Dolph Ziggler has spent the majority of his WWE career making his opponents look great, but Extreme Rules 2013 is going to be a momentous night for him, one in which the greatness will be all his.
The ladder stipulation, a successful title defense against two game challengers and familiarity with his opponents will make the Scottrade Center the stage where The Show-Off delivers his best show yet.
It's time to reward Ziggler for his hard work. It's time to loosen the reins and let the star shine.
After cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to win the World Heavyweight Championship, Ziggler’s momentum has waned. Extreme Rules is his time to regain that momentum, to fend off his dual challengers and prove his worth as champion.
Fans only have to flash back to last December to recall how phenomenal Ziggler can be in a ladder match. At TLC 2012, Ziggler fought John Cena in one of the best matches of his career.
Ziggler's athleticism and energy made the match fun to watch. His well-documented talent for selling his opponents' moves made the match seem so much more painful, intense and dramatic. He made every fall seem devastating, every hit from a ladder cringe-inducing.
The same will be true for his Extreme Rules match.
This time, though, he'll have two sets of offenses to suffer through. Swagger's power and Del Rio's speed infused with the added brutality of the ladders around the ring will make for a show-stealing match.
And after losing so much to both men in recent weeks, a win will be a huge moment for Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler @HEELZiggler
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Even if he relies on the outside interference provided by AJ Lee and Big E Langston, Ziggler surviving a two-pronged attack, ladder bumps and painful submission holds is going to make him look fantastic.
The rest of the Extreme Rules card has a healthy supply of potential, but no one has as much chemistry and familiarity as Ziggler, Swagger and Del Rio.
Those three men have been clawing at each other on WWE TV over the past few weeks. Ziggler’s supporters may have bemoaned how often the champ has lost to either man, but working together so often will help this pay-per-view match thrive.
Matches like this one on WWE Main Event in February will serve as the precursor to a classic at Extreme Rules.
Swagger and Ziggler also had a short feud in 2012 after their partnership dissolved.
In terms of storyline and in real life, Ziggler and his opponents know each other's offense and will use that to create stunning counters and fluid action between them.
John Cena vs. Ryback, Sheamus vs. Mark Henry and Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar should all capture fans' attention and be very good matches.
Ziggler, though, show-stealer that he is, will do everything he can to make Extreme Rules all about him.
Get ready for him to writhe in pain after getting smashed into a ladder. Get ready for him to dazzle, to electrify and to deliver. Ziggler's world title reign begins in earnest at Extreme Rules in what should be a classic championship match.
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