“We?re in a crisis period in WWE and we need to build new guys,” ? Chris Jericho
December 13th, 2009 was a significant date in pro wrestling history. On that day Sheamus O?Shaunessy ascended to the main event ranks of WWE and claimed the WWE Championship from John Cena in a tables match. The weeks leading up to, and the final moments of that match elevated a talent, the decision of which resulted in both positive and negative reactions, and consequences that will shape Raw in the coming weeks, if not much longer.
In this writer’s opinion, putting the title on Sheamus was the right move. Had Cena defended the title successfully, Sheamus would be back down on the card and there would have been no change at the top. For how long have we been complaining that WWE, especially on the Raw brand, needs to elevate new guys to the main event? The last year has given us the repetitive Cena, Orton, and Triple H match combinations that left audiences appreciated the in-ring effort but longing for the change. You wanted change? You got it. And now people are upset that WWE put the strap on Sheamus. Had Cena walked out of TLC still champion there would be people saying that they wished WWE had taken the chance and the strap on the powder man. It seems WWE just can?t win sometimes.
Meanwhile, there are other individuals that WWE could have chosen instead. On the Raw brand alone they have MVP, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Miz, Kofi Kingston, Ted Dibiase, and Cody Rhodes. MVP may someday be a main event attraction, I myself wish Mark Henry would get a run just because of his years of dedication and he has just been on fire the last few months. Kofi is on the cusp of something big, Swagger is getting there, Miz is a personal favorite of mine, and Dibiase and Rhodes are very interesting but overshadowed as Randy Orton’s lackeys. While there were many choices, the simple fact is that WWE didn?t put the belt on any of those guys, they chose Sheamus. While some may not be happy with it, at least it is something different that can be made into something great.
The Sheamus character is very interesting in that he is a rising monster who is oblivious to his own inexperience and that could be his downfall. One day he will get in the ring with a veteran who will proceed to humble him and take the title, unless he becomes the next Brock Lesnar or Goldberg who were just too dominating for their own good. The door is wide open. While Cena may get his vengeance, Orton can now compete again for the championship and could pose a threat. A heel vs. heel match does not draw the intrigue of a straight-up good guy vs. bad guy match, but Orton could take the tile in a triple threat match. Orton may even pin the third man, unseating Sheamus without actually beating him.
In creating a new star WWE has also put a few restrictions on itself. Sheamus cannot sell a pay per view main event alone. Putting him in the ring with a Kofi or a Henry isn?t going to be successful. For now, Sheamus will have to be in the ring with the big names like Cena, Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. In that respect, WWE has limited itself in that they cannot put new stars in the title picture if Sheamus is champion, they have to keep the veterans there to build him, which temporarily stunts the growth of others for one the sake of one man’s push.
Odds are that Sheamus will not hold the title longer than the Royal Rumble. The possibility that they will build up to a Cena-Sheamus rematch at Mania is very minimal Now that Randy Orton can start fighting for the title again, there is intrigue. Perhaps we see Orton and Cena becoming allies to unseat the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus could then end up losing the championship at the January 4th show, or at the Rumble. While a short reign is likely, perhaps a long reign would be more interesting and beneficial to Sheamus and WWE. If Sheamus were to lose the championship between now and the Rumble, WWE runs the risk of turning him into the next Kane. Kane held the title for twenty four hours back in 1998. Since then he has not been champion and he likely never will be again. This is not to say that becoming like Kane is a bad thing, as he is someone who can be placed just about anywhere on the card at any time, but WWE does not need another Kane right now. They need more consistent main event talents. There are plenty of options they can go with to accomplish just that. One scenario is to have Sheamus win the rematch with Cena at the Rumble to show that his title win was no fluke, walk in and out of Elimination Chamber to prove his toughness, then have a big legitimate title defense at Wrestlemania. If he remains a baby face, Triple H would be the perfect man for this job. The Game has made people at Mania such as Batista and John Cena. Looking at all of his Mania matches, HHH has always been better in defeat because it means something when somebody beats him at the biggest show of the year. If Sheamus defeated Triple H at Mania he would have his name etched in history as one of the few to successfully defend the title at Wrestlemania. After working for months with guys like Cena, HHH, and Orton, Sheamus would then have the rub and the knowledge to work and build other guys like Kofi and MVP.
Critics look at Sheamus as green and reckless. Their concerns are fair. The man is very green, but he will find his way. Some of you may be thinking that if the man is too green now and he can?t headline a pay per view on his own then he shouldn?t be champion. Again, a fair criticism. However, that is, for better or worse, the way wrestling works nowadays. The championship isn?t always going to be on the top draw or the best ring general.
If you love the decision to put the belt on Sheamus, it is likely that you wanted something different in the Raw main event scene and that is understandable. Seeing Sheamus with the title belt was a nice change. If you do not like the push of Sheamus because you do not think he is ready for this, that is your view and you are most welcome to it. But if you are someone who complains about WWE constantly like some of the other websites out there, then criticizes them for finally doing something different, just stop, take deep breath, and wait. We are only a few days into the Sheamus title reign. No matter how short or long it may be it deserves to be played out. If it flops, it flops. If it’s a success, then we get what we wanted, a shake up of the main event scene.