Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett
On the heels of a nontitle victory over Bad News Barrett this past Friday night on SmackDown, Dolph Ziggler received a championship opportunity Monday night. The company's resident Show Off did exactly what he does best: steal the show.
With a hot Washington crowd behind them, champion and challenger rose above all of the pay-per-view hype to deliver the best match of the night.
Ziggler, a great scrappy underdog, fought off Barrett's hard-hitting offense and nearly scored a big victory. Unfortunately for him, Barrett capitalized on an opening and caught a jumping Ziggler with the Bullhammer for the win.
The loss does nothing to hurt Ziggler at this point. Despite the lackluster win-loss record he has amassed over the last year, he remains over because of his willingness to go above-and-beyond to deliver a show-stealing performance each and every time he steps inside the squared circle.
Barrett, to his credit, appears more motivated and determined to prove his worth than ever before. He has wrestled some outstanding matches against a variety of different opponents and styles and is more over than at any point in his career.
With that said, both have to be considered dark horses to leave Boston with the Money in the Bank briefcase—Barrett, for the reasons listed above, and Ziggler as a makeup for the disappointment that was his first real shot at running with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Other Superstars are currently the subjects of more hype and spotlight, but on Monday night, Ziggler and Barrett made the WWE Universe sit up and take notice.
Vickie Guerrero's Farewell
There are many criticisms to be made of Stephanie McMahon—some fair and some not—but she gave Vickie Guerrero a fitting sendoff Monday night.
Were her statements about Eddie Guerrero's death and the company taking pity on Vickie out of line? Perhaps, but one has to imagine Vickie knew about and approved them long before the two women took to the ring for the night's opening segment.
Did Vickie still end up somewhat humiliated thanks to her trip into the pool of what one can only assume was chocolate pudding? Absolutely.
But at the end of the night, Vickie got one over on Stephanie, and that is something few have managed to do. After being berated for weeks by the boss' daughter, Vickie did what every fan has wanted to do since the rise of The Authority last fall: humble the Billion Dollar Princess.
Not Big Show, not Daniel Bryan, not Brie Bella...none of those performers was able to do what Vickie did Monday night, and it helped send her off with a bang.
John Bradshaw Layfield, on commentary, was especially kind to Vickie. "So long, Vickie. It's been a great ride. You're going out in style," he said, wishing a fond farewell to the wife of his late friend.
Regardless of one's opinions on the Vickie Guerrero character over the last decade, it is hard to argue the impact she has had on WWE programming. An unlikely star, she rose to prominence as the SmackDown general manager and achieved a level of success as a heel that some of the most talented men and women in WWE history only wish they had.
For someone who once appeared so intimidated by the audience, she wound up having great command of the crowd and becoming one of the most memorable authority figures in professional wrestling.
Perhaps one day, she will even join her husband in the WWE Hall of Fame, an honor that would be well-deserved.