It took six months to process a U.S. visa for the new Irish hopeful, but by the end of the year Sheamus was ensconced in the WWE’s Florida Championship Wrestling league, which servers as an incubator for potential WWE stars.
He’s been proving himself ever since, and clearly, WWE boss Vince McMahon has liked what he’s seen. As Sheamus pointed out during Monday’s "Raw" broadcast, it took Cena years to get a crack at the WWE championship, while Sheamus’ ascent has been much quicker.
The life of an elite pro wrestler is hectic to say the least. Sheamus has only been home to Dublin twice for brief visits since relocating here in 2007 — but he’s loving every minute of it. On the road performing in WWE shows at least four nights a week, Sheamus spends most of his waking moments concentrating on what he needs to do to be the best.
“I eat a huge breakfast every morning,” says the nearly 280-pounder. “I do a lot of work at the gym, a lot of power-lifting, a lot of cardio, and I study wrestling tapes.
“I just love it,” he adds. “In my dreams I always wanted to see the United States, and this is a great way to do it.”
Sheamus is a WWE villain, and that’s just the way he wants it. He’s in a rush to the top, and nice guys don’t always finish first when it comes to professional wrestling.
The chorus of boos that greet him upon each ring entrance? So what!
“To he honest with you, for me it’s all about making an impact. There’s no point dilly-dallying around being a nice guy,” Sheamus says. “What I want is the gold!”
But the Irish star is also determined to use his fame to portray his home country, and particularly its history, in a positive light — something he says the WWE is also happy to do.
Sheamus is known as the Celtic Warrior, and he takes inspiration from Irish mythological figures like Finn MacCool and Cuchulainn. Portraying these legends in a negative or stereotypical light would be strictly off-limits, he says.
“That’s one of the things that’s motivated me to get this far. I’m sick of stereotypes like drinking and drunken paddies,” said Sheamus.
“I want to give Irish kids something to be proud of back home. I want to bring out a stronger image of Ireland, instead of 'Irish Spring' and 'Lucky Charms' and all that rubbish.”
Although wrestlers of Sheamus’ stature don’t get much free time, Tampa, Florida, is his home base, although he envisions a move north to New York or Boston at some point — “someplace where it’s a bit cooler,” he says.
His aversion to the sun isn’t surprising. Sheamus’ skin is whiter than white; one fan in the "Raw" audience on Monday night held up a sign saying “Sheamus Glows in the Dark.”
He laughs at this typical Irish condition. “Yeah, I’m like an alien in Tampa. I’m the whitest man there, and I’m always going around in hoodies,” he says.
A championship belt would also be a welcome addition to Sheamus’ attire. Only a fool would bet against a Gaelic speaking Celtic Warrior who will stop at nothing — NOTHING — to achieve the ultimate goal.
“Cena has never met anyone like me before. Sure, he’s gone up against the best in the world, but he’s got a tough fight on his hands,” Sheamus says.
“This is just the start, the beginning for me. I don’t plan on going anywhere soon. I plan on staying around for a long time, and I want to be WWE champion for a long time.”
"Tables, Ladders and Chairs" airs on Sunday, December 13 at 8 p.m. on pay-per-view. Visit www.wwe.com for more information and how to order the show live.