WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Results: The Top 7 World Championship Challengers

Robert Aitken@@RobertAitkenBRAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2012

WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Results: The Top 7 World Championship Challengers

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    Now that Daniel Bryan continues his tight grasp of the World Heavyweight Championship, let's re-evaluate the top contenders for his championship. Bryan had five other men in the Elimination Chamber with him last night, as well as a few men originally planned for the match.

    That would typically make for your top seven contenders, but it isn't that simple. With surging Cinderella stories, active suspensions and time-consuming injuries, the field of challengers isn't quite as simple to explain on the surface.

    There has certainly been some shuffling in the order after the Elimination Chamber match, even including some that were not involved with the match. You may not agree with the top seven, so feel free to comment with your own top seven contenders as of right now.

    Keep in mind that the main difference between this list and how your list may look is that this list does not include any injured superstars in it.

    Without further ado, here are the top seven contenders for Daniel Bryan's World Heavyweight Championship.

7) Santino Marella

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    I can't describe to you how odd it is that I am talking about world championship rankings and seriously putting Santino Marella on the list.

    A guy that was seriously considered to be a throwaway in the Elimination Chamber match, Santino Marella ended up being the final challenger eliminated by Bryan. Had he not been caught by the LeBell Lock from Bryan, Marella could have shocked the world and won the championship possibly.

    Some might even say that Santino's great showing merits an even higher place on this list, but I will tread lightly with this fact. Remember that it was Santino who lost on Superstars this past week and was only in this match to begin with due to an injury from Randy Orton.

    As I stated before, Orton, along with other injured superstars, will not appear on this list. That includes Christian, who appeared at Elimination Chamber last night. Both Orton and Christian are injured and, therefore, makes them useless to being put on this list.

6) Drew McIntyre

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    I'll expect some backlash for even including this man on the list, especially above Santino, but I can't help it. Drew McIntyre is still a guy on the rise. This storyline he is involved in with his massive losing streak is going to eventually come to a head.

    He was very good in the battle royal on SmackDown this week and, even in a defeat, showed that he is the best that the brand has after the initial tier of talent. Just imagine how McIntyre would be ranked if he wasn't purposely being made to lose to anyone and everyone.

    There has to be some type of payoff to this storyline at some point. I don't know if it is as extreme as a world championship reign, but McIntyre has been more than due for at least a chance.

    He seemed poised for a chance last year, but dealt with the issues from the departed Tiffany. It was McIntyre who suffered from those events and while McIntyre is out of the doghouse, his new booking will have a light at the end of the tunnel.

5) Big Show

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    Remember when Big Show was the top contender, as well as the winner of a World Heavyweight Championship all the way back in December? Look at how the mighty have fallen.

    A dominant performance in general, making quick work of The Great Khali and shattering steel chains in the Elimination Chamber couldn't help Big Show become world champion again.

    Big Show ended up being the second superstar eliminated, succumbing to an assault by Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. Big Show was the main threat to Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber and didn't even wait for Bryan's pod to open in order to attack him. Even still, Big Show fell short.

    What's worse is that Big Show was defeated by two other men who didn't even use their finishers to take him down. There was no Wasteland or Cross Rhodes to seal Big Show's fate.

    Now, his poor WrestleMania record may not even have another match added to it, unless he finds an opponent in less than six weeks.

4) Mark Henry

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    I am not including injured superstars, but I am including suspended superstars. Mark Henry is a former World Heavyweight Champion and still one of the most menacing forces in WWE today.

    His suspension will not last forever and his pent up frustration can easily be taken out on Daniel Bryan. Henry wants his championship title back and will mow down whoever he needs to in order to obtain it again.

    His alliance with Raw GM John Laurinaitis may end up being what gives Henry his regular spot back. It's hard to predict the future of Teddy Long and what will come of this plan, but Henry is more than happy to help out the cause if it gets him back in regular capacity.

    Even in suspension, Henry is still showing up on SmackDown. What is really stopping him from asserting himself on the champion and forcing Teddy Long to reinstate him for the safety of Daniel Bryan?

3) Cody Rhodes

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    As per usual for him, Cody Rhodes shined at Elimination Chamber. Already holding one championship belt, Rhodes could have been holding two belts had it not been for an ill-advised position, enabling a shocking three count that eliminated Rhodes. Rhodes was certainly humiliated, especially when it was at the hands of Santino Marella.

    Still, it is hard to argue that Cody Rhodes belongs in the title picture. Even as Intercontinental Champion, Rhodes has had most of his competition come from the main event picture.

    Rhodes is just not being challenged enough, meaning that a shift to better competition could bring the best out in Rhodes. There will be a World Heavyweight Championship reign for Cody Rhodes. It is coming sooner than you think.

2) Wade Barrett

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    Right in the thick of things was Wade Barrett. Without Randy Orton to ruin his plans, Barrett nearly walked away as world champion. Instead, it is yet another narrow defeat for the winner of NXT season one. Once again, Barrett is always the bridesmaid.

    Barrett nearly gets over the hump and becomes a world champion for the very first time, but cannot do enough to obtain such a thing. Even still, Barrett is not going away anytime soon. The Barrett Barrage will continue through 2012 and, from any indication, will lead to a world championship win eventually.

    The real question to ask about Wade Barrett is how long will it take for him to finally get that moment that he and his fans have been waiting years for.

1) Sheamus

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    This is a no-brainer. Sheamus has the Royal Rumble victory under his belt and will be the next man to get a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship.

    Without it, Sheamus would have been lower on this list, but not from a lack of deserving it. The Great White has been nothing but dominant in nearly one year of being on SmackDown.

    Sheamus came over to the blue brand from the WWE draft, being selected as the last pick in the supplemental draft. It seemed like a wasted pick at the time, but Sheamus has turned himself around.

    He is now cheered incredibly by the SmackDown faithful and has enjoyed a large win percentage. What is not large was the number of world title chances Sheamus was getting. The former WWE Champion will finally get a real opportunity at the World Heavyweight Championship.

    At WrestleMania, Sheamus will have a chance to understand a dream and walk out of Miami as the new World Heavyweight Champion. In less than six weeks, it could easily be the man from Dublin who holds the Big Gold belt high in the air and adds to his already stellar list of accomplishments.