On a cool, clear night in New Orleans, amidst the tumult of 18,000 screaming fans, two warriors stepped into the ring to do battle for no other reason then pride.
On it's face anyway.
However, as the Celtic Warrior and the Pontiff of the Peeps did battle, giving each other the best they had to offer, enrapturing and enthralling the multitudes, what they got was carnage in and of itself.
Sheamus defeated Christian tonight via pinfall after nailing a Brogue Kick on a running Christian, ending a match that was definitely a good one. Ultimately, the results of the match are far reaching.
The Number One Contenders
Both men stepped into the ring with claims as the next challenger for the Heavyweight title. Christian, put his mark on the fight through shrewd maneuvering, using his resources intelligently, and dealing with the circumstances dealt the him. Sheamus laid his claim through sheer domination and body count.
In the end, there really could only be one contender for the title and the winner of this match would be, arguably, in a position to challenge for the Heavyweight Championship, currently held by the monster Mark Henry. While it was intended to be a simple opener to get the crowd warmed up, as I've stated before, the match meant much more.
The Rise of Sheamus
Overall, it's likely that Sheamus will move into the title feud in some capacity with Orton and Henry, if not replace Orton outright (depending what SmackDown's creative department does with Rhodes). After a clear cut victory in a hard match, he does have a storyline claim for a title shot.
Let us not forget that Sheamus is also 1-1 with Henry after defeating the World's Strongest Man on SmackDown a few weeks after Summerslam. The two have unresolved business they need to address. It's not really a matter of if, but when they resume their feud. Could Sheamus do what Orton has failed to do and defeat the unstoppable machine? Time will tell.
What's next for Christian?
Ultimately, what of Captain Charisma? The Peeps Champion? Arguably out of the title scene for a while, he still will be a valued tool for SmackDown's extension of the Conspiracy angle. More or less the only real main event talent that is established in the angle, he may prove a valuable foil for the likes of Triple H, Punk, Orton (if he gets involved), and Cena.
As a two time champion, he does have a certain swagger about him and this could lead to a sorely needed tweak to his character. That is one of many benefits for him right now, as he is perfectly suited to be a main face in the coming story lines along these paths. Fear not for the fallen one. He is far from dead yet.
Oddly, a team with Rhodes could be in the cards as well, if not Otunga. It's possible that, as a result of the story lining with the heel banding together, he might see some run in the Tag division, being used to help elevate the titles even more.
Not over yet.
One nice thing about Sheamus and Christian is that their feud isn't done yet. It may go a bit longer depending on how they decide to proceed with Henry/Orton, or they may resume it at a later time. There is still a ton of mileage left and some angles they haven't explored yet.
I admit, I've liked how they've done it thus far, and it could be the beginning of something great. Though I expect a Sheamus/Henry feud to resume shortly, they do have a nicely established fallback position with this feud. Maybe even Christian finds his vengeance at the PPV (no pun intended).
Overall, though the Pontiff fell the to Celt, this was just the opening salvo in a war that could pass into legend, and not just history.