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Remember When: A "Do or Die" Night for Sheamus

Study, for a moment, the expansive shoulders pictured above. If the carrot-orange hair isn’t a giveaway, that broad back belongs to World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, and that photo was taken shortly after he defeated Triple H in a Street Fight at WWE’s Extreme Rules 2010. ( WATCH FULL MATCH | PHOTOS)

You can begin to see the welts on his skin. Now scars, the marks are among The Celtic Warrior’s many takeaways – some physical, some symbolic – from that match.

Ahead of Sheamus’ 2-out-of-3 Falls Match against Daniel Bryan at this year’s Extreme Rules, WWE.com caught up with the World Heavyweight Champion in the first edition of “Remember When,” a new feature that details legendary pay-per-view matches that can be viewed, in their entirety, on WWE.com. In this “Remember When” debut, Sheamus discusses the significance of his Street Fight with The Game – a modern classic that ended with The Celtic Warrior standing tall and Triple H out of action for close to 10 months.

If not for that situation I might have become a lost, forgotten Superstar

The Extreme Rules event is accustomed to all things carnage, but even by the hardcore holiday’s stiff standards, the Sheamus-Triple H brawl of 2010 ranks among the most savage. The reason: Sheamus’ “do or die” mentality.

“I had to make sure I took him out, otherwise I might not be standing here now,” Sheamus said, while on tour this week in Europe. “If not for that situation I might have become a lost, forgotten Superstar like so many others.”

Study, for a moment, the expansive shoulders pictured above. If the carrot-orange hair isn’t a giveaway, that broad back belongs to World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, and that photo was taken shortly after he defeated Triple H in a Street Fight at WWE’s Extreme Rules 2010. ( WATCH FULL MATCH | PHOTOS)

You can begin to see the welts on his skin. Now scars, they are among The Celtic Warrior’s many takeaways – some physical, some symbolic – from that match.

Ahead of Sheamus’ 2-out-of-3 Falls Match against Daniel Bryan at this year’s Extreme Rules, WWE.com caught up with the World Heavyweight Champion in the first edition of “Remember When,” a new feature that details legendary pay-per-view matches that can be viewed, in their entirety, on WWE.com. In this “Remember When” debut, Sheamus discusses the significance of his Street Fight with The Game – a modern classic that ended with The Celtic Warrior standing tall and Triple H out of action for close to 10 months.

The Extreme Rules event is accustomed to all things carnage, but even by the hardcore holiday’s stiff standards, the Sheamus-Triple H brawl of 2010 ranks among the most savage. The reason: Sheamus’ “do or die” mentality.

“I had to make sure I took him out, otherwise I might not be standing here now,” Sheamus said, while on tour this week in Europe. “If not for that situation I might have become a lost, forgotten Superstar like so many others.”

The curse of “too much, too soon”?

The Extreme Rules 2010 Street Fight between Triple H and Sheamus drastically changed the course of both Superstars’ careers. For The Great White, the trajectory alteration could not have come at a better time.

Not even a year removed from his June 2009 debut, The Celtic Warrior had reached the highest heights, and he was already falling – fast. Within the first six months of his WWE career, Sheamus toppled John Cena to win the WWE Championship.

Yet, as quickly as Sheamus built his momentum, he lost it. His title reign ended two months later in an Elimination Chamber Match after Triple H Pedigreed and pinned him. In a crucial bout at WrestleMania XXVI, The Game again got the better of the 2009 Slammy Award-winner for “Breakout Superstar of the Year.”

I had to show people I wasn’t a fluke.

Not only had Triple H dealt Sheamus his second consecutive pay-per-view loss, but he did so by surviving the Irishman’s dreaded Brogue Kick, tarnishing Sheamus’ mystique among his fellow competitors.

The bloom was off the rose. Suddenly, the highly touted Great White was looking more like The Great Lost Cause. The fact that Sheamus’ brief title reign started in a Tables Match – meaning he never technically pinned John Cena – caused some WWE fans to question his legitimacy as champion.

The problem of achieving too much success too quickly plagues athletes in all sports, and Sheamus sensed his place among main eventers may have been coming to a close.

“It was make-or-break for me, considering I rose to the top very fast,” the current World Heavyweight Champion said. “If I was going to stay in the top tier, I had to show people I wasn’t a fluke.”

Only one obstacle stood in Sheamus’ way: The King of Kings, Triple H.

“I couldn’t take any chances”

Sheamus’ gripe with Triple H began at Elimination Chamber, escalated at WrestleMania XXVI and intensified even more at Extreme Rules 2010. At the start of the pay-per-view, the two gladiators skirmished in the locker room, with Sheamus brandishing a pipe. By the time WWE officials broke up the melee, The Game was on the ground, appearing unable to compete.

In heroic form, Triple H did make it to the ring, albeit favoring one arm noticeably. Despite preliminary medical reports of nerve damage, the enraged Game offered plenty of fight for The Celtic Warrior.

Looking back, Sheamus offers no apologies, explaining only that he “couldn’t take any chances” with The Cerebral Assassin. That the injury contributed to Triple H’s long absence from the ring “was a bragging right for me,” he said.

“If I hadn’t beaten Triple H that night, I would have been beaten two matches in a row,” Sheamus said. “I had to do whatever I possibly could to stay here.”

Anything goes at Extreme Rules


During the Street Fight, Sheamus wrenched on Triple H’s bad arm and backdropped him onto a steel ramp. In between, Triple H rapped The Celtic Warrior with a kendo stick. Sheamus tried, but mostly failed, to dodge the strikes.

He regrouped, however, and after delivering multiple Brogue Kicks, won via pinfall. Post-match, officials escorted Triple H to the locker room area, but Sheamus reappeared and launched another Brogue Kick for good measure.

As announcer Matt Striker said, “It’s Extreme Rules, and anything goes, and Sheamus played it perfectly.”

Now, two years later, Sheamus calls Triple H “one of the toughest, most stubborn” Superstars he’s ever battled. The Street Fight win, even if it came at great lengths, provided an immediate jump in stock for the first Irish-born WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion in history.

“People said Cena lost his footing, and there was a lot of controversy with that first title win,” Sheamus said of his Tables Match championship win. “But at Extreme Rules, I pinned Triple H in the ring, 1-2-3. There was nothing that could dispute that I beat The King of Kings.”

At his very first Extreme Rules event, Sheamus proved not only that he belonged in the main event picture, but also that he could thrive in a WWE without rules. The question facing The Celtic Warrior now is whether he will be able to add to that success this year, when he faces heated rival Bryan in 2-out-of-3 falls.  

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