Last night, Dublin-bred Sheamus beat 29 other contenders to win the WWE Royal Rumble – which earns himself a shot at one of the two World Championship titles in two months time at Wrestlemania.
The flame-haired wrestler was the 22nd entrant into the Rumble, where the object of the match is to throw your opponents over the top rope. The last man standing then gets the opportunity to choose his opponent for the WWE’s biggest show of the year at Wrestlemania, and fight for the chance to win a world title.
Sheamus ended up in the final two with Chris Jericho, who had just returned after a two-year break from wrestling to develop his career in music and dabble in some reality TV. Given Jericho’s long-awaited return, few expected to see the Irishman come out on top so it was quite a surprise when the ultra-pale warrior kicked Jericho out of the ring in trademark style to be crowned Royal Rumble winner.
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The man formally known as Stephen Farrelly is a born-and-raised Dubliner, who made his name in the UK and Irish wrestling circuits before crossing the Atlantic to train in the developmental companies in hope of one day earning a lucrative WWE contract.
Since then, Farrelly has appeared on the Late Late Show and on the US chat show scene, including Conan O’ Brien where he exampled his trademark brogue kick. Over the last few months Sheamus has been pushed as a good guy in the wrestling world, often teaming up with other high profile fan-draws to improve his character. Sheamus is now very much in fans’ good books, more so with the kids, and is probably the most popular character outside of the big four of John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton and internet sensation Zack Ryder.
Known for his immense work ethic, the fact Sheamus has been written into the WWE history books as a Royal Rumble winner shows how highly they regard the Irish fighter. Although the winner of the Rumble is said to go on and “headline” Wrestlemania, things have changed in recent years and you should expect to see the Great White open the event rather than close it.
The 2012 Wrestlemania is expected to be one of the biggest pay-per-view draws the industry has had in many years, as The Rock – without the doubt the most popular character in the history of the business – returns for one night only to face wrestling’s marmite character John Cena. Having already received a massive push at the Rumble, Sheamus will be strutting his stuff in front of millions once more on 1 April.
As things stand, the Cabra man has the choice of challenging either CM Punk or Daniel Bryan for their respective world titles at Wrestlemania. Fans expect this Rumble win to set up a rematch of sorts against the latter, after their scheduled match at last year’s ‘Mania was disappointingly taken off the card at the last minute.
Ireland: taking over the world of sport one step at a time.