Heading into Night of Champions 2014, fans had little reason to be invested in the United States Championship feud between Sheamus and Cesaro.
Cesaro had been named the No. 1 contender after beating Rob Van Dam on the 25 August showing of Raw, and from there on in it was your usual, pedestrian pre-PPV build. There was the occasional multi-man tag match here and there, as well as the odd distraction at ringside as the rivalry plodded through the motions to pad out the intervening weeks.
On top of that, you could argue they’d been cast the wrong way around, with the superhuman Cesaro playing the heel and a rather bland Sheamus playing the babyface.
Come the PPV itself though, Sheamus and Cesaro put on a hard-hitting slugfest that was anything but pedestrian.
A technical opening soon evolved into something of an ode to strong style, especially by WWE standards, with stiff strikes and uppercuts aplenty, as the two delivered the match of the night on a card that featured John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar in the evening’s main event.