For the past few weeks, the WWE universe has been trying to wrap its head around Sheamus as WWE Champion. Some like the idea, mainly because it introduces new blood into the WWE championship picture, a picture that, over time, has become very stale.
Others (like myself) feel that Sheamus has done nothing of significance (as of yet) to warrant a title reign, let alone the top prize in WWE.
Now let me start off by saying that this isn’t a criticism of Stephen Farrelly (the man who portrays Sheamus), because, quite frankly, I haven’t seen him in enough matches to be able to criticize.
For all I know, he could end up being a great wrestler, but that’s not the point. This is a criticism of the character and storyline that has developed into our WWE champion.
Let me start by bring us up to speed as to Sheamus’ path to the Championship.
He gets his start on ECW on Jun. 30, 2009. The character is introduced to us as this Celtic destroyer villain who beats up on whoever he faces. Basically, he is a character with somewhat of a monster gimmick.
In the weeks ahead, he goes through a few jobbers and has a couple of mini-feuds with Goldust and Shelton Benjamin, respectively.
He is then promoted to Raw where he beats up on Jamie Noble for the next couple of weeks. He follows up the “Noble retirement” by beating up a timekeeper, kicking Jerry “The King” Lawler in the head and helping Team Miz win their Survivor Series elimination match.
The following Monday on Raw he convincingly defeats Finlay to qualify for the Breakthrough battle royal.
In said battle royal, he spends most of the match against the turnbuckles picking his spots. He eliminates R-Truth, MVP, Mark Henry, and Kofi Kingston to get his first WWE title shot against John Cena.
We then have a contract signing where we find out it will be a tables match at TLC when Sheamus kicks Cena in the head and puts him through a table.
The following week, Sheamus destroys Santino Marella and puts him through a table, as well.
The build up concludes with a “Celtic Warpath” video package where we recap his exploits on Raw, a debate between Cena and himself, more kicks to Cena’s head, and a show down with Mark Cuban.
The showdown plays out with Mark Cuban putting Sheamus on his rear end and Sheamus responding by, looking dumbfounded. He then proceeds to attack Cuban and put him through a table.
This leads us to TLC, where their match is ended when Cena “slips” off the top rope into a table making Sheamus the new WWE champion on Dec. 13, 2009. This means he becomes champion in just over five months.
After that I am left with one question. How thick was the smoke cloud in the office when they came up with this storyline?
Seriously, I think the office must have resembled the basement on That '70s Show where the kids would get into the circle. I mean, where do I even begin to start with what’s wrong with this picture?
Well, let’s start from the beginning. First, he comes and goes from ECW to Raw without ever having a match with the ECW champion.
You know what, though? I let that one go because maybe they wanted him to be this undefeated monster type character, which sort of makes some sense.
Once on Raw someone has the idea that, to make Sheamus a hated heel, he needs to destroy a face character so the crowd will hate him. So they pick Jamie Noble?
When I saw Sheamus beating up Noble the thought that crossed my mind was, "wow, I didn’t know that Jamie Noble was still in the WWE.” This, of course, doesn’t compare to the complete non-reaction from the crowd as Noble was getting destroyed.
I was always under the impression that if you want to create a heel the crowd will hate, you have that character beat up and destroy a fan favourite. A wrestler you put on TV once every few months isn’t what I would call a fan favourite.
Of course the WWE didn’t think that was the problem. No, Instead they decided that the first Jamie Noble beating wasn’t bad enough for the fans to hate Sheamus. They decide to repeat the Noble trashing, only this time with the story that he will put him out for good.
Let me reiterate, having Sheamus retire a wrestler we hardly ever see isn’t going to invoke a passionate crowd reaction, which it didn’t.
Next we see Sheamus beat up a timekeeper and kick Jerry Lawler, again with minimal crowd reaction.
These actions, coupled with him being on one of the winning teams at Survivor Series, apparently qualified him for a qualifying spot in the Breakthrough Battle Royal—a battle royale that wrestlers such as John Morrison, The Miz, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, and Christian didn’t even get a chance to qualify for.
Now, I’m not saying that all the names mentioned would make great champions, but every name on my list has more credentials that a certain “Celtic Warrior.”
The story continues with Sheamus destroying Finlay in the qualifier—a match that showcased Sheamus’ power. Let me just say that this was probably the only smart thing they did with this character on Raw.
Then, instead of enhancing his monster-like qualities, we see Sheamus spending the majority of time in the Battle Royal against the turnbuckle, picking his spots to eliminate the combatants.
Ok, so now he’s a Celtic Warrior who destroys everything in his path by avoiding confrontation and picking his spots when no one is looking.
His monster gimmick is even further diminished with an encounter with Mark Cuban where Cuban puts Sheamus on his butt.
Finally, the gimmick is completely destroyed by his suspect Championship win; a win where it is made to look like Cena slipped off the top rope and Sheamus won by mistake.
So where does this leave us?
It leaves us with an accidental champion with an identity crisis. More over, it leaves me with wishing that the WWE would give the people what they want to see instead of trying to surprise us.
Case in point, earlier in the year the WWE had a chance to bring some new blood into the title picture. Back in April, when Randy Orton was champion, he and Legacy were cutting a promo in the center of the ring when the newly drafted MVP interrupted them.
MVP came in and cut an amazing promo that went over with the crowd big time. What followed was a match between Randy Orton and MVP. This match was one of, if not the best match of the evening. Of course, that was until Shane McMahon interrupted it.
That night MVP showed the WWE that he could be a main event player. So what did the WWE do with this knowledge? Well, MVP ended up dropping his US title, teaming up with Mark Henry to be a footnote for Jeri-Show and hasn’t been a real threat in the WWE’s title picture ever since.
Why the WWE chose to bury MVP’s title aspirations is anybody’s guess. Maybe it was because at that point, having MVP pushed, as a serious title contender wasn’t as big a shock as it was to make Sheamus champ. But that night, MVP had more of a crowd reaction than Sheamus has ever been able to generate.
Someone needs to tell WWE that just because a storyline shocks us, doesn’t mean that it is good or entertaining.
Imagine if you and your buddy are talking and out of nowhere he punches you in the face. I’m sure you would be shocked, but I guarantee that you would not be entertained.
At the end of the day, I think we all watch wrestling to be entertained. I just hope that someday, the WWE will remember this when they decide to push future characters.