photo by Reckless Dream Photography
Before his ladder match with John Cena, Dolph Ziggler gave an interview where he bemoaned how unfair it was that he had everything to lose and nothing to gain.
The fact is that a Ziggler win was a chance to prove that he was on Cena's level.
It had its flaws, but that story came across in an effective and thrilling match to end the night.
From the very beginning, Ziggler had an extra gear in his strut. He knew in reality and in terms of kayfabe, that this was the biggest match of his life.
After a cautious start, the tension built and the ladder shots got more vicious.
Cena's eye was bloody for much of the action, but he waved off the referee's help.
The Cenation leader whipped out some surprising moves like a headscissors takedown which sent Ziggler through a table. Regardless of what he threw at Ziggler, The Show Off managed to find a counter.
There were stunning moments that sucked fans in.
Ziggler slapped a sleeper hold on Cena atop a ladder and when it knocked Cena out, both men crashed into a waiting table.
The match suffered from minor issues as well. Too often both men were visibly calling out spots. Doing a better job of disguising that would have added to the match's realism.
Cena's attempt at a monkey flip was awkward and jolting.
Flaws aside, both Cena and Ziggler delivered a main-event worthy match. Ziggler showed he can deliver in the brightest of spotlights.
What people may be talking about more than Ziggler's journey, though, is A.J.'s shocking actions.
She turned on Cena and pushed him off the ladder, causing him to lose. What her motivations were will be fodder for the next Raw and beyond.
A.J. betrays Cena
Real Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Though it wasn't a clear victory, a win over John Cena is mighty meaningful. With the Money in the Bank contract safely back in his hands and a defeat of Cena on his resume, Ziggler looks poised for a huge 2013.