When the 2012 Royal Rumble rolled around, the WWE fans were absolutely sure that the returning Chris Jericho would win the match.
This would set up the long awaited Y2J vs. CM Punk match at WrestleMania 28 to decide who is truly the best in the world.
As the Rumble participants dwindled down to just two, many were left wondering just how Jericho was going to eliminate Sheamus.
Then a huge surprise came as Sheamus stood tall as the last survivor in the Royal Rumble match, earning him a "main event" spot at WrestleMania.
Much like winners of the past since there have been two heavyweight titles, Sheamus didn't announce which championship he would wrestle for at WrestleMania.
Had this been any other year with any other wrestlers, speculation would have ran wild as to who the Royal Rumble winner would choose to face. However, there were many differences this year.
CM Punk is reigning WWE champion. Sheamus could have chosen him in an attempt to takeover the Raw roster.
However, with Y2J's recent return, his vignettes claiming to come back and take what's his—whether it be the WWE championship or title of "Best in the World"—it was obvious that in some way, we'd see Punk vs. Jericho at WrestleMania.
What was clear was that Sheamus would compete for the world heavyweight title. The only thing that wasn't known was who would be his opponent.
Sheamus announced he would wait until the end of the Elimination Chamber PPV. Since it was all but announced that Punk would defend against Jericho at WrestleMania, the one thing we could guarantee is that Sheamus's opponent would be a participant in the Smackdown! Elimination Chamber. Of those participants, only two made sense to leave as winners.
Wade Barrett is a part of the future of the WWE. He is a future heavyweight champion and quite possibly a future Hall of Famer. However, the WWE seemed to be strong on Daniel Bryan as the world heavyweight champion.
Bryan, as the champion, allowed him to become the hated heel he now is and, at the same time, gave the WWE a monster heel to push as the champ.
The history between Sheamus and Bryan is that they were supposed to face each other at WrestleMania 27 for the United States championship.
Due to time constraints, it got pushed back as the dark match of the night. Their history stops there.
Since Sheamus announced he'd be facing Bryan, they've had very little interaction between each other. They've had a few tag matches and Sheamus has thrown Bryan back into the ring when he tries to walk out of a match with someone else, but that's it.
There's no emotion between the two of them—no real feud. This is the main reason the fans aren't into it as much as they should be.
Before becoming champion, Bryan had no gimmick other than being a great wrestler. Since winning the gold, he's developed into a cocky superstar with a sense of entitlement. He can also maintain that gimmick without holding the title.
Sheamus was great as a heel, but became even better when he made the turn and got the crowd support.
Since then, he's join the upper tier of the current WWE roster. Having Bryan keep the belt at the end of the night wouldn't make much sense. He needed the title to get him to the next level and he did that very successfully.
Sheamus needs that, too. Becoming a face was great for his character, but winning the heavyweight title will propel him even further.