Since winning the 2012 Royal Rumble, Sheamus has spent the vast majority of his time at the top of the card, and, like him or not, he’s performed well there.
But other than a very select group of Superstars, no one’s time in the main event picture lasts forever, and Sheamus is about to realize that.
Sheamus spent most of 2012 holding or challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship. Now, he must bide his time on the WWE’s midcard.
Hey, it’s not like this is the end of the world for Sheamus. He’s still one of the WWE’s top five babyfaces, and despite garnering as much hatred as any good guy these days (including some from yours truly), he’s widely considered to be one of the company’s best performers.
Sheamus’ fall to the midcard isn’t about a lack of talent. Despite what his critics may say, “The Celtic Warrior” certainly has plenty.
Rather, it’s about what’s best for the WWE, and what’s best for the WWE right now is pushing stars who aren’t named Sheamus.
A number of happenings—including some very surprising ones—over the last couple of months have resulted in some wholesale changes to the WWE’s hierarchy.
CM Punk is back, and he’s a face this time around. Rob Van Dam is about to be. Dolph Ziggler is face for the first time ever. Daniel Bryan is breathing down Cena’s neck for the No. 1 face spot in the company.
In other words, the normally heel-heavy WWE suddenly finds itself with as many top-tier babyfaces as it has had at any point in recent memory—even without including part-timers like Triple H or The Rock on that list.
Sheamus is a part of that group as well, but he suddenly finds himself in a spot he really hasn’t seen since 2011: the midcard.
After his rivalry with Mark Henry concluded at Extreme Rules, Sheamus’ next rival was a surprising one, Damien Sandow. Sandow has never risen above the midcard in the WWE, and his feud with Sheamus didn’t change that at all.
Sheamus didn’t elevate Sandow up the card. Rather, Sheamus took a slide down to the midcard to feud with Sandow, as evidenced by the fact that these two were relegated to the “Kickoff to Payback” instead of the actual Payback pay-per-view.
Of course, Sheamus won that match like he almost always does. But what’s more telling than his win in that match is his recent positioning on the card.
A consistent main eventer in 2012, Sheamus now finds himself sort of stuck in No Man’s Land. He obviously is still a top babyface, but he doesn’t have the momentum someone like Orton or Bryan does right now.
Even though Sheamus will be participating in the Money in the Bank “All-Stars” match at the MITB PPV, he has perhaps the slimmest chance of actually winning the match, except for maybe Christian.
The odds-on favorite right now to win that match is Bryan, with Punk and Orton closely trailing him. That’s exactly the way it should be, too.
Sheamus has had a great run at the top of the card over the last year-and-a-half, but that run had to end at some point. That point has officially been reached.
The WWE is currently at a crossroads, with new stars rising up to the top of the card by either transitioning into new roles (like Ziggler) or making an impact almost instantly (like The Shield).
Now, the WWE has a stacked roster with a boatload of talent on both the babyface and heel sides—an impressive mix of part-timers, established veterans and rising stars who can carry the company going forward.
And they can do it without Sheamus.
Sheamus is undoubtedly a great performer, but now is the time to let other great performers get their chances to succeed—some of whom have never really gotten that opportunity.
The WWE needs to create as many new stars as possible for the sake of its long-term future, and in order for that to happen, some names who have main evented in the past are going to have to take a backseat.
Sheamus has been in the driver’s seat for a while. Now, it’s time to give someone else a turn.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!