By Graham "GSM" Matthews
"So-and-so needs to turn heel" is a common complaint among the members of the Internet Wrestling Community (and I don't disclude myself from that). Whether it be Randy Orton (who did eventually turn back heel last summer) or especially John Cena (it's not happening, people, so get over it), there's always someone that must turn heel according to the IWC. There is one Superstar, however, that actually is in desperate need of a heel turn, that being Sheamus. I promise you that there is reason behind this and I'm not just pitching this because he "annoys" me.
Prior to getting injured in the summer of 2013, Sheamus was mostly directionless. He had, in my opinion, a pretty good run as World Heavyweight Champion throughout 2012 (being involved in the title scene for almost all of the year), but did nothing of note after dropping the strap to Big Show at that year's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. I remember that his loss to Show marked the first time he had been defeated cleanly since turning face in July 2011, and I don't recall him getting pinned clean many times after that. I know he was was cleanly defeated by Daniel Bryan last July and by Alberto Del Rio (surprisingly) the following month, but all things considered, Sheamus is a top star in WWE and has been protected for the most part as a fan favorite.
Thus, I was shocked to see Sheamus lose cleanly to Batista on the April 18 edition of SmackDown and again to Bad News Barrett in the semifinals of the Intercontinental Championship tournament days later on Raw. These two losses might be telling signs that a heel turn might be on the horizon for Sheamus, but even if they're not, it clearly shows that Sheamus' stint as a fan favorite has run its course. He can be tolerable as a face when he's in serious mode, but the telling of the Irish folktales grew tiresome with fans three years ago. He still receives strong reactions on occasion (i.e. at the Royal Rumble), but most of the meaning behind his current character has been gone for quite a while due to his lack of evolution.
Speaking of the Royal Rumble, he had a hot return in the annual 30-Man Battle Royal this year and I was happy to see him back. He sat on the sidelines for six months rehabbing an injury and looked as dominant as ever against The Shield during the Rumble. His injury was a blessing in disguise because, as previously mentioned, he was doing virtually nothing before going inactive. The injury gave him a chance to reinvigorate his character and feel fresh upon his return, but so far he has failed in developing his persona in recent months.
Upon his WWE debut in 2009, Sheamus was immediately established as a force to be a reckoned with on the roster. He plowed through the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H and even captured the WWE Championing within months of jumping ship to Raw. Through he portrayed a ruthless heel to perfection, his WWE Championship run was a flop and was cast aside as an afterthought by the end of 2010. The organic face turn was welcome, especially since he was already starting to get cheered by crowds, so it was a nice change of pace for him. He is spot-on when he's motivated and aggressive, but he's miscast as a goofy Lucky Charm figure more often than not, hindering him more than helping him.
Don't get me wrong, though. His matches are still strong and his last two encounters with Batista and Barrett are proof of that. His in-ring skills haven't changed in the slightest, it's just his character that rubs people the wrong way. I've been an advocate of feud between Sheamus and Brock Lesnar for quite some time now given their similar styles and paths to the top of the company. I peraonlly believe they could have a kick-ass match, but I simply worry that Sheamus wouldn't taken the rivalry as seriously as he should. Plus, he's been so irrelevant for so long that not many people might care to see him square off against Lesnar. After three years as a a fan favorite, I think it's time for The Celtic Warrior to return to his villainous roots.
Daniel Bryan is leading the babyface side of things at the moment as WWE World Heavyweight Champion with John Cena close behind. The Shield are also in the main event scene as they feud with the reunited Evolution and Cesaro appears to be on the cusp of turning face sooner rather than later. Big Show, Mark Henry and Big E and midcard-to-upper-midcard faces as well, so there isn't much room at the top of the roster for other faces such as Sheamus. Aside from Evolution and Bray Wyatt, there aren't many top heels right now. With Batista taking time off soon and Triple H not being an active competitor, there is no better time for the trigger to be pulled on a Sheamus heel turn.
I wasn't a fan of doing this a few months ago, but I'd love to see Sheamus rekindle his rivalry with Bryan over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The tables would be turned this time with Bryan as the babyface and Sheamus as the heel, and who wouldn't want to see a repeat of their instant classic at 2012's Extreme Rules event? The series of matches they could produce over the summer would be awesome given their great chemistry and it'd be an excellent way to establish Bryan as a credible champion.
Honestly, I'd even be open to Sheamus joining The Authority. That wouldn't be too much out of the realm of possibility given that he is good friends with Triple H in real life, but I guess it'd also be strange seeing Sheamus in a suit and tie. Regardless, I couldn't care less in what fashion it's done, but The Celtic Warrior must turn back heel at some point in the very near future. If he doesn't, he'll continue to flounder in the midcard and ruin any chance of ever again competing for the prestigious prize.