The only way a wrestler like Sheamus gets underutilized is when the top priority of the company is wrestling.
In reality, WWE isn't a wrestling company. A wrestling ring is the stage most associated with its brand, but WWE operates as an entertainment company. It worries about the bottom line, stock value, shareholder morale, box-office sales and Twitter followers.
If I was a corporate suit in WWE, I would do the same thing. You follow the money.
Prior to going public in 1999, the company wanted to make money, but it wouldn't be out of the question to make a decision that might better the wrestling product but result in less revenue earned.
Sheamus should be more successful for someone with his his skills, size and look. Sheamus should be a heel. He was a heel once, and it was one of the best heel performances in modern-day wrestling.
In a time where heels often are too cool, Sheamus was not—and he was hated.
It was terrific television to see this new guy appear on Raw from the ECW Tuesday night show and just plow over everyone before winning the world title from John Cena a month later. Nobody talks about or remembers that because it's too hard to get past the Sheamus we're forced with now.
He's booked as a babyface, but WWE knows he's not a good babyface. At least he's not better as a babyface than he is as a heel.
Case in point, a report from F4WOnline (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestle Zone) said WWE expected he would get heat from the Chicago crowd at Payback, the company's most recent pay-per-view. That's a crowd viewed as a more hardcore and “smart” crowd. The fans who care the most and invest the most in the product don't like Sheamus as a babyface, which is not surprising at all.
So why isn't he a heel? The business factors would prefer him to be a babyface.
Factors like he's the only Irish-born performer on the roster, so WWE needs to have a babyface represent the Irish crowd. Factors like he fits well in a K-Mart toys commercial for kids because he says cute things like “Fella.” Factors like Daniel Bryan suffering an injury and WWE needing a babyface.
The last factor isn't the fault of anyone, but it's still a factor. While it would be a better use to have Sheamus as a viable heel for some babyfaces to work with, crunching live event numbers scares WWE away from not having enough established babyfaces for more intimate shows. This has delayed the decision to turn Sheamus back to a heel.
Again, WWE is a business, I get it. I often side with and defend WWE against fans who forget it operates as an entertainment brand with many different avenues of revenue that require decision-making. However, understanding it all doesn't stop me from getting frustrated or thinking about what could be if Sheamus was properly cast in the right way.
If and when he becomes a heel again, he can become an automatic threat to the top half of the card. Right now, he's just serves as filler, a Superstar who is holding what WWE has proven to be its most useless title in the United States Championship.
That title stands for a guy who isn't doing anything special, but we have to put it on someone we can stand to have booked on shows every week.
I love the idea of the violent Irish fighter attitude coming back out and holding the title that represents America. As a babyface, he doesn't come off tough; he just bruises and it's easy to see. Unfortunately, the idea doesn't work for the company's bottom line.
If it doesn't work for the bottom line, then the idea is as relevant as a babyface Sheamus.
Justin LaBar is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the creator of the "Chair Shot Reality" video talk show and "Wrestling Reality" radio show.
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