Ladies and gentlemen, your winner, and the NEW World Heavyweight champion, Dolph Ziggler!
These will likely be the words that the WWE Universe hears at the conclusion of one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in recent history.
Since winning the Money in the Bank match in July, Ziggler has been at the center of the world-title debate. As long as that briefcase is in his possession, Ziggler must be regarded as the most dangerous man in the company.
There was some chatter going around several weeks ago about Ziggler possibly cashing in the briefcase at the Royal Rumble against the Big Show. Once the rumors started swirling about a possible Alberto Del Rio/Big Show contest at the pay-per-view, the speculation was that Del Rio would win that contest only to be quickly vanquished by a fresher and hungrier Ziggler.
With Del Rio winning the title around a week ago, the stage was set for a possible showdown with Ziggler at the upcoming Royal Rumble. However, on Raw this week, fans were instead told that Del Rio and Show would be the ones going toe-to-toe on January 27th.
And that is exactly the scenario that plays into Ziggler leaving the event with the title in his grasp.
Taking on a giant, or even a polished Mexican grappler, is enough to take all of the wind out of a wrestler's sails. It makes no difference who comes out of the Del Rio/Show encounter with the title. Either way, that competitor will be exhausted, beaten and vulnerable.
And all of that opens the door for Ziggler to swoop in and steal a victory. After all, that is exactly the right that the Money in the Bank briefcase provides.
Ziggler has held that case for over half a year, and in that time, has only made a couple of half-hearted attempts to cash it in.
His feud with John Cena has forced cashing in the case to take a backseat, but with his victory over Cena at the TLC pay-per-view in December, Ziggler seems poised to make a big splash at the Rumble.
This is not to say that his feud with Cena needs to end. In fact, adding the world title into the equation leaves more room and adds more fuel to their already blistering fire.
The WWE Universe is already deeply invested in seeing these two competitors duke it out week in and week out. Imagine if not only foolish pride was on the line, but also a prestigious prize such the World Heavyweight championship?
Add Ziggler’s love interest A.J. Lee and their hired muscle Big E. Langston into the picture, and the deck seems stacked against The Doctor of Thuganomics. But as the past has proven, Cena is almost always able to prevail, even in almost impossible circumstances.
In any event, a Ziggler/Cena championship program would be a thrilling and lucrative one for the company. At times, Cena’s character has seemed to get stale or old.
But in his feud with Ziggler, new life seems to have been breathed into Cena. His promos are sharper, his ringwork better, and even his edge seems to have returned.
Simply put, Ziggler makes Cena a better performer. And in return, Cena offers Ziggler’s run a feeling of legitimacy because if Ziggler is able to vanquish the savior of the company, he must be ready to be at the top of the pyramid.
There seems to be little doubt as to whether or not Ziggler is ready to wear the Big Gold Belt. But in less than two weeks, we will all find out if the company feels the same way.
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