Predicting 3 of the Next WWE and World Heavyweight Champions
Punk has bested Chris Jericho twice and demanded respect from people like John Cena, The Rock and The Big Show while Sheamus has fought off Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler.
Any time either champion has stood against a challenge, they have emerged with their belts still around their respective waists.
All we have to do now is figure out when they will be bested and by whom.
This article will give my predictions for three of the next men to capture the two biggest prizes in professional wrestling. I can't say exactly what show they will win their titles, but I'm positive that these six people will all be known as World Heavyweight or WWE Champion in the future.
You are more than welcome to give me your feedback on my picks and who you think is more deserving and/or suited to being called a champion.
Let's dive in!
1. World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler
This is certainly not a controversial choice, but Dolph Ziggler will be the first to take the World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus.
Ziggler, as many know, had a taste of the big gold belt before Edge came back and ended Ziggler's first World Heavyweight Championship reign at about 15 minutes. Vickie Guerrero at his side or not, Ziggler just needs the perfect opportunity to cash in the briefcase and wrestle Sheamus.
Ziggler has already told Sheamus that he intends to walk out of Hell in A Cell as champion. Does this mean that Ziggler will wait until the World Heavyweight Championship match between Sheamus and The Big Show is over? Is he plotting something else?
When it finally does happen, a lot of us will be saying "It's about damn time!" along with Ziggler as he walks down the ramp with the belt around his waist.
2. World Heavyweight Champion Wade Barrett
A consistent presence in the main event since winning the first season of NXT in 2010, Wade Barrett's only stumble was a nasty elbow dislocation at the beginning of this year that kept him on the bench through WrestleMania and almost all of the summer.
Now that the Barrage is back, he must have his sights set on a belt that would look great on his shoulder.
Barrett had an absolutely fantastic match with Sheamus this past Monday night, and gave Sheamus more of a run for his title than anyone else since Daniel Bryan tried to reclaim it at Extreme Rules.
I expect Barrett to be a force to be reckoned with at the Royal Rumble, and while I do not necessarily see him winning it, I expect him to be in the ring for quite a long time. Barrett will be World Heavyweight Champion by this time next year.
3. World Heavyweight Champion Kofi Kingston
The man is due.
An absolute babyface who everyone can get behind, be they Internet fans or casual viewers, Kofi Kingston has given his all in the WWE since debuting for the ECW brand in 2007.
His ill-fated pairing with Evan Bourne did not stop him from regaining the Tag Team Championships with a different partner in R-Truth, and now that it looks like Kingston is back on his own, he will be headlining WWE Main Event next week with an Intercontinental Championship match against The Miz.
Whether Kingston wins or loses, I think it is finally time to put some faith in a man who has been one of the hardest workers in all of wrestling.
Athletic, likable and a gifted high-flyer, Kingston would be a fantastic World Heavyweight Champion in a division that is sorely lacking babyface contenders. I would like to see him pick up the contract in next year's Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
4. WWE Champion Ryback
This might happen sooner than we think.
Nobody could have imagined that Ryback would tear into the hearts of fans this quickly, but as every week goes by, the chants of "Feed Me More" get louder and louder. They were so emphatically behind him this week that the camera shook underneath the weight of everyone's stomping feet.
He is the poster child for a WWE Superstar, and all he has to do is show us he can go for a good length of time in one match.
5. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
At some point, Team Hell No will have to go their separate ways and it will bring to an end one of the most entertaining tag teams the WWE has ever seen. The dynamic between Daniel Bryan and Kane is incredible, and it proves once again that there is nothing Bryan cannot do in WWE to succeed.
I will admit that the X factor of Ryback has put this prediction in some serious jeopardy, but I stand by my belief that Daniel Bryan will win the 2012 Royal Rumble. With any luck, he will be facing CM Punk at WrestleMania XXIX, but I cannot even be sure of that at this point.
This illustration comes to us from Ben Eargle, aka DrSpilkus on deviantART. Check out the full Daniel Bryan piece as well as his other awesome WWE work here!
6. WWE Champion Jeff Hardy
While WWE gears up for Hell in A Cell, TNA has their equivalent of WrestleMania this Sunday with Bound for Glory, where Jeff Hardy will face TNA World Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries for the gold.
The result of that match could very well shape his future, as Hardy mentioned in an interview with the Phoenix New Times that you "never say never in this business" when asked if he would consider returning to WWE.
Hardy has been through a lot over the last few years and looks to have finally put everything behind him that culminated in his debacle of a match against Sting at last year's Victory Road.
A man as ambitious and thrill-seeking as Jeff Hardy will probably not want to leave any questions unanswered, and with plenty of fans still left in WWE who would welcome him back, I think he will want to finish out his career with the company who made him a household name.
I thank everyone once again for reading and welcome you to join the discussion below!