Five possible winners of Intercontinental Championship battle royal

Sports Mole predicts the five most likely winners of the Intercontinental Championship battle royal at WWE's Battleground pay-per-view in Florida.

In what will surely be one of the highlights of what has turned out to be an appetising card, WWE will crown a new Intercontinental champion at Battleground on Sunday, following an over-the-top-rope battle royal.

The title has been vacant since Bad News Barrett separated his shoulder and was forced to surrender it before Money in the Bank last month.

Over 20 WWE Superstars will slug it out at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Florida in a bid to follow the likes of Triple H, The Rock and Shawn Michaels in holding the strap.

Below, Sports Mole picks out its five most likely winners.

1. Sheamus

WWE has recently unified the two major belts, so why not do the same further down the card?

The mid-ranking champions have long been used as cannon fodder for those higher up the card, or even rookies trying to make an impression.

That has changed somewhat in recent months with the reigns of Barrett and current United States titleholder Sheamus, but the IC and US titles still mean very little in the grander scheme of things.

That could change. Bringing the two pieces of gold together would result in fresh excitement and a greater sense of credibility for the champion, as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has done for the main-event scene.

With Sheamus among those that the WWE are clearly keen to push and build the company around, it would not be a huge surprise should he be given the honour of unifying the two straps.

2. The Miz

The man that beat Sheamus on this Monday's RAW, The Miz has returned fresh off a repackaging which could be golden if done right.

WWE are seemingly intent on doing something meaningful with 'The Awesome One', who has very much been a bits-and-piece guy since his feud with John Cena in 2011, this time around.

A victory over Sheamus demonstrates this; creative don't hand out wins like that freely. Name five superstars who have beaten 'The Celtic Warrior' cleanly on TV since his face turn a few years back.

The Miz's Hollywood Heel persona could be given further backing this Sunday with a third run as Intercontinental champion. He is a very safe pair of hands and this could be the start of his journey back to relevancy.

Let's be honest. How good would a piece of gold look right next to the moneymaker?

3. Cesaro

WWE seem to have pulled the plug on this massive push that Cesaro was supposed to receive post WrestleMania XXX.

The Swiss superstar appeared to be destined for the top when, after winning the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal, he was aligned with Paul Heyman.

However, the partnership struggled, with the lack of clarity on Cesaro's heel or face status one of the reasons why it has failed and was disbanded on RAW.

Recent defeats to Big E and Kofi Kingston suggest that 'The King of Swing' is going backwards, but they could throw him a lifeline at Battleground.

Hyping his specialty in battle royals, WWE could have Cesaro be the last man standing again in Tampa and give him a kickstart on his solo run.

4. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler was the man who was working a programme with Barrett at the time of the Englishman's injury.

'The Show Off' is always a contender on lists of these types quite simply because he is a complete superstar waiting to be given the platform that he deserves.

There is an argument that the hugely popular Ziggler could be utilized further up the card. That trail of thought is currently non-existent in backstage conversations, but he could at least be used as a guy to carry the mid-card.

He is one of the best and most exciting in-ring workers in the company, he is a pretty good talker and he has an army of fans waiting to get behind him given a suggestion from that the WWE that they have any faith in him at all.

Ziggler would be a reliable and widely accepted choice, and allow Barrett to immediately reconvene what was a fledgling rivalry upon his comeback.

5. Bo Dallas

Bo Dallas has one of the best gimmicks of recent years.

The Rotunda family clearly have an understanding of sports entertainment characters, with Dallas's real-life brother currently excelling as Bray Wyatt.

Dallas is going places too, though, and while it may seem a bit early in his career for him to be put in this position, investing in young talent has always been WWE's mantra and he has stepped up seamlessly from NXT this year.

Using his cliche motivational verbiage, Dallas has quickly become a man that you find so irritating and yet so entertaining, and has embarked on a 15-match unbeaten streak too.

The voice, the music, the laps of honour, Dallas has been packaged perfectly for the role that he is being asked to fulfil, and his 'inspiring' monologues of encouragement to other superstars would have even greater scope for creativity and humour if he delivered them while wearing the IC title.

He's an outside choice, but he could go '16 and Bo' in Florida to prompt his most annoying, yet funny, lap of honour yet.

John Cena attends a press conference to announce that MetLife Stadium will host WWE Wrestlemania 29 in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012
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