Germany goalkeeper-turned-wrestler Tim Wiese set for WWE debut

Berlin (AFP) – After packing on 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of muscle, ex-Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese will make his full WWE debut on Thursday in what he describes as the “Champions League” of wrestling.

The 34-year-old made the last of his six friendly appearances for Germany in 2012 and was part of their 2010 World Cup squad.

But after hanging up his boots three years ago and dramatically beefing up, Wiese is poised to make his professional wrestling debut in Munich.

At 1.93 metres (6 feet 4 inches) and weighing around 130kgs, Wiese will be an imposing figure in the razzmatazz world of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) having radically changed his figure.

Wiese bulked up with an intensive schedule of weight-training sessions and a diet that included a kilo of meat per day.

He has trained for his debut in Orlando, Florida, and will wrestle in “The Shining Stars” team, alongside established WWE stars Cesaro and Sheamus.

“This is Champions League. WWE is the biggest thing in wrestling, so I’m fully focused and blending out everything else around me,” Wiese told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

Wiese has yet to be given his wrestling nickname, and expects a few boos from the crowd as part of the show.

“I think I’ll be playing the role of the bad guy,” he said. “I’m being pushed in that direction, but that’s OK.

“My God, in football, I was already the bad guy who opposition fans would insult. I’m OK with that, it doesn’t bother me. They can all hate me.”

– ‘Like a lottery win’ –

Wiese turned his back on the Bundesliga in 2013 after 269 appearances in Germany’s top flight.

After falling out with Hoffenheim bosses, the former Werder Bremen player was banished from the first team, even though he had three years left on his contract, which allowed him to hit the gym.

“Eleven games and three years of paid holiday. That’s like winning the lottery!” he said in 2013 after playing fewer than a dozen matches for Hoffenheim.

“That was just the truth. What more should I say?” he said, looking back.

“Should I have given up my contract and relinquished the money? Who would have done that? I made peace with it.”

His Hoffenheim contract finally expired earlier this year, allowing Wiese to realise his dream of entering the adrenaline-fuelled world of WWE.

“I was a big fan in the 90s and, when I was a boy, I collected the cards and played out bouts in the playground,” he said.

“I kept track of it, even during my footballing career, but never thought of myself as a wrestler.

“The question came when I had already finished with professional sport.

“I didn’t take it seriously as first, then things became more concrete.

“I’m ready and prepared for the drills in the US. I’ve been chased from one side of the ring to the other.

“It’s been a long time since I worked as hard as I did in the last few weeks.”

– ‘I will hurt them’ –

While his former peers and ex-football colleagues are becoming television pundits or studying to become coaches, Wiese enjoys being different.

He becomes animated when discussing workouts endured in the ring.

“It’s crazy. The tryouts in America were unbelievable and you can’t compare them to football training,” he said.

“Every day, people were dropping out, because they got injured.

“The Americans are like drill instructors, they want to see if you can take it — and that’s my thing. I always liked hard training, I was born to do it.

“I don’t have any aches and pains. There are people today who the wind could knock over and injure. Fortunately, I’m not like that — I can deal with pain.”

And Wiese expects fireworks in the ring.

“It’s going to be a good show, I’m with the right people in the ring. They are awesome wrestlers,” he said.

And as for any pain heading his way, he said: “I don’t care. I will hurt them, they won’t hurt me. Anyone can have a go: I’m going to be unbeatable.”

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