What If Dolph Ziggler Beats Drew McIntyre at WWE Extreme Rules 2020?
Drew McIntyre is set to defend his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules pay-per-view July 19.
The King of Claymore Country has been on a tear this year, starting with his impressive Royal Rumble victory in January, leading up to dethroning Brock Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania and beating all the challengers who have stood up to him since.
Given Ziggler's track record of coming up short in these big matches more often than not, plus his status as the smaller of the two and the one with less momentum, it should be fairly obvious McIntyre will retain.
After all, why would WWE spend so much time and effort building up McIntyre as the top star in the company just for him to drop the title to Ziggler prior to SummerSlam?
While it's all but a foregone conclusion McIntyre will be victorious, anything can happen in WWE. So what if Ziggler wins?
The Mystery Gimmick
Ziggler hasn't revealed what the stipulation of their match will be because he would prefer to keep it a secret. However, he's said it's something that hasn't happened before in WWE.
As the promotion continues to get more and more ridiculous with its gimmicks, such as Rey Mysterio and Seth Rollins competing to take each other's eyeballs out of their sockets, there's no telling what the plan is for Ziggler.
Perhaps the match will revolve so specifically around making it difficult for McIntyre to win that it will be almost impossible not to give the title to Ziggler.
For instance, as WWE is flexible with its rules, who's to say Ziggler doesn't put in a request for a match where McIntyre's arms and legs are tied together and he's blindfolded?
At that point, putting the title on The Showoff would be less about him overcoming the odds and more about his strategic must-win scenario and eventual comeuppance.
WWE would essentially give him the championship just to drag out the feud between them for an extra month so that McIntyre could be the challenger heading into SummerSlam, win it back and be able to say he's a two-time champion.
It would be rather ridiculous, but stranger things have happened, and WWE has played hot potato with titles under less chaotic circumstances.
It's McIntyre's to Lose, Not Ziggler's to Win
A new champion isn't always crowned because WWE thinks highly of the challenger and wants to position them as the next big focal point. Sometimes, it's more about getting the title off the champion.
Normally, this happens when there's an injury, some sort of suspension or a scandal that puts the champion in a bad light. Sometimes WWE sours on a Superstar and gives up on their push.
If McIntyre drops the title to Ziggler, that could be read more as a negative reflection on The Scottish Terminator rather than a positive one toward The Showoff.
It would immediately drum up suspicions of McIntyre having to take time off for surgery or for behavioral reasons, as well as questions whether WWE thought he did a good job as champion.
Having the flagship show on his shoulders during the pandemic hasn't been easy. McIntyre hasn't had a single crowd reaction to gauge whether he's beloved as a champion.
WWE could always blame the low ratings on him rather than the situation as a whole. Then, to some people, the solution would be to get the title off him and on to someone else to try a different tactic rather than address other potential problems.
Again, by no means is this likely to happen, as nothing indicates any of this is going on. McIntyre seems to be doing a great job, and it's a safe bet WWE is happy with him as champion.
But if the title were to change hands, fans would start wondering why and begin looking for answers.
The Showoff's Redemption Story Is Realized
While the first two talking points address the what-if as a meaningless stretch to the feud or a punishment, there's also the legitimate route that has to be considered.
If Ziggler were to beat McIntyre clean, what would that mean?
At that point, The Showoff would have finally made good on his promise to make it back to the top of WWE.
For years, he's cut variations of the same promo, talking about how he was once on the mountaintop and was pushed off.
When he's a babyface, he speaks about scratching and clawing to get opportunities to prove how passionate he is. As a heel, he touts himself to be the best wrestler in the company and thinks that bravado entitles him to more respect.
Beating McIntyre—a bigger opponent who has taken down Brock Lesnar twice this year and is on the run of his career—would legitimize Ziggler in a way he hasn't been since at least 2013, when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and won the world title.
Ziggler would finally be able to say he did exactly what he said he would do and would have the proof that he's the best.
How Does SummerSlam Play Out?
There's no time to rest in WWE. As soon as one show ends, it's time to start building toward the next one.
If Ziggler beats McIntyre at Extreme Rules, it must mean WWE has plans for The Showoff to go into SummerSlam as champion.
In most cases, the clear challenger would be McIntyre trying to regain his title. That is especially true if it were all a ruse to stretch out the feud and give the Scot a second reign.
Then, depending on the gimmick chosen for Extreme Rules, they would have to either wrestle a standard match or have some other stipulation that would make it a more even fight.
Of course, if this were all about punishing McIntyre instead of rewarding Ziggler, that wouldn't be the case. In that instance, someone new would have to step up to fight Ziggler, which would likely mean the next month of Raw would be built around establishing a new No. 1 contender.
But none of this is going to happen. McIntyre losing the title to Ziggler feels so out of place that it's just too difficult to think this what-if has any chance of coming true.
Even if it's essentially a guarantee the champion retains, we still won't know for sure until it happens. Stay tuned to find out.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.