It’s no secret that Sheamus and Cesaro’s respective singles careers have been stagnant for a while.
With the exception of last week’s United States Championship opportunity, Cesaro’s efforts to break into the WWE’s main event picture have been unsuccessful for years at this point. Not once has he competed in a one-on-one match for a main event title, and any time he starts to pick up steam and get the fans behind him, he quickly loses momentum as a result of inconsistent booking or injury — such was the case last November when he hurt his shoulder.
Similarly, Sheamus has had little to no direction since the man briefly held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship last winter, to serve as a transitional champion after Seth Rollins had to drop the strap, so that Roman Reigns could take it from him heading into the New Year.
Having both been drafted to Raw, it should have come as no surprise to see Cesaro and Sheamus both paired off in a feud together, in order to give each man something to work with while names like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Finn Bálor and Rusev were dominating the singles title pictures.
Although it would have been expected for the two to finish off their rivalry at SummerSlam and hopefully edge their way up the card afterwards, this week on Raw, we received confirmation on what the near future holds for Sheamus and Cesaro, and it’s actually quite intriguing.
As a result of the ruthless aggression between the two men, with both trying to beat the holy hell out of each other all over the arena on Monday, Mick Foley announced that their match at SummerSlam would in fact be the inaugural encounter in a best-of-seven series between the two athletes.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the best-of-seven series is a very rare form of storytelling in WWE that hasn’t been used in more than a decade, in which two wrestlers will battle it out over the course of seven potential matches, with the first man to gain four victories being named the winner.
Now, some fans will be upset about this announcement considering the Sheamus vs. Cesaro match has almost been done to death at this stage, but given a little thought, this is an ingenious move on WWE’s behalf. Firstly, it gives both of these men a clear-cut plan for the near future, at least until Monday Night Raw hosts its first brand-exclusive Pay-Per-View event anyway.
Regardless of a lot of fans’ disdain for “The Celtic Warrior”, both of these men are incredibly gifted. To make their rivalry a permanent fixture on weekly programming, with each encounter being more important than the last, is going to give both of them the exposure on that they deserve.
It will also give Sheamus a chance to bounce back, considering he’s been upset by the Swiss star for the last three weeks in a row. The series wouldn’t be much to write home about if Cesaro continued this streak to win 4-0, so this will be Sheamus’ first chance to look formidable as a member of Raw, picking up a few wins against one of the most popular stars on the roster.
And if history is any indication, the best-of-seven series is traditionally kicked off with a win or two (or three) for the heel, which allows the crowd to get behind the babyface with a lot more intent. That means after his rough 2016 thus far, Sheamus might be about to bag a big-time victory at the second-most anticipated event on the WWE calendar: SummerSlam.
What’s exciting about bringing back this concept is that it makes wins and losses actually matter between Sheamus and Cesaro. They’ve squared off twice in recent weeks, and although one of those wins did lead to a title match, one opportunity at the U.S. Title on one night isn’t quite what the man would’ve hoped for, especially taking into account that Reigns’ shot at the very same title had already been confirmed, rendering Cesaro’s chances at victory null and void.
For the most part of Cesaro’s WWE career, along with Sheamus and other talents that have found themselves in dreaded mid-card obscurity over the years, wins and losses haven’t really mattered. You can earn an honorable victory against somebody on Raw or SmackDown, and it wouldn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Whereas with the best-of-seven series, every encounter fans see between Sheamus and Cesaro over the next month will mean a whole lot for both of them.
Considering whoever comes out of this with their arm raised will have four victories over a very game opposition, you can expect that there might be a WWE Universal Championship opportunity on the horizon for whoever that may be. If that doesn’t sweeten the pot, then nothing will.
This feud is just getting started, and with the breath of fresh air that is the reintroduction of the best-of-seven series, Cesaro vs. Sheamus might be one of Raw’s most intriguing rivalries.