World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
They've both played champion and challenger. They've both played babyface and heel. Is the third time the charm for the Show Off or the Mexican Aristocrat?
The Road to Money in the Bank
Dolph Ziggler held on to his blue Money in the Bank briefcase for a good long time, waiting for the Raw after WrestleMania 29 to run down to the ring and cash it in against Alberto Del Rio - fresh out of a handicap match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter.
Del Rio seemed to understand, having cashed in himself once in a similar fashion against CM Punk at SummerSlam in 2011 after the straight-edge champion had been jackknifed by Kevin Nash.
But a tenuous run as a técnico ended at Payback when ADR ruthlessly targeted the head of the World Heavyweight Champion (WHC), who had only recently been cleared for a return to action after a severe concussion. The resulting title change also changed the character's alignments, as Ziggler was now an underdog good guy, and the new champ an opportunistic rudo.
The weeks since have seen an enraged Show Off coming at the new champ from every angle at every opportunity. The Essence of Excellence has been placed in several main event matches on both Raw and Smackdown that have been good for his profile, but also provided Dolph with big targets.
Medical staff and even Teddy Long have done everything in their power to convince Ziggler to take time off to heal and get ready for this Sunday's pay-per-view (PPV) contest, but the platinum blonde superstar seems to only have two things on his mind - regaining the WHC and destroying Del Rio.
What's at stake?
In kayfabe, the big gold belt. It may have become the second most prestigious title in pro wrestling, but it still means a lot in the WWE Universe and would help either man in their continuing quest to cement themselves in the upper echelon of WWE superstars.
In "reality", Del Rio and Ziggler have both failed to connect with the masses and the crowds tepid responses to both play a factor in the diminished value of World Heavyweight title.
And in an interesting turn, both men fight tonight (Sunday, July 14th) alone after having been defined by their partners for so long.
The challenger was long associated with Vickie Guerrero and more recently was AJ Lee's latest paramour. His face turn has driven a wedge between he and the Black Widow, and in the past month he has rarely been seen with the Divas champ or her associate, Big E Langston. Could Dolph become the latest male wrestler to see his in-ring fortunes impacted by his dealings with AJ?
There's a lot of truth to the internet wrestling community (IWC) aphorism that "the most over thing about Alberto Del Rio is Ricardo Rodriguez". For the first time, Del Rio will make his way to a PPV ring without his personal ring announcer due to Rodriguez's recent suspension. Will he flourish alone, or continue to flounder and prove the conventional wisdom correct?
It's a feud that has become personal between two extremely talented workers - will it live up to that recipe or will Del Rio and Ziggler continue to confound?
Cageside Seats is the place to read and discuss these two enigmatic figures, the WHC and pro wrestling as a whole. Stick around for all the fallout of this match and the entire Money in the Bank card!