Dolph Ziggler suffering a clean and decisive loss in his first world World Heavyweight Championship defense may seem like a kiss of death from WWE to The Showoff, but this is the beginning of Ziggler's ascent to a permanent main event spot.
For those who don't know, Alberto Del Rio pinned Ziggler to become the new World Heavyweight champion at WWE's Payback event.
This may seem like a horrible outcome; Del Rio just cannot seem to make an impact, so on paper this decision is extremely deflating—but is the exact opposite.
I wrote an article before the event that stated that Ziggler needed a clean win over Del Rio, but this is a far more exciting result.
Many had speculated over potential heel turns for stars like Jericho, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, but instead, WWE surprised us with a well-done double switch. It seems Del Rio is back to his heartless and dastardly self, while WWE is trying to get its fans behind Ziggler, who demonstrated newfound courage.
Both superstars did an excellent job at performing their respective roles; Ziggler sold wonderfully as usual, and Del Rio's various cheap but devastating kicks really put him over as being a covert coward.
If his questionable in-ring tactics weren't enough, the Essence of Excellence returned to the stage following the match to congratulate himself on his victory, basically solidifying himself as a heel.
It finally feels like WWE is getting behind Ziggler. Del Rio vs. Ziggler looks to be the 2013's Randy Orton vs. Christian, but expect The Showoff to come out on top of this feud—or at least more favorably than Captain Charisma came out of his rivalry with The Viper.
But most importantly, the World Heavyweight Championship is involved in an interesting program for the first time in what feels like years.
There are a lot of pitfalls WWE could fall into by running this story, but it also holds the potential to really establish Ziggler as a bona fide Superstar. Either way, this rivalry just got a whole lot more interesting.