Most WWE fans were hoping that SummerSlam would mark the end of a long, boring feud over the World Heavyweight Championship as Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican Aristocrat inexplicably regained the No. 1 contendership, however, and will receive another shot at Night of Champions.
Part of the reason why SummerSlam didn't end things is because of a controversial ending in which Del Rio's foot was on the ropes during the pin. That, in turn, gave the writers a reason to continue the feud. With that in mind, the result at Night of Champions can be nothing other than a clean Sheamus win.
The moment their match at SummerSlam ended like it did, I immediately knew that we hadn't seen the last of Sheamus vs. Del Rio, which has become the stalest WWE feud in recent memory. The creative team obviously had no other bullets in their holster because even it has to realize that this angle is played out.
If Sheamus wins cleanly at Night of Champions, though, I'm not sure there is any way to justify continuing the storyline. Del Rio has already lost to Sheamus on numerous occasions and it's already a miracle that he has lasted this long as the main challenger.
It honestly wouldn't surprise me if Sheamus got another win through controversial means, but I desperately hope that doesn't happen. I generally enjoy SmackDown because of the emphasis on wrestling and development of mid-card feuds, but Sheamus vs. Del Rio has kind of ruined it for me lately and I'm sure many fans feel the same way.
At this point, I don't believe fans would honestly care who goes up against Sheamus next as long as it is somebody new. Whether it's Randy Orton, Big Show, The Miz, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, a returning Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank contract or whatever else you can think of, all of that would be better than the current state of the world title.
I don't even feel like Sheamus has been a bad world champion, but he hasn't gotten any help. He has been booked as an unstoppable force, which is something most fans hate and consider to be John Cena-esque. On top of that, he hasn't been pushed by a credible challenger as Del Rio doesn't feel like anything other than a placeholder.
There have been plenty of opportunities to end this feud, but the writers have failed to pull the trigger for whatever reason. I really hope that there is some sort of master plan in the works and that is why things have lagged on for so long, but I have my doubts. It's almost as if the World Heavyweight Championship has become a mid-card title.
I'm not sure what the plans are for Barrett's return, but I believe that the ideal situation would be Sheamus going over Del Rio clean at Night of Champions, only for Barrett to attack him after the match. This could either lead to a feud between them or lead to Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank on the spot.
Whatever way you slice it, the world title scene would be much fresher and more interesting if things played out like that. Barrett has been injured for quite some time, so anything he does is going to feel new and exciting, while many want Ziggler to be champion, so a lot of fans would get behind him and his reign.
I'm a proponent of Ziggler holding the briefcase for several months, but I have grown so disillusioned with the World Heavyweight Championship scene that I would be more than willing to see Ziggler take the title now and free of us from boredom.
Although I'm already resigned to the fact that Sheamus and Del Rio will be wrestling for the title again at Night of Champions, I simply can't handle another match between them after that. If the WWE cares about its fans at all, then Sheamus will go over clean on September 16 in Boston.