The NXT Interview: Skip Sheffield
NXT Rookie Skip Sheffield won't back down from a challenge and one thing is for sure -- he's definitely "showing up." After placing second in two Rookies Challenges on WWE NXT, The Cornfed Meathead finally got the attention of the WWE Universe and the WWE Pros when he won the Rock 'em Sock 'em Rookies Challenge. And with the next WWE Pros' Poll just two weeks away, Sheffield is determined to make an impact and move up from his No. 6 spot in the Rookie Rankings.
WWE.com: Congratulations on your win in the Rock 'em Sock 'em Rookies Challenge on WWE NXT. After two second place finishes, what made you succeed in this Challenge?
SHEFFIELD: Every week I take the competitions extremely seriously. I don't think all of the other NXT Rookies necessarily do. I think they are very important as far as getting extra exposure. You never know what you're going to get out of them. Even though they don't always deal with in-ring skills, I think it's important to show the WWE Universe and the WWE Pros that you take this stuff seriously. And no matter what it is, I'm out there to win.
I thought that was a great challenge as far as showing off our athletic abilities, balance and speed. Being the biggest NXT Rookie, I thought it was a great chance to show the others that I could handle them and be better than them. It came down to me and Darren Young. I was not going to come in second place in another competition, because I finished second the previous two, and I was determined to win and I did.
WWE.com: By winning the challenge Tuesday, you earned the chance to take over WWE.com for 24 hours. Your photo was seen on nearly 10 million WWE.com pages in one day! How does that make you feel?
SHEFFIELD: It feels incredible. I've never known anyone to take over WWE.com for any period of time like that and it's a huge honor to get that exposure and to be seen by 10 million people worldwide! I mean, that's huge.
From my standpoint, I knew the WWE Universe wasn't going to necessarily get to know me immediately by being teamed with William Regal. I knew this was going to be a slow process for them to understand who I am and what I'm about. In the first seven to eight weeks, my exposure, compared to the other NXT Rookies, was limited, especially in the ring.
Now, this is a marathon -- not a sprint -- and it's not necessarily how you start, it's how you finish. And I think right now I'm starting to make my move to get exposure. I'm starting to peak at the right time. And it was a tremendous honor to take over WWE.com for 24 hours and to be seen by that many people.
WWE.com: What's the significance behind the Keanu Reeves "just showing up" quote you said on TV and on WWE.com?
SHEFFIELD: I was younger when Hardball came out. People may think it's silly and whatnot, but I believe that no matter what you do in life, you have three options everyday. You can give up. You can give in. Or you can give it your all. And I choose to give it my all no matter what I do. You never want to give up or give in. If you show up everyday, which Keanu Reeves does in that movie, you put yourself in position to succeed, and that's what I live by. So that's why I quoted that. It just came out. I didn't plan on saying that. It just came out and that's how I really truly feel.
WWE.com: The WWE Pros ranked you No. 6 in the Pros' Poll. What are you doing to move up in the Rookie Rankings?
SHEFFIELD: First of all, if I were the WWE Pros, I wouldn't rank myself No. 1, either, because as far as I'm concerned, I'm the biggest, most athletic guy in the competition. So to them, I'm actually a huge threat. I'm a threat to their positions, a threat to everything they stand for, so I'm not surprised that they put me at No. 6.
Every opportunity that I can, I know I need to get out there and make the most of it. Some of the other NXT Rookies have had the chance to get in the ring with the WWE Pros, whereas I have not. I think that it's going to matter when I do get in the ring, and all I can hope for is getting the opportunity to do so. … Each and every day, I try and impress these guys and just give them my all. But I am a threat to them. I know that. I can sense that. And at this point, Daniel Bryan started at No. 1. And it's a tough job to hold.
WWE.com: We know the Pros' Poll isn't solely based on win-loss records, but you're 0-5, and Daniel Bryan, who is ranked No. 1, is 0-8. Why do you think he is on top even though he's also winless?
SHEFFIELD: I feel he's No. 1 because of the following that he's gathered from his many years on the independent scene. He has a friendship with a lot of the WWE Pros. He's wrestled them in the past and they know what he can do. They have respect for him, right off the bat. It doesn't necessarily mean he should have been No. 1 to start off, but he had that exposure with them from the start.
At this point, I'm concentrating on myself and just moving up each and every week. Week 12, someone is going to get slashed off this list and I'm just going to continuously move up until the end when it's going to be me and whoever. I believe I'm making it down to the final two. It doesn't matter who I'm with, but I really truly believe in my heart I'm going to be here at the end.
WWE.com: How has your relationship with your WWE Pro, William Regal, been lately?
SEHFFIELD: I haven't seen him in a while. He was stuck in Europe, which I'm not necessarily upset about. He wasn't there last week and I fended pretty well for myself.
It's been pretty shaky. I think the most difficult part of this is having to come out to his music, believe it or not. I'm a high-energy guy. I want the WWE Universe to feel my energy and that music hits and everyone instantly boos. And I think that that's definitely been detrimental to me. I don't think the WWE Universe knew how to take me, and I think they wanted to hate me, but now they see I'm nothing like William Regal.
I want to listen to everything he has to teach me, but he has a different mentality. He has a different mindset on things. He goes about things differently then I would like to. But at the same time, he is my WWE Pro, and I'm not going to win this competition without him being behind me one way or another. I'm also trying to win over his respect and show him that I have what it takes to be a main event World Champion.
WWE.com: Who is your biggest competition on WWE NXT?
SHEFFIELD: Right now, I would say Wade Barrett is on quite the roll. I think he's definitely going to be a tough contender at the end, along with Heath Slater and Daniel Bryan. I think you're seeing in this season of WWE NXT that there are eight top-notch guys. The talent is overflowing on the show. All of the guys have something to bring to the table. With a win over Chris Jericho last week, Heath Slater really upped his part as far as where he stands. It doesn't matter to me who I am next to at the end. I just worry about myself each and every day and worry about what I have to do to make this thing work and whether it's Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Darren Young or Wade Barrett next to me, it really doesn't matter.
WWE.com: Who would you like to face next to hopefully earn your first victory?
SHEFFIELD: I would like to go up against Darren Young, believe it or not. He's highly competitive, much like myself. I'm extremely competitive and I like to be the best at whatever I do, and Darren Young has that same mentality. I think we could have a really hard-hitting, good match out there to see who the better NXT Rookie is. I'd definitely like to see him in the ring.
So far, I've only had one singles match, which is probably the least out of everyone at this point, and I definitely would like to have some more matches and be able to show everyone what I can do. The WWE Universe hasn't really been able to see what I can do. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks, I'll have that opportunity to go out there and show everyone.
WWE.com: How did you get a nickname like "The Cornfed Meathead"?
SHEFFIELD: A lot of people look at the term "meathead" as a negative term. I'm in the gym each and every day. I'm very competitive. I've been lifting weights since I was 12 years old. I'm just a corn-fed meathead guy. It's very fitting.
I think a lot of people don't know I'm extremely intelligent and they wouldn't know that by what the announcers say. I'm a little silly at times, but I also have a serious side and I look forward to showing them that in upcoming weeks.
WWE.com: Do you have any final messages for the WWE Universe?
SHEFFIELD: Keep a lookout for the over the shoulder boulder holder. It's going to be the best finish in WWE history, and once people see that, they're going to enjoy it. I look forward to entertaining the WWE Universe and putting smiles on people's faces and winning WWE NXT.