Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus — WWE WrestleMania 28 Preview
Truth be told, of the four (!!!) main events at ‘WrestleMania XXVIII,” the World Heavyweight Championship Match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus holds the least interest to me. Don’t get me wrong, Bryan’s slow and steady heel turn has been one of the most entertaining and fascinating ones in ages – I wrote a whole article comparing him to Ulysses/Odysseus for crying out loud – but unfortunately, Sheamus’ face persona just isn’t as intriguing.
Whenever successful heels turn face in WWE they typically go through a defanging process, where they lose pretty much everything people had started liking about them (mean jokes, ruthless attitude, etc.) and trade it all in for hacky gags and matinee idol grins. It affects most everyone to some degree or another, but Sheamus has been hit especially hard by it, as even his brutal Celtic Warrior in-ring style has been toned down a bit from what it was when he was a monstrous villain. Combine Sheamus’ somewhat softer, face wrestling style with the fact that he’s fallen into the Randy Orton trap of ending near every match with a Brogue Kick out of nowhere, and I end up feeling a little ambivalent toward a wrestler who a few short years ago, was one of my favorites.
Another problem with the match is that it isn’t really about anything. Sure, the World Heavyweight Title is on the line, but the Bryan/Sheamus storyline basically just amounts to “Bryan’s a conniving heel who’s mean to his girlfriend, and Sheamus wants to beat him up.” There’s nothing wrong with a straight match over a title, but the big gold belt hasn’t even been a central focus of the two’s rivalry, which has limped along ever since Sheamus won the Royal Rumble this year. Of course, much of this can get chalked up to WWE’s pay-per-view schedule, as Sheamus earned a Mania match back in January, and had to sit more-or-less idly by as the WHC was contested in an Elimination Chamber Match. It’s not really Bryan and Sheamus’ fault, but the build to this match has felt like an afterthought from the very beginning.
That said, Bryan is a wrestling geek fan-favorite for a very important reason: He’s absolutely incredible in the ring. And being that Sheamus is no slouch either, wrestling a very, very different style from Bryan, chances are that if WWE gives them enough time, the two could very well steal the show at the promotion’s biggest event of the year. Considering that the two’s United States Championship Match was bumped off the card at ‘WrestleMania XXVII,’ it’ll be riveting to watch them justify their place at this year’s event.