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Dolph Ziggler is No. 1 contender, and he has The Miz to thank

In Wednesday’s Rude Awakening, Ziggler owes The Miz, John Cena is set to return, and Kofi Kingston explains the importance of a special photo.

We publish a whole lot of content here at Cageside Seats. We’re also [looks around and whispers so the bosses can’t hear] not the only place producing wrestling content on the internet. So, as a service to you on the weekdays, we’ll be producing a wrestling newsletter, "Rude Awakening." Well, it will be a newsletter eventually: for now, it’ll just be part of your experience here at Cageside, collecting the news, recaps, and social moments from the greater wrestling universe daily so you won’t fall behind, with a newsletter format to come.

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Dolph Ziggler cut a promo on The Miz on SmackDown this week, claiming that Miz hasn’t won an important match without cheating. Ziggler should know firsthand that’s untrue, given he was kicked not once, but twice in the girlfriend stealer by Miz at TLC just weeks ago: sure, a boot to the crotch isn’t legal in most circumstances, but in a ladder match, it’s legal, Dolph. Miz beat you without cheating, and then to add insult to faulty memory, he also held Dean Ambrose down outside the ring long enough for Ziggler to get back up and superkick Ambrose. That earned Dolph the three count in a Fatal Four Way elimination match to determine the new number one contender for the WWE World Championship.

So, Ziggler now owes Miz for his current position as the challenger for AJ Styles’ title. And you can be sure that Miz isn’t going to let Ziggler forget this fact, either in the lead-in to this championship match or afterward if Ziggler manages to defeat Styles to become WWE World Champ. If that’s to happen, you can be sure that Miz will be around to say he deserves a shot at that title, given he’s defeated Ziggler on multiple occasions and did so by the book in their last match-up, while Ziggler was only in this position because of what the Miz did for him.

It’s a brilliant bit of weaving various story lines together, and managing to make something we’ve seen before, and not all that long ago — Ziggler vs. Styles, maybe Miz vs. Ziggler — feel fresh. Ziggler could very well become WWE champion, which means Miz would have his in-road to becoming WWE Champion again. The Intercontinental Championship that Miz currently holds is as close to the main-event scene as it’s been in WWE in... honestly, it’s too far back to recall. SmackDown is making good on their promise to create opportunities for its wrestlers, and while you might want to see some newer faces in the championship scene, at least the likes of Ziggler and Miz are finally being rewarded for the work they consistently put in rather than shuffled right back down the card after a glimmer of hope.

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