Dolph Ziggler's resurgence will continue at Night of Champions.
His recently announced Intercontinental Championship match against The Miz offers him a stage on which to do what he does best: steal the show. Being in a feud that WWE has nurtured and facing an increasingly annoying heel promises to make his title showdown a memorable one.
Fans were expecting the self-proclaimed A-lister to have a rematch with Ziggler at the upcoming pay-per-view. Per WWE.com, The Showoff vs. The Miz is now official.
That clash is another shot for Ziggler to better his standing this year. For most of 2014, he's been filler talent and a role player. Night of Champions marks the first 2014 pay-per-view where he enters as champion and only the second where he's not involved in a crowded match in which he has to share the spotlight.
Ziggler fought in Battle Royals at Royal Rumble, WrestleMania and Battleground. At Money in the Bank, he fought against five men in a Ladder match that centered around Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose's rivalry.
Rooting for Ziggler often felt like a lost cause. He failed to beat Big E for the IC title, lost a chance at the No. 1 contender's spot for the U.S. title after Alberto Del Rio bested him and was the last man eliminated at the Battleground Battle Royal.
That defeat began a new direction for Ziggler, though.
No longer was he the man just thrown into midcard bouts and asked to make others look good. He was about to embark on a narrative of his own.
WWE needed someone to oppose the Hollywood version of The Miz. Fresh off filming The Marine 4, The Miz has been an insufferable braggart. After Ziggler swiped away The Miz's IC belt at SummerSlam, WWE has wisely continued the story of the likable babyface outshining and outwrestling the delusional D-list actor.
The Miz demanded his rematch on the night after SummerSlam. Being locked in the figure-four left Ziggler in pain, barely able to stand. He managed one last kick before falling to the floor outside of the ring.
That allowed The Miz to win via count-out, but for Ziggler to retain. It was a case of WWE giving both men motivation to battle once again. The Awesome One sought a title win, and Ziggler would have redemption on his mind.
Rather than just continue down this path, WWE added a few bells and whistles to The Miz's character. The result is that it will be all the more satisfying to see Ziggler kick his face in.
The Miz began to have Damien Sandow serve as his stunt double and wrestle in his stead. Ziggler defeated "Mizdow" on the Aug. 25 edition of Raw. The win allowed Ziggler to keep rolling while The Miz remain untouched, mockingly clapping for his foe from the announce desk.
Donning a new outfit that looks like a reject costume from a Star Wars movie, The Miz would continue to garner heat via annoyance.
He had Sandow stand in for him again on Tuesday's Main Event to host a Miz TV segment. Ziggler's appearance there led to an intriguing subplot to this rivalry.
Sandow threw out the possibility of challenging The Miz should he become champion again. The subservient stunt double is already seeking out his own success. That will add a fun element to what has been a solid feud thus far.
The Miz's constant avoidance of Ziggler, self-righteousness and dismissive attitude makes him more than just some forgettable midcarder. And it makes Ziggler's attempt to beat him down that much more enticing.
When they lock horns, fans can expect excellence.
The Miz and Ziggler have had good chemistry, partially a result of how often they have faced off in the past. Their SummerSlam meeting earned them many a positive review.
Writing for WrestleEnigma.com, Kevin Berge wrote of Ziggler and The Miz, "The two just click, and it's hard not to sit back and be enthralled. Even though this was just meant to be a simple opener, it delivered as one of the better matches of the night because it did everything it needed to do."
The Showoff, despite his talents, wasn't garnering this type of response earlier this year. He simply didn't have this kind of opportunity often enough.
When he was floundering at the bottom of the midcard, one had to imagine if he was destined to be a story of "what if?" His trajectory has since changed.
An Intercontinental Championship match is by no means a new career peak for him, but it's another chance for him to impress in the ring. He will do so against a character the audience craves to see fall and a wrestler with whom he has the kind of chemistry that leads to great matches.
Ziggler is set to step up to the plate once more, his hands tightening around his bat, his intention to blast one out of the park.
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