Ever since he won the Money in the Bank contract at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view back in July, fans have eagerly anticipated the moment when Dolph Ziggler cashes in and becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion. It hasn't happened yet, but the wait will come to an end at TLC.
Ziggler was utilized quite poorly following his Money in the Bank win as he lost pay-per-view matches to both Chris Jericho and Randy Orton, and constantly lost on Raw and SmackDown. Ziggler still loses his fair share of matches since he's a heel, but it seems as though the creative team has been prepping him to take the belt.
Not only was he the sole survivor in the traditional, five-on-five elimination match at Survivor Series, but he is currently engaged in a rivalry with the face of the company, John Cena. While Cena has gotten the better of Ziggler on most occasions thus far, the stage is set for The Show Off to defeat him at TLC.
If Cena was going to defeat Ziggler for his Money in the Bank briefcase, then he wouldn't have been given so many rubs leading up to the event. Everything is falling into place for Ziggler, as he appears to have The Shield in his back pocket after they attacked Cena on Raw. Also, Cena's odd relationship with A.J. Lee continues to spiral in the wrong direction.
Since The Shield has a match of its own to worry about at TLC, it likely won't involve itself with Ziggler and Cena. I can certainly see A.J. being a factor, however. Cena appeared to be embarrassed by A.J.'s actions on Raw and wouldn't allow her to accompany him to the ring against Big Show, so A.J. figures to feel slighted, which will result in her either purposely or inadvertently costing Cena the match at TLC.
With the Money in the Bank contract secured, Ziggler will be free to cash it in that same night. The prevailing thought is that Big Show will successfully retain his World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus in a chairs match, but there's no payoff in that. The better route would be Sheamus coming out on top, at which point Big Show attacks him.
With Sheamus prone in the middle of the ring, Ziggler will run out with his recently-defended Money in the Bank briefcase and he'll use the contract inside to become the new World Heavyweight Championship. It makes perfect sense for a number of reasons, including the fact that it would provide perfect symmetry when compared to last year's TLC pay-per-view.
Last year, Mark Henry had to defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show in a chairs match at TLC, and Big Show was able to win the title. Following the match, however, an infuriated World's Strongest Man DDT'ed Big Show onto a chair. This prompted Daniel Bryan to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Big Show.
Nearly the same thing could happen on Sunday, except the script would be flipped with Big Show costing the new champion instead. It makes more sense for Ziggler to cash in on a fan favorite, plus it would set up a triple-threat match at Royal Rumble so Ziggler wouldn't have to feud with just Sheamus or just Big Show.
If the potential repeat of last year isn't convincing enough, the manner in which Ziggler and Sheamus interacted on Raw points to a forthcoming rivalry. Sheamus knocked Ziggler off a ladder for no apparent reason, Ziggler hit Sheamus with a chair during their match and then they brawled to close the show as The Shield wreaked havoc on Cena, Team Hell No and Ryback.
Ziggler and Sheamus didn't have those issues with each other for the heck of it. Animosity was obviously created between them in order to foreshadow a future feud. Sheamus got the better of Ziggler on Raw, but Ziggler will ultimately have the last laugh when he spoils The Great White's title celebration by cashing in his opportunity.
As a fan of Ziggler's, it honestly doesn't matter to me when he cashes in the contract as long as he's successful when he does so. I initially wanted to see him wait until WrestleMania so that he could do it on the grandest stage of them all, but all the stars are in alignment for him to do so at TLC, so I support the decision 100 percent if it does indeed happen.
There have been many times over the past five months when it seemed like Ziggler could have cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, but it didn't come to fruition. Ziggler is finally in a good place in terms of his standing with the company, though, and the situation at TLC is one he will ultimately take advantage of.