There's a good chance Long Island's pro wrestling fans will be on their worst behavior when WWE's LIVE Road to WrestleMania Tour makes a stop at the Nassau Coliseum this Saturday night, and Sheamus wouldn't have it any other way.
"It has a reputation," Sheamus said of the Coliseum, known for years for hosting the kind of fans who boo the good guys, cheer the bad guys and are quick with a chant if they don't like what's going on in the ring.
"We know it's a crowd that might go against the grain, and we deal with it," said Sheamus, who will battle old foe Alberto Del Rio at the Uniondale event.
"There's a couple cities like that. When you go, they want the show to be about them sometimes or their opinions, which is cool. They're paying their money. They're going to do what they want to do and it makes it interesting for all of us. You just go with it,man. We're professionals. If you fight them, you're going to drown."
The "Celtic Warrior" knows plenty about fighting, having won three world titles and the 2012 Royal Rumble since debuting five years ago. But the biggest battle of his last year has been against a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six months until his return this past January.
Although Sheamus said he enjoyed his most-prolonged visit with relatives in Ireland in nearly a decade, by November he was primed to get back to work.
"I was ready to come back at the Survivor Series, but for whatever reason they wanted me to wait for the new year," said Sheamus, who returned as a "surprise" entrant in this year's Rumble match. "I firmly believe everybody knew I was going to come back at the Rumble."
Sheamus acknowledged that the news of his return became somewhat buried in the other headlines coming out of that night, including Batista's in-ring return and fans' strong emotions about Daniel Bryan being left out of the match. Still, Sheamus considers his return an unmitigated success.
"I was just glad to be back in the ring. I rehabbed my shoulder really, really well. It was my first injury and I got through it with flying colors. So, for me, in that respect it was a success," said Sheamus, who spent some of his time away from the ring re-evaluating his WWE character.
"Rehabbing my injuring, I was kind of spinning my wheels and I kind of realized I let my character become a little bit hokey. So coming back, I'm a lot more motivated, a lot more direct. I want to have fun every now and again . . . but you can't just rest on your laurels. There a lot of young guys in the developmental system coming up and the way you handle that is by going out there and having the best match you can each and every night," Sheamus said. "WrestleMania is around the corner and we're all looking to tear it up. Everybody is on their A-game."
Sheamus is tentatively scheduled to be part of the 30-man Andre the Giant memorial battle royal at WrestleMania 30 on April 6 in New Orleans. Sheamus acknowledged that since debuting at WrestleMania XXVI in a top-billed match against Triple-H in 2010, he's not been featured as prominently as he'd like on the "Show of Shows."
"It was such a huge match, and I feel like at every Mania since then, I haven't had the opportunity to do that again. I'm hoping at Mania 30 or 31 to bounce back to that level again," he said. "The wheel goes round and round and comes back and opportunities are given again. You just have to remember that. After four years of experience -- and especially after the match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 27 for the U.S. title that ended up being a dark match -- you've got to realize that patience is a huge key in this game."
Sheamus battled Bryan again at WrestleMania 28 in 2012, but that match is remembered more for lasting 18 seconds than the fact that Sheamus won it to capture the world heavyweight championship. Sheamus believes it all worked out for the best in the end.
"I just know we had zero storyline going into that pay-per-view. Obviously, you want more time, but coming out of that match, we had more steam than anybody going into Extreme Rules," said Sheamus, who beat Bryan again in a show-stealing match at the subsequent pay-per-view event. "I thought the way it happened drew so much interest in that match at Extreme Rules, and we were able to pay it off. The story really came after Mania."