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Anyone who’s spent much time watching pro wrestling can see it coming.
Sheamus, a man who not long ago was forcing the newly sober Jeff Hardy to provide in-ring urine samples on Friday nights, is WWE champion Drew McIntyre main ally on Monday nights. This is based on their real-life friendship, one that dates back to the European independent circuit more than a decade ago. And it’s been really charming to see it depicted on Raw. We even got a giant sword out of the deal!
But from pretty much their first scene together backstage, fans have been waiting for the Irishman to betray the Scot. Their current storyline - which finds Drew’s TLC challenger AJ Styles allied with Money in the Bank briefcase holder The Miz and his partner John Morrison - seems like the perfect set-up. One of the times the heels have the numbers on the champ, Sheamus will race to his rescue... then stab him in the back.
WWE’s given their friendship ample screen time, and the two mates have done a good job selling it (probably because they’re likable lads who seem to really care about one another). Which is just going to make it that much more painful when it happens.
Maybe it doesn’t have to, though?
There’s a compelling story to be told in Sheamus standing by his friend, despite temptation not to or expectation he won’t. Their post-accidental Brogue Kick backstage brawl last Monday may or may not lead to a suspension, but it definitely set the precedent that the Celtic Warrior and the King of Claymore Country can whale on each other and then make up over a pint. Why can’t Sheamy’s reward for being a good brother be a title shot at a B-level PPV like Fastlane? It would be a hell of a match, and the anticipation for a turn would make it more compelling than almost any other one-off feud on the Road to WrestleMania .
It seems like there are enough other options to carry McIntyre to ‘Mania, as well. The Styles/Miz story can stretch past this weekend’s event. It seems like they’re positioning Bobby Lashley as a main eventer. Keith Lee was questioning Sheamus’ motives backstage on the last episode. What if part of the Limitless One’s extra work at the Performance Center is prep for a turn to the dark side?
Then, boom, before you know it it’s April and Vince McMahon is writing a big check to Brock Lesnar.
Yeah, I know. A heel Sheamus is probably better than most of those options. It’s just gonna hurt. And we need as much wholesome content as we can get these days.
We’ll see if they move the Celtic Warrior closer to villainy tonight when he faces Styles in singles action, and if Sheamus plays a role in AJ’s production of “The Nightmare Before TLC.”
The title scene
Singles wins paved the way for The Hurt Business to get a title shot. Tonight, Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin are joined by United States champion Lashley as they face Raw Tag champs The New Day & Jeff Hardy in trios action. The All Mighty put Hardy away with the Hurt Lock last week, so I guess he’s a contender for the red, white and blue belt?
Or maybe our Bobby won’t have a title defense at TLC. Raw Women’s titleholder Asuka doesn’t. But she will challenge for Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler’s WWE Women’s Tag belts. Tonight she’ll cheer on her partner Lana as she tries to not get put through a table, have her boobs put on her back, or suffer any other indignity at the hands of Jax. No matter what happens, we know Lana won’t give up. She’s plucky like that.
Three weeks and counting into R-Truth’s 45th run as 24/7 champion. God is good.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- We didn’t actually get last Monday’s promised Randy Orton trip to Firefly Fun House, but we did see Bray Wyatt’s host character in the ring. That worked out well for Orton, until The Fiend showed up post-RKO. This week, Wyatt is supposed to bring the Fun House to the ThunderDome. We just hope Alexa Bliss is on the friends he brings along.
- Just like that Goldberg match, Bronutts probably won’t happen. But Riddle will keep trying. He was also following Jeff Hardy around a lot last week. So maybe an odd couple tag team will happen.
- After their latest loss, this time to Ricochet and Dana Brooke, Mustafa Ali wasn’t happy with anyone in RETRIBUTION. Who can blame him? You’re not gonna destroy WWE if you can’t win an undercard feud.
It’s the TLC go home show!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?