Sheamus was the last man standing at Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, earning himself a title shot against a champion of his choosing at WrestleMania 28. While Sheamus winning the Rumble sets up a series of interesting scenarios for the next several months of WWE television, it was actually Chris Jericho who was originally scheduled to win the event.
Triple H, who has gained even more influence behind the scenes in recent months, made the call for Sheamus to win the Rumble just days before the event took place. The two have been close friends (and workout partners) since the Irish grappler’s promotion to the main roster in the summer of 2009.
In an interview with Power Slam magazine, Triple H singled out the Celtic Warrior as a wrestler with big potential:
“The closest to me is probably Sheamus, because we always train together on the road. But I try to watch all the young guys’ matches and give them advice, if they want to hear it. If they take advice to heart and really want to improve, then I’m wanting to help. As for seeing some of myself in someone? That’s tough. Sheamus just the other day showed up at a show he didn’t have to be at. He does whatever he’s asked to do without complaining, he goes to every show and is always wanting to work: he does it all, goes above and beyond. That’s what I was like.”
Randy Orton was also discussed as a potential winner of the Rumble, since he cleanly put over Mark Henry during The World’s Strongest Man’s rise as World Heavyweight Champion and the event was taking place in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Before the final call was made for Sheamus to win the Rumble, Chris Jericho was the favorite, which would have set up a WWE Championship showdown against CM Punk at WrestleMania XXVIII (a match that will likely happen anyways).
WWE officials contemplated last week having John Cena win the match due to the stipulation that “everyone was eligible” for the Rumble. Cena would win the match and subsequently make a tough decision: take the title shot and not face The Rock at WrestleMania.