Sheamus began his WWE career in the summer of 2009, when he debuted on the rebranded ECW program. Just a few short months later, “The Celtic Warrior” made his debut on the Raw roster. By the end of 2009, he had defeated John Cena to capture his first WWE Championship.
In only 166 days, Sheamus went from a developmental talent to figurehead of the entire WWE. While it was one of the greatest rookie years in the company’s history, it was also a precursor to how dominant his career would be, and how loathed he would be for it.
Six years later, and the internet wrestling community (IWC) has developed a strong and steady disdain for the Dublin native. He’s booed for being a bully and “looking stupid” by the younger demographic, but more seasoned fans are overly critical of his actual wrestling ability.
The truth is that Sheamus is a really underrated worker. He’s one of, if not, the best brawlers on the roster, has a unique (marketable) look, and very rarely phones in matches. His dependability makes him one of the WWE’s greatest asset.
Mark Henry and Big Show had 5-star caliber matches against Sheamus. How often are Mark Henry and Big Show praised for their wrestling prowess? If a wrestler can work quality matches out of these two, I have little faith that there’s anything he can’t do.
Run down the list of his quality programs: Goldust, Shelton Benjamin, Triple H, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Cesaro, and most recently, Dolph Ziggler. He has a seemingly ceaseless list of formidable rivalries.
That collection doesn’t even include his greatest work, the feud with Daniel Bryan, and subsequently, his greatest match. In 2012, the two would meet in an unforgettable 2 out of 3 falls match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
So, why the aversion to Sheamus?
Before his involvement in shaping the brand of NXT, the internet wrestling community detested Triple H. His backstage politics were seen as conniving and malicious, and he was constantly “burying” someone’s favorite wrestler.
It became pretty well-known that Triple H took a liking to Sheamus. The two even worked out together during the early stages of Sheamus’ WWE run. Coincidentally, the two ended up facing each other on the card of WrestleMania XXVI; for some, this was another accolade “handed to” him.
In that friendship, Sheamus got off on the wrong foot with “smart” fans, and maybe he just never recovered from it. Maybe the idea that he was given everything out of favor can’t be supplanted, regardless of how many quality performances he strings together.
Sheamus’ win-loss record is also pretty staggering. During his tenure on the main roster, he’s won far more times than he’s lost, drawing comparisons to another man who’s drawn the ire of the IWC: John Cena.
Sure, he’s experienced bouts of stale direction and hokey face runs (what kind of brawling tough guy walks around smiling all the time? Admittedly, it felt unnatural), but it’s rare for a talent not to have such spells.
His 18-second defeat of the beloved Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXVIII certainly didn’t win him any new fans from the older demographic, though he can hardly be to blame for awful booking.
It seems as though he can’t win over the fans that made up their minds about him six years ago.
I don’t understand it. I’ve enjoyed watching Sheamus since the moment he debuted, and have always thought he was a valuable asset to the wrestling world. In fact, I wrote a piece not too long ago declaring Sheamus a WWE Hall of Famer.
Let’s stop and think – if every demographic is booing him for some reason, maybe he’s just doing his job. All in all, it’s possible he’s the perfect heel – and in that, provides even more evidence that he is one of the best in the business.