At WWE's TLC's pay-per-view, cult sensation Zack Ryder will take on Dolph Ziggler for Ziggler's United States Championship. Tensions have been brewing between the young men for months now, and it promises to be one of the most heat-filled matches on the card.
Additionally, for what is a patchy card on paper (Kevin Nash vs Triple H in a ladder match, anyone?), the two talented mid-carders should aid the overall wrestling quality of the show and churn out an enjoyable, skillful bout.
Ryder won the No.1 Contendership on Raw last week by defeating the monstrous World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. Notably, he had some help during this match from good friend John Cena (who, in a noble self-sacrifice, had given up his own title shot at TLC so Ryder could get the qualifying match with Henry).
With this in mind, here are 10 things fans need to know about this match...
Dolph's manager, the villainous Vickie Guerrero, is practically guaranteed to get involved in the bout in a bid to sway things in her man's favor. Throughout her time in WWE, the woman has shown herself to be virtually incapable of acting fair after all.
Zack needs to be watch his back!
Interestingly, the Ziggler-Ryder feud has been built up far better on Long Island Iced Z, Ryder's famous YouTube show, than it has on WWE's flagship show.
Indeed, while WWE's booking team may have been neglecting them, these two have been working their own angle for ages now, with Ziggler making regular appearances on the spoof reality show as an obnoxious jerk out to wreck Ryder's life. He's even stolen Ryder's girlfriend, the gorgeous Princess Leia (eh, you'd really have to watch the show to get it).
Last week, the issues between the two culminated in a deeply dramatic moment when Ziggler shockingly ran in to Ryder's bedroom and blasted him with the title belt as Ryder was closing out the episode. It was a great moment that served to build interest in the pay-per-view match.
It also illustrated the mildly frightening fact that Ryder may be the only booker left in this company who knows how to properly build to a title match.
Yes, while they may be bitter enemies on Raw (and YouTube), in real life, the two are in fact very good friends. An enraged Ziggler even went on his Twitter and criticised management in June of this year after they snubbed Ryder and did not book him on the Raw that emanated from his hometown of Long Island. Pretty brave considering how sensitive WWE brass are to criticism.
As we approach the pay-per-view, John Cena finds himself at a loose end. He is not booked on the show (after giving up his title shot in the main event to get his friend Ryder a qualifying match for the U.S Title match), and there seems to be no firm plans in place for him.
What is he going to do on Sunday night, exactly? Stay home and watch Kim & Kourtney?
Of course, WWE will want their top star to make an appearance on the show, so he will probably be doing something. Maybe even a run-in to once again help out Ryder during his United States Title match.
Dolph hasn't exactly has the easiest relationship with tag team partner Jack Swagger. In true TNA style, the two were bickering and arguing even before they officially became a tag team over the summer. Things have smoothed over between the two in recent times, of course, and they seem to be getting along a lot better. And we wouldn't totally rule out Swagger running in and trying to swing matters in Dolph's favor during the bout.
Do WWE have enough faith in Zack Ryder to promote him to the upper mid-card? Are they ready for Ziggler to move past the United States belt and move on to a main event program (possibly with current WWE Champion CM Punk)?
The result of this bout should help give a good indication of where things are headed in WWE and just how they see the futures of both Ziggler and Ryder.
One thing is for sure: The athletic, hard-working Ziggler has had a break out year. His superb television bouts with Randy Orton, John Cena and CM Punk, as well as his gripping bout with the now-retired Edge at January's Royal Rumble event, has cemented his status as one of the company's very best young wrestlers.
Ryder, while not as technically proficient, always works hard and has pleasantly surprised people with his competent in-ring performances over the past few months.
Certainly, we can expect these two to have a great match on the show. And hopefully one that will take our minds off the almost-guranteed awfulness of Nash and Triple H's ladder match.
Shocking, isn't it? Dolph's real name is actually Nick Nemeth . But WWE creative decided to stick him with one of the most absurd wrestling names ever. I mean, this name is so bad it almost makes the names in NXT, WWE's Internet-only show, sound good. Although Dolph has done a fairly decent job of managing to rise above the awful moniker, and few people really think about it much anymore.
But still, Dolph Ziggler? Were the writers drunk when they came up with that?
Not that Matthew Cardona is one to talk, either.
While both Ryder and Ziggler are known for being singles competitors these days, both have spent their time in WWE's tag division. Ziggler used to be a male cheerleader in the best-forgotten Spirit Squad
Ryder, on the other hand, used to team with Curt Hawkins on Smackdown in 2007 and 2008. Both men were henchman for evil duo Vickie Guerrero and Edge for a period.
And isn't that all WWE care about anyway?