WWE Night of Champions 2011 Results: 6 Possible Challengers for Dolph Ziggler

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2011

WWE Night of Champions 2011 Results: 6 Possible Challengers for Dolph Ziggler

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    In the past few weeks, United States Champion Dolph Ziggler has struggled in maintaining a string of victories on recent editions of Monday Night Raw. With Jack Swagger breathing down his neck at every given moment and his relationship with manager Vickie Guerrero on the verge of a breaking point, many speculated Ziggler to drop the strap to one of his impromptu opponents at last night's Night of Champions pay-per-view event.

    However, being the sly opportunist he is, the bleached-blonde Superstar managed to leave Buffalo with his title still intact after picking up the scraps of Jack Swagger. Whether you like it or not, Ziggler has certainly restored some prestige in the lackluster United States Championship with last night's successful title defense, much like he did with the Intercontinental Championship late last year.

    Now, one question still remains unclear: Who will be next to step up and challenge Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship?

    Given Raw's abundance of strong mid-carders, I've accumulated a list of six possible challengers that could present us with an exciting title contest come Hell in a Cell, maybe even an episode of an upcoming Raw broadcast. Could we see the lengthy three-month championship reign of Dolph Ziggler come to an abrupt end to one of these six credible Superstars in the foreseeable future? 

Jack Swagger

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    Let's kick off the presentation with the obvious, shall we?

    United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger have been at each others throats for more than a month now, and acquiring the services of the heated Vickie Guerrero as their primary goal. Swagger has since received his first meaningful program on television for the first time in nearly a year in the process.

    As stated before, Swagger was the one who had done most of the dirty work during last night's Fatal Four Way for the U.S. Title. Before he could walk out with the star-spangled prize, however, Ziggler capitalized on an injured John Morrison, who had suffered a brutal Gutwrench Powerbomb at the hands of Swagger moment earlier.

    With that said, I fully expect the tension between the two bleached-blonde superstars to continue over the United States Championship. I could see no better result than Vickie eventually turning on long-time associate Ziggler to join Swagger in winning the the prestigious United States Championship.

    From there, Ziggler can move on to bigger and better things in the main event scene while Swagger looks to regain the heat he's subsequently managed to lose in recent months. Come on, admit it, you know it would be quite fitting to seeing the All-American reigning as U.S. Champion.

Alex Riley

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    Prior to SummerSlam, I fully expected to see Alex Riley receive the big push for the United States Championship following his promo with United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. Now, events that have transpired over the last month have shifted Jack Swagger as the main focus of the fueled feud, but that hasn't prevented Riley from picking up impressive victories over both Ziggler and Swagger on a few occasions.

    In the midst of last night's Fatal Four Way action, Riley even managed to hit his Impaler DDT finisher on Swagger in the final minutes, but alas, it was not meant to be. The crowd was preparing to explode for the title change, which just goes to show that Riley's fanfare continues to increase each and every week.

    Being one of the only few credible mid-carders on Raw to yet secure his first singles championship in the WWE, Riley capturing the gold by defeating Ziggler would certainly increase his chances of getting a much deserved spot in the main event title picture in the future.

Drew McIntyre

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    Since moving to the Raw brand apart of the 2011 WWE Supplemental Draft back in April, Drew McIntyre has reached the absolute lowest point in his career to date. Once a shoe-in for World Heavyweight Champion, McIntyre has since found himself effectively absent from recent Raw broadcasts and instead competing on the Internet-exclusive WWE Superstars.

    Even there, the Chosen One can't seem to buy a victory, despite looking strong in defeat against the likes of Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder and others. Although he did indeed succeed as a credible Intercontinental Champion earlier last year, Creative doesn't feel the need in inserting McIntyre into the United States Championship picture as a fresh face.

    Moving McIntyre to Raw has turned out to be one huge mistake, and it seems to be too late to ship him back to Friday nights at this point. Possibly having him contend for the U.S. Title could provide us with innovate contests while also attempting to regain the heat McIntyre has dramatically lost over the past year.

John Morrison

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    Since returning from injury two months ago, John Morrison has found himself in the same exact spot (if not lower) he was in before he was sidelined in May. In recent years, Morrison has always been a major contender for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships respectively on a number of occasions, but has never managed to successfully get the job done for a variety of reasons.

    Morrison's role as an upper mid-card face over on SmackDown two years ago while reigning as Intercontinental Champion seemed to fit him best, which could possibly be replicated on Raw if executed correctly. While the Monday Night Delight did come off as a filler in last night's United States Championship match, he should instead be featured in a much more prominent role on the flagship show.

    At the Hell in a Cell 2009 event, John Morrison was successful in retaining his Intercontinental Championship against the up-and-coming Dolph Ziggler in an exciting match. Could we see history repeat itself two years later with the same victor, but different title?

Zack Ryder

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    For the past two months, YouTube sensation Zack Ryder has managed to earn the attention of WWE Management, being subsequently featured on Raw on a more constant basis. When not competing on the flagship show, Ryder is serving his position as the assistant to Teddy Long, the SmackDown General Manager, over on Friday nights.

    Although I may come off as a broken record at this point, Ryder simply acquires the complete package to be treated as a strong mid-card face, given the popularity he's garnered by himself over the past few months through social networking. His mic and in-ring skills are those that fit the description of a United States Champion to perfection.

    There's no denying the impressive winning streak he's stacked in recent weeks, and it's only about time before a highly anticipated title bout between Ryder and Dolph Ziggler finally comes to fruition. If you haven't seen these two participate in Ryder's Z! True Long Island Story in the recent episodes, I strongly suggest checking it out for their great chemistry and humor.

Skip Sheffield

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    If you're surprised to see him featured on the list, you should have seen it coming. If you're surprised to learn he's still employed by WWE, I don't blame you whatsoever.

    Before you begin your rant as to why Skip Sheffield doesn't deserve a United States Championship match by any means, just hear me out. At the moment, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and R-Truth are all involved in story-lines that have kept them from snagging the sixth spot on my slideshow.

    After doing some digging on the Raw roster, I've come to the conclusion that I'd much rather see Sheffield received a championship match upon his return than a jobber who is prominently featured on WWE Superstar who holds absolutely no credibility. If you witnessed Sheffield in his final days before he suffered the severe ankle injury, you can't help but agree that this guy is a ruthless monster.

    Since the dawn of 2011, rumors have been swirling around regarding Vince McMahon's apparent huge plans for Sheffield when he eventually does come back from his third surgery. Seeing as he's been inactive for over a year and has yet to be released, McMahon must be living up to his word on this one.

    What better way for Skip Sheffield to get that push than contend for the prestigious United States Championship?

    Although I can't see the former NXT alumni as the number two babyface in the company, he sure could produce a handful of strong matches with the likes of Jack Swagger, Alex Riley and maybe even Big Show. Keep on the look out for a returning Skip Sheffield in coming months, as it's better late than never.

    Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and make sure to drop a comment regarding your thoughts on the slideshow and whether you feel certain Superstars should be added or removed. As always, your "likes", fan adds and overall feedback is very much appreciated.

    GSM out.

    Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling and my WrestleRant video blog for more of GSM's thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, recaps and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.