Ever since returning from a serious shoulder injury at January’s Royal Rumble, former WWE champion Sheamus has very much struggled to remain relevant.
Okay, so he currently holds the United States Championship, but what does that mean, really?
Previous champion Dean Ambrose had that belt for almost a year, and few cared. How infrequently Ambrose defended the belt, or referenced it at all, even became a running joke on television.
No one is that bothered about the belt—not even the guys that hold it.
Even Sheamus’ title win on the May 5 edition of Raw appeared designed more to further The Shield vs. Evolution program than put the Irish star over or help get him back on the map.
Following his win, it’s hard to argue Sheamus has been elevated or returned to relevance. He’s been stuck in the midcard churning out decent but ultimately meaningless television matches against the likes of Rob Van Dam, Cesaro and Alberto Del Rio.
It’s not his wrestling that’s the problem. He’s as stellar and impressive an in-ring performer as he ever was. His issues are mainly rooted in WWE Creative's use of him.
So, what has went wrong with Sheamus and his character?
Well, first of all, he desperately needs to be turned into a heel by the booking team. He’s extremely limited in what he can do as a babyface . If he was going to take off hugely as a good guy, he would have done so by now. He hasn’t.
His character is simply too one-dimensional and cartoonish for a fanbase that likes its good guys to be down-to-earth and somewhat realistic—like Daniel Bryan or The Shield, for instance.
Honestly, Sheamus’ current act is far more suited to ‘80s WWF than WWE in 2014. Sadly, he doesn’t really have the versatility or range as a performer to do anything radically different. If he did, we would have seen it by now.
Granted, he’s not anything terribly innovative or original as a heel, either, but he’s generally had more success in that role. It’s easy for fans to buy him as an evil bully.
Besides, turning heel would open up more storyline opportunities for him.
He could potentially join The Authority and feud with Daniel Bryan over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship—Bryan never did get his revenge over his embarrassing 18-second loss to Sheamus at WrestleMania 28, did he?
Or maybe he could battle with Ambrose over the United States Championship? If nothing else, the matches would be tremendous.
There are quite a few options for the star right now, but only if Vince McMahon makes the smart call to turn him back into a heel soon.