In the final bout of their long-running rivalry, The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler in a ladder match Sunday at TLC to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
With Ziggler inches away from grabbing the belt, Miz delivered two low blows to Ziggler as he had both legs straddled across two ladders. After Ziggler dropped down to the mat, Miz had the opening to take the intercontinental title.
WWE shared a look at the victor holding the championship belt:
.@MikeTheMiz RETAINS the #ICTitle, defeating @HEELZiggler in their #LadderMatch at #WWETLC! https://t.co/KlcK1sK2V82016-12-5 02:09:53
Throughout the match, Miz worked on Ziggler's legs, making it harder for the former collegiate wrestler to climb the ladder.
PWMania.com's Jason Solomon liked how Miz had a defined game plan to help him secure the win:
Jason Solomon @solomonster
Great match, loved the psychology aside from Miz setting up a second ladder for some reason. What a loser Ziggler is. #WWETLC2016-12-5 02:11:26
Justin Henry of Fighting Spirit Magazine thought it was one of the best ladder matches in recent memory:
Justin Henry @JRHWriting
I'm not saying that this *is* WWE's best ladder match since Shawn/Jericho, but...wait, actually, yes I am. #wwetlc @TNACreative2016-12-5 02:05:09
Miz and Ziggler have been at odds for months, with the IC title hanging in the balance. After several entertaining matches and interactions, their feud reached another level at No Mercy on Oct. 9, when The Showoff prevailed with his career on the line.
It was an emotional victory for Ziggler, but he didn't get to enjoy the spoils for long. On the final episode of SmackDown Live prior to Nov. 11's Survivor Series, Miz beat Ziggler for the title thanks to help from Maryse.
That allowed The A-Lister to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Raw's Sami Zayn at Survivor Series, and he did so successfully after Maryse created a diversion by ringing the bell.
Ziggler requested that his rematch for the title take place at TLC, and general manager Daniel Bryan made it a ladder match, which is a stipulation that has been kind to Ziggler over the years.
Despite Ziggler's success in ladder matches, the boisterous Miz remained confident entering their clash and had plenty to say as the host of Talking Smack less than one week before TLC.
Ziggler has never been one to back down from a verbal battle, though, and he made it clear that he intended to come out on top regardless of what tricks Miz had up his sleeve, via WWE's official Twitter account:
.@HEELZiggler confronts @MikeTheMiz and makes a prediction for their #LadderMatch this Sunday at #WWETLC. #TalkingSmack https://t.co/MQQITdbpqQ2016-11-30 04:09:05
In addition, Ziggler suggested The Miz didn't even belong in the same ring as him:
Although Ziggler's in-ring ability is undeniable, The Miz has been a major player in WWE for years thanks to his resourcefulness and willingness to do anything necessary to win.
That was apparent throughout his rivalry with Ziggler, as Maryse and The Spirit Squad interfered in his matches on a regular basis.
Miz has long been one of the best heels in the business, so it was apparent entering TLC that Ziggler would need to clear many obstacles to become the IC champ for the sixth time.
As real-life friends, the chemistry Miz and Ziggler have together in the ring and on the mic is obvious, and it made for another excellent match Sunday.
The stakes were high since the match was not only for the Intercontinental Championship but also for the right to remain on the title scene.
It's unclear what's next for Ziggler now that he is no longer in championship contention. Without the title, it will be important that he enters an interesting feud so he can continue to build off the momentum he created during his battle with The Miz.
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