The edition of Monday Night Raw that follows WrestleMania is traditionally a special, exciting show.
There is usually a very vocal crowd—perhaps some of them still pumped full of adrenaline from the events of the night before—and that makes for a brilliant atmosphere. There is sometimes a return or two—as Rob Van Dam's return this year confirmed.
On top of that, there is often a big twist or two to send the crowd home happy, and the Raw following on from WrestleMania 29 delivered on that front in remarkable fashion last year.
Dolph Ziggler provided arguably the biggest moment of 2013—and certainly the biggest moment of his career—that evening as he ended months of guesswork by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Ziggler had been in possession of the case since July 2012 when he won it at the pay-per-view of the same name, Money in the Bank. Months of speculation followed with everyone wondering when Ziggler would cash it in and almost guarantee another reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
There were close calls—it wasn't like Ziggler had left it until April 2013 to even give us a sniff of him cashing in. Back in August, Ziggler began feuding with Randy Orton following on from SummerSlam. That all came about because Ziggler—then heel—attempted to cash in the briefcase on a vulnerable Sheamus.
Since that point though, he had suffered contrasting fortunes. For instance, the Royal Rumble of 2013 saw him last nearly 50 minutes in a performance where he arguably stole the show as the brightest performer. However, at WrestleMania 29, he and Big E Langston lost a WWE Tag Team Championship match.
Perhaps that loss was put across to make everyone almost forget about Ziggler when the actual cashing in of the briefcase occurred. The reaction of the crowd certainly seemed to suggest nobody saw it coming.
It came off the back of a match between then-champion Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. Del Rio was carefully nursing a leg injury in the corner of the ring after he had managed to win the contest—before the atmosphere suffered a remarkable shift as Ziggler's music hit.
Down he came, with the crowd going unbelievably wild for a man who was supposed to be a heel. He was flanked by his heavy, Big E Langston, and his girlfriend, AJ Lee. What happened over the following five minutes was amongst some of the most exciting action Raw has ever witnessed.
After all those attempts to cash in, Ziggler was adamant this time around. He forcefully pushed the briefcase into the chest of referee Scott Armstrong, and the match got underway.
It was far from a smooth cashing in of the briefcase. To be honest, that is what made the conclusion of the match so compelling. Del Rio had actually managed to lock Ziggler into his cross armbreaker submission maneuver, but Ziggler smartly played on the champion's injury to get out of it.
When Del Rio was carefully getting back to his feet, Ziggler struck. He planted Del Rio on the mat and covered him for the magical three count. The crowd were uncontrollable in their delight for Ziggler. Finally, he had ascended to the top of the company once again.
Unfortunately, the difference between Dolph Ziggler in April 2013 and April 2014 is remarkable. He is languishing in the middle of the card once again, and despite plenty of support from fans at every event the WWE hosts, he cannot catch a break.
Will he ever be a world champion again? At this moment in time, you would say the chances look slim. However, the night of April 8, 2013, ensures that you can never say never when it comes to Dolph Ziggler.
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