Less than a month after winning the title off of Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler dropped the Intercontinental Championship to Bad News Barrett.
Barrett used the Bull Hammer to defeat Ziggler and grab the belt during Monday night's edition of Raw, per the WWE:
Backstage, Barrett coveted his newly won prize.
According to WWE 50 author Kevin Sullivan, only three other wrestlers own more IC title reigns than Barrett:
The Authority announced earlier in the night that Ziggler and Barrett would fight in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match with the Intercontinental title on the line, in effect punishing Ziggler for the role he had in Team Cena's victory at Survivor Series:
While he lost the match, Ziggler might actually be better off not holding the poisoned chalice that is the Intercontinental Championship. As soon as any wrestler wins it, whatever momentum he had before immediately stops, and the televised non-title losses begin.
Now, Ziggler could potentially engage in bigger, more important angles going into WrestleMania season. Bleacher Report's Graham Matthews wonders whether the company will put Ziggler in a major feud in order to entice him into signing a new contract:
For Barrett, the title win should ideally elevate him in the company, but WWE has shown that it doesn't care about the minor belts and whoever wears them. Maybe BNB can help bring some prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship, but it's more likely he'll be stuck in neutral until he eventually drops the strap.