It's almost time for WWE's WrestleMania Backlash, and one of the biggest matches of the night will be the throwdown between Cesaro and Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. Those who have been tuning into SmackDown know that while Reigns got the better of their feud at first, Cesaro has been a man possessed these last two weeks, and put an exclamation point on this week's episode with a beatdown of not just Reigns but also Jey and Jimmy Uso, giving him all the momentum heading into tonight's match. ComicBook.com had a chance to speak to Cesaro all about tonight's match-up as well as the journey to this long-awaited title shot, the possibility of taking on Jason Statham, and even some G4.
First though we had to start with the way things ended on this week's SmackDown, and When I brought up how great the ending to SmackDown was, Cesaro said "It sure was. I went all Thanos on the family."
As for this shot at the Universal Championship, it's hard to believe that this is the first WWE or Universal Championship match of Cesaro's career, and that's part of why this match is so important to him.
"It means the world to me. It means that hard work pays off and it means that all the pain and sacrifice was worth it, and that... It doesn't mean that I will stop working less hard, by the way. It sounds like, 'Oh, you'll reach the goal. Now just go eat some cake.' But to me, it's kind of looking back and all the sleepless nights or doubts that I had, they were not justified. I'm challenging for the universal title this Sunday. And I feel like there's a lot of people that came on that journey with me, and because it took so long, it means so much more," Cesaro said.
"And if you would've told me that, and certain people did tell me that, when I just started in WWE, it was a year into it, and they were like, 'Oh for you, it will take a while, but you'll get there but it just... It takes a while.' You don't want to hear that. Whatever you're like, 'Oh, what about this guy who just walks in and gets a title shot?' But now I feel people can relate to that and that makes it so much more special. So I'm very nervous and I'm super excited for Sunday."
The fans have always been behind Cesaro, and they are once again, though this run has a bit of a different feel than previous ones. When asked if it was just due to time, growing into his character, or having a bigger role in the process, he feels it's a little bit of all of that.
"I think it's a mix of all of it. I mean, it's time, it's growing into character, it's letting people get to know you. And I mean, if you look at the people that you just mentioned: Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, me, and then I would like to throw in there, even if you throw in Jey and Jimmy Uso, if you throw in Apollo, Big E, I'm just naming SmackDown people, but you can do the same on Raw. But it's all people that you've seen and you've seen them evolve," Cesaro said. "And Jey, just the transformation that he went through is amazing. Now it's like all those match-ups again are fresh because it's different characters and it's different... We're at a different stage, and I feel while we all like can't wait to get the WWE Universe back and get back in front of people, and I feel like that's what this run is missing the most for me, because I feel like I'm here because of WWE universe, because of the fans."
"And so I miss them tremendously, but we all had to adapt," Cesaro said. "All of us, the whole world, everybody had to adapt, overcome, and find new ways to succeed over the last year because of what the world was and still is. So that helped a lot of us maybe get in touch more with our characters, and develop, and try new things that we may have not before. And if this is the outcome, I'm a big fan of it, because SmackDown has been on fire. And once we get people back, it will just continue to skyrocket. And for me, it's been so much fun doing this and yeah, I can just ramble on about how awesome it is and how... But also I learned how to enjoy myself and I feel that's very important."
Cesaro recently shared an image of his very first episode of SmackDown alongside one standing tall now, and if he could go back to that night and tell himself something, he does have one message he would like to relay.
"I would say, "Just enjoy the journey, because you'll get there.' And there's many nights, sleepless nights, you're doubting yourself. You're like, 'I'm never going to get there. Is this going to happen?' But I feel, if last year taught us anything, it's that we all lost somebody. We've all been close to people who are hurting, who didn't do well. And it's just kind of shows you how precious life is and how important it is to live every day to the fullest and just enjoy what you have," Cesaro said.
"And I feel like there's many moments that I maybe could have enjoyed a little bit more, but I was too busy thinking, 'Okay, what's next? How can I do this better? How can I do that better?' And I'm still doing that. I'm still trying to improve every single day, but I also try to enjoy every day as it is, because I started realizing that too when Tyson Kidd got hurt, because your career can just stop in an instant and it's not fair, but it happened, so just enjoy it. And that's kind of what I tried to take into this run," Cesaro said.
So, when he takes down Reigns, who's next you ask? Well, how about Jason Statham, because the two are pretty much dead ringers for each other, and Cesaro wants to see it happen.
"I've been pushing for that for so long. I'm always like, Okay, so when are we going to make this happen? Does he need like a big brother or a younger brother or a taller brother or something? His evil nemesis gets cloned and here I come? That will be awesome," Cesaro said.
I mean, Dom just got a hidden brother in F9, why can't Deckard have another unknown sibling too, right? Yeah, that's gold, make it happen Universal! We could get Cena vs Cesaro in the Fast & Furious franchise!
Speaking of wishlist items, Cesaro's friend and fellow DaParty member Xavier Woods will be hosting his very own G4 show. So, if Cesaro could have any show on G4 based around any game, what would it be?
"If I could host a show on G4, I would want it to be the Weekend Update. It would be a 15 to 30-minute news show of just me presenting the news in a very dry manner with some bad jokes modded in, because I feel like that would be absolutely amazing," Cesaro said. "To me, in my mind, it would be a one-stop-shop for all the game news that happened in the past week that are coming in the future and all that. So it's essentially the... Oh wait, why is it not working? It's essentially the BLEEP-esports show that they already have on G4, but with me as being the series host."
So in essence, think Norm MacDonald's Weekend Update with Cesaro's jokes and gaming? Yeah, I'm totally there for that, and at least have him on as a correspondent if not. That would be gold too. I know, we just churn out the great ideas here, you're welcome!0comments
You can watch Cesaro take on Roman Reigns during WrestleMania Backlash, which streams live on Peacock tonight starting at 7 EST.
You can catch all of our coverage right here on ComicBook.com, and you can talk all things WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!