One of the biggest feuds over the past few months in WWE has been Big Show versus Sheamus over the World Heavyweight Championship. While their rivalry has certainly had its moments, both men should move on to bigger and better things by the time the Royal Rumble rolls around.
When the Big Show versus Sheamus angle started it was fresh, as they hadn't faced each other before. Also, Big Show won the world title at Hell in a Cell, so it was nice to see something different, as Sheamus had held the belt since WrestleMania XXVIII. Additionally, Big Show and Sheamus proved to have great in-ring chemistry, which made for some entertaining matches.
Unless a feud involves two top-tier stars, it usually doesn't have a shelf life that lasts beyond a few months. Sheamus is developing into one of the WWE's most popular babyfaces, and Big Show is a veteran who has accomplished a lot in the business, but the vast majority of fans can only stay interested for so long before they're ready to move on.
This particular program reached that point at TLC. Big Show had already defeated Sheamus at Hell in a Cell and lost via disqualification at Survivor Series, so TLC marked their third pay-per-view match. The first two were excellent, and their match at TLC was solid as well, but Big Show won the match decisively, and Sheamus really had no claim left to the World Heavyweight Championship.
Despite that, Sheamus continued to go after Big Show following TLC. It obviously makes sense since Sheamus wouldn't realistically give up pursuing the world title, but Sheamus defeated Big Show in a lumberjack match on the Christmas Eve Raw and beat him in a tag-team match on the most recent episode of SmackDown as well, which seems to suggest that he is still a top contender.
Nothing has been officially announced with regards to the World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble, and while it isn't outside the realm of possibility that Sheamus will challenge for the belt, I don't think he should, and I don't believe he will. The biggest reason for that is the sudden emergence of Alberto Del Rio.
Just over a month ago, Del Rio was at an all-time low in WWE, and there didn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. He had previously won the Royal Rumble and won Money in the Bank, and he is a two-time WWE Champion. But Del Rio went from being one of the WWE's top heels to a boring, repetitive superstar with very few redeeming qualities.
All of that changed at TLC, as Del Rio saved Ricardo Rodriguez from an attack at the hands of 3MB and slowly developed into a face. Over the last couple of weeks, Del Rio's turn has really taken shape as Big Show has been bullying Ricardo. Del Rio has stood up to Big Show on a couple of occasions and even let Ricardo drive his car and wear his scarf for his entrance prior to a match against Big Show.
It wasn't long ago that I would have scoffed at a Del Rio versus Big Show feud, but Del Rio is suddenly a very cool and interesting face who could serve as a great foil to Big Show. Del Rio was already a great in-ring competitor, but that was overlooked by his other deficiencies. Del Rio is simply much more interesting as a face, and he deserves a shot at the main-event scene.
I'm a fan of Sheamus and believe that he caught some undeserved heat for what some have branded an unsuccessful title reign, but that had more to do with the fact that he was feuding with a boring heel Del Rio for the most part. Sheamus is extremely popular and among the best workers in the WWE, though, so he deserves more credit.
With that said, I'm tired of Sheamus versus Big Show. Their matches were good, but the feud has run its course in terms of the promo work and the storylines surrounding it. Sheamus can be thrown back into the world title mix at any time without explanation, but Del Rio needs a feud of importance in order to see if he can develop into a high-level face in the WWE.
Sheamus won't be away from the title long, as he'll almost certainly be in the Elimination Chamber match and may even end up winning it. Sheamus has a fantastic future in the company and is one of the WWE's rising stars, but he has been vying for the World Heavyweight Championship for nearly a year, and a brief hiatus would be good for everyone.