WWE SummerSlam: Who Should Challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title?

Rob Manisero@robmaniCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2012

via wwe.com
via wwe.com

While the WWE Championship is heading directly towards another feud between CM Punk and John Cena, the scene on the World Heavyweight Title side of things isn't as clear-cut.

Sheamus has now held the gold since his 18-second victory at WrestleMania, and he has continued to put on above-average matches just about every chance he gets. Although his initial WWE Championship reign back in late 2009-early 2010 came far too early in his career, he has improved greatly since then and has become a lock in the main event scene.

So far, he has thwarted the challenges of Daniel Bryan, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler. But who is up next for the Great White at one of the biggest PPV's of the year?

The former, Bryan, is the only man we can count out of the equation. Their match at Extreme Rules was excellent, but Bryan has moved on since then, and has his own wedding to deal with these days.

Dolph Ziggler is now Mr. Money in the Bank, and while he can get another shot at the champ without the briefcase, the WWE shouldn't put him anywhere near Sheamus until it is ready for him to cash in the contract. 

Also, a feud with Chris Jericho would do wonders for Ziggler, who is a young star facing a veteran that is not afraid to put talented people over. Maybe after Jericho vs. Ziggler is done, Chris can face Cody Rhodes if Y2J is still around. Rhodes is seemingly getting his push slowed lately, and that feud would provide him with a nice push as well.

Then there's the Mexican Aristocrat. By the looks of Del Rio on Raw this past week, he is definitely not ready to move on. Alberto had a solid performance at Money in the Bank, but he was still beaten cleanly, and it doesn't seem that another one-on-one match between the two is in the works.

On top of those names, there are three other superstars who can step in and give Sheamus a run for his money at SummerSlam.

The first man on that list is Rey Mysterio. He made his triumphant return on Raw to take out Del Rio, and while that makes it seem like the two will feud over the coming weeks, that's something we have seen done over and over again.

Next up is Wade Barrett, a man who has been missing for over four months now. Given the estimates of how long it would take to heal, Wade should be perfectly fine to come back to the WWE and challenge Sheamus for the title. He was bound for the main event when he got injured, and it would not be a stretch to throw him back in that position when he finally appears on television.

Last, but not least, is Randy Orton. We have heard conflicting reports about Orton's status in the company, and there have even been rumors of him getting fired. Nonetheless, there is no denying the crowd reaction that Orton receives every time he goes out there. It even seems like Orton vs. Sheamus was the SummerSlam plan before the suspension occurred.

So who will be the guy to challenge Sheamus on PPV in just one month's time? 

Although Randy Orton is a guy who could be thrown into that title scene, management may hold off on what seems to be an inevitable Orton vs. Sheamus encounter. That's why I think the World Heavyweight Championship match will be between Sheamus and Rey Mysterio.

Both men have proven they can work well with just about anybody, and putting them against each other one-on-one could provide for an excellent encounter. Then, Randy Orton can face Del Rio for the next No. 1 contender's spot at SummerSlam as well, and we can have that Sheamus vs. Orton match sometime around Night of Champions. Barrett can be inserted in there as well if he finally makes his long-awaited return.

Of course, there is always Ziggler to keep in the back of your mind, but with all the teasing they have been doing about the cash-in, he might hold on to that briefcase for a little while, possibly towards the end of the year and Survivor Series.

But for SummerSlam, Sheamus vs. Rey Mysterio is the way to go, and Dolph can build up his star power against a guy like Chris Jericho until he gets the call to be the champ.