World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio

BY Alex Giannini August 24, 2012

BOSTON — Heading into Night of Champions, No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio may have been chasing down his “destiny,” but when the bell rang on his match against Sheamus, The Mexican Aristocrat found only the business end of a Brogue Kick that ensured the continuation of The Great White’s dominant reign as World Heavyweight Champion.

While it’s undeniable that he’s had his opportunities in the past and come up short, heading into Night of Champions Del Rio looked as dangerous as ever. With recent, impressive victories over Randy Orton, John Cena and Kane under his belt, and with the Brogue Kick banned by blue brand General Manager Booker T on the Sept.7 episode of SmackDown, The Mexican Aristocrat possessed what was arguably the best opportunity to dethrone Sheamus since The Great White downed Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania.

But momentum swung decidedly back to the side of the defending champion when, just moments before the World Title Match at Night of Champions, SmackDown General Manager Booker T shocked the sold-out Boston crowd and the entire WWE Universe by reinstating The Celtic Warrior’s devastating finishing maneuver. After a weeklong investigation, the former five-time champion said that, while the Brogue Kick is certainly a “devastating and dangerous maneuver, when you sign up to be a WWE Superstar, there are risks involved.”

Just like that, the Brogue was back in play, and Sheamus wasted no time in putting his boot to work.

When the bell rang, the WWE Universe saw shades of WrestleMania, as Sheamus looked to end things early with a Brogue Kick to the distracted challenger. Instead of catching Del Rio, though, The Celtic Warrior leveled David Otunga off the apron, sending Ricardo Rodriguez’s legal counsel crashing to the ringside floor and drawing a huge cheer from the Boston crowd.

Sheamus then took control of the action early on, connecting with a battering ram off the apron and into Del Rio at ringside. But Del Rio turned things around when he sent The Great White crashing into the Spanish announce table, and The Mexican Aristocrat then dictated the pace of the fight.

Del Rio methodically attacked Sheamus’ left arm, looking perhaps to soften the champion up for the Cross Armbreaker. Del Rio appeared calm and confident as he stalked the ring, but when Sheamus countered Del Rio off the top rope with an ax handle, The Great White built momentum and put on a power display.

Sheamus, still gripping his left arm after Del Rio’s targeted assault, planted his opponent with White Noise, and the end seemed inevitable for The Mexican Aristocrat. In the corner, Sheamus called for the Brogue Kick, but Del Rio ducked and nailed the champion with a devastating kick of his own.

The two Superstars traded submission attempts —Del Rio looking for the Cross Armbreaker and Sheamus seeking the Cloverleaf — but neither competitor would give in to the other. Things looked bad for The Celtic Warrior, however, when Sheamus’ weakened left arm got tied up in the ropes.

Smelling blood in the water, Del Rio hammered away, taking advantage of the prone titleholder.

Del Rio then locked in the Cross Armbreaker, wrenching the worn down left arm of The Great White. But Sheamus showed the true heart of a champion, and powered his way out of what could have been a reign-ending move.

Sheamus battled his way back and once again called for the Brogue Kick, but came up empty for a second time, leading Del Rio to once again lock in the Cross Armbreaker. With his hand wavering, Sheamus scratched and clawed his way to the ropes, again surviving the challenger’s hold.

Then, out of nowhere, Sheamus connected with a thundering Brogue Kick, putting down his challenger with what is arguably the single most devastating maneuver in WWE today. The Great White then covered Del Rio and, three seconds later, Sheamus retained his illustrious World Heavyweight Title.

As he’s shown time and again, The Great White is a fighting champion, always up for even the steepest of challenges. With Del Rio breathing down his neck for weeks, Brogue Kick or no, Sheamus was primed and ready to defend his illustrious title at Night of Champions.

And after a hard-fought battle that saw the entering champion trapped not once, but twice, in the punishing Cross Armbreaker, The Celtic Warrior lived up to his moniker and showed the heart of a true champion.