WWE WrestleMania 27: 10 Things You Need to Know About Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
After a full year to speculate the card for WrestleMania XXVII, the show now breaks into the horizon, separated from us by a mere five days.
Though the card offers several intriguing match-ups, the focus of this piece will be on what could end up being an underrated performance of the broadcast, the United States Championship match between Sheamus and his challenger, Daniel Bryan.
Without further delay, let's take a look at 10 important facts pertaining to the results, quality and ramifications for this WrestleMania encounter.
10. We Can Expect This Match to Open WrestleMania
The opening contest should always contain a few important factors: above-average wrestling, to set that "special" tone for WrestleMania; excitement, to ready the fans for the rest of the card; and intrigue, so that fans don't merely watch the spectacle, but become a part of it as they internally (or outwardly) debate the outcome based on a myriad of contributing elements.
This match contains all of that.
Daniel Bryan is renowned worldwide for his wrestling, while Sheamus proved his ability to put on a quality match at WrestleMania XXVI with Triple H and, more akin to what we might expect between these two, John Morrison towards the end of 2010.
The agile, acrobatic feats by Daniel Bryan, his intricate submission work and Sheamus' stiff offense will do wonders in exciting the crowd. Beyond those talents' individual appeal, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan should complement each other quite nicely.
Daniel Bryan's athleticism enables him to sell Sheamus' strikes to great effect, such as a flip bump through Sheamus' running Polish hammer, as we've seen in previous encounters; and Sheamus' strength should allow him to support Daniel Bryan through trickier maneuvers.
Throughout their respective WWE tenures, both these performers have been the subject of significant media attention; Daniel Bryan especially for his status as an "Internet darling" and the infamous "Tiegate," while Sheamus was resented for his alleged affiliation with Triple H.
Expect these details, in addition to the obvious factor that this is a US Championship match, to come into discussion as the match unfolds.
9. Sheamus' Reign Has Only Just Begun
By the time Sheamus enters WrestleMania XXVII with the US Championship, he'll have only held the title for a very brief 20 days.
Historically speaking, reigns have been cut shorter than that, with wrestlers such as John Cena, Edge and even Bret Hart back in 1999 having held it significantly fewer days.
However, reigns have been longer than that more often than not, so statistically, it is unlikely that Sheamus walks out without his reign intact.
8. These Two Have Faced Before
Obviously, these two locked up recently in the match that led to Sheamus being crowned United States Champion for the first time. Although, they have had brief interactions that can be traced back further than that.
A time after Daniel Bryan was revealed as the final teammate of Team WWE against the original Nexus at SummerSlam, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan met in singles action.
Though Bryan was, just like two weeks ago on RAW, on the losing end of the confrontation, he still managed to put on a good showing against Sheamus, who at the time seemed like a much more imposing challenger.
Though these matches did not bear the luster of a memorable feud, the limited nature of their confrontations is actually to their WrestleMania match's advantage.
They have met on television, putting on solid performances despite slight timeslots, so that fans will know to expect a good match.
However, since they have not yet had a true, championship worthy match with more allotted time, not everything has been given away, either.
7. The WWE Draft Has Yet to Be Announced
In previous years, the WWE Draft has been scheduled for soon after WrestleMania. However, its date has thus far gone unmentioned by the WWE.
This does not necessarily suggest there will not be a 2011 WWE Draft. However, it does rule out the draft as a reference for predicting outcomes to WrestleMania matches, as it's been used for in previous years.
For instance, one could suggest that because Sheamus has had a longer stint on RAW, he would be more likely to move to SmackDown, dropping the title to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania on his way out the door.
Though without a draft to prompt such a relocation, that scenario and many others go out the window.
6. Extreme Rules Might Serve as the "Rematch" Pay-Per-View
The absence of a WWE Draft immediately after WrestleMania might indicate another important fact: the pay-per-view, Extreme Rules, could host the rematches from the fallout to WrestleMania XXVII.
Instead of the draft terminating some storylines, like it's done other years, WWE would be open to continue them onto the next pay-per-view.
This could further support Sheamus' case for retaining the title, as a series of title matches between the same competitors often has the same person defending the title throughout most the feud, either losing the belt at the end of the series or ultimately warding off the challenger.
5. John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler
It does indeed seem quite likely that Sheamus and Daniel Bryan will be involved in another United States Championship match at Extreme Rules, though it might not be under the same circumstances as they'll contend with at WrestleMania.
Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison, two mid-carders on the rise, might lose some of their direction after WWE legend Trish Stratus and celebrity guest Snooki exit the fold.
It's possible that WWE will continue a rivalry between them at Extreme Rules, though since multi-man matches have become a staple of the pay-per-view, we might see them at the event in another capacity.
Ziggler and Morrison could join Daniel Bryan and Sheamus in a fatal four-way for the United States Championship under some kind of hardcore stipulation.
There's a lot of talent between all four of these men and they've had plenty of experience working together.
Since the aftermath of WrestleMania is usually dedicated to the main event more than the mid-card, a joining of these two storylines rather than continuing them separately would be a wise way to keep all four men relevant until the focus shifts to the mid-carders for the Money in the Bank build.
4. Sheamus Is on an Upswing
After an embarrassingly ineffective King of the Ring victory, Sheamus needed something to get himself over as a viable threat on the roster.
Winning the United States Championship was just that feather in his cap ... err, crown, I suppose. Though he has thankfully forsaken that.
To lose the title so soon after claiming it from Daniel Bryan would hardly send the message that he's a dominant force on RAW.
It might ultimately restore his credit some, but assuming WWE is still reasonably behind the Celtic Warrior, it certainly wouldn't have the desired effect.
3. Time Might Not Be on Their Side
Though the match has great potential, the wrestlers involved might not be able to live up to it should their timeslot not provide adequate opportunity for them to put on the best show they can.
Granted, even 10 minutes is enough for a quality match given the right circumstances, but it's difficult for even the best that there is to have a classic performance (something the US Championship could use to add some merit) with such limited time.
Though with seven other matches announced for WrestleMania thus far, in addition to all the fanfare that the yearly extravaganza is always rife with, it's difficult to predict how much time WWE can spare for a mid-card title match.
2. The Motivation of Youth
Sorry to refer to the abstract, but there's one factor, even if intangible, that I thought worth mentioning: the fire that comes with being a wrestler in his prime.
Both wrestlers, though they've experienced very different levels of success, are still perhaps only in the early stages of their careers with WWE.
Daniel Bryan is reputed to be a consistent and dedicated worker, and though I can't say Sheamus has always had stellar matches, to his credit, I've never seen him slouch.
Sheamus will walk into WrestleMania for only the second time, while Daniel Bryan will have his very first match at the event.
I don't think either can really prove their ability much more than they already have, but the desire to outperform their contemporaries on the "Grandest Stage of Them All" should keep their adrenaline pumping in order to produce a better match.
1. It's Daniel Freaking Bryan
Excuse me if I sound like a mark, but come on, this is Daniel Bryan we're talking about!
Some of the rivalries Daniel Bryan has been involved with since debuting in WWE were lackluster.
But even when restricted by the typical timeslots allotted to mid-card title matches, Daniel Bryan managed to perform well beyond any of his contemporaries, wrestling one of the best matches of 2010 against Dolph Ziggler at Bragging Rights.
Though people usually expect a big man to hurt the quality of a match, Daniel Bryan proved that he can bring the best out of any opponent when he wrestled what some writers called, "the best five-minute match one can possibly hope for" against Batista on RAW.
The audience was on fire for every submission hold Bryan locked in and though that was due in part to the enormous heat Batista had at the time, one cannot discount Daniel Bryan's incredible execution.
There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel Bryan, like a select few mid-carders have before him, could deliver a classic match despite the rivalry being relatively low-priority.
When it all comes down to it, there's little doubt in my mind Sheamus will walk away still the United States Champion. However, what I think is more up in the air, and thus more worth discussing, is just how good this match will be.
Could it be a classic, one of those rare mid-card matches at WrestleMania that brightens the quality of the show? Or will it be just another run-of-the-mill US Championship match, unremarkable due to the restrictions set upon it?
Question it all we want, the only way to find out is by watching WrestleMania XXVII on Sunday, April 3; or, you know, reading about it afterwards, but that's not quite as fun.
I'll see you there.