I have a problem with Sheamus.
It’s not the end of the world, he doesn’t owe me money or anything. The truth is, we‘ve never met, so he probably doesn’t even know about it. As far as I know, me and Sheamus? We’re cool.
So, none of you guys go and tell him, okay?
From the half-hearted reaction that the Great White has been receiving the past few weeks on WWE TV, I daresay I am not the only one who has taken issue with him.
He’s still over as a baby face, there’s no John Cena scenario playing out with Sheamus here, or anything.
At least not yet.
Perhaps it’s just premature speculation on my part, jumping to conclusions when there’s really no reason to. It’s safe to say that as wrestling fans we’re all guilty of that, at one time or another.
But, this seemingly sudden change from WWE fans in regard to the current World Heavyweight Champion may prove to be very important sometime down the road, and I believe I may know why.
It’s the smile. Dude has got to drop it.
It’s an odd prospect, suggesting that one of the company’s top faces, especially the guy holding the second most important championship, stop doing the one thing that makes him a likeable character in the first place.
After all, he is, for lack of better words, a “good guy,” a fan favorite, who is enjoying life as a big time WWE Superstar and has fun in front of the crowd. He’s supposed to, right?
His No. 1 requirement as a face is to smile, to love what he’s doing, to put fans at ease, make them believe that he has a great life and is just a regular guy, like them. They’re happy to be there, and hey, so is he.
But, it’s just not working for me anymore. I think that smile is the reason why his pop is beginning to weaken.
The gimmick that Sheamus runs is that of a tough guy, a bruiser, who would rather fight than breathe. He never met a man he could not beat down, and his favorite place to hang out is that street corner that no one wants to walk down after 10 p.m.
He is the one baby face that should never smile, the guy who should be intensity personified, a nasty growl on his face every time you see him. He doesn’t have friends, he has victims. The only reason to smile is when he discovers that there’s no one left to cripple, and even then he’s just going to grin a little.
I know, some of you may be thinking “yeah, but if he carried himself like that, then he would no longer be a baby face, he would be a heel.” Perhaps. Let’s ask Stone Cold Steve Austin if he agrees.
Now before anyone begins furiously typing some nasty hate mail addressed to me, let me stop you right there. I am not suggesting that Sheamus is the next Stone Cold, nor am I saying that he could get there if only he would drop the nice guy expression.
But I am saying that Sheamus does not have to be the happy baby face to get over. I believe he can be that hard nosed, two fisted wrecking machine that asks for no quarter and gives none. In fact, I think that he would not only be over with that character, he would be huge.
Fans are naturally attracted to that bad boy character type, the guy who plays by his own rules, and doesn’t need anyone’s approval to know that he’s right. Love him or hate him, he keeps his head down and keeps fighting, talking only when necessary and doing whatever it takes to be the last man standing.
This was the Sheamus that we knew before, in some ways.
He was that physically menacing Superstar who had no problem intimidating everyone he ever came into contact with. In fact, he did it all the time.
But, the main difference between his ideal character, and the former heel character that he ran, is that Sheamus at this point should not be a coward.
Heels, at their very core, will almost always back down from a fight. It’s the one common trait that they all share, the one thing that fans just cannot forgive, despite how much they want to like the guy they’re watching.
When the crowd saw Sheamus literally run from the Nexus backstage two years ago on Monday Night Raw, they may have laughed, but they also booed. It was the final act of a desperate man, a man who was not concerned with fighting for the talent who were threatened by the Nexus insurgence. He cared about himself, and his own welfare, and that’s it.
When Sheamus first stared down Mark Henry and spoke the words “I’ll fight him,” he immediately changed direction and became an instant hit with fans. For the most part, he has remained that way, and now that he’s an established World Champion, he has reached the highest level, with the most exposure, that he has had since first starting with WWE.
And, yes, perhaps facing Daniel Bryan, who is currently on fire as the most popular heel in the company, then working Dolph Ziggler, who is beginning to get a real spark of support in front of certain crowds, did not bode well for Sheamus. His pop just seems to not be what it once was, and unless there is some slight tweaking to his character, Sheamus may find himself on the outside looking in.
I don’t believe that the answer is to turn him heel again, just to enhance that mean streak that he should already have.
Without Randy Orton currently in the picture, as the cold hearted, merciless predator, Sheamus is the one who should be the vicious brute who is always ready for a fight. And if he can’t find one, he goes looking for one.
Call it complaining, call it “fantasy booking,” call it what you will. For me, Sheamus is good, but he could be so much better, if only WWE would allow him to perhaps be just a bit south of PG, and become the brawler that he was meant to be.
“If you want ol’ Sheamus to stomp a mudhole and walk it dry, give me a ‘hey fella!’”
Kidding, people. Only kidding.