WWE's Next Step: What To Do With an Unknown Champion
Most of you might expect me to be basking in negativity and disappointment following WWE's TLC pay-per-view, a concept that I expected to fail, and in some ways it did.
I was going to save this article for tomorrow morning, but I just got finished reading senior writer Ryan Michael's article, and decided that this rebuttal needs to take place right now.
Ryan, you stated that WWE was shameful for placing its biggest prize on a virtual unknown. As I stated in my previous article, I feel Sheamus's spotlight is rushed. I feel that his "Celtic Warpath" is little more than a flashy name for a gimmick that doesn't quite live up to the hype.
I wouldn't go so far as to say he's not a good talent. I see a lot of potential in a guy like Sheamus. I have said from the start that he should never have been given a microphone, but with the role of manager all but extinct from WWE's landscape, there was no other option.
Regardless, it's true that Sheamus has not earned his stripes or the position he's been given.
The one thing the WWE did manage to do, no matter what any of us wants to say about it, is surprise us. For better or for worse, WWE silenced the majority of the WWE Universe, virtually all of us Bleacher Reporters, and pretty much every wrestling dirt sheet site on the 'net.
Sheamus wins the WWE Championship.
None of us gave him a snowball's chance in Hell of beating the unstoppable John Cena, even if the match's gimmick helped Cena to save face.
Yet, here we are, writing about Sheamus winning the Championship. My bone stems from Ryan Michael's article and several of the surprising points he brought up.
WWE's insatiable thirst to give us something new. Really? You could have fooled me.
Not only have I been able to correctly pick the winners of the RAW Championship matches for the better part of the last five months, but during that time frame, RAW only had three people in the title picture.
As I stated before, Randy Orton, John Cena, and Triple H have literally beaten the entertainment out of each other. No one wants to see them fight anymore. It's been done. Beaten to death.
The reason DX is in the Tag Team Division is because Jeri-Show had no more opponents left. The only logical way to keep the Division on its current life support was to drop the titles to the only remaining team that could win them. Sad, considering that Jeri-Show only had to beat two or three teams to get to that point.
Shawn Michaels is 44 years old. If he was capable of keeping up with a successful title reign, don't you think WWE Creative would have asked him if he wanted a title run? He's only one of the most successful performers in the history of the business.
Triple H had sinus infection title reigns because he's got a lot of say in the back, and because he's in a hell of a lot better shape than ol' Heartbreak. Sorry to say it, but it's the truth.
Now, I'm not going to be a typical Cena hater. He's got qualities that stick out. Qualities that make it obvious why he's the face of the company. He's a goody-two-shoes kiddie hero which is what WWE wants with its PG-Era thing. He doesn't do drugs, and he doesn't rain bad publicity on the WWE like previous champs have done.
He's honestly the obvious choice to represent the company. It doesn't mean that he needs to be shoved down our throats.
Hogan gave us the Superhero of the '80s, and people got sick of it. So sick of it, that he jumped ship to a rival company and became a heel. (Gasp!)
You can make all the excuses you want about John Cena being "controversial" (what does that mean?), or that "he gets a reaction of any kind no matter where he goes." The point remains that WWE capitalizes on his shabby gimmick on purpose because they enjoy the reaction people have.
How can anything truly damage Cena's credibility at this point? He's already gone over countless times in title matches. More than half the WWE roster has probably jobbed to him in some form or fashion.
I truly didn't care if it was Sheamus or anyone else. Even if he is a greenhorn. Just get the damn championship off of Cena. I'm certainly not saying leave it on Sheamus—now that would be the disgrace that Ryan Michael talks about so prominently.
It was a disgrace to turn the damn title into a spinner belt. It was a bigger disgrace to leave the belt in that ridiculous form long after Cena lost it. Triple H and Randy Orton both looked stupid as hell carrying a spinner belt that eventually lost its spinner properties.
Now, its just a bling-bling looking sideshow. But that's completely besides the point.
Why am I happy that Sheamus won the WWE Championship? Because it's off of John Cena that's why. And I don't say that because Cena sucks, because he honestly doesn't. I'm saying that because I'm sick of seeing the same repeated finishes and the same tired title matches.
I'm sick of seeing the same contenders, and the same main events, and the same endings. Randy Orton can only steal back the WWE Championship so many times.
Triple H can only reclaim his throne so many times. Shawn Michaels can only "come that close" so many times.
And for the love of wrestling Gods—no, not JBL—John Cena can only "defy the odds" so many times before wrestling fans get sick of it. The kiddies may love it, but they're only going to be kiddies for so long. It's the inevitable cycle.
In another five or six years, those same fans will join the "haters" side of the John Cena debacle. Sadly enough, in that same time frame, we'll probably still be seeing the same title matches headlined by the same people.
We know that Sheamus is going to be a transitional Champion. Even I would know better than to keep it on him for anything longer than that. But, use this as a chance to get some fresh faces into the title picture.
WWE, this is do or die time. You're saving your best story lines, and your longest material for Jan. 4, so don't feed me that, "TNA isn't a concern to us," BS any longer.
I don't care who idolizes Randy Orton, not even you, Ryan Michael, with all of your achievements and credibility. I applaud you sir. But I heartily disagree with you.
Instead of dropping all his momentum, like I'm sure WWE will do, it needs to keep it up. When he inevitably loses back the title, most likely to John "Are you tired of me yet" Cena, he needs to keep rolling. The only way to make Sheamus a credible competitor, so that his next title match feels more natural, is to keep the steam going.
And though Brock Lesnar was a much better grappler than Sheamus, didn't he do the same exact thing? He came in, squashed a bunch of weak guys, then destroyed The Rock, the John Cena of his era, in a WWE Title match.
No, the circumstances aren't the same, but then again, does WWE really care about grappling skills anymore? Sheamus is a beast, and he's an intimidating looking individual. That's virtually all anyone needs anymore to hold the WWE Championship.
You want to talk about devaluing the championship? The moment the title turned into a spinner belt and became part of a love triangle between John Cena, Randy Orton, and Triple H was the moment the Title slowly began losing its mojo. At least JBL played his roll correctly.
And when his work was done, he wasn't given the championship back over-and-over again.
So, for those of you shuddering at the thought of saying the name "Sheamus" in the same breath as "Bret Hart, Ric Flair, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Stone Cold Steve Austin," look at it this way: Could putting the title on Sheamus really devalue the belt more than putting the belt on Vince McMahon did?
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