Dolph Ziggler versus Rusev (with Lana) in a Non Title Champion versus Champion Match
Rusev backs Ziggler into the corner and he kicks and punches him. Ziggler with punches but Rusev with shoulders in the corner. Rusev with a kick to Ziggler. Ziggler with punches but Rusev with a back elbow and Ziggler is down. Rusev with elbow drops to Ziggler and he gets a near fall. Rusev with a chin lock and the arm trapped.
Ziggler gets back to his feet and he hits a jawbreaker to get out of the hold. Ziggler with an uppercut and he tries for the hesitation DDT but Rusev pushes him away. Ziggler with a drop kick and hesitation DDT for a near fall. We are back and Rusev with a splash to the back and Ziggler falls to the apron. Rusev returns to the chin lock with the arm trapped. We see exclusive footage from the app of Rusev catapulting Ziggler into the ring post. Ziggler with punches and another jawbreaker to get out of the hold. Ziggler drops Rusev on the top rope twice.
Ziggler goes up top and goes for a cross body but Rusev catches him. Ziggler lands on his feet on a Fallaway Slam. Ziggler with an uppercut and missile drop kick to Rusev. Ziggler leaps into the corner but Rusev pushes him away before Ziggler can connect with more punches. Ziggler with a Fameasser for a near fall. Ziggler holds his knee while he struggles to get back to his feet. Ziggler lands on his feet on a belly-to-back attempt and then Ziggler has a super kick blocked. Rusev pushes Ziggler down and he misses a splash. Rusev walks into a super kick and Ziggler gets a near fall.
Ziggler tries for the Zig Zag but Rusev holds on to the ropes. Rusev with a kick to the knee and then he sends Ziggler shoulder first into the ring post. Rusev kicks Ziggler and the referee tries to pull Rusev out of the corner but he does not before the referee makes the five count and he calls for the bell.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (by disqualification)
After the match, Rusev screams and he puts Ziggler in the Accolade while Ziggler is in the ropes.
#1 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler didn’t have a chip on his shoulder at the start of 2014 — he had a whole lumberyard. The Showoff couldn’t contain his frustration with the people in charge anymore. “I will not be outshined!” he screamed in a Jan. 31 interview.
Despite a pair of Intercontinental Title reigns, he couldn’t convince the powers that be. So late in 2014 at Survivor Series, Ziggler took out the people who were holding him down. As the only member of his team left standing at Survivor Series against Luke Harper, Kane and Seth Rollins, Ziggler finally shut his critics up. A Zig Zag took Kane out. A roll-up finished Harper. Superkicks stopped J&J Security from interfering before a Zig Zag — and help from Sting — allowed The Showoff to oust The Authority from power.
For a follow-up performance, Ziggler turned that lumberyard on his shoulder into gold by capturing his record-tying third Intercontinental Championship in the same year. Follow that. — Jeff Laboon
Seth Rollins interrupts Hulk Hogan and he comes out with Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble.
Seth mentions the Immortal Hulk Hogan. He says Hogan is a champion. He is a Hall of Famer. He is the physical embodiment of Wrestlemania. Seth says he wanted to come out here and shake Hogan’s hand. With all of those accomplishments, they might call him the Seth Rollins of the 80’s. Seth says that he wanted to tell Hogan from the bottom of his heart, thank you. Hogan is one of the reasons he got into this business. Hogan does not belong in this ring any more. This ring belongs to him. If you don’t mind . . .
Hogan says that he does mind. Unlike the Authority, he has the power and he is running Smackdown, brother. Seth says that this place has been in the dumps since the Authority has been ousted from power. Seth says you take two of the smartest business people that he knows, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Two people who have the guts to make the tough decision and who will do what is best for business and replace it with a carnival side show like Hulk Hogan.
Seth says that he realizes that Hogan is a legend, but Hogan has no business in his business. As the undisputed future of the WWE, he tells Hogan that this is his business. Seth says that if Hogan is going to be the general manager, why not do something worthwhile like telling the entire WWE Universe who is going to lead this company into the future. Why don’t you, tell everyone that the future of the WWE is Seth Rollins. When you are done endorsing him, you can realize it is almost 2015 and you can take your ass out of this ring.
Hogan says that it is starting to feel as if Rollins might not even make it out of this ring. He says that he doesn’t know if Rollins is the future. Seth says that he is Mr. Money in the Bank and the standard bearer of the WWE. Hogan says that he can think of a few people who can be the future. How about the guy who beat him at Survivor Series and on Raw last week, Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler comes out and he thanks Hogan for the invite and it is humbling to hear from Hogan that he is the future. Dolph says Seth is right. Seth is the future.
Seth thanks Dolph. Dolph says that is all Seth talks about. Why doesn’t he leave the ring and the WWE and then not show your face for the next ten years. Seth says Dolph is not a big picture type of guy. Dolph doesn’t understand that the future is a popularity contest. He should do everyone a favor by curb stomping Dolph’s face into the mat in front of Dolph’s idol. He asks Hogan how does that sound. Dolph says he has been curb stomped before but he keeps getting back up. He wants to know what Seth wants to do right now . . . brother. Big Show’s music plays and he comes out and says that he appreciates how Seth is the architect to get things done. However, there are times when you have to use force to get things done. He is going to knock out Hulk Hogan and then as a bonus, he is going to knock out Dolph Ziggler. Roman Reigns’ music plays and he makes his way through the crowd and to the ring. Roman tells Big Show not to come through them ropes unless you want to get hit in the mouth again, especially in front of your wife and kids.
Hogan asks the crowd what do they think. What about Seth Rollins and Big Show against Dolph Ziggler and Roman Reigns . . . brother? Since he is running Smackdown, he gives the people what they want. Hogan asks Show and Seth what are they gonna do when Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler run wild on you?
#22 Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio — Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender’s Fatal 4-Way Match (Raw; March 24)
A mad, forgotten classic among the high-profile matches of 2014, this four-pronged brawl for the right to battle Big E for the Intercontinental Championship is notable for a bittersweet reason: It was Christian’s last match in 2014 and, as of this writing, his last televised match, period. The frenetic bout encapsulates exactly what makes the former World Heavyweight Champion such a seminal WWE talent — his savvy, his chicanery, and his personality are all on display — but the other three didn’t look too shabby, either. Sheamus and Del Rio picked up right where their 2012 mega-rivalry left off, and Dolph Ziggler foreshadowed his late-year renaissance with a Zig Zag to a Cross Armbreaker–locked Sheamus, which took out both guys at once. Of course, it’s Christian who immediately hooked the Killswitch for the win, but nobody came out of this looking like a chump. If Captain Charisma is truly denied his “One More Match,” there are worse ways to go out. — Anthony Benigno