x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 December 2017

Triple H on WWE's tour of Abu Dhabi and facing Roman Reigns

Despite spending most of the time out of the ring these days, the 14-time WWE champion is relishing the chance to get back in the ring on Friday against Intercontinental champion Reigns.

Triple H is performing in Abu Dhabi on December 8. Image courtesy of WWE.
Triple H is performing in Abu Dhabi on December 8. Image courtesy of WWE.

The WWE have two shows in Abu Dhabi on December 7-8 at Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium.

Triple H, the 14-time WWE world champion, headlines the December 8 event against Intercontinental champion Roman Reigns.

The Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE spoke during a conference call to The National on Tuesday about competing in the UAE for the first time, his opinion on the mixed crowd reactions Reigns has often got at events, and how a big a market the Middle East is for the company.

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On competing in the UAE for the first time

"I am very much looking forward to it.

"There is very few places in the world I am yet to go to and this is one of them so I am looking forward to coming there.

"The WWE has not been going to Abu Dhabi for that many years so they have seen a certain level of performance but I bring a different intensity maybe that my era brought to the ring. I will happily step in the ring there.

"Roman Reigns and I, this is kind of a rematch so to speak from WrestleMania two years ago and I enjoyed that match very much.

"Roman is probably one of the most intense competitors in the WWE right now and I look forward to stepping in the ring with him. He calls himself the Big Dog, well we will see. I call myself The Game. So we will see."

On how good is Roman Reigns?

"I think he is one of the best that the WWE have right now.

"Roman is in an unique position because the fan base tends to believe that he is this chosen one that the WWE wants in this position so they choose not to accept that position.

But the truth is, and some people will listen to this and want to argue against it, but honestly most of the people who argue against it aren't qualified to make that argument. I am. Roman is one of the most skilled performers bar none in the WWE right now and that is on every level.

"It is funny that Roman goes to the ring every night and there is a decision being made whether they want to boo him or cheer him depending on where you are and depends what is done. But usually by the end of the night, because he works so hard and he is so good at what he does that he wins them over.

"That has been the trend recently, as you saw with John Cena, as you see with others. He is a skilled guy in the ring, no matter how you break it down. I would consider him to be one of the very best in the WWE today."

On how important a market is the Middle East to the WWE

"We have had recruiting trips in the Middle East. We are also doing recruiting trips in India. I think as the world becomes more connected it is more imperative than ever before for you to not only to expand everywhere in the world but to localise and be on the ground in those markets.

"You said it yourself, in the past five years we have been to Abu Dhabi five times I think. That is great. But there is a fanbase there that if we could be there more often would enjoy it I think no different than India or other places around the world.

"You are limited by time but when you can put things on the ground there. When you make the product and create talent, localise it, and have it on the ground I think it is a completely different story.

"I look forward to that and as time moves forward I think that creates talent, it localises it, Middle Eastern talent, much like Shadia Bsesio that we just signed. These talents will bring in new fans."

On how important is it still to occasionally compete despite being the backstage role of Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE

"Right now it is still fun for me. It is still something that I enjoy. I don't think that I'll ever not enjoy it, stepping out in front of the WWE Universe.

"When I do something in the office there aren't 10,000 people screaming and cheering so it is not quite the excitement level that performing is.

"But I get just as much enjoyment to be honest out of watching the others. When I am working with these kids who are just starting in NXT and doing a Takeover and watching them perform to a level that they never thought they could.

"That is a completely different adrenaline rush for me and I really enjoy that. It is kind of where my focus is now. I love getting in the ring. This year I have wrestled a bit more, as you are about to see here in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, and in India, but they have all been last minute and surprises.

"But I am enjoying the process. It is fun to get out there and remember why you love the business in the first place.

Tickets for WWE Live in Abu Dhabi on December 7 and 8 are available now and can be bought via PlatinumList.net and from UAE Exchange Outlets, with prices starting from Dh250.