Note: This article contains a spoiler for the Oct. 5 broadcast of Smackdown.
With John Cena apparently on the shelf for who knows how long and Randy Orton off filming 12 Rounds: Reloaded, the burden of being the WWE’s top babyface has fallen onto the white shoulders of Sheamus.
No doubt the "Celtic Warrior" is among the most popular Superstars on the roster. He draws a huge pop from the crowd every time he comes down the ramp. His mic skills, while not as edgy as Cena or CM Punk, are entertaining and often hysterical. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth.
That deposition skit with David Otunga on the Sept. 10 Raw was one of the funniest bits to be on the show in quite a while.
Plus, Sheamus is not one to back down from a fight, even when the odds seem to be stacked against him. Remember the Fatal 4-Way last May at Over the Limit?
Yes, the WWE appears to be comfortable with having its World Champion as the big face. Then why is the WWE Universe all abuzz about Ryback and not the champ?
Simply put, Ryback’s face character has a hard edge to him. He lights up the crowd with his robotic, no-nonsense entrance, not to mention his keep-with-the-rhythm head-bobbing. His smash-mouth style appeals to the old-school fans as well as the action-loving crowds.
Ryback has developed quite a program with WWE Champion CM Punk recently. Whether that will lead to the main event at Hell in a Cell is yet to be determined.
If that happens, or even if it does not, many people are beginning to think that Ryback might have leap-frogged Sheamus in terms of main-event face talent.
So what does Sheamus have to do to keep pace or even stay ahead of the surging Ryback? That depends on the type of booking he gets leading to his HIAC title match against The Big Show.
The smart-aleck comments and jabs he aimed at Alberto Del Rio during their recently concluded feud were appropriate for that program. ADR was the perfect straight man to Sheamus’ wise-guy antics.
But that’s not going to work with the big, bad Big Show. With this feud, the WWE creative team needs to unleash some of the hard-nosed traits Sheamus displayed in his path to the first of his two WWE Championships.
On the latest Raw, Sheamus and Show engaged in a “debate” that teased a potential physical nature to their program. It continued on Smackdown, with (HERE COMES THE SPOILER) Show and Sheamus taking turns knocking out the other’s opponents.
The "C-Team" needs to take that physicality to the next level.
Have Big Show promise to make Sheamus’ life hell leading up to Hell in a Cell. Get him to go after some of Sheamus’ friends on the face roster, taunting Sheamus with each attack. Meanwhile, Sheamus starts to lose more and more of his wise-guy attitude every time Show attacks.
Then have the feud really blow up. Show interferes in a match to beat up someone like Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus runs in like a wild man. The two exchange blows and ring rolls until Show rolls out of the ring. Sheamus goes ballistic on the mic, promising no more Mr. Happy or Mr. Nice Guy. He declares war on Show and demands that the pay-per-view match be in a cage. The crowd explodes behind Sheamus.
Presto! You then have what every good pay-per-view match needs; the heel gets tremendous heat, the face gets tremendous pop and everyone enjoys seeing what happens.
It also gives the C-Team wider choices on which way to take Sheamus’ tougher face character.
And with all those possibilities, Sheamus could stay on top of Face Mountain for some time to come.
Follow Bill Atkinson at @BAtkinson1963.