A World Heavyweight Championship match for the 2013 Royal Rumble has yet to be announced, but there’s a good chance that the bout will involve the former champion, Sheamus.
“The Great White” lost the World title in October 2012 at Hell in a Cell and has gone on to unsuccessfully reclaim the belt at both Survivor Series and WWE TLC.
But since losing what seemed like his final chance at TLC, Sheamus has picked up two big victories over the current World Heavyweight Champion, The Big Show—one in a lumberjack match on Raw and one in tag team action on SmackDown.
Based on history, that puts Sheamus in prime position to get another opportunity to regain the World Heavyweight Championship.
He should get that opportunity at the Royal Rumble, and if and when he does, he should defeat Big Show to become World champion.
This isn’t to hate on Big Show, who’s on one of the best rolls of his career right now and has developed into arguably the WWE’s No. 2 heel along the way.
That being said, we’re entering WrestleMania season, a time when all but the WWE’s biggest stars find themselves on the backburner.
As great as Big Show’s run has been, he’s a 40-year-old veteran whose best days are behind him. He is no longer the true top star that the WWE envisions him as, and it’s about time for him to step aside so the company’s young guns can shine.
That should start with Big Show losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in less than four weeks at the Royal Rumble.
While it’s not the best booking to have a guy (in this case, Sheamus) continuously get chances to win back his title, the bottom line is that the Celtic Warrior has earned it. He’s earned it in more ways than one.
Through virtue of his two big TV victories over Big Show, he’s earned it from a storyline perspective. But more importantly, he’s earned it by being one of the WWE’s MVPs of 2012.
Sheamus gets a ton of hatred for being a “redheaded knockoff of John Cena,” but he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for also being the hardest working man in pro wrestling.
After all, an interesting look at some WWE statistics from 2012 shows that Sheamus was indeed the company’s biggest workhorse last year.
He wrestled 92 televised matches last year, which is 10 more than the next closest superstar, Daniel Bryan, who wrestled 82. It’s also a whopping 23 more matches than No. 4 on the list, Kofi Kingston, who wrestled 69 matches.
Say what you want about guys like CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler, but it was Sheamus who worked harder than any other WWE superstar in 2012.
And what does he have to show for it? Well, mostly a pretty bad World title reign.
Though Sheamus did hold the World Heavyweight Championship for roughly seven months, it was a really rough reign that most people will only remember for his horribly booked feud with Alberto Del Rio.
It wasn’t Sheamus’s fault that his World title reign failed miserably, though. You can put the blame for that on creative.
Now that we’re kicking off 2013 with the road to the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, however, the WWE has the perfect opportunity to make up for that catastrophe by giving Sheamus another run with the World Heavyweight Championship.
If the WWE isn’t just going to give him one to “make up” for his last title reign or because he’s developed into one of the WWE’s top stars, perhaps the company should put the belt back on him because there would actually be logic behind it.
On last week’s SmackDown, we saw what was, quite obviously, the beginning of a feud between Sheamus and Randy Orton, one that will likely result in a WrestleMania match between the two.
There are two ways the WWE can go with that match: Make it a non-title encounter, or have it be for the World Heavyweight Championship.
According to F4WOnline.com (via WrestlingInc.com), the latter has been discussed for months, and it’s a very plausible scenario that would make a lot of sense.
Orton recently made it clear that he wants to win back the World title that he hasn’t held since 2011. Meanwhile, Sheamus figures to be the one big obstacle that may prevent him from doing that.
In all likelihood, that’s going to lead to the WWE finally pulling the trigger on the Orton heel turn that has been a hot topic of conversation for much of the last year.
Going into WrestleMania 29, the story should be that a newly heel Orton will do anything and everything he can to gain back the coveted World Heavyweight Championship.
And he will have to do so by beating Sheamus, who should regain the World title by finally toppling The Big Show at the Royal Rumble.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!