WWE King of the Ring a Sacrificial Lamb as Kevin Dunn Makes Example of Sheamus
Sheamus continued his winning ways this past week on Raw with a quick victory over Evan Bourne. The win continued a recent trend of the once-embattled former WWE Champion's revitalization in WWE after a long losing streak.
Sheamus' recent winning ways coincide with the Irish-born Superstar's declaration that "the King is Dead" at a recent live event after he won WWE's King of the Ring tournament in November of 2010. In any other instance, the declaration of monarchical dormancy should have signified a kiss of death for Sheamus' WWE career.
However since wiping his Irish unmentionables with the crown of a once-prestigious WWE tournament, that has launched a myriad of legendary careers, Sheamus has been booked as strongly as he was when he first debuted on the Raw roster.
The intentional sabotage of the King of the Ring, with announcers going so far as to suggest that the tournament is cursed, is quite puzzling to say the least. Sheamus suffering a losing streak as reigning King of the Ring defeats the purpose of having the tournament in the first place.
Once the pieces of such a puzzling scenario are put together, the pieces being a variety of backstage reports from reputable sources, the portrait depicts a troubling pattern of WWE management displaying an obsession with humility in its young talent while allowing personal feelings get in the way of good business.
In the curious case of Sheamus O'Shaunessy, this head-scratching mission statement seemed to have been personified by WWE producer and Executive Vice President Kevin Dunn.
Sheamus' career downturn in late 2010 came in conjunction with aptly timed reports that the WWE VP was "not a fan" of the former upstart champion. According to some reports, it was Dunn who sparked the ingenious idea to have Sheamus win the King of the Ring Tournament, which still carried significant name value to that point, strictly to have a reason to dress Sheamus up in a ridiculous green evening grown, tiara, and baton before habitually doing jobs to the Evan Bournes of the world.
To make matters worse, many were beginning to feel that Sheamus, who won the WWE Championship within months of his Raw debut by beating incumbent John Cena in a tables match, was getting too big for his britches, a state of mind that has been historically scrutinized by WWE to their own detriment.
In response to Sheamus' downturn bottoming out when he was on the receiving end of an infamous Triple H beatdown on the February 28th edition of WWE Raw, former WWE creative member John Piermarini blogged:
"Sheamus is being humbled big time these last few months. My guess is that his head got a little too big the last year with his meteoric rise. I seen a change in him since the day he won the WWE Title, apparently I wasn’t the only one."
Such an absurd mindset, that Sheamus' arrogance internally warranted his otherwise unproductive public sacrifice, speaks to the oftentimes questionable judgment demonstrated by individuals who have been trapped in the proverbial WWE bubble.
Reasons surrounding Sheamus' losing ways speak to deeper problems within WWE's infrastructure, an infrastructure that is still littered with sentiments of the corporately damaging Old Boys Network.
Like Major League Baseball, WWE has been crippled by its own history and is a slave to otherwise fruitless time honored traditions. WWE has gone backwards financially in recent years as they've failed to create the next crop of new stars dating back to John Cena's initial push in the early 2000's.
In spite of WWE's current financial woes that can only be feasibly cured with the success of the ongoing youth movement, WWE higher ups are still overly concerned with the perceived respect in which their young stars possess for the sports entertainment business.
It is certainly admirable of WWE to insist on keeping its young stars humble. But to publicly make examples of high-profile stars like Sheamus, who was aggressively pushed over the course of several months at the expense of a handful of WWE veterans, borders on financial suicide as it pertains of WWE's otherwise bright, young future.
Former World Champion Jack Swagger suffered the same fate shortly after his brief reign as champion for similar reasons.
WWE's pattern of keeping certain stars in check is equally as disturbing when taking into consideration the fact that it has notoriously turned a blind eye to more troubling issues that at times were damaging to the lives of the Superstars in question.
Randy Orton was pushed early in his career due to immense talent and potential. However, WWE never let up on his push despite behavioral issues (that would take another article to break down) and substance abuse, both of which warranted suspensions for the multi-time world champion but did not deter Orton's eventual rise to super stardom.
Many stars of the Attitude Era, a successful boom period for WWE where they refrained from drug testing to facilitate its Superstars having more impressive, box-office drawing physiques, took full advantage of the then lax WWE environment when it came to steroids and substance abuse. Unfortunately, they have since suffered the consequences.
And let's not get started on Chris Benoit.
WWE has much bigger problems to worry about than the egos of its budding stars. All great sports entertainers, by design, have sizable egos. Such self-sufficiency is almost a necessity for one to stand out in the sea of colorful and greatly talented individuals trying to make it as transcendent stars in sports entertainment.
Many times, a successful WWE Superstars' ego is the very reason for his or her success as their character is just an extension of their own real life boisterousness.
WWE needs to learn how to properly deal with its superstars' humility issues. Their financial well being may depend on it.
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