He'd last been seen losing the United States championship to Rusev in a Network exclusive match after the November 3 RAW. Days after that it was revealed via Twitter1 he was headed into hospital for an undisclosed surgery. It's not clear whether or not this surgery was real. It probably was, but it could easily have been invented as a reason to get Sheamus off TV and add some legitimacy to Rusev's fearsome Beast Mode.
'Great White' had needed time off for a while so whether the surgery was real or not it came at a good time. As the happy, smiley babyface who was essentially a modern version of fightin' Irishman Finlay, Sheamus had become incredibly stale. Everything from his look to the guys he's was facing needed changing.
|Oh, Sheamus. No.|
The look is certainly something Shaymo has addressed. He's gone from a guy with spiked up hair and a daft beard to a guy with a spiked up Mohawk and a daft beard with tassels in it. The RAW and SmackDown audiences he's appeared in front of since returning have all chanted "You look stupid!" at him. They haven't been wrong. But at least they were chanting at him. The WWE mentality these days2 is that any noise is good noise.
It's still too early to say whether or not 'The Celtic Warrior' has sufficiently changed up his wrestling style. We've yet to see any new moves from him but it's still early days. His match against old foe Daniel Bryan on the April 2 SmackDown was enjoyable but there was nothing new on offer. As far as the in-ring stuff goes this is the same old Sheamus. Stiff punches, the backbreaker and the Brogue kick still seem to be the order of the day.
But at least he's changed his look. It's nice to see Sheamus making the effort with his return. So few guys try to do something different when returning to WWE, which contributes to the overall stale feeling of their shows. Sheamus being thrust into a multi-way programme with Daniel Bryan, Bad News Barrett and Dolph Ziggler is promising. He can have good singles matches against D-Bry and 'The Show Off' and the climactic four-way tussle should be exciting. But beyond that I find myself with the same problem I always have with Sheamus: it's hard to get excited about anything he does. Once he wraps up with Bryan and Ziggler there's nobody left I'm interested in seeing him face. And all the silly haircuts in the world won't change that.
1 That's how WWE seems to reveal most things these days. Imagine Steve Austin's surgery back in 1999 being revealed through a tweet.
2 Championed by King of Mixed Reactions Jern Cena.