It’s really interesting how so many characters on the WWE roaster come from so many different places. You’re actually from Dublin, Ireland. It must make you incredibly proud to represent your home country in the ring.
Absolutely, I mean first of all when you’re in Ireland and you talk about the WWE it feels like it’s a million miles away. It was something I really wanted to do, and I knew I would have to go to America and leave me family behind. I knew I had to take a chance, even if I didn’t know anyone over here. But I was always bothered by stereotypes about Ireland, like Irish people living in old stone houses in the middle of nowhere, lucky charms and drunken parties and leprechauns. That’s stupid because it’s like Ireland is made out to be a joke. That’s not what it is at all. The Celtic warriors were a fierce race in Ireland and they were feared all over Europe. I went to Irish primary school and Irish secondary school, I spoke all Gaelic and we talked about mythology and stories about these warriors. I’ve always wanted to show a more positive side and fiercer look of Ireland — and it’s been awesome because I have been able to portray that in the WWE.
You said you started training when you were playing Gaelic football around the age of 9 or 10. When did you actually start lifting though?
We weren’t allowed to lift that young so I started lifting around 17 or 18, right before I went to college. Because of playing rugby, and a lot of Gaelic sports, I developed massive quads — my legs were up pretty big. I always thought that was bad and my dad told me not to worry because that will always pay off when you’re older. I didn’t understand what he meant but now I do because legs are the hardest part of the body to grow. So I had massive quads and a skinny upper body. It was kind of an awkward stage for me so I had to try and get that fixed by putting some bulk on above the waist.
What were the differences in the gyms between Ireland and the states? What was it like training there versus training here?
When I was in Ireland I was working three different jobs because wrestling wasn’t paying any money. There were like two or three good power gyms but the equipment was all beaten up and the hours wouldn’t be good either. The gyms here are incredible, they’re all brilliant — and with a schedule like mine it’s great to have these 24 hour gyms. The equipment they have is always top notch. I find the gyms over here are a much better atmosphere. The vibe over is here is much more orientated towards serious training.
What were those jobs you were working back in Ireland?
I had a serious career in IT. I was a database administrator and I was working at IT security too. I also worked part-time security at a nightclub.
Rumor has it that you did some security work for Bono at the nightclub, is that true?
Yes, that’s right — he would come in all the time. The thing about the bar was that it was a private bar and when someone special came a lot more people would want to come. So I would do security for his table and look after him to make sure no one would bother him.
Do you pinch yourself every once in awhile when you think where you’re at compared to where you started from?
Yes, it is still surreal. Walking outside of your house and having people waiting for you is pretty surreal. But I’m not surprised where I am, because I’ve given 110 percent. If I didn’t believe I could do something I wouldn’t have made it this far. So when it comes to pinching myself, I did maybe the first day but I don’t anymore because I know I belong here.
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