Pre-Recession, pre-fame interview with Sheamus O'Shaughnessy

Pre-Recession, pre-fame interview with Sheamus O'Shaughnessy
By Alfredo Garcia Updated
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Years before he became the great champion that he is today, Sheamus O'Shaughnessy agreed to an interview via email. What amazed me was that he writes exactly as he speaks. Only extracts of the interview appeared in print. Here's the unabridged version:

You were born on Dublin’s northside. How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to make a living wearing tights and doing bodyslams?

The person that had the biggest reaction was my Oul Fella. He was speechless. In typical Irish father style he was always telling me to settle down and get a proper job etc, etc... So when I told him my ambition was to wrestle big hairy sweaty men in front of thousands of people in green lycra pants he predictably didn’t take it too well... He’s always looking out for me and now that the SOS machine is gathering momentum he’s well behind it. And so should you.

Many people are under the impression that pro wrestling is “fake”. Is there are any truth to these accusations?

Anyone that says wrestling is fake can step in the ring with yours truly and I'll give them a free lesson in Pro Wrestling. It annoys me when people say this to me; it’s like the default question for journalists... Wrestlers put their bodies under more stress and risk than any other sportsmen, as is evident when you look at the injury and death rate stats - it’s all Jockeys and Wrestlers. When you’re on the road fighting 6-times-a-week, getting thrown in-and-out of the ring, taking big hits from big guys - your body sustains a lot of damage. I’m pretty sure I ain’t gonna be able to move so good when I’m 50 but hell I don’t care. I love this sport way to much. SOS says live for the day!

Wrestler Owen Hart famously plunged to his death a few years ago attempting a bungee – jump leap from the rafters. What’s the maddest thing you’ve done for your art?

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That accident was one of the most tragic in wrestling history and still sends a shiver down my spine when I’m reminded of it. Thanks Man! Of course when your adrenaline is going you still risk your body and never think of the consequences. I recently delivered a Plancha - dived out & over the ring - onto my two opponents Drew Galloway & Stu Sanders (footage can be seen in the video section of www.sosofficial.com) and with all of my 19 Stone behind me I cracked my head off the concrete floor. I was inches away from being Sheamus the Vegetable. Would I do it again? Damn right I would! I also carry a 6 inch raised scar on my shoulder from a run-in with an unpadded turnbuckle and was once put out of the game for two years from a pretty serious neck injury… Fake? Yeah Right! Near fatal injury is part and parcel of professional wrestling as it is with many high adrenaline impact sports.

Many people think the life of the professional wrestler is all limo rides and champagne brunches. But when starting you career, you spend lots of nights in backwaters like Bogner Regis and Scagness. What’s the craic like on the road for an up-and-coming pro wrestler?

It’s tough fella. For All Star Wrestling it’s early to rise, followed by 6 hour car ride to the venue, set up the ring, meet fans, wrestle, take down the ring, pack our gear, off on another 6 hour car ride, and begin again. I’d say that in any given week we cover 1,000+ miles on the road. Most of our time is spent travelling and sleeping. But to be honest it’s all worth it for that precious 15 minutes of mauling some poor guy in the ring! And it’s very similar in the WWE but on a far larger scale, being backstage with those guys in Manchester recently just opened my eyes to how hard they work to keep their spot on the biggest stage.

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You’re probably professional wrestling’s first gaelgoir. Does the Irish language provide any advantage in the squared circle?

Yeah it’s great for insulting the referee when nothing’s going for me. The English refs give me nothing over there lad so I get to slag them off in my mother tongue and they have no idea what I’m saying... But for me it’s a lot deeper than just the language, the Sheamus O’Shaunessy character steps right off the pages of a Jim Fitzpatrick graphic novel and attempts to break the stereotypical image of the Irishman as perceived around the world. I take NO SHIT from no one and I’m proud of the Irish language and our pre-Christian heritage. It’s time for Ireland and the Irish to reclaim our culture before it’s lost forever, and the language goes hand-in-hand with that.

Do you draw on the 800 years of English oppression when in the ring with the likes of Mikey Whiplash and the UK Kid?

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Damn straight. The English think there the best at everything especially wrestling. Unfortunately for them this 6’6” 19 stone Celtic warrior has finally made them see otherwise. I eat British wrestlers for breakfast. FACT. But here’s the real truth: our history spans further back than the Irish Famine and the British occupation. We were once a culturally rich warrior race with marvellous heros and wise Kings, we had stories and legends to match ANYTHING from ancient Greece. We were Great once, and with Sheamus O’Shaunessy leading the way, we will be again... C’mon!

Could you describe the Fiery Red Hand? It sounds like something you get after night in a Thai sex club.

Careful fella. It’s the most devastating move in wrestling today. First I summon power from the Ancients and when I feel the energy build to a crescendo I grab my opponent by the throat with my red right hand. I then hold him aloft in the air to show his fans my raw power, look right into his whimpering eyes, spin, and drive his broken body into the mat. If you take the FRH from SOS you ain’t gettin’ back up, it’s a class finisher... Sheamus O’Shaunessy is an All Ireland fighter bro. I bring the Heart of Leinster, The Strength of Connaught, The Wisdom of Munster and THE FIERY RED HAND OF ULSTER! Deal with that Shit.

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Your bio says you’ve done security work for Bono. Could you take him?

With both hands and feet tied behind my back lad. But Bono’s a smart fella so he knows it’s better to have The Irish Curse as an Ally rather than an enemy. Plus we are both Northsiders so we’d make a great tag team partnership: Bono’s mouth and my muscle – politicians of the world beware!



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Ever meet the Hulkster?

No. Have You?

Excerpts of this interview once appeared in Mongrel.

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