July 3, 2020
WWE News: Sheamus Opens Up About 'Backlash' To Controversial Jeff Hardy Feud

The storyline between Sheamus and Jeff Hardy is one of the most controversial WWE angles in recent memory, and the Irish superstar has been receiving some negative feedback for his role in it. In an interview with the After the Bell podcast, by way of WrestlingNews.co, Sheamus discussed how fans "hate" him, which means he must be doing his job right.

"There was a lot of backlash. A lot of people really hate me right now. At the end of the day, we are characters. My job is to be the most hated character ever and I thrive in that situation."
The angle has revolved around Hardy's real-life struggles with addiction in the past, with Sheamus being critical of his opponent's personal problems in promos which reference Hardy's troubles with the law. The segments between the pair have featured hit-and-runs and urine being thrown into Sheamus' face. However, Sheamus said that he's having fun with the storyline, despite its polarizing nature.
"I'm enjoying this stuff with Jeff because it has given my character a lot of opportunity to play with words and watch the reaction, especially on social media, to how much people hate me, the more I enjoy sticking a knife into Jeff."
Sheamus also discussed how he hasn't fully explored his character in the past. According to the former World Champion, he used to "trip" over his promos, and his character only got by due to his aggression and unique look. During his previous tag team with Cesaro, he also got to share promo duties. Before he returned earlier this year, he vowed to work on his microphone skills and physique, and he seems to be happy with his progress thus far.

The storyline has come under fire from some influential people, however. As The Inquisitr previously reported, FOX executives were reportedly unhappy with the urine segment, which has since been erased from replays of the show on the network.

The storyline has been reminiscent of the Attitude Era and Vince McMahon's feud with Shawn Michaels. WWE is embracing edgier content again of late due to dwindling ratings, but the response to this angle suggests that they might have to push the envelope less moving forward.

In the interview, Sheamus also discussed the heat he received early on in his career. According to the superstar, he went to the gym with Triple H a few times, which led to everyone believing that they were workout buddies. In the eyes of some superstars, being close to Triple H back then meant receiving preferential treatment. However, according to Sheamus, they worked out a few times before doing their own thing again.