WWE will present the 2013 version of the Royal Rumble on Sunday in Phoenix. The pay-per-view will feature the traditional 30-man battle royal for a championship match at WrestleMania, a WWE Championship match between CM Punk and The Rock, a WWE Tag Team Championship match between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars and a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Alberto Del Rio and Big Show. Almost forgotten in the hype surrounding these big showdowns is that Dolph Ziggler is still carrying the SmackDown version of the Money in the Bank Briefcase, which guarantees him a World Heavyweight Championship match any time he likes. Ziggler will become WWE's World Heavyweight Champion on Sunday.
The main reason that Ziggler will cash in his contract on Sunday is purely logical, at least in terms of WWE storylines. The current champion, Alberto Del Rio, will face Big Show in a Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight title at the Royal Rumble. The rules of Last Man Standing matches stipulate that the winner is the combatant that incapacitates his opponent so badly that the foe can't get to his feet before the referee administers a 10-count. These are typically brutal matches, and both Del Rio and Big Show will likely take a horrendous beating. Regardless of who the victor is, he'll be weak. It would be an ideal scenario for Ziggler to cash in on a battered opponent.
While the "Show Off" technically has until July to cash in, Sunday is an ideal time for him to take the title. The headline match at WrestleMania 29 will almost certainly feature Rock, either in a rematch with Punk or in a showdown with John Cena (assuming that Cena wins the Rumble match on Sunday). There are a lot of rumors circulating about what matches will be on the WM card in April. The scuttlebutt is that Punk might face Undertaker, Brock Lesnar could have a rematch with HHH and Rock and Cena could battle for the WWE Championship. If Ziggler wants to garner a top spot on the show, he needs to have the World Heavyweight Championship belt around his waist. Otherwise, he'll get lost in the shuffle.
A win on Sunday would elevate Ziggler to legitimate main event status. Over the past year, Dolph has feuded with Chris Jericho, The Miz and Cena. While these were high-profile confrontations, none of them cemented Ziggler at the top of the card. Even being the sole survivor at last year's Survivor Series PPV wasn't enough to keep Ziggler at the top.
Ziggler has been on the verge of breaking out for a long time. He's a great in-ring worker and very solid on the mic. If he's ever going to make the next step, it has to be in 2013. The first step to elevating Ziggler to the very top of the card is to give him the WHC belt. The Royal Rumble is one of the "Big Four" PPVs of the year. It's time for Dolph to grab the spotlight in a high-profile event.
A win for Ziggler on Sunday would open up numerous storyline possibilities. Del Rio recently turned face, a move that many wrestling fans were happy to see. However, he's gotten mixed reviews on his new persona thus far. Ziggler would present a solid heel opponent for The Mexican Aristocrat. Ziggler and Del Rio are a great match in the ring. Both have solid styles, and both are good on the mic. With each other to play off of, this duo could make the World Heavyweight Championship a sought-after title instead of a poor cousin to the WWE title.
Ziggler, as a heel champion, could have other great feuds. Likely contenders for the WHC include The Miz, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Ryback, Daniel Bryan and returning babyfaces Christian and Mark Henry. (Okay, Henry isn't always a babyface, but if he were feuding with Ziggler, he'd be a good guy.) Almost no other wrestler on the SmackDown roster could feud successfully with such a large number of babyface opponents.
When Should Ziggler Cash In?
There is also the possibility that Ziggler could make a face turn if he wins the belt. One possible scenario is for him to cash in on the winner of the WHC match Sunday night, only to get attacked by his bodyguard, Big E Langston. Since Ziggler has been involved in a "romance" with AJ Lee, there's a solid chance that she could turn on him as well, since that seems to be her M.O. If Lee and/or Langston were to turn on Ziggler, it would be the beginning of a strong face turn.
Dolph Ziggler will become WWE's World Heavyweight Champion on Sunday at the Royal Rumble. The signs are all favorable. His victim will be vulnerable after a brutal Last Man Standing match. WWE is looking to solidify Alberto Del Rio as a babyface, and a run against Ziggler would definitely be helpful in that regard. With the Road to WresleMania getting underway, the company needs to elevate the cachet of the WHC. Ziggler is a star that can do that, either on his own or via feuds with high-profile babyface opponents. Most of all, it's simply time. Ziggler has been on the verge of stardom for a long time. Sunday will be his night to shine.
Will Ziggler finally cash in his contract on Sunday and become World Heavyweight Champion? Is there a better time for him to grab the title? Speak your mind in the comments section below.