Sheamus appeared on Monday Night Raw this week for the first time since WrestleMania 37 and announced that he's (kind of) bringing back the United States Championship Open Challenge. But unlike John Cena, who gave wrestlers fair matches week after week with the title on the line, Sheamus explained that the title will only be on the line when he feels like it. His first challenger was Humberto Carrillo, who was promptly beaten down and left unconscious before the match could even start.
Sheamus then took to Twitter on Tuesday, writing, "Open Challenge to anyone willing to step in the ring & take my #USTitle.. ANYONE! tag a legit fella you think is stupid enough to have a go."
Former NXT United Kingdom and tag team champion Pete Dunne seemed to throw his name into the ring with his response.
Dunne beat Kushida at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania week, but now finds himself without a clear path beyond trying to challenge for the NXT Championship again.
Sheamus also responded to a few matches pitched by fans.
easy work— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) April 20, 2021
100%— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) April 20, 2021
dream match— Sheamus (@WWESheamus) April 20, 2021
A match with Sheamus could be what finally brings "The Bruiserweight" up to WWE's main roster. He first arrived during the United Kingdom Championship Tournament in early 2017 and was the apparent standout, but lost in the finals to Tyler Bate. He then beat Bate for the UK Championship at NXT TakeOver: Chicago that May and held the title for a whopping 685 days, making him the longest-reigning champion of the modern era at the time. But that record was promptly broken when he lost the title to Walter at NXT TakeOver: New York, who is now nearing 750 days as champion.
Dunne spent the early months of 2020 in an unlikely tag team with Matt Riddle, and as The BroserWeights the two won the NXT tag titles at TakeOver: Portland. Dunne was then stuck overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and didn't return until October. He promptly turned heel and aligned himself with Pat McAfee, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch as "The Kings of NXT."