With Booker taking away Del Rio’s No. 1 spot, who, if anyone, will challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam?

The WWE Universe has been left puzzled following SmackDown General Manager Booker T's announcement immediately after SmackDown Friday that, because of his treacherous actions on the blue brand, Alberto Del Rio will no longer be the No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam.

So, if not Del Rio, who will challenge Sheamus at the upcoming pay-per-view? Moreover, considering the severity of the attack, will the ambushed Great White be in condition to fight at all?

Booker’s shocking declaration came on the heels of Del Rio’s seemingly calculated assault in which his cronies, disguised as police officers, helped him viciously attack The Celtic Warrior before the scheduled SmackDown main event. ( SMACKDOWN RESULTS)

The shocking ruling raises questions about a GM’s ability to rescind announced World Title contests. It also begs the question: How far could the precedent set by Booker go? For instance, since the Prime Time Players controversially won their WWE Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contenders' Match by disqualification, could the GM decide they shouldn’t get their promised opportunity at the championship gold?

Booker T reacts to Alberto Del Rio's actions toward Sheamus: WWE.com Exclusive - August 10, 2012

After Alberto Del Rio's attack on Sheamus, Booker T reveals Del Rio's punishment.

However, more pressing and immediate questions must be answered regarding the status of the World Heavyweight Champion and who — if anyone — will challenge for the illustrious title at SummerSlam now that The Mexican Aristocrat is out.

After the brutal throttling he received on Friday, it would be surprising to see Sheamus immediately return to action. If he did, could he possibly be 100 percent? Yet if anyone can make a quick recovery, of course it would be the brawling Irishman. His status for SummerSlam has to be up in the air, though, after such a fierce and sustained beating.

Supposing The Great White again proves his incomparable toughness and is indeed able to defend his championship on Sunday, Aug. 19, who might he face? And will the proud champion be up to the challenge?

The next No. 1 contender to the World Title could very well be either of two fan favorites who recently returned to action: Randy Orton or Rey Mysterio. Both are decorated Superstars and former World Title holders who would be a handful for Sheamus, even in the unlikely event he is fully recovered from Del Rio’s cowardly attack.

Another potential challenger could be a different masked man who’s on a recent tear: Sin Cara. After defeating Cody Rhodes on SmackDown, The International Sensation looks like a very credible title contender. Other Superstars like Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, Kane and Daniel Bryan all have reasonable claims to a title opportunity. One thing we do know about Sheamus is that when he’s ready to fight, he’s prepared to take on all comers.

But, before a challenger would be established, the question of whether the World Heavyweight Champion will be ready to fight? The only way to find out is the tune in to the new three-hour Raw and the best show on Friday nights, as WWE barrels toward the Biggest Event of the Summer, SummerSlam.

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