WWE WrestleMania 29: Who Will Enter as World Heavyweight Champion?

Jack Woodfield@@JWoodfield365Featured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2013

Photo from WWE.com
Photo from WWE.com

For those that hate reading WWE spoilers, as I do, and especially did this morning when WWE.com leaked a colossal title match result from WWE SmackDown, please feel free to stop reading now.

On January 8, Alberto Del Rio defeated Big Show in a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship in Miami.

Immediately after the title change, WWE.com felt compelled to reveal the news to the world before we could all snuggle up with our mugs of cocoa on Friday night and discover it for ourselves.

WWE's logic aside though, this was undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises in recent memory regarding the world title. The last time the title changed hands on SmackDown (bar the infamous Dolph Ziggler/Edge confusion in early 2011) was in May 2011, when Randy Orton beat Christian.

Del Rio capturing the belt on the first SmackDown of 2013 is not only curious given his confusing booking as of late, but it is tremendously exciting as we embark on the road to WWE WrestleMania 29.

The question is now, will the babyface Del Rio hold on to the belt until the "Showcase of the Immortals," or is someone else in line to enter WrestleMania as champion?  

It appears fairly certain that Big Show will invoke his rematch clause at WWE Royal Rumble 2013, and having lost the gold, it seems unlikely that WWE will be planting it back on him again.

As far as possibilities for their Rumble match go, the only two logical options would surely be either Del Rio retaining the title, or Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank contract successfully.

What is intriguing here is predicting how events will pan out at WWE Elimination Chamber 2013, where the title will inevitably be on the line as it has been for the last five years, contested by six men in an Elimination Chamber match.

On the December 28 edition of SmackDown, we were teased with the foundations of a Sheamus vs. Randy Orton feud, which could feasibly begin with one of them reclaiming the gold inside the steel structure. A Sheamus vs. Orton match at WrestleMania for the World title would certainly satisfy, and should "The Viper" turn heel, then we could be set for one of the better rivalries of 2013.

However, let us not forget that the winner of the Royal Rumble match, whoever that may be, may also be involved should that superstar select to face the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania.

Whether it be Big Show, Del Rio, Orton, Ziggler, Sheamus or another superstar, WWE has done a tremendous job creating intrigue not just for the world title situation, but for SmackDown as a show as well.   

One could have quite happily missed numerous episodes of the Friday night broadcast over recent weeks and been fairly content to read the results online.  

Coupling this title change with an appearance from The Rock, SmackDown has suddenly become must-see television again.

The future is very much looking bright regarding the world title picture, and should WWE continue 2013 in the vein they have begun, we could be in for one heck of a WrestleMania.

Thanks for reading my various ramblings, and as ever I'd be happy to hear and respond to your thoughts below. I am also available to follow on Twitter @JWoodfield365.