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WWE: Ending the War on Sheamus by Howie Mandella

I’m back with my “Ending the War” series. Last time, I made a case for Big Show’s relevance in today’s WWE. That incited a very peaceful discussion and exchange of ideas. Surprisingly, even Big Show himself reached out to me appreciating the article. In that regard, I’ll say it was well received. But this time, I’m really ready for the hate mail. In my opinion, Sheamus is a much better asset than we give him credit for. I’m arguing that the man is a bonafide star, whose worst enemy has been time and his booking. Let’s go back to one of the darkest periods in WWE history.

April 1, 2012

Wrestlemania 28. Daniel Bryan loses the World Heavyweight Championship to hokey-pokey-white bread “let’s go oot and ‘av a good match fella!” Sheamus. This was only the beginning, as for the next two years he was basically unbeatable. Having the same match with the same opponents (remember the Barrett series?) over and over again. Fans grew a disdain for the Celtic Warrior; and in my eyes, the nagging injuries that finally caught up to him in late 2014 were a blessing in disguise.

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He came back a monster again. Many people disapproved of the new look, but that was the point. Heat. Legit heat. Not cool heat. That would be an oxymoron. For me, it was the monster Sheamus that I was initially drawn to when he debuted. I remember watching the crowd pop thinking he was going to save Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. I remember the “dirtsheets” wishing Sheamus a speedy recovery as well. Where did it all go wrong? If I could guess, I’d say it was the whole “Kiss Me Arse” deal with Dolph. As quickly as I was excited for Sheamus’ return, I was instantly underwhelmed. This wasn’t the Sheamus that ran rampant on WWECW. This wasn’t the Sheamus the put John Cena through tables, winning the title off of him at the peak of Super Cena era. It was unheard of at the time, and I remember being especially excited because I predicted he had potential to be top star back in FCW (don’t judge the username I was like 13!). The original discussion is lost, but whatever forum took over the previous one somehow retrieved the post. Therefore, as an avid follower of Sheamus’ career, I was disappointed by the booking. It was something that’s come to be a trend where a superstar debuts hot then fizzles out: becoming nothing more than just another member of the roster.

Then he finally won the Money in the Bank in 2015 and eventually the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. Could the booking have been better leading up to this? Most definitely. But WWE had time to make up for lost ground with the League of Nations. Unfortunately, Sheamus was used as nothing more than a way to get Roman Reigns over. I knew as soon as he cashed in the briefcase, and it frustrated me. Sheamus wasn’t going to get the opportunity to have that monster reign with belt up until Wrestlemania at the least. WWE has been throwing all of their eggs into the Reigns basket.

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Now don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way a Roman-hater; in fact, I’m a fan. He’s improved drastically, and while I wish there was still mystique to his character, I can’t argue with the work he’s put in. Do I think he’s ready to be the number one guy? No, but I know he’ll get there in due time. The problem I have is this idea in WWE that there can only be one guy that gets that ultimate protection. They build one star at a time instead of giving fans options. In lieu of Cena’s absense, Roman’s been rocketed into position without allowing his character to develop naturally. They slapped the Stone Cold formula on double-time, and now they’re crossing their fingers. As a byproduct, Sheamus and the League of Nations have gone cold (if they were ever actually hot). They’re Reigns food on television and Brock Lesnar food at live events. Even though Sheamus and Brock had a pretty good match from what little I saw, I’d argue that with proper build up that match would’ve been a hotter sell for Mania. Position the League as unstoppable, leading up to the rumble where Brock comes back. Lesnar wins it and spends the next few months going through the League until Mania.

Too late for all of that now, I guess. Reports are saying WWE doesn’t plan on having Roman drop the title anytime soon. They feel it’s the only way to keep him over and make him the top star. Meanwhile, Sheamus will probably be stuck in limbo once again. I don’t see where they can make him fit into the title picture right now; especially with the returns of Randy Orton, John Cena, Cesaro and Seth Rollins on the horizon. The League of Nations are looking weaker by the week, with either injuries or lazy writing (or both) plaguing them. Rusev’s injury isn’t supposedly serious, but that could be a fabrication. There’s also no word on Barrett’s status right now. Hopefully they’re both healthy in time for the Rumble, because the roster can’t afford to get any thinner. Alberto Del Rio’s United States title run literally has deconstructed what prestige John Cena brought to it throughout 2015, and that’s no one’s fault but booking. WWE has spent so much time into the Roman machine that no one’s a legitimate threat to Del Rio. A champion needs believable contenders. Everyone’s been so down for the sake of this McMahon-Helmsley rerun, and we wonder why the people can’t get behind the idea of Sheamus as WWE World Heavyweight champ. I was all for it because it gave us something different. WWE, for the last 2-3 years, has been nothing but the Authority and (while I love them) The Shield. It’ll be nice to have some other guys get built up and mixed in with main event angles. Sheamus’ win gave me that hope, but it was only temporary.

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However, there’s good news for the few of you who pull for Sheamus like I do. He’ll always be a stand out. His look and size alone sets him apart from anyone else on the roster. Just for that, I believe he deserves to be high on food chain in WWE. While he may not be an “indy darling,” he’s not some athlete-turned wrestler who got by on a look alone. He spent years honing his craft overseas after Bret Hart inspired him to follow his dream. For 14 years, Sheamus has busted his ass, staying true to himself and his character. His passion, loyalty and attitude make him one of WWE’s “good soldiers” and that’s proven to take a talent farther than talent itself. A guy like Sheamus is going to be around for a long time, love him or hate him.

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