x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

Cesaro on WWE's return to Abu Dhabi, chances of a Network Special in the UAE and a potential match with Jinder Mahal

The WWE Superstar looks ahead to the WWE Live show at Zayed Sports City on December 7 and his ambitions of driving around Yas Marina Circuit.

Cesaro, left, with fellow Raw tag team champion Sheamus, is looking forward to his return to Abu Dhabi in December. Picture courtesy of WWE
Cesaro, left, with fellow Raw tag team champion Sheamus, is looking forward to his return to Abu Dhabi in December. Picture courtesy of WWE

Cesaro, one half of the WWE Raw tag team champions with Sheamus, is among a strong roster of talent heading to Abu Dhabi on December 7 for a WWE Live show.

Also set to appear at the event at Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium are Shield members Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, as well as Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, The Miz and Jinder Mahal.

Also representing the woman's division will be Raw Women's champion Alexa Bliss along with Sasha Banks.

Ahead of the event, Cesaro spoke to The National about the WWE's return to the UAE for the first time since April 2016, his recovery from an injury that required surgery to his teeth, and competing against the Shield, Kurt Angle and the Hardy brothers in recent months.

On his current run in the tag division with Sheamus

"We are two-time Tag team champions right now [Cesaro was speaking before he and Sheamus won the tag titles for a third time in London on November 6] feuding with the Shield. We were the reason that the Shield had to reunite. So it feels good to feel I am on top of my game and better than ever."

On feuding with the Shield and Kurt Angle

"It was kind of cool to be in the middle of this all and it just shows that me and Sheamus are a very valued force. That Seth and Dean felt they had to bring Roman back. Of course it is cool to be part of that because the Shield is very fondly thought of by the WWE universe.

"The fact that Kurt Angle had to jump in [Angle was brought in a replacement for Reigns, who was ill, for the TLC Network Special in October] was great. When I was growing up I was a big fan of Kurt Angle so it was cool stepping in the ring with him.

"I hope it happens again [getting in the ring with Angle] so I can turn the tables and send him through the table so to speak."

On his injury to his teeth at No Mercy in September

"Well, I knew I hit my teeth really hard [against the ring post] and I just felt all the blood. There was so much flowing and I couldn't stop it.

"But I was full of adrenaline and every time you have a title match on a network special, pardon the pun, it is special, and I just wanted to win those tag titles and get through the match. I feel that if you are a true competitor nothing will stop you and some teeth shoved up my jaw certainly didn't stop me."

On how his teeth are doing now

"They are a lot better. I am still not able to bite anything with my front two teeth. Like I said they went up my gums, and I fractured my jaw bone that is over my teeth and beneath my nose. I fractured that and they had to pull the teeth back down. Now I have lovely braces so to all the kids with braces out there, I feel your pain."

On his partnership with Sheamus

"It has been a lot of fun. Probably the most fun that I have had in my WWE career. We knew we each other a little bit and were kind of friends. But when we began to tag it began to click and we have become really good friends over time and by now are best of friends.

"I think the best part for the WWE Universe is they were able to watch the whole journey happen in front of them on WWE TV. As you can see now we are having an absolute blast."

On going up against Matt and Jeff Hardy

"The Hardys have such a huge following. As you said they were a huge part of the 2000s in the WWE. So to be there when they came back [at WrestleMania 33], that was a WrestleMania moment right there, so to hear the crowd erupt and be part of it was great.

"To be in two classic matches, one was a cage match that we won the tag titles in, and then the 30-minute iron man match, which I don't think had ever been done before in the WWE with tag teams, was really something.

"To have those two matches with the Hardys, and come out on top and to cement the legacy of Sheamus and me as a top team was fantastic. It is great to see the Hardys have not lost a beat from what they did in the 2000s, but have also evolved their game as well and still be a hot act now in 2017."

On the WWE returning to the UAE

"I am extremely excited to come back to the UAE and excited to come back to Abu Dhabi. Last time we were in Dubai and unfortunately I did not compete.

"The last time I was in Abu Dhabi I had a blast. I went jet-skiing in the Arabian Gulf, I went to Ferrari World, and went to Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I just enjoyed the city and the life. It was just amazing and I am really looking forward to coming back.

"The crowd is always hot because unfortunately we do not come there enough. So it is always great to come back and I am excited that me and Sheamus can show everyone that we don't just set the bar, we are the bar."

What he wants to do in the UAE this time

"Last time we were there a bunch of us got to race go karts at Yas Marina Circuit and I still actually have a Yas Marina shirt. This time, if I have the time, I would actually love to drive a sportscar around the actual Formula One circuit. That would actually be a dream so I am keeping my fingers crossed."

Can the UAE host a Network Special, like Japan did in 2015, in the future?

"Yes, definitely. The crowd is so hot in the Middle East and in the UAE that we would definitely look forward to taping a network special on the road as soon as possible.

"The thing is we are actually testing out different ways to shoot those network specials because right now it is big logistical undertaking to take the cameras, the crew and the whole set.

"But we are testing different ways to shoot with all the new technologies available so hopefully we will see that come up a lot more in the future years and I think that is going to be very exciting."

"I think in 2018 and 2019 we are going to be able to shoot a lot more specials around the world and of course we would love to bring it to the Middle East.

"We have just signed a couple of talent signed from the Middle East so it is definitely a priority market for us and I would love to have a Network Special in the UAE by 2019 to be able to show people how passionate the fans in the Middle East are."

On dream matches and future opponents

"I have been in the ring pretty much with everyone that is on the main roster. I am not that big of a fantasy person. I prefer myself to think of living in the real world. Therefore I look at opponents I have already been in the ring with that I would like to get in the ring with again. Maybe they have evolved in a certain way [since last meeting].

"For example, Jinder Mahal I was in the ring with four or five months ago at a network special and since then he became WWE champion so I would obviously like to see how he has evolved since then."

Tickets for WWE Live in Abu Dhabi on December 7 are available now and can be bought via PlatinumList.net and from UAE Exchange Outlets, with prices starting from Dh250.