about tomorrow.”

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WWE’s Paul Heyman: Punk vs. Lesnar Is ‘Worth the Price of Admission’

August 13, 2013

Paul Heyman (WWE)

I am the best wrester in the world. I’ve been the best ever since day one when I walked into this company. And I’ve been vilified and hated since that day because Paul Heyman saw something in me that nobody else wanted to admit. That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy…you know who else was a Paul Heyman guy? Brock Lesnar.” CM Punk – June 27, 2011 – Monday Night Raw

This Sunday’s SummerSlam is being billed as “The Best vs. The Beast.” In one corner you have “The Best in the World” CM Punk and in the other you have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. But it could have easily been called “The Battle of the Paul Heyman Guys.”

However, that isn’t nearly as catchy.

I spoke to the man in the middle of one of the most anticipated matches in SummerSlam history before Monday Night Raw and had a chance to ask him about his boys coming to blows, John Cena’s legacy,  Daniel Bryan’s future, and more…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): SummerSlam is a few short days away, we’ve got “The Best” vs. “The Beast.” What can we expect from this Sunday’s showdown?
Paul Heyman (@heymanhustle):  On Sunday, you can expect “The Beast” Brock Lesnar to prove that having Paul Heyman in his corner makes him “The Best in the World” over and above CM Punk’s claim to that accolade.
Holmes: But surely there was something you saw in CM Punk that made you want to partner with him.
Heyman: CM Punk and I together were the best in the world. We held the WWE Championship for 434 consecutive days, the longest WWE Title reign of the past 25 years. Think about that. Names like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, all first-ballot Hall of Famers, and yet none of them could hold the championship as long CM Punk and I together. Obviously I saw in CM Punk a sports entertainer that I could mold into being part of a combination with me as the absolute best act on the planet. But without me? He’s only half the equation and I have “The Beast” Brock Lesnar with me.
Holmes: From a physical standpoint, it doesn’t look so good for Mr. Punk. But, Punk’s been overcoming those kinds of odds his entire career. Does that concern you?
Heyman: It doesn’t concern me, but it’s certainly part of the equation. I didn’t pick CM Punk out of obscurity and turn him into the top box office attraction for WWE because his skills were without merit. He is, in my opinion, the most serious threat to Brock Lesnar’s reign of dominance in WWE today. The only problem for CM Punk is that Brock Lesnar has made a career out of obliterating those threats.

Holmes: Wrestlemania had to have been very special for you. You had Brock in a main event against HHH, you had Punk in a main event against The Undertaker, and it all took place in your backyard at MetLife Stadium. Now that we’ve got two of the “Paul Heyman Guys” going toe-to-toe at SummerSlam, where does this one rank for you?
Heyman: It’s huge. Nothing short of it. And probably even bigger than that adjective. It’s exhilarating for me because you have the most unique, the most gifted athlete in the history of the WWE, or UFC, or college athletics in Brock Lesnar, going against a wrestler who probably has more heart, more determination, and the ability to overcome the odds better than anybody else that I’ve ever come across in my entire career in CM Punk. It’s a fascinating match-up. It won’t be over in 30 seconds. This is going to be an all-night affair. There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling business; “This match will be worth the price of admission.” I humbly suggest that Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk is worth the price of admission alone.
Holmes: Last Monday, an angry Brock Lesnar turns to you and says, “Paul, say something stupid.” How do you keep a straight face?
Heyman: He wanted me to say something stupid! Brock Lesnar is a man who thinks in a far different way than your average beast walking down the street. This is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. Brock made his point, he told the world, “I, Brock Lesnar, am better than CM Punk.” So, what else is there for us to say?

Holmes: The WWE Title match at SummerSlam will be John Cena squaring off against Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan seems to have “Paul Heyman Guy” written all over him.
Heyman: I’m not done recruiting Daniel Bryan. I think Daniel Bryan is a fascinating performer who has put on arguably the most consistent string of best matches of the past year. The striking thing about Daniel Bryan is the best is yet to come with him. Daniel Bryan still has more to offer. And having seen footage of him dating back to when he was wrestling in VFW halls and very small arenas and high school gymnasiums, he still has so much more that the WWE Universe hasn’t seen. I’m admittedly, and I will confess to this, a huge fan of Daniel Bryan.
Holmes: Now on the other side of the ring you have John Cena, who I feel is criminally underrated as an in-ring performer. Anyone can have a good match with Shawn Michaels, but Cena’s been delivering the goods with a wide variety of talent for a long time.
Heyman: I think there’s a streak going involving John Cena that both the WWE Universe and the media have failed to pick up on. The glory days of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin lasted two, maybe two-and-a-half years. That was the peak of his run. He came back as General Manager, but day-to-day, going to every city, main eventing every Pay Per View, the focal point of Monday Night Raw…Steve Austin’s peak was two-and-a-half years. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s peak was along the same lines. John Cena has been the focal point of WWE since 2005. For eight and now going on nine years, John Cena has not only main evented all the Pay Per Views, been the major attraction on Raw. John Cena has gone to every city, main events all the live events, and yet he still makes all these media appearances, he’s done more Make-A-Wish Foundation visits than anybody in history…and he’s a tireless workhorse. And he shows up last Monday with his elbow…looking grotesquely…is that a word? His elbow was so messed up and yet he says, “Wrap me up, I’m going out there to perform because the people are counting on me.” There is a work ethic to John Cena that is to behold.
Holmes: So it’s safe to say you’ll have a seat at the curtain for the WWE Title match at SummerSlam.
Heyman: Oh absolutely. How could I not? I have a vested interest in whoever emerges as champion.
Holmes: Alright, hold the phone…is Brock Lesnar painting a target on the victor’s back?
Heyman: I did not reveal to you that it is Brock Lesnar. I only suggested that it is a Paul Heyman Guy that has his eye on the prize.

Holmes: Sunday we’ll see Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a “Ring of Fire” match. Bray Wyatt seems like another guy you would have had a field day with in the ECW days.
Heyman: I’m very interested in seeing how Bray Wyatt is going to survive the wrath of Kane.
Holmes: What do you think of the way Bray and his buddies have been presented to the WWE Universe?
Heyman: It’s an emotional presentation, and it sets him apart from everyone else which means that Bray Wyatt will stand out. Whether it’s in WWE or UFC or Major League Baseball or the NBA or the NFL or television or movies…any genre that is star-driven has the need for unique personalities. And Bray Wyatt is as unique as they come.

Holmes: Another interesting match is Damien Sandow against Cody Rhodes. Here we’ve got two young guys that seem like they just need a little something extra to help them move up the card.
Heyman: I think Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow need each other to get to that next level. They have a most interesting dynamic with each other and against each other. And here they have the spotlight of a featured match at SummerSlam. Think of the names that have not been announced in a featured match at SummerSlam so far. I don’t know who The Shield is fighting. I don’t know who The Big Show is fighting. I don’t know who Mark Henry is fighting. I don’t know who Rob Van Dam is fighting. I don’t know who Randy Orton is fighting. These are huge, top-line attractions. And yet, I don’t know who these performers are going to be wrestling against. But, I know that it’ll be Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes. They have an extraordinary opportunity here. If they can put on a match that steals the show, they will both move up the ladder together.

Holmes: Speaking of Rob Van Dam, it’s good to see him back with the WWE. He seems very motivated.
Heyman: I think anyone that has watched Rob Van Dam’s matches since he’s been back with WWE can clearly tell that he is motivated and determined to put on the best matches of his career.
Holmes: Without getting into too much detail, it’s been like night and day.
Heyman: I don’t mind getting into detail. I think TNA squandered the opportunity of exploiting the talents of Rob Van Dam. And I don’t think that’s a mistake the WWE is going to repeat.

Check back Thursday for a look at Paul Heyman’s career, his thoughts on the sports entertainment industry, and more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: SummerSlam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler on Concussion Costing Him the Title: ‘It Kills Me’

August 12, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Everyone’s always talking about “Wrestlemania Moments.” Dolph Ziggler did something a little bit different; he created one of the few “Night-After-Wrestlemania Moments.” In front of a raucous Monday Night Raw audience he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and took the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. The crowd reaction was awesome. The moment was unforgettable.

The glory was sadly short-lived.

In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ziggler received a concussion in the days after his victory. His reign was put on hold and then promptly ended once he was able to return. From there he lost both his girlfriend AJ Lee and his muscle Big E. Langston. For someone who has been on the verge of super stardom for quite a while, it had to be deflating.

I spoke with the self-proclaimed “Show Off” at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and had a chance to ask him about his rough couple of months, the upcoming SummerSlam card, and his potential second career as a stand-up comedian…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): Alright, first thing’s first. What’s AJ’s deal?
Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler): You’re telling me. I thought we were pretty tight, but it turns out that…I don’t know what her deal is. I thought I’d taken someone who was kinda cool, kinda into wrestling, kinda had my back and turns out you can’t take the crazy out of a chick no matter how long she can put it off for. And that’s happened to me many times in the past.
Holmes: That’s rough, because the crazy ones tend to be the most fun.
Ziggler: Exactly, you have to take the good with the bad.

Holmes: You cashed in your Money in the Bank briefcase the night after Wrestlemania and it looked like we were headed into this new era of Ziggler. Now here we are two months later, the title’s gone, AJ’s gone, Team Big-E and Zig-E is no more…
Ziggler: Again with that?
Holmes: Sorry. But to go from the heights of your title win, to so much change that seemed to be spurred by a freak occurrence like your concussion, it’s had to be like a rollercoaster.
Ziggler: It literally has. I’ve never heard a reaction in my entire life for anything like that cash in the Monday night after Wrestlemania. It blew my mind. And watching it back days and weeks later it put chills up my back. What a great crowd and what a perfect night to do it. And very soon after that I got kicked in the brain and taken out for a month and a half. It was actually a very scary time because after a couple of weeks I was starting to wonder if I’d ever come back. Luckily I passed all my tests, the headaches went away, and I came back into the title scene. But, thanks to my old teammates I am now out of the title scene.
Holmes: It seemed like you were being set up for a good long run. Have you come to terms with how quickly that was taken away?
Ziggler: No. I have not come to terms with that. I know the business and I love what I do. I go out there every night to not just steal the show but tell the best possible story I can, whether it’s in two minutes or twenty minutes. Sometimes I put it behind me that I once again had another title with absolutely zero defenses.  But, it kills me. And I know everybody works hard, all the Superstars want to be the best. And to be given these opportunities and to have some scenario play out…it’s part of the reason I don’t sleep at night, but it’s part of the reason that drives me to go out there.

Holmes: Now that you’re a fan favorite, for lack of a better term, will there be any tweaks to your act at all?
Ziggler: Honestly, you’ve got to be yourself, and you just tweak it a little. You change some psychological aspects of your character, but you’re still you. You still go out, you can still be cocky and have everybody cheer you because it’s a gray line these days. It’s reality based. I’m trying to be a version of myself out there. If I totally change and start smiling out there, and doing weird things that I normally wouldn’t do, the fans are going to see right through that.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam?
Ziggler: I hate Daniel Bryan and I hate John Cena.
Holmes: Equally?
Ziggler: Yes.
Holmes: Wow.
Ziggler: Well, I hate Cena more, but Daniel is just a genuinely nice guy and I hate that so much. But, in different ways as a student of a game and a fan, I see what John Cena brings and I see what Daniel Bryan brings. I’m curious to see if on the microphone if Daniel Bryan can hang with John Cena and if John Cena can roll around with Daniel Bryan. I’m actually really looking forward to the match even though I don’t like either of those guys.
Holmes: Who’s your winner?
Ziggler: Cena always wins, it seems. But in this case it might be such an emotional outcry from the fans that they could turn the tide. I’d like to see Daniel Bryan come out on top.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar?
Ziggler: I’ve got to root for the smaller guy because that’s usually me. And we’ve seen Lesnar kill everybody, so I’ve got to say I want to see Punk beat him.

Holmes: You’re a funny guy. We talked about your old YouTube show, you said you were working on some stand-up material and were trying to do a few open mics. Any luck there?
Ziggler: Yeah, I got on two comedy shows in the last month and a half or so. Luckily enough, they went well. But they also made me focus on being VERY funny. It’s like wrestling, you have a match and whether everyone is applauding or not, you know what you have to do better next time. That’s what makes you better. I had very positive feedback. I love doing it. It was such a thrill going out there and I can’t wait to go back and rewrite and find the spots…it’s like telling a story in a promo or a match, you find the ups and downs, you find where to get them, and then you leave on a high note. You leave them wanting more.
Holmes: How many people were there?
Ziggler: The first one 60 or 70, the second one maybe 30-40.
Holmes: Now what’s scarier, wrestling in front of 80,000 or telling jokes in front of 80?
Ziggler: Depends on your timing. If you’re talking about this Wrestlemania it was the easiest thing, I had a blast. It was so fun feeding off of them. And my first stand-up in front of 70 people…I was shaking before going out there. (Laughs) Once I got out there and Andy Kindler was on the show there and I was midjoke and I saw him laughing and in my head I thought, “He’s laughing at something I just said, this is unreal!” I was very fortunate to have that start and I can’t wait to do more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar The Miz Breaks Down SummerSlam’s Big Main Events

August 2, 2013

The Miz (WWE)

For the first time ever, WWE’s SummerSlam will have a host. And that host is…awesooooooome!

I spoke with the Miz at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. While there we discussed Summerslam’s two huge main events, we were interrupted by a WWE Hall of Famer, and we did our best to annoy Dolph Ziggler…

The Miz: (While holding a Miz Rumbler figure that was made especially for San Diego Comic Con) Look at this guy. Only ten thousand made. A limited edition.
Gordon Holmes: Uncanny. Is this your first Comic Con?
The Miz: No, I’ve been to Comic Con quite a bit. My favorite story from Comic Con is I was doing an autograph signing a couple of years ago and Transformers was huge that year. Everyone was dressed as Transformers. And I see this guy and I point him out to a kid and I say, “Oh look! It’s Optimus Prime!” And the kids says, “That’s not Optimus Prime, you idiot! That’s Voltron.” So, I was schooled by a five-year old.

Holmes: Comic Con is known for its extravagant cosplayers. Is there any particular character you’re hoping to see? Perhaps of the female persuasion?
The Miz: Oh man, I always liked Jessica Rabbit. I was a huge Roger Rabbit fan as a kid, and then growing up into a man I realized how lucky Roger Rabbit really was. I think a lot of people like Ariel as well.
Holmes: A bit of a Harley Quinn man myself.
Mick Foley: May I interject?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley:  This is Mick Foley, WWE Hall of Famer. Miz, I concur.
The Miz: Thank you!
Foley: After three rides of the Roger Rabbit ride at Disneyland I found that I had a very real crush on Jessica Rabbit. It happens.
The Miz: If only she was real.

Holmes: Speaking of life-like representations, we’re here at the Mattel booth, what’s it like the first time someone hands you an action figure that looks just like you?
The Miz: As a kid I had all the WWE action figures. You name it, I had it. I had a wrestling ring that I would fling them out of. And now that I have these amazing action figures that are so detailed and so great, it’s surreal. I have like 50 action figures, and I have each one of them. I show them off to my friends when they come to my house. Whenever they say something to me and I don’t have a comeback I say, “Do you have an action figure?”

Holmes: SummerSlam is shaping up to be a good one.
The Miz: SummerSlam is the biggest event of the summer. One thing’s for sure is people are going to be talking about the Miz. You’ve got Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. That’s going to be something to remember.
Holmes: Who do you like in the Cena/Bryan match?
The Miz: I’ve been in the ring with both of them. I have trained Daniel Bryan, basically, to be the superstar he is today. If you watched NXT he was my rookie. I take full credit for all of his success. And John Cena I defeated at Wrestlemania 27 in the main event. One of my most memorable matches. I know that Cena doesn’t quit, he doesn’t tap out. One of Bryan’s main moves is a tap-out move. I’ve never seen Cena tap out of anything. So, I’ve got to lean toward the WWE Champion.
Holmes: That’s interesting as I’ve noticed you’ve made the switch to a tap-out hold in the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: All the superstars want to use that, but I’m the only one that can actually tap people out with it.

Note: At this point in the interview Dolph Ziggler wanders over to where we are speaking.

Holmes: I heard a rumor that Dolph Ziggler was interested in that hold.
The Miz: He wished that he could put on the figure-four leglock as good as I can and as fast as I can. It just so happens that nobody can. It’s just one of those things.
Foley: Miz, can I interject again?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley: This is 2013 WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley again, I believe I only tapped twice in my career, but if I could go back in time, I would’ve tapped almost instantly to Miz’s version of the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: Thank you very much, Mick! Not Dolph Ziggler, right? The Miz!
Foley: And without any shame whatsoever. There’s no shame in tapping to Miz’s figure four.
Holmes: Dolph Ziggler’s is like a scalpel. Yours is more like a chainsaw.
The Miz: Exactly! His is like a thumbnail and mine is like an axe.

Note: Having had enough of our antics, Dolph Ziggler stood and walked away.

Holmes: Who are you picking in the CM Punk/Lesnar match?
The Miz: I know how Punk is and Punk finds a way to win no matter how big a person is. He finds a way. He calls himself “The Best in the World.” Granted, every WWE Superstar will say that, but he believes that. Brock has something coming to him, but man, Brock is a beast. I’ve been in the ring with him and this guy has power like I’ve never seen before. He has been defeated before, so there’s a way. I think Punk can find that way.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE: Daniel Bryan’s Real-Life Love Life Could Effect SummerSlam Main Event

July 22, 2013

Daniel Bryan (WWE)

There are dozens of ways to determine a new number-one contender. Battle royales, tournaments, fatal four ways, you name it. But, the WWE recently went with an unorthodox method that produced one of the most heartwarming television segments they’ve put together in quite some time…

They let the fans decide.

With a sea of challengers to choose from, the WWE Universe let champ John Cena know that they wanted the coveted SummerSlam title match to go to unlikely hero Daniel Bryan. When Cena gave the nod to the bearded Bryan, the reaction was deafening.

I had a chance to talk to the master of the “Yes” lock a few days later at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. While surrounded by Stormtroopers, zombies, and other costumed characters we talked about the upcoming SummerSlam main event, CM Punk’s date with Brock Lesnar, and whether or not his love life will be a factor in the biggest match of his career…

Gordon Holmes: A year ago you told me that your career aspiration is to be where John Cena is. Now twelve months later you’re slated to go toe-to-toe with Cena for the WWE Championship at one of the biggest shows of the year. How did we get here?
Daniel Bryan: (Laughs) I don’t know. It’s really surreal because I shouldn’t really be here. I was doing a comedy thing with Kane and then for some reason in the last several months…it’s changed. I don’t know if the fans changed, if I’ve changed.  I’ve been popular for the last year, but in the last several months it’s been crazy. I don’t understand how it happens.
Holmes: I feel like sometimes the company wants somebody to succeed and sometimes the fans decide who they want to succeed. This feels like a win for the fans.
Bryan: Yeah, and it’s strange because I don’t know how that connection was made, but there’s a definite connection between me and the fans. It makes me smile every time my music hits and you hear that reaction. I look out and see everyone “Yes-ing.” And even here at Comic Con, people say, “We feel such a connection with you.” I feel it too. It’s almost like I’m one of them. I’m just a big, giant fan who just happens to wear spandex.

Holmes: I think part of what put you over the top was this thing you’ve started to do where you’ll just turn on this mind-blowing wave of offense. It’s almost like you have another gear you shift into. Do you have a name for that?
Bryan: I don’t, I just want to make things exciting. Some writers say they don’t know where their inspiration comes from. Stephen King is someone who says he just writes and lets the process do it for him. For wrestling, that’s the thing. I do what hits me and that’s what happens. (Laughs) I don’t know how to describe it.

Holmes: It’s not an understatement to say that this match at SummerSlam is easily the biggest in your career to this point.
Bryan: Absolutely.
Holmes: For the WWE Championship against the biggest name of this generation in the main event of a major show…do you approach it differently? Are there nerves? Walk me through the process.
Bryan: I’m not nervous at all. I’m very prepared for this. I’ve been wrestling almost fourteen years now. There have been matches where I’ve felt the pressures of expectations, and I know there are a lot of expectations going into this match. But I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to live up to that. I’m really excited.

Holmes: Nothing has been announced yet, but I’m hoping to see CM Punk and Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Any thoughts on that one?
Bryan: I think it’s going to be awesome. Those are the kinds of matches I wanted to see when Brock Lesnar came back. I want to see matches with Punk, I’d like to wrestle Brock Lesnar because I think it’d be a different kind of match. I’m excited for it, it’s hard to bet against Brock Lesnar. When he beat up Punk on Monday it was pretty intense. But, I’m always rooting for Punk. Me and him are cut from the same cloth.

(Editor’s Note: Daniel Bryan is currently dating WWE Diva Brie Bella. John Cena is currently dating her twin sister, WWE Diva Nikki Bella.)

Holmes: Now, not to jump into your personal life, but I heard a rumor that your girlfriend looks an awful lot like John Cena’s girlfriend.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah.
Holmes: Is that accurate?
Bryan: That is accurate. And it’s funny because “Total Divas” (the Bellas’ new reality show) starts on July 28th and people will be able to start to see that before SummerSlam. I’ll be interested to see if WWE tries to wrap that in somehow.
Holmes: Are you worried at all that this match could drive a wedge between two sisters who get along so well?
Bryan: (Laughs) Well, if you knew them you wouldn’t think that they got along so well. They’re twins! They get into it a little bit.
Holmes: Either way, one twin will have bragging rights when it’s all said and done.
Bryan: Yeah, potentially.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch the premiere of “Total Divas,” Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 10 pm ET on E!

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

‘SummerSlam’ Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H: WWE Superstars Share Their Picks

August 14, 2012

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (WWE)

The Cerebral Assassin is all set to square off against the Next Big Thing in the main event of this Sunday’s Summerslam. We had a chance to touch base with some WWE Superstars to get their thoughts on this dream match-up…

Brodus Clay: It’s establishment against the rebel. Triple H is the heir apparent to the WWE crown and Brock Lesnar has done everything his entire career to not be a part of the establishment. He’s always done his own thing. One guy is a cerebral assassin; he’s mentally destroyed guys for two decades. And Brock has just destroyed everything in his path. Even in his match with Cena, Cena got the win, but did he really win that match? Brock was toying with him at points. It’ll be interesting.  A gun to my head? I like Brock.

Zack Ryder: It’s definitely going to be a fight. You’re not going to see headlocks and armdrags. And if I’ve got to pick a winner, I’m going to go with Brock Lesnar.

WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson: I never thought I’d say this about Triple H, but I’m a little bit afraid for him. John Cena is a Neanderthal and I wasn’t worried about John getting hurt. But John got beat up pretty good. Lesnar’s an animal. And if Triple H isn’t prepared for an animalistic-type fight, there’s a chance he could get hurt. We’ve already seen that Brock is dominant in several different arenas. If it’s under ten minutes, Brock Lesnar wins. If he can last more than ten minutes, I’ll go with Triple H.

Daniel Bryan: I think Brock’s kimura was awesome. I’d rather it be me and Brock, I think we could have a different match than any match in WWE history. But I’m going to have to go with Brock.

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus: Ya know, If Cena didn’t have that chain at Extreme Rules, I don’t know if he could’ve beaten Brock. But Triple H is different, he has a lot more experience, he’s more of a street fighter than Cena. Brock’s more of a ground-and-pound guy. I honestly don’t know who’s going to walk out the winner, but I’ll tell you what; both of them are going to remember that fight for a long time. Their bodies are going to remind them. As for a winner, I’m going to go with Triple H, fella.

WWE Divas Champion Layla: That’s going to be a match that I don’t want to miss. It’s going to be exciting and fun. People are going to be glued to their sets. I’m going to go with Triple H. Even though Brock Lesnar is a butt kicker, Triple H is the business. He’s got all of the psychological tools. He knows what he’s doing

Watch WWE: Summerslam, Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson on CM Punk, Ric Flair, and the Next Big Star

July 31, 2012

Arn Anderson (WWE)

To older wrestling fans, Arn Anderson is best known as the enforcer of the elite stable known as The Four Horsemen. If any young up-and-comer got too close to Ric Flair’s World Heavyweight Championship, it was Anderson job to stomp them down.

Today Anderson does the exact opposite. In his role as a producer, it’s his responsibility to help guide the next generation of WWE Superstars…

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from Arn, he said, ‘The WWE is not going to give you anything. The only way you’re going to get anything is if you can get these people behind you.’ And I feel like that’s been very true in my run. If you can’t get these people behind you, then you won’t be able to get to that next level.” – Daniel Bryan

I spoke with “Double A” at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con and had a chance to ask him about today’s young talent, his recent Hall of Fame induction, and the one match he wishes he had on tape…

Gordon Holmes: You seem like an old-school, no-nonsense kind of guy. What do you make of all of this Comic Con business?
Arn Anderson: You know what? It’s different. But what’s so peculiar about the deal is we just had a signing downstairs and I had a lot of dads bringing their kids to introduce them to my era. And the kids are all schooled in it, so apparently the YouTube and all this social media has caught them up to guys from my era. And I think that’s pretty cool.

Holmes: Now you’re a producer behind-the-scenes with the WWE. What does that job entail?
Anderson: It involves everything from in the afternoon still getting into the ring with these young guys. I can’t go full-speed anymore, but I can teach them enough about psychology and actual mechanics to help some of the kids. I also produce television, run live events, run international events, help creative write the shows. A little bit of everything, probably.
Holmes: C.M. Punk, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, they’re all stepping forward as the next crop of main-event names. Who else should we be looking out for?
Anderson: Those three guys are your future. Kofi Kingston, keep your eye on Kofi Kingston, he’s getting over the old-fashioned way, slowly but surely. People like Kofi. Daniel Bryan has as much talent as anybody out there. Punk has taken a leadership role. Sheamus is a bulldozer. All of those guys. But, if it was going to be someone on the horizon that hasn’t been seen…keep your eye on Mike Rotundo’s kids, both of them.
Holmes: So “The Captain” makes good wrestlers?
Anderson: They’ve got good genetics. They’re as different as night and day. They perform differently. Bo Rotundo is going to make a hell of a babyface. And the older one, who used to be Husky Harris, what he ends up being called won’t matter. You’ve got another Sheamus on your hands.

Holmes: What’s the one piece of advice that you’re sick of having to repeat?
Anderson: Have passion about this. Live it, breathe it, sweat it. Guys get in this industry too easy these days. It’s not something they’ve wanted to do their whole lives It’s kind of given to them. And I don’t mean this in all cases. I just wish people loved it as much as people from my generation that were successful did. And that’s something that I can’t instill, or coach, or force feed.

Holmes: I recently watched your Hall of Fame speech and you and Edge said something similar in that you both got out of the business due to injuries, and you both guessed that you had made the right decision. However, neither one of you seemed terribly convinced. My question is; what is it about wrestling that’s so addictive?
Anderson: If you do it for the love of what you do, and let me clarify, the money’s good. The perks are great. Getting a great table at a restaurant is a wonderful thing. But the biggest perk of all is going through that curtain, taking out your maestro stick, and waving a crowd through a 45-minute match, and taking them anywhere you want to take them. And coming back through that curtain with them totally exhausted as well as you, and know without asking anyone how it was, know that you had a great match. You know you and your dancing partner tore the joint down. There’s no feeling like that on Earth. Alcohol can’t provide it, I’d suggest drugs can’t provide it, a woman can’t provide it. It’s something you’ve got to experience. It’s a high that’s like no other.

Holmes: I spoke with Punk before the Survivor Series and asked him if he could work any territory, which would it be. He said, “I would’ve loved to work for the Crocketts.”
Anderson: He would’ve done great, as Daniel Bryan would as well. Those two guys have shown that having years of independent work and paying your dues and learning the business the hard way is important. Those guys could have wrestled during any era.
Holmes: Now my question for you is; would Punk have been the fifth man on the Horsemen’s War Games team or would you guys have been jumping him in a parking lot?
Anderson: He would’ve been on the other side. He’d be one of those guys selling tickets. He would’ve been somewhere underneath Dusty Rhodes and right at or above the Rock and Roll Express level.

Holmes: One of these Mattel action figures looks a heck of a lot like you.
Anderson: I just found out about this today.
Holmes: (Laughs) Just today?
Anderson: Well, the way they came about it was by a vote online. And to still be relevant in 2012 when I retired in 97, that means they chose you. It’s an honor and I’m just thankful to be around.
Holmes: Did they get it just right?
Anderson: No, I think the swoop on the thighs should be a little bigger, the abs could be a little cleaner. But other than that, pretty close.

Holmes: Heard from Ric Flair lately?
Anderson: Nope, Ric and I haven’t really kept in contact probably for the last several years. He kind of does his own thing and when I come home off the road I kind of cocoon myself with my family. But Ric’s a survivor. He’s like a roach.
Holmes: All that’ll be left are Twinkies and the Nature Boy.
Anderson: He’ll be around when the rest of us are dead.

Holmes: If you had to pick a single match that told people everything they needed to know about Arn Anderson the wrestler, what would that match be?
Anderson: Wow…
Holmes: I didn’t fly all the way from Philadelphia to ask easy questions.
Anderson: No you didn’t, and I respect you for that. Arn Anderson with Bobby Eaton as a partner against Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes, in the Omni…Sunday night, I don’t remember the year…it would’ve been around…
Holmes: Probably 91/92 if you were teaming with Bobby Eaton.
Anderson: We went 59 minutes and 20 seconds. And buddy, I almost died. And I saw three other guys that I respect as much as anybody I’ve ever been in the ring with almost die with me. It’s one of those things where we literally gave everything we possibly had. And I don’t have it on tape anywhere, but I wish I did. It was one of the most exhausting mentally and physically matches I’ve ever been in and one of the most satisfying as well. We left it all out there.

Don’t miss WWE Summerslam – Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Daniel Bryan: ‘I Want to Be at the Point Where (John) Cena Is At’

July 20, 2012

Daniel Bryan and AJ (WWE)

Has Daniel Bryan proved that he can make it to the top tier of WWE Superstars? Has he had several amazing matches with a wide variety of opponents? Has he created a catchphrase that millions are screaming at the top of their lungs?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Will his wedding to WWE Diva AJ go off without a hitch during the 1000th episode of ‘WWE Monday Night Raw’?

That remains to be seen.

I spoke with the master of the Yes Lock in the days before his proposal at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. While there we had a chance to discuss his unexpected rise to the top, his luck with the ladies, and his ridiculously positive catchphrase…

Gordon Holmes: Everybody has said you don’t have the right look or the right size or the right personality to make it as a WWE Superstar. And yet, here we are. How does it feel to stick those doubts in people’s faces?
Daniel Bryan: I’ve never thought about sticking it in people’s faces…
Holmes: I would.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! But I don’t have that kind of personality. For me it’s always been about pursuing what I enjoy doing. And I’m actually a little surprised by my own success because I know I’m very good at what I do, I just doubted that the machine would get behind somebody like me. Because, they haven’t in the past. So, that’s my biggest surprise.

Holmes: I talked to Sheamus yesterday, and we discussed how nice it was that you guys got to follow Wrestlemania up with that great match at Extreme Rules. He went so far to say it was his personal best match of all time. That’s got to be a point of pride that your peer’s favorite matches is against you.
Bryan: Yeah, it’s a sense of pride, but Sheamus and I have always had good matches. And the reason why is because both of us have very physical styles. And we’re both not afraid to go in there and really hit each other. There’s some people who don’t want to wrestle me. But, everything I do is safe. And I’ve had fans at live events who’ve said, “Man, when you and Sheamus were out there, you were really hitting each other!” And they’re almost taken aback.
Holmes: My goodness, there’s violence in my wrestling.
Bryan: (Laughs) So yeah, I’ve always taken pride in the matches Sheamus and I have had.

Holmes: Now, it’s one thing to be a former WWE Champion. But, it’s quite another thing to have Mattel go to great lengths to properly sculpt an accurate beard for your action figure. Do you think they nailed it?
Bryan: Yeah. I was pretty stoked to have my first action figure in general. Because now guys want to be in the video game. I understand that, they’re video game people. I’m not. I’ve never been into video games. So, for me action figures are like, “Holy cow! I have my own action figure!” And now they have several of them! And some of them have my t-shirt? And they’re so correct with my gear and stuff. And now the beard? It’s pretty cool.
Holmes: Is it weird having a little you or do you still get a kick out of it?
Bryan: I get a kick out of it, like I’ll be in Target and I’ll see one of my figures and it makes me laugh that someone like me has an action figure. It makes me think less of other people who have action figures. I guess it’s not as hard as it looks.
Holmes: (Laughs) Yeah, I thought Batman was cool until…
Bryan: (Laughs) Right! Until I had my own, now I don’t think he’s so special.
Holmes: You’ve got to be hoping for a Daniel Bryan Brawlin’ Buddy plush doll.
Bryan: Oh yeah, I had the Macho King Randy Savage Wrestling Buddy. I’d love to have something like that. Those things are really cool to me. And an ice cream bar, too.
Holmes: But then what would be left for you? You’ve been a champion, after you have the buddy and the ice cream bar it’s got to be all downhill.
Bryan: I want to be at the point where (John) Cena is at. He hasn’t been WWE Champion in a while, but he’s still the main event of every pay per view. He’s the guy. He’s the first guy on the poster. He’s the guy people are paying to see. That’s what you’ve got to go for. I’ve always tried to be the absolute best.

Holmes: You’re in the midst of a huge storyline love triangle between yourself, AJ, and CM Punk. What’s that like for you? Because you’re more known for getting it done in the ring than during an episode of “Days of Our Lives.”
Bryan: It’s interesting because I’ve never been known for this, I was always known for just wrestling. So, it’s been fun for me to go out there and do it. And from all accounts, people are pretty happy with what I’ve done, from within the company. So, I feel like I’ve been doing it OK, you can always do it better and I’m always striving to do better because that’s always been a weakness for me. When I was in high school I’d stand up and give a book report and I’d be shaking. I’ve never been somebody who’s good at acting. But it’s fun to go out there and be a real jerk. (Laughs) And be a lying, conniving kind of person.
Holmes: From what I understand, AJ is into geek culture. Is she going to be upset that you’re at Comic Con and she isn’t?
Bryan: She’d be more jealous that Alicia Fox is here who doesn’t know about that stuff. Alicia Fox came dressed as a Ninja Turtle, she didn’t know which Ninja Turtle she was!
Holmes: What color was her mask?
Bryan: Red, so she was Raphael.
Holmes: This isn’t the first time you’ve been involved with Divas. I remember you were involved with the Bella Twins and Gail Kim. Is there some kinda ladies man swagger about you that we don’t know about?
Bryan: (Laughs) No, no, no. You know what I think it is? I think it’s that I’m such the antithesis of a ladies man that the writers think it’s funny. So, it constantly comes up.

Holmes: Now, it seems like what got you to the dance was your in-ring ability.
Bryan: Right.
Holmes: But with Raw and Smackdown these days, sometimes you only get three or four minutes to put on a match. Did that concern you that you weren’t going to get an opportunity to show what you can do?
Bryan: I was and I wasn’t. I always felt like I don’t need much time to showcase what I can do. And if I’m given any chance whatsoever I’ll go out and do a good job at it. So, maybe once every few months you can get a ten-minute match and you can really do something that nobody else can really do. And I’ve always believed that my wrestling could make me popular.

Holmes: I walked by your autograph signing earlier and was nearly deafened by a legion of fans screaming, “Yes!”
Bryan: I honestly was just doing it to be annoying and that’s all I ever thought. And what’ s interesting is it started to pick up before Wrestlemania. We had done a show in Seattle, and I’m from Washington state, but there were a bunch of “Yes” signs. And then at some of the live events there were people chanting “Yes” in pockets. And then the Monday Night Raw right after is where it really hit. After that they came out with the t-shirt. And I think it’s just fun to chant.
Holmes: You’re hearing it everywhere now. Even at non-wrestling sporting events. What was it like to come out in front of that huge crowd at Wrestlemania to that kind of support?
Bryan: I just thought it was really cool because I literally had zero to worry about. All I had to do was go out and just enjoy the moment. The most important thing was not to trip over my robe.
Holmes: And you did a fantastic job at that.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah, thank you. But that thing was right at my feet. I was terrified.

Holmes: A few weeks ago you and Punk were wrestling. He went for a spinning backfist and came up short. You followed it with a running knee to his chest. Was that an intentional tribute to our friends in the UFC?
Bryan: Listen, just because (Chael) Sonnen went for that spinning backfist and (Anderson) Silva hit him with that knee and then coincidentally, CM Punk who’s friends a friend of Sonnen just so happened to go for a spinning backfist and I followed it up with a knee? I learn from what I watch, right? So, I knew the best thing to follow up a missed backfist was a knee.
Holmes: That’s amazing that you could integrate that into your strategy so quickly after having just seen it.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! Yeah! That’s why I have an action figure.
Holmes: Precisely. Screw Batman.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

WWE World Champ Sheamus on Daniel Bryan’s Popularity, Brock Lesnar’s Return

April 27, 2012

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus Is Ready for Sunday's Extreme Rules (WWE)

You can’t watch a television commercial in eighteen seconds. You can’t make a bag of microwave popcorn in eighteen seconds. But at Wrestlemania 28, WWE Superstar Sheamus was able to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Daniel Bryan in eighteen seconds.

Understandably, Mr. Bryan would like a rematch.

I spoke with the Great White in the days leading up to his two-out-of-three-falls rematch at Extreme Rules and got his opinion on his opponent’s new-found popularity, the grudge match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar, and his work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign…

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Gordon Holmes:  At Wrestlemania you defeated Daniel Bryan in only eighteen seconds. At Extreme Rules you’ll be facing him in a best-two-out-of-three-falls match. Is it your goal to end this match in thirty six seconds?
Sheamus: (Laughs) Absolutely. The first person to get two falls wins. Who knows what’s going to happen?
Holmes: I couldn’t tie my own shoe in eighteen seconds.
Sheamus: It wasn’t what I was expecting. Daniel Bryan beat Big Show, Mark Henry, Randy Orton…he went through a lot of guys. And he’d been using AJ or any means necessary to get himself disqualified to hold onto the World Heavyweight Championship. And the Monday before on Raw, it was me and Randy Orton taking on him and Kane and I was preparing to kick his head off when AJ figured into the match. It basically cost me the match. So, when I saw him kiss AJ (at Wrestlemania) I wasn’t sure if he would try to use AJ again, so when I saw the opportunity I kicked his head off because I wasn’t going to let him screw me out of the World Heavyweight Championship. He got too cocky and that’s what happened.
Holmes: Since then, Daniel Bryan has amassed a huge cult following with his “Yes” chants. Are you worried that you’re going to be facing a hostile, “Yes”-crazy crowd in Chicago at Extreme Rules?
Sheamus: I wouldn’t expect anything else other than a hostile crowd in Chicago. That’s what makes performing so fantastic. The crowd makes up their own minds, they’re as much a part of the show as we are.
Holmes: How does the Windy City usually react to you?
Sheamus: Chicago is a fantastic place to perform. The first time I ever got the crowd behind me was at Money in the Bank last year when I put Sin Cara through a ladder. The more unpredictable the crowd, the better. I’m expecting a hostile crowd. I’m expecting lots of “Yes” chants. I’m expecting it to be a great night, and me and Daniel Bryan are going to steal the show.

Holmes: The other big match this Sunday is of course John Cena squaring off against the returning Brock Lesnar. It seems like Cena’s had a rough run lately with a large portion of the fans turning against him and his Wrestlemania loss to the Rock. What’s your take on what he’s been going through lately?
Sheamus: You know, John raised his game in taking on the Rock. Cena’s done everything in about eight years in the WWE. He’s created an incredible foundation. People come to see him whether they want to boo or cheer him. And everybody has ups and down. But Cena always bounces back. I think he’s going to bring it Sunday against Lesnar, I think it’s going to be a great match. It’s exciting times for everybody.
Holmes: You’re excited to have Brock back in the fold?
Sheamus: I think it’s great, man. It creates a buzz around what we do. It brings attention from outside of the WWE Universe back in, like people who have strayed away, it brings them back. And I think that’s only a positive thing. People will tune in to see Brock Lesnar taking on John Cena, but guess what, there’s going to be a two-out-of-three-falls match between two of the most exciting superstars right now in the WWE, that’s Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. And we’re also two of the most hard-hitting superstars.
Holmes: John Cena had given the Rock some grief about being a part-time wrestler. The same could probably said for Brock Lesnar. When people like the Rock and Brock come back and don’t go on the big tours, is that something that bothers you at all?
Sheamus: It doesn’t me in the slightest, fella. These guys coming in are bringing attention to the WWE and attention to the product. I thought Rock coming back was great. As far as I know, I think it was the highest grossing Wrestlemania ever. How positive is that? That’s incredible. For me, it’s fine, it happens. People come and go.

Holmes: You’re in a fascinating business. You’re backstage and you’ve got people in crazy costumes and guys like the Big Show and guys like Hornswoggle. What’s been the most surreal moment for you?
Sheamus: It’s kind of funny, you see all these people and they’re kind of like family now. We see each other more than we do our families. But I remember when I first started, I came up to UK for a tryout and I remember walking back and seeing everyone from Triple H to Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Big Show…all the superstars there. It was unbelievable. It was very intimidating. You try not to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. It’s very important to make a good first impression. But now it’s business as usual. They’re a great bunch of guys and I’m happy to be working with them.

Holmes: You’ve been on the main roster for about three years now; you’ve held two WWE Championships, the World Championship, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble. All of this, and you’re still a young guy. Are you worried that there are less stories to tell or less places for you to go?
Sheamus: I don’t worry about that at all. I’ve had a lot of success early, which is fantastic. But there are a lot of superstars I haven’t really mixed it up with yet. Like Punk or Jericho really, a lot of superstars coming up from FCW like Claudio Castagnoli and Ryback. Lord Tensai has come in, Brock is back, Alberto Del Rio is back. I don’t see any shortage of stories. There will always be interesting stories. And that’s all that matters.
Holmes: Which superstars do you think have the potential to break through and be the next big thing?
Sheamus: It’s difficult to say, there are a lot of guys on the cusp. Alberto Del Rio, he’s got an incredible resume. I think you’ve got some tremendous talents like Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes has a lot of promise as well. Wade Barrett is coming back. There’s potential in Drew McIntyre too. His work is incredible. Of course Claudio, Ryback, Lord Tensai…it literally could be any one of them. Whoever steps up. All of those guys could bring it.

Holmes: You’re a super huge guy. Like a big, walking muscle with pale skin and bright red hair. What’s something you could tell me about yourself that would shock me? Do you knit?
Sheamus: (Laughs) I’m a pretty laid-back fella. I know it sounds like a cliché, but when I get home I chill out and relax, I’ve got two dogs. I like reading Celtic mythology or chilling out to music. I literally am enjoying every moment of this job because I scraped so hard to get to it. It’s funny, and this might be going off topic, but when people talk about ROH (Ring of Honor, a popular independent wrestling organization) they talk about Claudio and they talk about Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, the indie darlings and stuff like that. But funnily enough, myself and Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre, we were on the indies in the UK. Obviously we didn’t get the exposure that they did in ROH, but we worked for free and we paid for flights to the UK and Ireland. We worked as much as we possibly could to get experience. But now that we’re here we appreciate everything we do and we’re loving every minute of it.

Holmes: You do a lot of work with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign. What inspired you to get involved with that initiative?
Sheamus: It’s very important to me. I volunteered for that program because of my experiences as a kid being bullied.  I didn’t always look the way I look now. I was a small, chubby kid with red hair. I was an introvert so I was an easy target. I had a tough time. I can relate to a lot of the cases that are going on now. I see some tragic stories with kids taking their own lives. I’ve met some kids at the schools, I had one kid actually who had a stroke as a teenager. He was being bullied and was pushed down some stairs by three or four guys. Having a stroke as a teenager? How tragic is that? These things are happening to kids. We feel like we have the ears of these teenagers and we’re trying to bring a positive message. A lot of bullies don’t know what they’re doing because they’ve never been in these situations themselves. So, we’re trying to educate them and we’re trying to teach kids to stand up to bullies in a non-violent way. We’re trying to tell these kids not to be ashamed of themselves because they’re not the problem.

Holmes: You recently returned from an international tour of Europe. What was it like to compete in front of your hometown crowd?
Sheamus: That was unbelievable, man. It took a lot for me to hold back my emotions. It was an incredible feeling. I used to stand in that arena, the O2 Arena in Dublin, working security or whatever. And just to see the superstars up close was like a parallel world. And to go from that to working in front of a packed house as World Heavyweight Champion, that was just a really special thing for me. It was probably one of the highlights of my entire life.
Holmes: Are Irish fans any different than US fans?
Sheamus: They did those “Ole Ole Ole” chants that were made popular by the Irish football team, or soccer team as you call it. It was incredible. I can’t tell you how proud I was.
Holmes: You aren’t a tiny guy. Those international flights have got to be rough.
Sheamus: (Laughs) Yeah, but you kinda feel bad when you look around and see Khali and Big Show. I don’t know how those guys do it.
Holmes: Not to get too graphic on you, but can you guys even fit into those tiny lavatories?
Sheamus: It’s a struggle, fella. But, it can be done.

Watch WWE: Extreme Rules, Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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