x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Cesaro on WWE’s Dubai Tour, Daniel Bryan’s retirement, facing AJ Styles and missing WrestleMania

Cesaro is staying upbeat despite being set to miss WrestleMania 32 due to injury. Pawan Singh / The National
Cesaro is staying upbeat despite being set to miss WrestleMania 32 due to injury. Pawan Singh / The National

WWE Superstar Cesaro has been in the UAE this week to promote the WWE’s coming tour of Dubai, WWE Live Dune Bash, which takes place at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on April 14-15.

The 35-year-old Swiss wrestler popped into The National’s offices this morning to discuss the event, recovering from his injury, the WWE’s popularity overseas and Daniel Bryan’s retirement.

On the WWE returning to the UAE

“We are coming back to the UAE with WWE Dune Bash, on April 14 and 15 and tickets are available now at platinumlist.net, the UAE Exchange and we had an early bird ticket special which I think has already sold out. So tickets are going fast.”

Click here to see video clip from the interview

On the WWE live experience

“There is nothing like WWE live. So if you like it on TV you should definitely come to a live event. It is just like nothing else. It is so much fun. We are really looking forward to being here on April 14-15.”

The popularity of the WWE overseas

“I am always kind of surprised by it. In a positive way. I know the WWE is popular, but it is extremely popular here in the Middle East and the UAE. That is why we come here and bring shows here, the demand is so high and I guess the supply has not been so good lately so we are trying to make up for that and come back on a more regular basis.”

Read more:

A National conversation - paying tribute to Daniel Bryan

Dean Ambrose on memories of touring Abu Dhabi and the success of WWE overseas

Being injured

“Rehab is going really well. It is kind of up to the doctors opinion. It is a very bad time to be hurt, lets put it that way. I had a torn rotator cuff that I tried to work through, because I didn’t realise how bad it was and I had to get it fixed. They said four to six months, with six months being more likely so that will put me out for quite a bit.”

Getting hurt at a bad time

“I was enjoying it quite a bit and injuries never happen at a good time,” Cesaro off his spell on the sidelines coming after he had enjoyed entertaining rivalries with John Cena and Kevin Owens. “It was a good run but I hope I can take up where I left off when I come back. Two to three months would be a good target, hopefully sooner, but like I said, it is a case of how quickly I heal.”

On coping with the likelihood of missing WrestleMania 32

“It is very hard, but I am trying to stay positive and get through rehab and coming here to the UAE and seeing how enthusiastic the fans are has helped. I was also in Germany recently and seeing how supportive they were really helps keep a positive mindset.”

On Daniel Bryan’s retirement

“Yes, it was a definitely a shock. I was hoping it was not true at first. It makes you very sad as Bryan was a good friend of mine. I have known him for over 10 years and you do not want to see that happen to one of your friends. But I am very happy he was able to kind of end it on his terms.”

On if there is anyone in the WWE he has not faced yet that he would like to

“I think I have faced pretty much everyone that is in the WWE. AJ Styles is new and I think he is the only one since I got hurt to have arrived in the WWE that I have not stood in the ring with.” When asked about Brock Lesnar, he added: “I have not done a singles with Brock. It is definitely not mine [ambition, to face him] as I’d rather stand in the ring against someone is with WWE the whole time.”

On the physical demands of being a WWE Superstar

“You have to be extremely fit. It is a professional sport. We have five shows a week. In 2014 I had 220 matches, in 2015 I was on the way to a similar amount before I got hurt. It is a full-time lifestyle. It is very demanding.”

On any thoughts of trying to move into UFC later in his career

“UFC definitely not. I do not think that is a fit for me. I am looking forward to seeing CM Punk’s UFC debut and I hope he does really well. But it is not something that I want to do.”

Dean Ambrose, new Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens, United States champion Kallisto, The New Day, the WWE tag team champions, are among the superstars listed to be coming to Dubai.

Tickets for the event went on sale on Monday.

They can be purchased online from www.platinumlist.net and from UAE Exchange branches. Regular ticket prices start at Dh350.

gcaygill@thenational.ae