What shouldn’t have happened tonight didn’t: The Money in the Bank briefcase did not change hands at WWE TLC.
Heading into the pay-per-view, there was rampant speculation and, for some, concern that John Cena would defeat Dolph Ziggler and take the coveted briefcase away from “The Showoff.”
But after a surprising assist from AJ Lee, Ziggler left Brooklyn with the guaranteed world title shot still in hand.
For all the wrong the WWE does when it comes to its booking, it undoubtedly did right tonight. Not only did the creative team keep the MITB briefcase where it belongs, but it did so in a way that benefits as many people as possible.
Cena winning the briefcase wouldn’t have done much good for anybody—well, anyone expect for Cena, who doesn’t really need the Money in the Bank contract to get a spot in the main event picture.
Ziggler winning and doing so with help from AJ, on the other hand, is best for all involved.
It accomplished what seems to be the WWE’s ultimate goal at all times in that it made Cena look strong even in defeat. After all, he was on his way to winning the match before AJ interfered.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the screwy finish at the hands of AJ has added yet another twist to the AJ saga and has re-ignited her “crazy chick” gimmick, which is what made her so popular in the first place.
Suddenly, AJ feels likes a really big deal again, and there are now tons of possible directions her character could take. She could turn heel and align herself with Ziggler or simply continue to be maniacal like she was at the peak of her run this summer.
Either way, AJ is back in the middle of the Ziggler/Cena feud after a couple of weeks of taking a backstage seat, and the stage is set for her star power to grow even more.
That’s a big plus of the way tonight’s WWE TLC main event finished, but we all know what the best thing about the match was: Ziggler winning.
No one seemed to think that Ziggler had any real chance of winning 100 percent cleanly, and obviously, he didn’t. But he did win, and that’s what truly matters.
Ziggler has had some big matches and big moments in 2012, but nothing compared to what he did tonight. He took on the face of the WWE in a PPV main event, and no matter how it happened, he wound up winning.
The last image we will have in 2012 is Ziggler ending the WWE TLC PPV with a big victory that was undoubtedly a career-defining moment for “The Showoff.”
The WWE could have easily screwed the pooch tonight and had Cena win. Instead, it was Ziggler who retained his Money in the Bank briefcase for the second time.
That was one of the best booking decisions the WWE has made in quite some time.
No longer do we have to worry about Cena getting involved in the world title picture and/or screwing up the push of a budding superstar who more than deserves to make it to the top.
Rather, we can look forward to the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season and know that, at any given moment, Ziggler is mere seconds away from becoming the World Heavyweight Champion.
Ziggler’s time is almost here. He’s about to reach the pinnacle of the WWE.
Kudos to the WWE for not letting another Cena victory prevent that from happening.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!