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Is it time for the return of Mark Henry?
I gave consideration to a few other superstars before compiling my final list.
Mark Henry is set to return from injury sometime in late November. He would make a credible foe for Big Show, as The World's Strongest Man is able to match the power of the current champion better than anyone else on the roster.
There are problems with putting the belt on Henry, however.
First of all, you'd be replacing one giant with a giant of another stripe. Really, you'd have the same champion with a different name.
The other issue with placing Henry atop the card is his injury history. Henry has a disturbing tendency to get injured at least once a year.
Until he can show some durability, it's probably best to keep the title off of him.
Sheamus had a long run with the belt following WrestleMania and would definitely be a popular choice with the fan base.
One issue with making Sheamus the top dog on SmackDown again is that it would almost necessarily force his feud with Big Show to continue, and that matchup has been done nearly to death already.
A second thing to consider is that Sheamus, sort of like John Cena, seems able to keep his fan appeal with or without the belt. Since there's no need to give him a title to get him over, why not use the belt to boost someone else to the top level?
Sheamus could also move into a feud with CM Punk for the WWE Championship, and the company wouldn't skip a beat.
Alberto Del Rio's act is wearing thin for me.
He has decent in-ring skills and a developed character, and those attributes would seem to make him a legitimate choice as World Champion, but I just don't see it. Del Rio seems to be at his best when he is chasing someone.
Alberto seems most effective when he covets the gold, not when he has it.