Saturday 8 September 2012

One of the most impactful weapons in WWE has been banned from competition.

Sheamus’ Brogue Kick has leveled everyone and everything in the World Heavyweight Champion’s path. Most recently, on the Sept. 3 episode of Raw, when The Great White’s big boot flattened Ricardo Rodriguez, who shoved Alberto Del Rio out of the way and took the bullet for his boss. Though the extent of Del Rio’s personal ring announcer’s injuries remain unclear, it is evident that David Otunga – the only Harvard-educated lawyer in the history of WWE – has stepped in as legal counsel for Rodriguez.

Throughout Friday’s SmackDown, Otunga presented General Manager Booker T with evidence that Sheamus’ finishing move was brutal, barbaric and absolutely needed to be banned. At first, Booker resisted those demands, even scheduling an impromptu match between Otunga and the World Heavyweight Champion.

However, just as The Great White looked ready to hit his earth-shattering finisher on Otunga, the head of SmackDown interrupted, making the shocking announcement that due to the “high stakes involved and the evidence presented, I have no choice but to ban the Brogue Kick.”

This stunning decision immediately raised the question: Can The Celtic Warrior hold onto the World Heavyweight Title without the crown jewel of his arsenal? Well, if WWE’s first-ever Irish-born World Champion has anything to say about it, the answer will be a painful “yes.” Immediately after the ruling, Sheamus locked Otunga in his new submission maneuver, the Cloverleaf, instantly making his opponent tap out. But will the new move deliver when the stakes are as high as they can be?

In spite of this new innovation against Otunga, there is no doubt that losing his No. 1 weapon so close to Night of Champions will have some effect on the champion’s game, especially against a challenger as devious as Del Rio. It can certainly be argued that this could be The Mexican Aristocrat’s best chance to beat Sheamus. (MATCH PREVIEW)

No one could deny that the No. 1 contender is already as dangerous as he is opportunistic.  He is already riding one of the hottest streaks of his career, with recent wins against Randy Orton, Kane and John Cena. With such momentum in his corner, the now-added advantage of a potentially hamstrung opponent could prove to be the silver bullet that earns Del Rio World Championship gold for a third time.

Still, as he displayed in his SmackDown match with Otunga, Sheamus certainly has other ways of winning. The Great White‘s impressive title reign of more than five months is based on more than the strength of one move. Incredibly powerful and tough, yet also agile and athletic, the World Heavyweight Champion is the total package of in-ring talent.

For now, though, that talent is bound by the weight of legal red tape, and the banning of the Brogue Kick can’t help but make one deliberate over recent history. What would have happened at WrestleMania XXVIII if Sheamus’ Brogue Kick hadn’t crushed Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds? What about his tooth-and-nail No Way Out title defense against Dolph Ziggler? No one can deny that many of Sheamus’ biggest moments and wins are directly tied to his effective use of his devastating finisher.

Whether the scales have been tipped in Alberto Del Rio’s favor remains to be seen. One thing, however, is certain. When The Mexican Aristocrat faces the World Heavyweight Champion on Sept. 16 at Night of Champions, he’ll be battling a Great White that neither he nor the WWE Universe has seen before.


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