Sheamus managed to leave Over the Limit with his title reign still in tact. We now move on to No Way Out, but with only one match officially announced so far, we have just under four weeks to speculate who will challenge The Great White in the city that will host WrestleMania 29.
The only real clue we have to build on is the fact that Sheamus seems to be on very good terms with John Cena, who happens to be on very bad terms with John Laurinaitis. The implication, then, is that Johnny Ace won't be doing The Celtic Warrior any favors and could very likely hand-pick his opponent.
Let's explore five options and see just who may end up facing Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out.
The Miz has yet to cash in his favor from Laurinaitis after securing his spot as dual-GM for Raw and SmackDown! at WrestleMania 28.
Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio have all failed to remove Sheamus as World Heavyweight Champion at the last two pay-per-views, so I'm sure The Miz feels as though it's his turn.
Of course, with the way The Miz has been booked lately, there's no way he really deserves any world title shot. But the WWE is still trying to prove that Sheamus is a legitimate champion, so giving him a dominant title defense on pay-per-view would only go to solidify that notion.
Plus, the match could be set up with stipulations that stack the deck against Sheamus, only for him to overcome. The Miz would be considered an underdog at this point, so it would only do him good to be in a main event match at a pay-per-view, and it won't hurt him to lose to Sheamus.
We all know that Triple H is set up to be the next challenge for Brock Lesnar, but do we really need to keep Lesnar off of television for several months? The story could play out in such a way that it doesn't hurt either superstar.
With Hunter "tied up" in a legal battle thanks to Paul Heyman, Laurinaitis can reinstate Lesnar with the contract the COO ripped up. Or Triple H could allow it, saying he never wanted Lesnar out of the company anyway. Either way, Johnny Ace brings in Lesnar to take out Sheamus.
At No Way Out, Lesnar does a repeat of what he did to Cena at Extreme Rules: obliterate Sheamus, put him on the shelf for a week or two and lose via disqualification or no contest. Sheamus keeps his title but is still punished, and Lesnar loses a match but still looks like a monster. Just one more warning for Helmsley, one more chance for us to see Lesnar and one more match that Sheamus leaves with his belt.
Now that Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger have lost a Tag Team Championship match, it will be a while before WWE should consider them as legitimate challengers. Why not give them an opportunity to elevate their own statuses while simultaneously building Sheamus as a force to be reckoned with?
Vicki and her boys have already made it abundantly clear that they support Johnny Ace and "People Power." Their loyalty could be rewarded several different ways while giving them the advantage by using both of them in a World Heavyweight Championship match.
There's the obvious Triple Threat match. Sure, it's been done before, even with these two guys specifically. But there's no question in my mind that putting Sheamus, Ziggler and Swagger in the ring at the same time has the potential for a spectacular contest.
A slight twist on that idea could be a concept that I don't recall seeing in a very long time. It wouldn't be drastically different than a Triple Threat match, but how about Sheamus vs. Ziggler and Swagger as a tag team? They are required to tag in and out, and only the competitor who scores the fall on Sheamus can earn the title.
Or we could go with something a little less obvious, like Ziggler challenging for the title with Swagger as guest referee, or vice versa.
Then there's always a match with some sort of "no disqualification" stipulation so that Ziggler could interfere on Swagger's behalf, or vice versa.
There are a lot of ways you could go with it. But any of these scenarios puts one or two guys back in the main event picture and gives Sheamus odds to overcome and help build his reputation as champion.
With the way the World Heavyweight Championship match ended at Over the Limit, any one of the competitors could have pulled off a victory. And as far as going one-on-one with Sheamus, any of those challengers could have a great match.
Given the competitiveness of the match at OTL, all three competitors could make a case for deserving a rematch. So rather than argue why any one of them specifically deserves it the most, I'll give other scenarios they could be involved in.
Chris Jericho may be the hardest one to justify another title shot for. He lost title matches at Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania, Extreme Rules and Over the Limit. Besides, it looks like he currently has his sights set on Randy Orton, having delivered three Code Breakers on Raw.
But if Y2J could resolve his issue with Orton before then and be named the No. 1 Contender, we know he has the mic skills and the ring skills for a solid program and match with Sheamus. His four previous title matches were all solid.
Randy Orton, then, must respond to Jericho before he can focus on recapturing the World Heavyweight Championship. Neither The Viper nor Y2J really need to feud with each other; they're both firmly established as it is.
Then again, everyone knows Orton will eventually win the title again, so he doesn't need to take it from Sheamus at this point. Whether it's now or later, a Sheamus/Orton program could be really solid, and adding the World Heavyweight Championship would make it that much better.
What about Alberto Del Rio? He's only had one shot at taking the Great White's gold, and he wasn't pinned in the match. After what happened on Raw, will he be feuding with Santino Marella? Could ADR capture the U.S. Title and then challenge Sheamus in a Title vs. Title match?
As with Orton, we know ADR will have the title again at some point. Whether it's now or later, the Mexican Aristocrat and the The Celtic Warrior could put on one hell of a program.
Although we may not have exhausted the entire list of Sheamus' potential challengers, I've got to say that my number one choice would be Tensai.
The former A-Train has been given a push that most superstars would kill for, including a victory over John Cena and an alliance with the most hated character in sports entertainment, John Laurinaitis. If you're going to push him that hard, you might as well see if he can deliver.
A pay-per-view title match would give Tensai the chance to prove he can work a big match with the likes of Sheamus and would give Vince a good indication of the sort of drawing power Tensai has as a main event heel.
On top of that, it gives a type of challenger that Sheamus has yet to face during his current reign as champion. With Daniel Bryan and the three challengers from OTL, Sheamus was clearly the strongest and toughest competitor. With a true beast like Tensai, Sheamus would be forced to show some new offense, no longer able to simply plow through his competition.
We still don't know how far Tensai's push is going to take him, and Sheamus is still the sort of champion that could lose the title at any moment. A match between these two would be really solid, and the winner would be hard to pick.
With four weeks until No Way Out, the WWE hasn't given us much indication as to who will be challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Will someone be lifted from the midcard, like The Miz or Dolph Ziggler or Jack Swagger?
Will it be one of Johnny Ace's hired guns, like Brock Lesnar or Tensai?
Maybe it will be one of the competitors from Over the Limit, such as Randy Orton, Chris Jericho or Alberto Del Rio.
Who do you think it will be?