Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio's Similarities Include Unwanted Babyface Characters

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2013

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Sheamus is the Irish-born Celtic Warrior; a tough-as-nails WWE Superstar who has gone toe-to-toe with Mark Henry and more than held his own during those battles.  

Alberto Del Rio is the pride of Mexico, a talented competitor who has shown his skill in matches with Jack Swagger.  On the surface, they appear to be two very different workers.  But the fact is that they have a lot more in common than you might think, including babyface characters that many fans want no part of.

The most obvious similarity between the two men is, of course, that they are foreign-born Superstars. WWE is an international company, with fans all over the world and featuring stars of different ethnic backgrounds is just good for business.  

But that is not to take away from Del Rio and Sheamus. The truth is that both men can more than get it done in the ring.  They were not merely handed their spots because of what countries they were born in; they received opportunities and they capitalized on them.

And they are both workhorses in the ring.  Del Rio is more than capable of having a great technical match against any of WWE’s best like Dolph Ziggler and can also hold his own against brawlers like The Big Show.  

Despite what circumstance Del Rio finds himself in, he consistently turns in one solid performance after another, proving that he is one of WWE’s hardest workers in the ring.

Sheamus is a guy who can just flat-out take a beating and keep coming back for more.  His matches with Big Show were surprisingly entertaining and gave him the opportunity to show his toughness and strength.

Both men are former WWE and World champions and both men get it done on a very high level in the ring.  They are two of Vince McMahon’s most featured Superstars and both men are assets to the company.

But there’s another big similarity between Sheamus and Del Rio, one that many fans cannot stop talking about: both men are not heel.

This subject is discussed all the time among fans, and it seems as though it will just not go away.  Are Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio more effective as heels?  Is it time for a change?

This has always been the buzz on Sheamus, as many of the WWE faithful are quite frankly sick of the always-happy, always-smiling good-guy routine.  Indeed, the Great White is as pure and upstanding as John Cena at this point, and he is more of a Nickelodeon cartoon character than a wrestling personality.

But during his initial run in WWE, Sheamus was a scowling, threatening tough guy who seemed to fit his role perfectly.  He was emerging as one of the company’s strongest antagonists when suddenly, the bottom fell out.

Sheamus could not buy a victory.  No matter what he did or whom he faced, he seemed to keep coming up short in one match after another.  He was losing his edge and losing his way, but he kept working, kept his mouth shut and waited for his next opportunity.

And that opportunity came after he turned face, which put Sheamus back on track and up higher than he ever had been before.  However for his critics, Sheamus needs to lose the smile and return to his heel roots as soon as possible.  And it needs to happen now.

In Del Rio’s case, some fans are still asking why he turned babyface in the first place.

The Mexican Aristocrat gimmick was working, he was over as a heel and everything seemed to be going his way.  But for seemingly no reason, Del Rio also began losing. He could not keep his head above water in WWE.  He lost his way and needed something to re-energize his career.

And yes, that something was a face turn.  But was it the right move?

In both cases, it seemed as though each man was doing fairly well as a heel until WWE creative decided that it was time to tear them down and start over.  In McMahon’s company, this has been the tried-and-true method of making a character change: Destroy a heel down to the ground, then re-introduce him with a new attitude, thus gaining the favor of fans that now support him as he starts winning again.

Instead of just giving a heel a new opponent or a new situation, WWE often goes this route, totally rebuilding him from top to bottom.  By the time the change happens, fans are actually ready to get it over with.

So, are some fans right on this one?  Are Sheamus and Alberto De Rio both much more effective as heels in WWE?

The biggest problem with this notion is that right now, Sheamus is much too high on the food chain, and too much has been done for him to change sides again.  The fact is that WWE uses his likeness to sell merchandise. He is marketed to the younger fans, and for the company to just throw all of that away seems highly unlikely at this point.

As for Del Rio, perhaps there’s not quite as much stopping him from turning heel again as there is with Sheamus.  Of course, he is also promoted fairly heavily by WWE, and he does appear to be making some real strides in getting over as a babyface.

For me, the bottom line on this is that both Sheamus and Del Rio are each working with what they’re being given and are doing everything they can to succeed in their current roles.  If either man is more suited for a heel turn at this point, it is likely Del Rio, but to pull the plug now before he can spend some more time as face could actually hurt his cause more than help it.

Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio are two WWE Superstars who have more in common than meets the eye.  Both are hard-working guys who give entertaining performances week in and week out.  And both are often debated in terms of what their characters should be doing, whether they should continue to remain babyface or turn heel once again.  But when the time comes for a decision to be made, fans can be certain that it will be what’s best for them and what’s best for business.