Monday Night Raw saw the formation of the Intercontinental Championship tournament, where the winner will take on reigning champion Big E at Extreme Rules.
Eight lucky competitors had the opportunity to eventually challenge Big E for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules; unfortunately for four of the superstars they wouldn't be advancing past the first round.
The first match of the first round saw Rob Van Dam defeat Alberto Del Rio, who will take on Cesaro next week after he defeated Mark Henry with a destructive Neutralizer taking down 'The World's Strongest Man'.
Jack Swagger and Sheamus went at it in another great match where Sheamus walked out the victor and advanced to the semi-finals. He will go up against Bad News Barrett who put on a great display against Dolph Ziggler.
So the semi-final matches are set for next week and both look to be great encounters. Rob Van Dam up against the strength of Cesaro and also the battle between England and Ireland with Barrett and Sheamus; but which of these four will benefit the most from facing Big E at Extreme Rules and possibly beat him? Let's take a look...
5: Rob Van Dam
At #5 I believe Rob Van Dam would be the least to benefit from holding the Intercontinental Championship. He has the credentials and the talent as we know but right now RVD is not somebody who should hold the championship because it won't improve his development as a character, which probably never will develop any further, and he will only hold it for a short while before he decides to take some time off again.
I can't see RVD defeating Cesaro next week, unless Paul Heyman has a part to play as he has history with Rob Van Dam. Cesaro won't lose clean to RVD and I think that's the only way he will advance to the next round, if he does advance. Rob Van Dam should lose to Cesaro to make him look more dominant, and the remaining superstars bring a lot more to the table in terms off keeping the championship relevant, and would benefit a lot more.
4: Big E
At four is the current Intercontinental Champion, Big E. At Extreme Rules Big E should drop the Intercontinental Championship but remain in the hunt as a challenger. Ever since capturing the strap big things were planned for him but it seems as if the WWE have dropped the ball with him and he isn't part of any major plans. The destructive Big E we know needs to return as soon as possible and having him hold the gold with seemingly no serious challengers is only hurting him.
He has the talent and the strength and the fans do love him because he always puts on a great show, but he hasn't been in a serious feud for him to remain as relevant; the difference between him and United States Champion Dean Ambrose is that Ambrose is always involved in some big storylines as part of The SHIELD so he is always in the spotlight and the United States Championship may not need to be defended, whereas the Intercontinental Championship is more prestigious and needs to remain in the spotlight; which it's unable to do so because of Big E's lack of progression in the last few months.
Having Big E drop the title and becoming the challenger, we would probably get to see a different side to Big E, and not the same generic Big E as we do every single week.
Having Sheamus defeat Big E at Extreme Rules would not only be a great match itself, but a great way for Sheamus to progress and help the championship gain a little more prestige than it is getting with Big E. A Big E and Sheamus feud would be one to watch as they are both faces and fans would be split as they attempt to get the better of one another in the hope of capturing the Intercontinental Championship.
It works both ways, working with Sheamus would be beneficial for Big E whilst working with Big E would be beneficial for Sheamus. Either way the Intercontinental Championship remains relevant and the fans are treated to a great feud between the two.
2: Bad News Barrett
Some good news for Barrett as he comes in at number two. A number of months ago this would never have been the case as Barrett was on the verge of being forgotten by the fans as he played a less than minor role in the company. Fast forward a few months and even as a heel Barrett is delivering bad news and is getting a brilliant face-like reaction from the crowd.
The best way to capitalise on that will be to give the Intercontinental Championship to Barrett and incorporate it into his 'Bad News' gimmick, where his character and his charisma will do the majority of work in ensuring the Intercontinental Championship plays a big factor amongst the mid card talent.
Cesaro needs to hold the Intercontinental Championship more than anybody in the title picture. Sure, he is touted for big things this year but there is no guarantee that Cesaro will definitely achieve all that he is expected to. We know he is capable of becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion in due time but there is still something lacking in his game, and with Paul Heyman by his side he will turn into the total package but for now Cesaro needs to continue his rise to the top and holding the Intercontinental Championship will be the best way to do that.
Roll back to Curtis Axel who was once with Paul Heyman, he too was Intercontinental Champion and during his time with Heyman, Axel was touted for big things. He might have failed, but for a month or so at the least he was possibly the most relevant man on the roster, and Cesaro needs to play that exact same role but a whole lot better.
Cesaro has an advantage that none of the above have, he just needs to compete inside the ring and turn up, the remainder have to actually talk and make sure they make an impact. Cesaro has Paul Heyman to do 50% of the work for him, which he will do very well.
Out of the remaining superstars in the Intercontinental Championship race; Cesaro will benefit the most from holding it and is the best superstar to do so?
WWE fans, what do you think? Which of the five remaining superstars in the Intercontinental Championship picture do you think deserves to hold the belt and will benefit from it? Have your say in the comments section below or come discuss all things WWE with me on Twitter @RazK28.
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