Intercontinental Championship Match
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz
The man with the moneymaker versus the man who lives to steal the show. WWE's best under-the-radar feud goes in for its second pay-per-view (PPV) match, and the most pretigious title that travels with the roster is on the line.
The Road to Night of Champions
This one goes all the way back to when the previous Intercontinental champ, Bad News Barrett, was forced to abdicate his throne due to an injury. The ensuing battle royal looked to end with Dolph Ziggler as the only guy in the ring, and therefore the new IC titleholder. But Hollywood Miz had been on the outside, having never been eliminated and just biding his time for his close-up. He dumped the Show-Off over the top rope and claimed the prize.
Despite Ziggler's best efforts to take it from him, he would sneak and connive his way to hold it until SummerSlam. There, none of his tricks work, and Dolph beat him 1 - 2 - 3 to claim championship gold.
The Awesome One really wanted his belt back, but not enough to get his hands dirty (or risk damage to the moneymaker) on a show-by-show basis. Enter Damien Sandow. The best character actor in pro wrestling had been freelancing for quite some time, but as Miz's stunt double, he finally had a direction. Sure, that direction is usually taking ZigZags and Superkicks for the IC champ, but a paycheck's a paycheck. Plus, he gets to wear that sweet white leather duster.
Really (as Miz might say), the only low point in the program was an unfortunate skit where Ziggler claimed he had found pictures of Miz during the phone hacking scandal that gave teenagers and cellar dwellars the world over the glimpses of Katniss Everdeen they'd always really wanted. But that was made up for a couple of Fridays back, when Dolph revealed a stunt double of his own. And watch this next clip carefully, because it's really hard to tell them apart...
The presence of R-Ziggler has helped to even the scales, but this Sunday, it will come down to the real Superstars in the ring.
What's at Stake?
The belt that makes the guy wearing it the highest ranking champ on every episode of Main Event, 99% of Smackdowns and at least every other Raw. As long as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is around the waist of a man who is unabashedly a part-timer, the Intercontinental title is where it's at.
Only time will tell if resumes its former role as a stepping stone to that bigger prize (and, as long as former WWE champs and WHCs who haven't sniffed those scenes in years are feuding over it, it probably won't), but Dolph and Miz have managed to craft a feud with some real heat around it regardless. A victory in their feud, whether that comes tonight or somewhere down the road, will be a nice accomplishment.
Both men have used the opportunity to confirm their worth as entertainers already.
Will we need stunt doubles of our own to help us handle the excitement of this Intercontinental showdown at Night of Champions?
If you need help processing it all, you're in the right place. cSs has you covered before, during and after the PPV!