A WWE Superstar’s Capetonian homecoming

A WWE Superstar’s Capetonian homecoming

WWE’s unique brand of action packed entertainment is returning to South Africa for the first time in two years with ‘WWE Live’.
Fans will have a chance to see all their favorite WWE ‘SmackDown’ Superstars and Divas at the Grand Arena at GrandWest Casino on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 30 and 31. The roster includes the likes of Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Big Show, South Africa’s own Justin Gabriel, Mark Henry, Wade Barrett, Sin Cara, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes and The Great Khali

PETER TROMP spoke to GABRIEL over the phone recently about the tour and returning to Cape Town.

What does it mean to you as a South African coming to the country as part of a WWE tour?
It’s amazing. I can’t tell how you excited I am coming home on tour. It’s going to be a time to hang out with friends and family and show them what I have achieved. I don’t get to visit home that often, because I’m constantly on the road in the States and in other countries, so it’s going to be very special. My mom will have a big braai at my house and that’s what I’m looking to the most, perhaps even more than the show itself.

What can fans expect at the show?
The show is the ‘Smackdown’ version of our show. We’re kind of split up at the moment, because the ‘Raw’ guys are going to Australia, but you can expect all the big stars from ‘Smackdown’.
So we’ll have the Intercontinental Champion, a lot of the Divas, and of course the likes of Cody Rhodes and Alberto Del Rio. It’s pretty much what fans see every week on ‘Smackdown’, only live right in front of you and trust me, it’s way better live than it’s on TV. We take people through all of the emotions and that’s the fun part of what I do. It’s why they call it sports entertainment, because it’s like watching a soap opera with live stunts.

South African wrestling fans can be quite fanatical. What was the response like on your last visit to the country?
Dude, it was overwhelming when I visited three years ago. I grew up in Cape Town. I had my sunglasses on for most of the time I was there, but people still recognised me. Everywhere else people hound you for your autograph, but in Cape Town they were just like, “Welcome back home, dude.”
On the unedited version of ‘Smackdown’ that airs in the States they had a little return home video and everything at the time of the tour. You guys get the edited version of the show, so unfortunately you guys wouldn’t have seen that part. It was pretty cool.

Who are some of the toughest guys you have faced in the ring?
The guys that have been there for years for sure, like Randy Orton and John Cena, who’s probably the toughest guy I have met in real life. He’s been the top guy for a reason.

How long does it usually take to recover from a wrestling match?
The more you do it, the more you get used to it. When I got injured and I was out for month, I really felt it upon my return. It’s kind of like rugby in that way. It’s better to do it constantly.

* Book at Computicket; that is if you can still find tickets.