There’s always been something about Sheamus that makes you just wanna spray Windex in his eyes. Maybe it’s the unconventional appearance, with carrot-orange hair and the pallor of a life-long agoraphobic. Maybe it’s that his sing-song Irish accent is apparently used for comic (no) effect (whatsoever), permanently grinning his way through poorly-delivered threats and insults like an oversized ventriloquist’s dummy.
[adinserter block=”1″]Moreover than that, the creative behind Sheamus’ ascent to the top of World Wrestling Entertainment has been rather arrogant, to say the least. It wasn’t always this way, however.
As a heel for two years, Sheamus had credible offense and a convincing enough snarl to be a viable villain, and his exclusive appearance only hastened that push, which was a refreshing diversion. That is, of course, until Sheamus was booked to run away from John Cena, Triple H, and The Nexus like they were on the verge of attacking him with a sun lamp. Too much non-committal booking for this supposed monster heel killed him off quicker than networks cancelling Will Arnett sitcoms.
Just recently on Monday Night Raw, Sheamus reverted to his villainous persona. That’s what we’re told, anyway.
Backtracking a bit, it’s hard to tell precisely when Sheamus turned face. Strident wrestling paleontologists venture that his run as a purported hero dates back to the summer of 2011, when Carrot Flop stood up to Mark Henry for some reason or another. With no motivation outside of “it’s either this, or he sits at home and collects his downside anyway”, the Sheamus (a)Path(y) of Destruction was under way.
What I wrote earlier about Sheamus’ face push being ‘rather arrogant’ rings true, as will be illustrated in the following sequence of events. Remember, in the course of reading this list, that Sheamus was supposed to be seen as heroic, noble, and likable in each instance, with no irony intended.
-Obliterated Christian in a series of matches in the fall of 2011. Nothing inherently wrong with this, until you remember that Christian, after winning the World Heavyweight Title (which fans erupted for, because they wanted to see it), dropped the gold to Orton, was hastily turned heel, and spent the entire summer backing a truck over the fans’ desire to see him as a tippy-top face, instead resurrecting his whining-loser heel act to the delight of no one.
As Christian (still outpopping Orton in subsequent rematches) begged for another title shot, Sheamus would come out, call him a loser, and crush him like a bug. Right idea to push a guy, wrong instance. This would be like if a 1950s blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter was picketing outside a studio, and someone attacked him with a shovel, and expected cheers for doing so.
-In another case of bad timing, Sheamus won the 2012 Royal Rumble. Not a bad idea, but again, timing. The last man he eliminated was presumed winner Chris Jericho, who’d just returned with a series of vignettes that made as much sense as Bob Orton with a mouthful of Big League Chew.
Fans clamored for Jericho’s esoteric “end of the world” act, and Sheamus eliminated him to win. Not that Jericho *needed* the win (it’s a known fact that Jericho will put *anyone* over, as long as it doesn’t interfere with his Fozzy touring), but few people talked up Sheamus’ coup of a win. In other words, he wasn’t as over as the moment he was obtaining.
-Squashed Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania to win the World Heavyweight Title. This was the worst thing that ever happened in the history of everything. Amnesty International may disagree, but I’m sticking to my guns here.
-Proudly accepted a tainted win over Alberto Del Rio at SummerSlam in 2012, and then beat him up when he rightly tried to protest. Admittedly, Del Rio’s about as interesting as a soda tab collection, so most babyfaces would have been well-received here. Had CM Punk walloped Alberto with a high roundhouse in this spot, they’d throw Mr. Go to Blackhawks Games a parade. But since it’s Sheamus, who had yet to win over the fans in month THIRTEEN of his push as a face, the champion was catcalled like he’d just given Alberto a Cleveland Steamer against his will. Not a good sign.
-Developed the irritating habit of jumping bad guys in non-threatening situations. In 2013, Damien Sandow would demonstrate his intellect to the audience, or Mark Henry would challenge someone to a tug of war. Sheamus would show up, and either beat up Sandow unprovoked, or cheat against Henry, and Brogue Kick him back into his midcard caste. HELL YEAH! Let’s buy some Sheamus shirts for the kids! Remember to Be a Star, you little brats!
Boy, just reading all of this, you’d think either WWE was resoundingly clueless on how to get the big guy over as a superhero, or they hated his guts and were simply pulling the world’s longest rib on him (“Are we done ruining him yet?” “No, we need him to Brogue Kick Mae Young during a heartfelt birthday segment!” “Mae’s dead, Vince” “Then get a shovel, Hunter! You have plenty!”)
So with all of the popularity of Yoko Ono in Liverpool at his side, Sheamus flushed all of that adulation away at his employer’s behest to turn heel again.
[adinserter block=”2″]How did he do it, you ask? He Brogue Kicked an exhausted Dean Ambrose and eliminated him to win the US Title in a battle royal. Then he cut a promo which sounded like any other Mad Libs promo he’s cut in the last five years, and that was that. Really? He couldn’t chuck Ambrose through a barber shop window? Couldn’t accuse Ambrose of having ‘jealous eyes’ toward a lady friend? Couldn’t join the New World Order? (“Ya fenz cahn steck it, brah-der!”)
Instead of anything like that, Sheamus’ heel turn was rather apropos: he turned heel, and the viewing audience didn’t connect the dots, finding out in hindsight.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone watching was aware that Sheamus had turned face a few years back, either.
Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.
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