Sheamus has been on a high since turning baby face, and the fact is, it could not have come at a better time.
His heel character had basically run its course, as he had explored virtually every direction he could have taken while playing that role. It was a good run while it lasted, but when it's time, it's time.
So, when monster heel Mark Henry was crushing everyone on SmackDown, the moment was right for a tough guy to stand up and be heard. Enough of the destruction, there are just some men you can’t intimidate, no matter how big and how strong you are.
Sheamus is one of those men.
It only makes sense, as Sheamus has always been depicted as a bully who used brute force to get his way in every situation. When faced with another Superstar who was doing the same thing, Sheamus could either join him, or assert himself as the programme’s resident hell raiser.
Sheamus, of course, chose the latter, and began enjoying a nice face run, getting a bigger pop than nearly everyone on the card on any given night. I don’t believe anyone knew how capable Sheamus was at playing this role until it actually happened. After all, some heels are better off staying heels, trying the other side is now always a good idea.
But, so far, so good for Sheamus.
Well, except for one thing; Jinder Mahal.
Here’s the thing; I don’t have an issue with Mahal getting a chance. He’s young, he has a great body, and he doesn’t look bad in the ring. Just like any other Superstar in the WWE locker room, why is he there if you’re not going to use him? So, I’m cool with him getting a chance.
I can also see why WWE chose to put him with Sheamus. The Great White has a considerable amount of spotlight on him right now, so anyone he’s working is going to have that as well. It’s a great way for Mahal to get noticed, a real opportunity for him to step up and show what he’s got. It makes sense.
So, the question becomes: is it working? Is Sheamus versus Jinder Mahal working at all, on any level, so far? I really only have one answer.
I have to say, I have just not been all that thrilled with what I have seen to this point. Perhaps it is the booking, as we have seen WWE misuse talent many times before. This would definitely not be the first time.
But I think that maybe it’s because Sheamus has not done all that much since turning face. He has the crowd, he looks good in the ring, but what has he really been allowed to do beyond that?
Again, it’s a real statement to Sheamus’ position and ability that he would be given a young wrestler to work with, to help him along. But Sheamus needs to be on solid ground before he takes on a project like Jinder Mahal. He needs to be an established baby face who has some serious wins under his belt, to be able to give this kid the rub that will help get him over.
When I look at Mahal, I see a world of possibility. Not just because of what he does in the ring, but because of his ethnicity.
Though he is actually Canadian, he is of obvious Indian descent and thus inhabits that one particular place that any foreign born heel wrestler does. He can be portrayed as anti-American, criticizing the fans for their capitalistic lifestyle and what he considers to be their overall greedy ways.
Indeed, this has been the method used to draw heat for so many workers in the past. Ivan Koloff, La Resistance, even Bret Hart, just a few names who generated automatic heat the second they decided American fans were not worth their time. Mahal has been on the same track, and this anti-American sentiment has been used more frequently as of late.
Is it cheap heat? Absolutely. Does it work? Every time.
With more mic time and more opportunities to spotlight his disdain for the United States, Mahal’s reputation could become a little stronger, allowing his feud with Sheamus to mean more than it does.
Another component of this rivalry is Wade Barrett, who Mahal has now apparently aligned himself with.
At first glance, this may be considered a bad thing for Jinder, as he could very well get lost in the shuffle. But for a guy as talented as Wade and understanding where he is in terms of his own character development, I believe his involvement will be a plus for Mahal’s future on SmackDown.
Barrett could assume the role of mentor to Mahal, a guy who directs him to any and every opportunity at chaos that may arise. Like the devil on his shoulder, Wade could be the source of killer instinct that Mahal often seems to lack. This could possibly help get him to where he needs to be, and he could emerge from this situation with more heat and more attention thanks to Barrett.
There’s a big part of me, as a guy who has been behind the scenes in the business, that really wants to enjoy the current storyline between Sheamus and Jinder Mahal. The main reason for that is because I have seen firsthand how hungry the younger guys can be for a real shot at success in a promotion.
To see Mahal go from being just the mouthpiece for The Great Khali to having a prime opportunity to impress on a worldwide stage against a battle tested worker is what the business is all about. Again, if he’s there, you may as well give him a chance and see what he can do. He has the ball and now it’s time to see if he can run with it.