The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus, has had more ups and downs in the short time he's appeared on WWE TV than most have had in similar periods of time. He even won a Slammy Award for having the best first year in WWE history.
Wrestling historians can likely debunk how deserving he was of such an accolade with countless examples, but I challenge anyone to debunk my claim about him.
Two nights ago on Monday Night Raw, the pale Irishman was victorious in the 2010 King of the Ring Tournament. While I won't reprise my previous flaming of the IWC's reaction to The Miz's victory over Randy Orton one week ago, seen here:
Clearly, we have another example of a talented star who can't seem to win the respect of his public. Let's take a brief look at Sheamus' brief time in WWE.
Aside from wrestling in Florida Championship Wrestling, he got his major television debut on the short lived return of ECW. A big, mean, bastard like him seemed to fit in perfectly, even if everyone on ECW's roster were no longer hemophiliacs.
His move to the big time of Monday Night Raw didn't take long, and after taking John Cena's WWE Championship (in what many consider a fluke of a tables match) and putting Triple H on the shelf (in what many consider a cowardly act, since it was partially a result of a pipe to the back of the head, kayfabe or not), many had a hard time ignoring the man.
He'd made an impact, shook the tree, and rocked the boat...pure and damn simple.
However, his first and quickly achieved second WWE Championship reigns would both be littered with cheating, sneakiness, underhandedness, and overall disregard for holding the title according to the rules.
Personally, I'm more offended that he was not more honorable about it, given the fact that his theme song says "you wear your sin like it's some kinda pride...too many lies, too many lies...you wear your cowardice well...and I will see you ride it straight to hell," than I am offended that he was cheating, but I am still disappointed at watching a performer with as much talent as he has get relegated to such cheap victories.
At this year's Night of Champions, The Viper Randy Orton captured his latest WWE Championship, beating out a handful of other top tier Raw Superstars and finally dethroning what many were considering a paper champion in Sheamus.
Of course, the Irishman would attempt to reclaim his belt, and after being defeated at Hell in a Cell, it seemed as if Sheamus' concern for Randy and his new bling was getting directed elsewhere.
This is where things, unfortunately, get confusing for me. Please help me figure this out, anybody...
John Morrison is considered main event quality, and people make the biggest stinks about him not winning a title, even though it's pretty imminent. Meanwhile, Sheamus decisively achieves the King of the Ring, and largely gets flak and excuses about bad booking decisions, merely because WWE hasn't deemed it Morrison's time yet. Check this out:
Shawn Michaels won his first WWE Championship on March 31, 1996, at Wrestlemania 12. The "boyhood dream came true," and only after being with WWE for 8 years and wrestling and training for even more years before that. He joined WWE in 1988 as half of The Rockers and took a hell of a long time solidifying his status as a true Future Hall of Famer.
Meanwhile, a Tough Enough participant like John Morrison is heralded as the guy who should have won the King of the Ring and he's only been an active member of WWE TV rosters for a maximum of 6 years.
Not saying he doesn't deserve it. Morrison is one of the few wrestlers my fiancee and I can actually agree on liking for his incredible agility, flashy moves, and smooth style. Thing is, we love Sheamus for the same exact reasons. Just putting things into perspective.
Kane took over 10 years to hold a top tier title proudly and decisively. Who's to say a 31-year-old like John Morrison won't take just as long? Remember, the longer he goes without a title, the more amazing it will be once he finally makes it.
Shawn and Kane both have had tons of chances, but couldn't seem to grab the brass ring. Morrison is the HBK of our generation (minus, perhaps, the mic skills). He'll get his shot, trust me.
Sheamus was flamed left and right for being a paper WWE Champion, and many were pretty pleased to see a respectably talented wrestler like Randy Orton take the belt from him at NOC. After Sheamus lost the title, and he ADD'ed himself into feuding with Santino, Sheamus only managed to get a SLICE of credible visibility because his anger led him into a feud with who?
That's right...John Morrison. Thus, by winning this tournament, it puts Sheamus at a slight lead in their feud and opens up a slight possibility that they might give us even more terrific 12 minute matches in the future.
From what I've read, Morrison defeated Sheamus pretty decisively at Survivor Series. Great for him, as Sheamus is a big, tough, crafty fella. I'm sure lots of people thought Morrison had the King of the Ring locked up after beating both Alberto and Cody Rhodes in the same night, as well as his previous victory over his fellow finalist.
Yet, Sheamus finally pulls out a fair-and-square win against a guy touted as being main event material, and what do I end up hearing? "Congratulations on a great match!" No. "Awesome exchange, incredible moves, unbelievable back and forth!" No. What I hear is...
"Sheamus doesn't need another push." "Sheamus doesn't gain anything by winning KOTR." "WWE dropped the ball and screwed KOTR." "Sheamus is already established main event material and doesn't need this."
Here's the thing: since the bulk of Sheamus' WWE Title defense matches have been interfered with or cheated? That would make him a paper champion...so far. At least, it would make him a paper champion when compared to other title holders who have had paper reigns, but are still respectable as champions during their careers.
As great as Triple H is, for instance, some even write him off as a paper champion. The reason he's still the King of Kings, and NOT truly a paper champion, is due to the fact that he's proven himself capable of pulling out amazing victories entirely on his own, without a single lick of help.
However, with Sheamus' limited time on WWE TV, Sheamus can't be an overall paper champion and still be considered main event material at the same time. It just sounds stupid! It's like saying another human being is completely fraudulent, but still deserves all the rewards in the world just because they've once had them.
That's like saying that we should gather up every single purveyor of white collar crimes, every victim of gambling and addiction who are now either in jail or on the streets homeless and poor, and take hard-earned tax dollars to return them to their former lives of luxury. Sound stupid to you yet?
Sheamus IS main event material, but NOT because he's had two paper title reigns. He's main event material because his moves, abilities, stats, and yes even his mic skills, are clearly the total package to get him there.
For those who have mixed approaches on Sheamus, allow me to fix that.
You have to admit one thing. As we've seen from this past Monday, Sheamus is just as talented as John Morrison. Morrison is a flashy rock 'n' roller, and his parkour moveset supports that. Sheamus is a tough, crafty, brawling Irishman, and his moveset supports that, too.
I'll reiterate and agree whole-heartedly that Sheamus' two title reigns were absolutely, positively, flukes. What you have to remember is, again, after Sheamus lost his title, all he had left was adding comic relief to the mid-card of Monday Night Raw with Santino and Kozlov.
He STOPPED being main event material at that point. By many of the logics found here, his reputation and stock had severely plummeted. Had John Morrison not been involved in Sheamus' bullying of Santino, Sheamus might've been relegated to fighting Kozlov at Survivor Series instead of Morrison.
And I guarantee you, no one would've talked about that afterward. No one.
Sheamus beat Morrison fair and square to capture one of the most coveted accolades in WWE history. Yes, there are those who are going to suddenly stop talking about the booking issues, and play pretend for a moment, and say like little children, "but but, Morrison fought in two matches before the finals, Sheamus only had one match! Morrison was tired, Sheamus totally had an unfair advantage." To those idiots, I say this...
It was a 3-hour live show! Both the matches with Cody and Alberto were not long, about 3.5 minutes for each one. Morrison could have (kayfabe) taken naps between each one to regain his strength. Sheamus had one 4-minute match against Kofi Kingston.
I'm good at suspending my disbelief for wrestling, but I'm sorry, I'm not going to call 2 minutes of in-ring action "an advantage for Sheamus." That just doesn't work for me.
So, please, everyone flaming this guy, give him some credit. He beat John Morrison, and given Morrison's momentum as of late, momentum that I guarantee you isn't stopping a single bit, that's a pretty impressive feat.
If you saw the match happen live, then give BOTH competitors some credit. It was an incredible 12-minute showing of athleticism, style, twists, and counters that deserves respect on both sides, and again, for once...
Sheamus won, fair and square. Stop making excuses...
Stop getting fatalistic about John Morrison because he WILL be champion, just like HBK before him.
Stop saying Alberto needed to be King, because in all fairness 1) his riches, cars and personal ring announcer make him look like a King already, and 2) he has so much talent and charisma, he's another character that hasn't lost a lick of momentum, despite ANY of his current losses.
And stop complaining about Sheamus not needing another push, because quite frankly, he DOES need one. He's immensely talented, and like many heels in WWE that subsist on cheating, if he's going to last at all and have any kind of credible career, he needs to win more matches.
Otherwise, he's just a muscle-bound stuntman like Titus O'Neil wanted to be.
Sheamus needed this to stay relevant, to show us that he can win if he puts his focus on it. Triple H can jump back and forth across the Heel-Face fence because he's proven himself. If Sheamus doesn't at least prove himself with decisive victories, he's just an evil cartoon character, and since WWE is still hovering over PG territory, most of the kid fans know where to find better evil characters on TV.
Sheamus won without cheating, without being sneaky, and without taking the easy way out, but by scoring a decisive pinfall. By himself, on his own, no underhanded tactics.
Oh wait, but he pulled on the ring apron! Pulling on the ring apron was no more underhanded than grabbing the bottom rope to save himself from succumbing to a pin which, if I recall, he did as well.
Monday, November 28, 2010...Sheamus was the better man. Time to give credit where credit is due. Time to realize that just because our hero, Morrison, didn't win, he'll make it eventually.
If I had my way, Morrison and Sheamus would duke it out for a third time, Morrison would win and Sheamus would challenge him to a fourth go. I can't get enough of their chemistry and would love to see their in-ring rivalry get deeper.
Things are changing for WWE rapidly, as we've been seeing. If more heels can win fair and square, who knows what that might do for the wrestling industry in general?