The Wrestler of the Week award is designed to highlight a wrestler who made the most of his or her opportunities in a given week. While great matches or memorable promos certainly help a wrestler win Wrestler of the Week, the ultimate decision will also include consistency through the week and bonus points for pulling off a task with a higher degree of difficulty.
4/23/14 Wrestler of the Week – Sheamus
Sheamus has never been one of my favorite wrestlers. His character seems one-dimensional, cartoonish, and out of step with most of the reality-based personas at the top of the card. His feuds often revolve around the simplistic idea that he is an Irish guy who likes to get in fights. Rarely has he had a program that brought out anything like emotion, so it has been hard for me to find any reason to care about him. Note that in these criticisms, there was no indictment of his ability as a wrestler. Sheamus has tremendous athleticism and coordination for his size and has developed into a solid ring psychologist. He has essentially become one of the top mid-card faces in the company since the two world titles were unified. That role lets him work interesting matches without the burden of complicated stories. In the last week, he wrestled interesting matches that put over opponents who needed the rub and he helped them look good while doing it.
Strangely enough, one of the things that made Sheamus feel insufferable during his semi-main event run was that he seemed to win every match no matter what the storyline need him to do. On Smackdown, he was placed in a position opposite Batista where his heel adversary needed to look strong for another feud and Sheamus did a tremendous job of putting him on a pedestal. Two powerhouse wrestlers traded big spots with one another, worked inside and outside of the ring, created drama-inducing near falls, and showed more endurance and resilience than Batista had demonstrated previously during his return. Ultimately, Batista won the match. He has won most of his matches in this run, but many of them were bland, one sided, or so short that he never had to show any perseverance. This match told a story whereby Sheamus forced Batista to dig deep and find another gear. While it might not be a glamorous job, Sheamus made Batista look better than anyone else has in three months and he deserves credit for it.
Sheamus was in a vaguely similar position on Raw when he squared off with Bad News Barrett in the Intercontinental Title #1 Contender Semifinal. Once again, he faced off with a heel who recently returned to the active roster and needed a strong win to establish his credentials. Unlike Batista, Barrett has had a number of good matches since Wrestlemania, so the expectations for this match were a notch higher. Once again, Sheamus proved to be a valuable foil for another bruiser. He challenged Barrett to find a way to fight through the Beats of the Bodhran and White Noise. Barrett ducked under a Brogue Kick to stay alive and cleverly delivered the Bullhammer elbow through the ropes as Sheamus lunged to the outside. While I have some issues with how Barrett readily accepted the fans’ adoration as a burgeoning heel, Sheamus did a fantastic job to make the win mean something.
It is hard for me to envision precisely where Sheamus will go from here. He rode a rocket to the top of the card almost immediately after he came to the WWE main roster. His run as a heel WWE Champion and multiple reigns as World Heavyweight Champion were largely forgettable. He seems to have hit his stride as a simple character who can have strong matches with just about anyone. Even if he is not suited to be a true main eventer, I am happy to see Sheamus in this role because weeks like this one prove that he can excel with lesser responsibilities.