State-of-the-art new sports arenas may be nice and all, but Jey Uso doesn’t mind working in a building that’s showing its age.
"I’m pretty cool with that history feel," said Uso. "As soon as you walk in…that feeling is just there. Sure it might have a plugged up toilet or some showers issues. But that’s the only thing."
And so Uso should feel right at home when he and his brother Jimmy return to the 42-year-old Nassau Coliseum Saturday night to defend their WWE tag team championship belts against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Tickets for WWE Live are available at the Coliseum box office or through Ticketmaster.
It’s no surprise that Uso would feel comfortable in older arenas, seeing as how he and his brother were a fixture backstage at WWE events since their childhood. The identical twin sons of WWE legend Solofa “Rikishi” Fatu Jr. spent many a summer hanging out with other wrestlers’ kids — including a few others who became wrestlers themselves.
"I remember the Rotundo boys … mostly Bray [Wyatt] and the Hennigs," Uso, 28, said. "We’d be just hanging out. Our dad would tell us to sit still, and we just didn’t move."
Unfortunately, Uso said he and his siblings didn’t otherwise get to spend much time with their famous dad, who was on the road most of the time during his WWE career. Wanting a better life for his children, Fatu initially discouraged Jey and Jimmy from following in his footsteps, Uso said.
"He kind of tried to veer us toward sports…but, of course, we wanted to be wrestlers. He really didn’t want us to take it seriously," Uso said. "Growing up, my dad was never around. No baseball practices. No football practices."
It wasn’t until Uso, who has two sons of his own ages 8 and 2, joined the WWE that he gained a better understanding of his father’s sacrifices, and made an emotional telephone call to let him know that.
"I told him, ‘Thank you for everything.’ It got to me a little bit. I understand now what he was going through," said Uso, who said he does his best balancing life as a WWE superstar and as a dad. "You just have to turn off the road life as soon as you get home…It’s very hard, but I’m coping with it."
After performing on the main roster for about three years, the Usos’ hard work began to pay off last year, when they began turning heads as one of WWE’s top good guy acts. Uso said an important turning point came when he and his brother teamed to beat Daniel Bryan in the steel cage main event of Monday Night Raw. Weeks later, the Usos won the tag team championship. More recently, they’ve been aligned with arguably the biggest wrestling star of the last decade, John Cena.
"He just made us comfortable. It really calmed us down. And now we’re really starting to get our personality out there more," Uso said of the relationship, which climaxed with the tag team champions helping Cena pick up the win in a memorable last man standing match against Wyatt at Payback. "If the fans in the WWE Universe think the Usos played a big part in that last man standing match, man, I’m thankful for it."
Uso said he expects even bigger success in the future — and not necessarily limited to the tag team ranks. But that doesn’t mean fans should expect an Usos break up anytime soon.
"I don’t ever think we would split. Why can’t we be tag team champions/WWE world heavyweight champion?" Uso asked.
And if Jey Uso ever did rise to the top of WWE’s singles ranks, he already has his ideal WrestleMania main event opponent in mind.
"If it came down to it, I would love to headline WrestleMania with my brother," said Uso, adding that a twin-on-twin match would bring him back to the days of tussling with Jimmy in the family pool. "I think it would be the easiest match I ever had in my career. And it would be the most fun."