On the surface, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus has all the tools. He's got good size, a unique look, strong in-ring skills for a big man and is decent on the mic to boot, but for whatever reason, his run with the big gold belt has felt like a failure to this point.
Sheamus has held the title since beating Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania and has been on an absolutely dominant run since winning the Royal Rumble. In fact, I'm not sure The Great White has even lost a singles match by pinfall or submission over the past seven months or so.
That would seem to suggest that he has been built up perfectly in terms of being a credible world champion, but it doesn't feel like that is the case. Although the World Heavyweight Championship is never truly going to be equal to the WWE Championship, the belts should be similar in priority. With Sheamus as champion, though, the balance between the titles seems more out of whack than ever before.
The World Heavyweight Championship should be co-main eventing with the WWE Championship at the very least, but instead, it often leads off pay-per-views or settles somewhere in the middle of the card. It may seem odd to call the World Heavyweight Championship a mid-card title, but based on the way it has been showcased with Sheamus leading the way, that is precisely what it has become.
It wouldn't be fair to pin all the blame on The Celtic Warrior, however. It takes two to tango, and Sheamus hasn't had a sufficient dance partner since his feud with Bryan ended. Sheamus and D-Bry had great chemistry and a fantastic match at Extreme Rules, but the writers had other plans for Bryan and ultimately left Sheamus out in the cold.
Sheamus has now essentially been feuding with Alberto Del Rio since before Extreme Rules, and the rivalry is as stale as can be. It was clear after a couple matches between them that the chemistry wasn't there, but Del Rio inconceivably retained his No. 1 contender status and is now poised to face Sheamus for what seems like the millionth time at Night of Champions.
I don't hate Del Rio like many seem to because I feel like he has a great skill set, but he isn't believable as a challenger. The more somebody loses, the less credible they become in the eyes of the fans, and Del Rio has lost to Sheamus so many times that it has reached the point where nobody is giving him a chance to come out on top.
That, in turn, causes the fans to tire of Sheamus, as well, since the end result is so predictable and inevitable. Sheamus needs to be pushed as champion in order to become interesting again, and Del Rio clearly isn't the guy to do it. There are plenty of other viable challengers out there with nothing to do, but Del Rio continues to be pushed as the guy.
Del Rio did gain some momentum on SmackDown by surprisingly beating Randy Orton cleanly, but I would still be shocked if Del Rio were to win the world title. The writers quite honestly blew a golden opportunity on Friday because, pitting Sheamus against a guy like Orton in a feud and then putting him over, could have done wonders for his credibility as champion.
Sheamus has to deal with Del Rio yet again, though, and a win isn't going to do anything for him. There is still time to save Sheamus' title run, but the WWE has basically killed off all of the momentum he had previously by dragging this Del Rio feud out far longer than it should have ever been allowed to.
Whether it be a new opponent, a heel turn or something else, the creative team needs to change things up in order make Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship relevant again. It isn't completely on the shoulders of Sheamus, but the world title might as well be called the Divas Championship right now because it has been booked with the same amount of urgency and creativity, which is none.
I still have high hopes for Sheamus and feel as if he will one day be mentioned in the same breath as guys like John Cena, CM Punk and Orton in terms of being at the pinnacle of the company. Unless changes are made quickly, however, that won't happen in the foreseeable future.