Sheamus has held the World heavyweight championship for nearly seven months now and has been booked so strongly that it doesn’t look like he’ll ever lose it.
The WWE, however, is currently trying to build up The Big Show—no matter how much or how little we’re buying into it—as Sheamus’ toughest challenger yet.
Still, not many fans are expecting Big Show to walk out of this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view with the World title around his waist. In fact, most seem to expect one of two things will happen.
Either Sheamus will retain cleanly, or Big Show will win, only to lose the title when Dolph Ziggler cashes in on him.
Assuming the former scenario happens (and there is no cash-in), Sheamus should move on to a new challenger that isn’t Big Show and that isn’t Ziggler.
His next challenger should be none other than the man he’s kinda, sorta been feuding with recently, Wade Barrett.
Ever since Barrett returned a couple of months ago, he has essentially been left completely out of the storyline loop. Upon his return, he simply squashed local workers or lower-card performers as a way to “reintroduce” him to the WWE fans.
I’ve found this to be rather silly because Barrett’s been a big part of the WWE for more than two years now. Even if he did slightly tweak his character during his absence, I don’t see the need to bring him back by having him squash guys who are at the bottom of the card.
It would have been significantly more impactful for Barrett to return by immediately being placed into a main-event level storyline. I thought that this would be exactly what happened, and I thought that the storyline would be a World title feud with Sheamus.
That hasn’t happened yet, but the WWE seems to be testing the waters of a potential Barrett/Sheamus feud by putting the two stars in three matches against each other over the last few weeks.
What’s made this even clearer, though, was that these matches were put together in such a way that both stars were protected, regardless of the outcome.
Could this be an indicator that a legit Barrett vs. Sheamus feud is on the horizon? I think so.
Their mini-rivalry of sorts, which has been relegated exclusively to TV (while Sheamus simultaneously feuds with Big Show), has given us three entertaining matches. It's also shown us two things—that Sheamus can work well with a wide variety of opponents and that Barrett is destined to be a World champion one day.
In fact, many of us are surprised that Barrett has still yet to win a World title. He started off his WWE career with such a massive push that led to feuds with both Randy Orton and John Cena, and as a result, it caused many of us to believe that Barrett would win a World title by late 2010 or at some point in 2011.
Barrett, of course, has hit a few snags since then, including that devastating injury that sidelined him for this year’s WrestleMania. However, since he’s returned, he’s looked as good as ever.
The former Nexus leader has clearly made huge strides in the ring since his debut in early 2010. Combined with his great mic skills, this makes him one of the best all-around talents in the WWE. Yet, as we near the end of 2012, it’s been almost two years since Barrett has been involved in a World title feud.
If he retains his title against Big Show at Hell in a Cell, who will Sheamus feud with next?
That needs to change, and the WWE has the perfect opportunity to do that by making Barrett the next challenger for World heavyweight champion Sheamus.
Though the WWE has kind of spoiled any future feud between the two by putting them in so many matches together in recent weeks, Sheamus and Barrett have shown some fantastic chemistry together that leads me to believe that a legitimate World title PPV feud between the two could be something really special.
The WWE needs to do all it can to establish some more main-event level stars, and it’s trying like hell to do that with guys like Ryback and letting it happen more naturally with guys like Damien Sandow.
Barrett, on the other hand, has already proven to be capable of working in the top scene, and he’s patiently bided his time, just hoping and waiting to get back there.
If the WWE knows what’s good for both its present and its future, then Sheamus’ rivalry with Big Show should conclude as soon as possible and Wade Barrett should step up as one of the WWE’s next top heels.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!