Bray Wyatt will rise from the black pit in which John Cena entombed him, a ravenous monster in search of a new adversary—and there is no WWE Superstar who would better suit that role than Sheamus.
Each man's hard-hitting style, a lack of babyface options beyond The Celtic Warrior and a contrast in character similar to what Cena brought to their feud should have WWE officials looking for ways to make Wyatt and Sheamus clash. The United States Championship in the Irishman's grip would only make that rivalry better.
Many will argue that Wyatt should have won at Payback. Even in going 1-2 against Cena, though, that feud elevated Wyatt's stock.
At times, he scared Cena. At WrestleMania 30, he had him struggling with his own morality.
After testing a top-tier star like that, Wyatt can't go back to tangling with men like The Miz and Kofi Kingston.
He needs to face a marquee hero. The list of wrestlers who fit that description is short. Wyatt has already feuded with Daniel Bryan this year. Bryan is also out of commission for the moment as well, recovering from neck surgery that will prevent him from competing for an unknown amount of time.
Scanning the roster, one finds names like Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam and Roman Reigns atop the rankings of fan favorites.
Which babyface would you most want Bray Wyatt to feud with next?
Reigns will be busy with Triple H and the turncoat Seth Rollins. Van Dam and Big Show are still big names but aren't in their prime and haven't been booked strongly of late. RVD has been losing to Bad News Barrett lately, while Big Show hasn't done much in recent weeks other than punch out Damien Sandow.
Ziggler would undoubtedly provide stellar matches with Wyatt, but he's on a lower tier right now than The Eater of Worlds. WWE has used Ziggler as a means to make other guys look good. That has meant a lot of losses in a short span, making him a hard sell as a threat to Wyatt without some major image repair.
Unless WWE turns Wyatt babyface, the best option for his next rival is Sheamus.
He's a former world champ, a Royal Rumble winner and has been on an impressive streak since returning to action early this year. His biggest loss during that stretch has been to Wyatt.
Thanks to that collision on the April 29 edition of Main Event, the company already knows that their matches will be physical, intense and a thrill to watch.
Wyatt is a speeding freight train that performs best when meeting head-on with a similar vehicle. Of the three Wyatt vs. Cena matches, the Last Man Standing was the best, mostly because it had the most smashmouth offense.
Bryan vs. Wyatt at the Royal Rumble worked so well largely because of how violent it was. There was a nasty edge to each man's offense, as they spent the whole time bashing each other like a battering ram meeting a door.
That is exactly where Sheamus excels.
It's hard to not get excited imagining Wyatt charging at Sheamus and the powerhouse trading bruise-inducing blows with The Man of 1,000 Truths. While Wyatt could potentially pull of a great match against a high-flyer like Van Dam, the mercilessness of his character and his rare combination of explosiveness and size make brawls the more fitting domain for him.
While Sheamus is several steps below Cena in terms of mic work, he could certainly tell a great story opposite the monster.
Wyatt vs. Cena was built around the juxtaposition of good and evil and light and dark. WWE can craft something similar here. Wyatt despised Cena because he thought he was hiding his true sinister self and that he was misleading the youth in the audience.
WWE need not simply reprise the Cena story, but Sheamus offers similar reasons for Wyatt to hate him. He can have his toughness tested against the patriarch of The Wyatt Family and find himself questioning if he can actually fell this bearded beast.
The U.S. title adds an intriguing element on top of that.
Some fans will want to see Wyatt challenge for the company's top title, but he's only been a part of the main roster for less than a year. There is time to have him ascend to that level, but it's wise to have him win Sheamus' title first.
"My name is Sheamus, and I'm the United States Champion, Fella!" pic.twitter.com/8S9TyBzQ9f— Amanda☆ (@ProudHooligan78) May 14, 2014
Bryan and Cena are among many who won that championship before moving on to the world title.
The path from midcard belt to major one is a tradition for a reason: It extends the journey to the mountaintop, allows a wrestler to develop and have a fanbase completely buy into him.
There's no hurry in elevating Wyatt to the very top just yet. He's only 27.
Pursuit of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship can be the catalyst for their feud, though. Let this narrative begin as they both battle to win the Ladder match at Money in the Bank, the monster's claws scraping the hero's wounds before they truly go to war.