Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for the 7/29 episode of SmackDown. If you wish to keep your next episode of SD pure, please direct yourself away from this article. Thank you.
The spoilers are as follows:
"Mark Henry defeated local guy Bobby Howard. After the match, he tries to attack him with a chair but Long comes out and stops him. He says there is already one lawsuit pending and he'll find him competition. Sheamus comes out and says if he wants competition he'll fight him and slaps him. Henry goes after him but Sheamus throws him over the top rope. Sheamus tries to hit him with a chair but Henry leaves."
Basically, what most people are drawing from this and his recent match with the overtly heel Wade Barrett on last week's SmackDown is that Sheamus is in the process of a face-turn. Many are concerned about this, proclaiming it'd be offensive to Sheamus' character and would do little to improve his status on the Blue Brand. Judging from the title, you can tell that I strongly disagree with those assertions. Allow me to describe to you why Sheamus' face-turn is a welcome change to Friday Nights.
Sheamus stood up against the monster heel, Mark Henry, who has been a complete hate machine to the fans as of late. Like other top faces, such as John Cena and CM Punk, Sheamus took supreme action and went after the "big bad guy," just as Punk did with WWE Management and Cena with most of his opponents. As a result of Sheamus being the alternative to the heat-drawing Mark Henry, he pretty much automatically has the fans behind him. Standing up to a monster heel and actually holding your ground scores you major points in credibility and success, which most faces (and even heels) nowadays lack.
Sheamus already is the Celtic Warrior. And as a Celtic Warrior, he not only holds the virtues of brutality and savageness, but also of honor and dignity. And in the WWE, there is little honor and dignity in being a heel. Sheamus already owns the face values of honor and dignity through his Celtic code, so why not make that apparent? It makes sense, and fits with the Celtic Warrior image: a brutal, yet honorable soldier. Reminds me of a certain special someone, wouldn't you say? Plus, being a face of Celtic and Irish origin would place Sheamus in a really heated and most likely intense feud with the British Wade Barrett (ask your world history teacher why), which would help further elevate Sheamus and Barrett up the card.
And on the note of rising up the card, heel Sheamus is stuck in line with stars like Christian, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship scene. Jumping Sheamus to face would put him in line with only one other person: Randy Orton. The Blue Brand is in desperate need of a No. 2 face behind Ce-uh, I mean Orton. Daniel Bryan is getting prepped up for the main event tier with the help of the MITB briefcase and the wondrous heel that is Cody Rhodes, but he's still not ready to be ranked up with Orton. Sheamus needs to fill that No. 2 void. The biggest draw from that is then Orton wouldn't need to be in every single World Championship Match since there lacks any other credible faces on the brand at this current time. Sheamus could no doubt fill that void—and do it well, too.
Ability and Appearance
Sheamus plays an excellent powerhouse character, demonstrating his wrath with that particular nasty power-bomb on Sin Cara through a ladder at July 17th's MITB pay-per-view. As this brewing feud with Mark Henry shows, Kane and Big Show are both out and will be for some time (as they are both in or approaching their 40s), and Sheamus is here to fill in their big shoes. And since Sheamus has the favor of the boss and the "boss" on his side, along with the image and physique of a typical WWE superstar, a push for the newly reinvented face Sheamus would seem logical. After stepping out of this Mark Henry feud, perhaps engage Sheamus in a British-Irish feud with Wade Barrett, establishing further that Sheamus is officially baby-face material and then bring him into the WHC scene once he's needed (either to replace or add supplement to Orton).
Staleness of the Heel
A face-change, like a heel-change, usually allows the superstar to improve upon the character in the process. Sheamus' only strong point in being a heel is his mild anger (which seems like petty sighs compared to Orton's recent outbursts) and grand power. It's a very stale and dull formula and contributes little to his character, aside from "oh he's a big tough warrior." Very stale and very dull. Plus, Sheamus has been a heel since his mid-2009 debut on ECW over two years ago. His character has remained stagnant since and as a result, he was shoved into the mid-card scene competing for the diminishing US Title after his brief main event stint on RAW. For Sheamus to come back to that point where he once was—the former two-time WWE Champion—he'll have to make use of a character revamp like this face-turn in the making.
Some wrestlers just need that certain change of pace to set themselves back upon the pedestal they once stood proudly on. Sheamus is one of those wrestlers.
Thank you for reading. This is my first published article here and I hope you enjoyed it. Like everyone always says, leave your comments and critiques below if you have them. I look forward to writing many more pieces for this great site. Once again, thanks.