At No Way Out, Sheamus is scheduled to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio. This match will be the culmination of a heated grudge program between the two stars—a feud that has dominated the blue brand in recent times.
However, as most will know by now, this has been called into question after Del Rio reportedly suffered a nasty concussion at last week's SmackDown taping. As of the time of writing, it has yet to be confirmed whether or not the star will be able to make the show.
But, assuming he can make No Way Out and compete for the title, we should ask: Is he deserving of a title win?
Certainly there are a few arguments against it.
The first thing we have to consider is that since he debuted in the summer of 2010 as a snooty, rich aristocrat, Del Rio has had a decidedly patchy time getting over with the fans. This is partly the fault of WWE's erratic and muddled booking process.
He was given a major push, initially, sure. He even managed to win the 2011 Royal Rumble in his first ever appearance at the show. However, he ultimately lost to Edge in their match at WrestleMania (a booking decision rendered even more unwise after Edge retired days after), then spent months languishing in the WWE mid card.
It seemed clear the company intended for him to get the belt at some point (Del Rio won Raw's Money in the Bank match at the MITB pay-per-view) they just didn't know when.
After a long wait, Del Rio finally had achieved title glory at SummerSlam 2011 after cashing in his Money in the Bank title shot on WWE Champion CM Punk. Arguably, this wasn't the best scenario for the Mexican star to win his first belt. He ended up playing second fiddle to the shocking return of Kevin Nash (whose interference led to Del Rio being able to defeat Punk). While it should have been his moment in the spotlight, his victory regrettably came off like an afterthought.
But, still, after a rough stop-and-start, his career was finally back on track, right?
Eh, not exactly. After such a long buildup, he embarrassingly lost the title to John Cena at Night of Champions a few weeks later. Of course, he won it back the following month, but by then the damaged had arguably been done. Fans could longer taken him seriously as a top guy. He later dropped the title to CM Punk at Survivor Series. Few cared.
A nagging groin injury kept him out of action for much of the early part of this year, and he's since re-emerged on the SmackDown brand.
Of course, while the booking has been less-than-perfect, some of the blame undoubtedly lies with Del Rio.
In a company filled with superb talkers like CM Punk and John Cena, he only manages to be average, with many of his promos coming off as boring and mundane. He simply doesn't know how to electrify a crowd on the mic the way other main eventers do.
Additionally, his heel character, which has generally stayed the same since his debut, is still as one-dimensional and predictable as ever. Maybe it's time for the Del Rio character to evolve and pick up a few hilarious personality quirks, similar to Daniel Bryan?
It also doesn't help that his manager and personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, is arguably a far more entertaining all-round act than his boss.
Despite these problems, however, Del Rio remains the only up-and-coming star still (relatively) protected by the booking team. After jobbing out wrestlers like The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Mark Henry, WWE have greatly limited their options when it comes to top line prospects.
For this reason alone, Del Rio may have to win the title either at No Way Out or some point soon. WWE simply have no other options.
Summarily, it remains to be seen whether the Sheamus/Del Rio match happens at the show. But if it does, and Del Rio beats the Irishman and emerges as new World Heavyweight Champion, one thing is for sure: He'll have a lot to prove.