Last night WWE pulled off a pleasant surprise and made Sheamus the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble match.
It was not surprising because Sheamus lacked the ability or the believability to be a winner...by all means, I have accepted this very willingly. It just seemed like there were two solid choices going into this match in hometown hero Randy Orton and returning veteran Chris Jericho.
Either way, this win should be huge for Sheamus but in the past four years, the winner of the Rumble has failed to capture the World championship of their choosing at WrestleMania.
In 2008, John Cena won the event, only to waste the opportunity at the No Way Out PPV in February. He would later be inserted into the WWE championship match between title holder Randy Orton and challenger Triple H. Cena would be the one pinned in this Triple Threat allowing Orton to retain.
2009 saw Randy Orton fail to capture the title from Triple H. Although he did manage to use his feud with The Game to eventually win the belt and become the No. 1 heel in the company.
The next year, 2010, saw Edge win the event in lackluster fashion. He returned from months off with an injury and continued his rivalry with Chris Jericho after Y2J won the World heavyweight championship at Elimination Chamber. Edge was defeated soundly by the world champion at the event and was soon pushed out of the title scene by Jack Swagger.
Last year's winner, Alberto Del Rio, will always have the distinction of winning the 40-man Royal Rumble but will be tainted by the fact his "main event" match actually opened the show. Once again, the challenger was defeated with little trouble.
Who Will Sheamus Challenge?
So the question that is on my mind is this: Will Sheamus end the streak of Rumble losers?
It's going to depend on who his opponent is going to be. At this point, I will have to go with Daniel Bryan and the World championship.
While CM Punk vs. Sheamus would be a watchable match, it would require to move The Celtic Warrior to Raw which is unnecessary. He has built up quite a place for himself on SmackDown and is a very good alternative to Randy Orton as the brand's top face. Plus, I still believe Jericho will challenge for the WWE championship but will go another route.
It would be interesting if Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus will be booked for Miami, Florida since last year the exact same match, albeit for the United States championship, was relegated to dark status after WWE feared for the running time of the event.
Sheamus last held a world championship in September 2010 after he lost the belt to Randy Orton at Night of Champions. Keeping the belt off The Great White and all the midcard frustrations he has suffered since then has made him a much more popular star.
When he first came to Raw and immediately won the belt, a lot of people were against the decision. Whilst he wasn't a terrible newcomer, he wasn't exactly a Brock Lesnar level of a guy who looked and fought like a world champion when they debuted.
Due to his lack of believability as a main event star, many felt the only reason he was made WWE champion was because he was a workout buddy of Triple H. Whilst there has been no concrete proof behind this, I think it was possibility true. After all, Sheamus wasn't bad, he just wasn't that good either.
Will Sheamus Win at WrestleMania?
As I mentioned, he has been through a lot since being pushed down from main eventing to becoming a midcarder. He won the King of the Ring but then went on a huge losing streak whilst wearing a ridiculous costume. He briefly held the United States championship but was only a transitional champion in reality.
His biggest break came when he was moved to SmackDown and a face turn was put into motion. Being quite a large fellow, Sheamus became instantly popular as the guy who could stop bullies and put them in their place.
He has been playing this role now for almost 10 months. He has not seen much opportunity at the World championship during his face run and this goes into his favour. By keeping him out of the title picture and allowing him to develop, as WWE should have done in the first place, it has allowed the audience to respect him as a competitor.
All the signs usually point to a huge payoff for a wrestler who travels the long path to glory. WrestleMania would be the perfect place for Sheamus to reestablish his position as a main event star and therefore I believe he will win in Miami and become the new World heavyweight champion.