Don’t think that defeat will send the Celtic Warrior back down the WWE food chain.
Sunday’s match against the Big Show lacked some of the physicality from their previous encounters at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. The clean loss only signaled the end of that feud, which Sheamus should count as the best of his WWE career so far.
And according to a recent report, Sheamus will never be too far removed from the WHC title picture.
That means that between now and April, either Sheamus or Orton could be holding the World title. But the sheer mention of that, even if it turns out to be not true, shows that Sheamus still has the mojo to remain among the WWE elite.
It’s likely that Sheamus would not be a player for the WWE Championship, even though he has held the belt twice and definitely would be a worthy challenger. While it is not yet set in stone, the leading scenario for the WWE title has CM Punk losing it to The Rock at Royal Rumble, setting up a rematch with John Cena at WrestleMania 29 for the WWE Championship.
But Dolph Ziggler retaining his Money in the Bank briefcase at TLC could be good news for Sheamus.
It now is inevitable that Ziggler will trade the briefcase for the WHC title sometime in the immediate future, possibly on or before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. And if that happens, Sheamus would have to be among the favorites to win a second consecutive Royal Rumble match and begin yet another quest for that title.
Sheamus and Ziggler have had some good matches in the past, and a battle with the WHC title on the line would only add more spice to that program.
Ziggler’s victory over Cena at TLC also should squash any future talk of unifying the WWE and World championships, as well as the Raw and SmackDown brands. With that in mind, Sheamus is firmly in place to become the face of the blue brand for some time to come.
That should keep his Irish eyes smiling.
Bill Atkinson is a columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.