There's nothing that get red-blooded, all-American WWE fans hotter under the collar than an arrogant foreigner dissing them and the good ol' US of A. Especially when it's a haughty and highfalutin European like Antonio Cesaro, who has plenty of ammunition when he brags about his superiority, considering he boasts model-quality looks and a chiseled physique.
Like many legendary "evil foreigner" wrestlers that came before him (ranging from Britain's William Regal to Iran's Iron Sheik), Cesaro loves earning boos and jeers from the WWE fanbase when he opines on the awful state of our country. Best of all, the 32-year-old knows he's got y'all in the palm of his hand, particularly when he gets to rub the fact he's the WWE's current United States Champion in your collective faces.
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Cesaro discussed the particular thrill he gets from holding the title (which he will defend this Sunday during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view taking place at US Airways Center) during a recent interview with Jackalope Ranch, as well as why American parents need to get better at teaching their children proper manners.
A few years back, you were on the independent circuit with Daniel Bryan and other current WWE Superstars. How does it feel now that y'all have taken over WWE? I think it's great and it just proves that if you work hard and if you get better and better and get the best at your craft as you can be [then] you will have success. You know, all those guys -- Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, myself, and many others -- have put a lot of hard work into what they do and made a lot of sacrifices. [They] still do. It does not come overnight.
Complete this sentence: The best thing about being a prowrestler is... Being a professional wrestler. There's nothing like it. You can't compare it to anything else. It's been my life for the past ten years almost, maybe more, and there's nothing that compares to it.
Is it better to be a villain than a hero? See, I think the lines are very, very blurred because I don't see myself as the villain. I think it's America that vilifies me because I say what I say and think and America doesn't like foreigners. When I go to Europe, or [when] I went to my home country of Switzerland, I was a big hero. And I'm still the same person. So I think its all in the view of the beholder...how do you say?
The eye of the beholder. Yeah. The eye of the beholder.
You've said much over the past about your feelings about how America is awful. Despite all that, are you proud to be the WWE's United States Champion? If you look at the alumni who held the United States Championship before me -- I think there's something like 18 hall of famers who have held it -- it's very, very prestigious. And I'm proud and happy that I brought the prestige back to the United States Championship, because when it's a United States championship match people know its important and people know I'm going to put everything I have into that match. I am the champion of the United States of America and it will be like that for a long, long time.
Do you get a particular thrill that us Ugly Americans have you as a champion, whether we like it or not? Yeah, I get the question a lot when I do the interviews for [the] foreign press. I tell them, for me, it's a lot of fun to rub it in America's face kind of like, you know, I'm a foreigner and I'm your champion and they get all really mad, but there's nothing they can really do about it.
Except coming up with better insults than calling you "Eurotrash," right? Yeah, come up with better insults or find someone who could beat me, which is pretty impossible I would think.
Wrestling has always had evil foreigners as villains. Are you a modern-day version? Uh, yes. I think I'm a modernized [version]. I'm very fond of tradition, very fond. I don't like the term old school, but if I would use it then I would consider myself old school. I believe in old school values, for lack of a better term, because I think those are still very valid. Values that people just don't have. You don't see people holding open doors for elderly people for the ladies. That's just stuff that got lost with time. And I don't know why, because, I think, being a gentleman, like I am, that's very important and that's something that should be taught.
How come? I think it's something that parent's nowadays just...they don't bother with raising bother with raising the kids well anymore. And I think if you talk to a different generation that's what's still very important and nowadays just gets forgotten.
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WWE's Royal Rumble Fan Fest takes place at noon on Saturday, January 26, at US Airways Center. Admission starts at $10, VIP all-access is $250, and the discussion panels are $90 each.
The Royal Rumble pay-per-view takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 27, at the arena. Admission starts at $25. See Ticketmaster.