WWE | Pro Wrestling

Who’s Gunning for Sheamus Next?

WWE SheamusSheamus is the WWE Champion after winning at WWE Fatal 4-Way. This much we know. What don’t we know though? Well, who’s going to challenge him at the next PPV? Usually, the WWE has been extremely predictable in whom they would pick to face off against the Champion at various pay-per-view events. Remember that stretch last year when the WWE Championship match featured some combination of John Cena, Randy Orton and/or Triple H? Yeah, I’m trying to block that out of my mind too.

For the first time in a long time, it feels like there are a ton of guys who could get the nod against Championship in the near future. Cena would seem like the most likely candidate going into the Money in the Bank event, but he’s been embroiled in the nXTWo sneak attacks. Randy Orton always makes sense as a contender, but he’s feuding with Edge, and Monday night, The Miz interjected himself in a Randy Orton promo, calling him out for having too many title shots and for him to get to the back of the line. Evan Bourne has a pinfall victory over Sheamus in a tag match and has been booked to look strong against Chris Jericho in the last couple of weeks. Then, there’s also always the specter of Triple H looming in the background. Sheamus put him out with an injury. Finally, on top of all those contenders, Wade Barrett, by virtue of winning NXT season 1, has a banked PPV title shot.

So many choices to put in the top match, so little clue as to who the challenger will be. What do I think? Well, I’m not sure who’s going to get the shot at Money in the Bank, but I do know that I’m pleasantly surprised at this uncertainty. Honestly, the WWE could use some unpredictability, especially when so many guys are getting hurt, are risks to get hurt or are bailing on the company to act or fight in MMA. The WWE seems to know they need to build new stars. What other reason could there be for their rapid elevation of guys like Sheamus and Jack Swagger, or the strapping of Rey Mysterio, a guy who’d been an upper-midcard attraction but never a World Title contender since his disastrous reign almost five years ago.

Of course, with the Money in the Bank PPV looming, there needs to be a ton of guys with aspirations for gold. Why else would they be competing in a MitB-ladder match? It makes sense not only to have the usual suspects like Orton, Cena and Edge in the mix, but given that the match has traditionally had at least six guys in it, more challengers need that build. That’s why it makes all the sense in the world to give godfather pushes to guys like Miz and Bourne on the RAW side and Christian, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes on the Smackdown side. The more wrestlers you can make people think have a chance at winning the match, the more intrigue it has, and theoretically, the more buys you get for the event itself.

Be that as it may though, the WWE ought to mix up the contenders’ fray more often. Monday’s RAW was refreshing, not only for the return of the nWo-type “mixed-cheer” faction, but also for the intrigue surrounding the WWE Championship. Regardless of what Vince Russo or the WWE braintrust tell us, the fans, Championships still matter. Even in a worked sport like wrestling, we want to see the titles be made to look important. We still want to believe that they’re fighting for something other than personal pride. That’s what kayfabe is all about. Great wrestling will make people forget that it’s all staged, even if it’s for one moment, and that’s what some wrestling promoters have forgotten in this rush to make everything “edgy”. Sometimes, the best edge comes from creating more than one deserving contender for the top title.

That’s why the RAW title scene works right now. That’s why having a million guys seem like credible title challengers is never a bad thing. It adds an element of mystery and intrigue to the event that contrived “guy who’s going over at the PPV losing the week before the PPV” booking ever could. And besides, the more people who look strong, who look credible and who look bad-ass mean the more people might be invested in them and the more they might buy his merchandise. Money made is never a bad thing.

So if you’re straining to figure out who’s going to get the title shot at Sheamus at Money in the Bank, or trying to figure out to whom America’s favorite wrestling ginger will eventually drop the title, save yourself the trouble, sit back and just enjoy the ride. The WWE Title situation hasn’t been this good in a long time, and who knows when they’ll revert to the same main event for 8 PPVs in a row again.

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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