Originally Posted by Melvis
“Where do you draw the line… between man – and monster?”
Backstory: Paranoid about the possibilities of being forced to defend his Money In The Bank briefcase yet again after his victory over John Cena at TLC 2012, Dolph Ziggler planned to cash in the infamous briefcase as soon as he could. He got his chance the first SmackDown after his Ladder Match win, when Sheamus hit reigning champion Big Show with the oversized steel chair several times, leaving the big man down and out. Ziggler ran out with his briefcase, cashing in immediately to win the World Heavyweight Championship for a second official time. This led him into Royal Rumble, where he defended successfully against Sheamus to set himself on the road to Wrestlemania as top of the SmackDown brand.
Elsewhere at Royal Rumble, Christian made his return at number twenty-eight in the eponymous main event, last eliminating Randy Orton to secure himself a World Title shot of his choosing at Wrestlemania. Christian turned almost immediately to SmackDown, sitting at ringside to watch Dolph Ziggler win the Elimination Chamber Match to retain his title the following month. Christian declared as soon as Ziggler won that he’d see him at Wrestlemania…
…but the Show-Off didn’t take too kindly to that. Ziggler claimed it was a miracle that Christian had somehow won the Rumble, that he didn’t deserve to stand in a WWE ring and call himself a World Champion, ever. Christian had proudly told the world after his Rumble win that this could very well be his last shot, his ‘one more match’, but Ziggler’s ego had inflated to the point of no return; he believed that his first Wrestlemania as World Champion should have been against someone who had actually done something with their career, not just hidden in the shadow of another man. He was, of course, referring to the WWE Hall of Famer Edge, who arrived on the penultimate SmackDown before Wrestlemania to lecture Ziggler on the threat Christian posed to his title… only, Ziggler didn’t listen. All he saw was a way of getting to his Wrestlemania opponent, and he took full advantage by laying Edge out with a right hand and a series of one man con-chair-tos. This spot was widely criticised by the wrestling world immediately after it was broadcast, due to concerns over Edge’s health, though the man himself had given his permission. Christian had been sent home by SmackDown GM Booker T for laying his hands on a referee in frustration, during an earlier match with the Big Show.
The following week on SmackDown, just two days before Wrestlemania, Christian promised to walk down to the ring and call Ziggler out to answer for his actions. Just one week after one of the most heinous acts in WWE history, Ziggler would have every chance to speak his mind, while undoubtedly Christian, who had been well-documented as tending to his best friend in his recovery, would do the same.
We’ve had our main event match, and now we turn to an empty arena again, waiting for the last segment before we roll into Wrestlemania. The stage turns gold…
*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*
A GIGANTIC pop goes up for Christian, who we see for the first time tonight, striding out with considerable purpose; you can hardly blame him, he’s been through a lot this past week. He forgoes his usual search for his ‘peeps’, and heads for the ring, wearing his classic t-shirt listing ‘Charisma’ as an element on the periodic table.
Josh Matthews: Now folks, we turn our attention to a very grievous subject; that man is the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, Christian, and after what happened last week, I’m amazed that he’s found the patience to keep his silence until now.
JBL: I don’t condone a damn thing that Dolph Ziggler did last week, but hey, it’s not up to me what happens now – this is Christian’s time to say what he’s gotta say, and it better be good. A more cynical man than I would point the finger at the number one contender.
Josh Matthews: But John, who knows what mindset Christian is in? What do you say when your best friend, your former tag team partner, a legend in his own right and a whole part of Christian’s livelihood in Edge… what do you say when Dolph Ziggler tried to use Edge as a bargaining chip, just a pawn in their mind games? What can you say?
We’re about to find out, as Christian storms to ringside, trotting hurriedly up the steel stairs and stepping inside the ropes. He takes a mic from the folks outside the ring, and slowly, the gold lights and the rock music fade away. The Livewire stands motionless for several moments, as the crowd chants a mixture of “EDGE!” and “CHRISTIAN!” to support the number one contender. Christian goes to raise the mic, but he winces and puts it down. He paces around the ring, trying to clear his thoughts; the emotion of it is nearly too much. He calms himself and raises the mic.
Christian: I… am so… sorry.
The crowd isn’t sure how to react to that. He’s a wreck; he grits his teeth.
Christian: We don’t need to see any footage; you guys know what happened last week. I was supposed to be out there with Edge, and I wasn’t. I wasn’t there for you, man, and I know you’ve heard it from me all week, but God, I’m so sorry.
He shakes his head.
Christian: Edge helped me get to where I am today. My WWE career exists because of him, and I repay him – what, by gettin’ him whacked? What kind of friend… what kind of person…
He tails off. A few “Christian!” chants build to show that the crowd is still behind him.
Christian: Tha- thank you. Look. Cards on the table, I’m not sure if I’m ready for a World Heavyweight Championship Match.
An assortment of light boos here and there.
Christian: This is the biggest match of my career, just two nights away, and I don’t know what I have goin’ for me if I lose. I’m sorry, but it’s how it is. I owe it to you guys to be honest.
Again, some heat from the fans who want to see him battle on.
Christian: I mean, when I came back at the Rumble, I had a fire lit inside me. I jumped in that ring and just – y’know, BAM – somethin’ clicked. That match went like clockwork. I stand here as the winner of the 2013 Royal Rumble, and that means a helluva lot.
A hearty pop for that, and the Livewire almost smiles for a second.
Christian: But last week, that fire? I felt myself losin’ it. And that’s thanks to Dolph Ziggler.
Some LOUD, ferocious booing for the Show-Off. Christian nods.
Christian: I should know by now, that Dolph Ziggler isn’t your regular kinda guy – nah, he’s much worse. He doesn’t do things like he should, ‘cause his ego makes him think he can get away with anything.
More loud boos in response to that.
Christian: Well, Dolph, I’m out here tonight to tell you – YOU CAN’T.
BIG pop from the crowd! Christian points to the stage.
Christian: And if I didn’t say that tonight, I never would. I told Edge I would pay you back for what you did last week, Ziggler – and DAMMIT I’m not gonna wait any longer! Get out here!
Again, a pop goes up as Christian looks to get REALLY fired up here, scowling up at the stage as we wait in anticipation of SmackDown’s best and brightest…
*HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD*
The arena just FLOODS with heat for one of the WWE’s most hated heels right now, the World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler, who walks out alone, and with as satisfied a smirk as you could imagine. In the ring, Christian stares coldly at the World Champion, who rubs the belt around his waist, and flicks the water out of his hair. He screams “I’M DOLPH ZIGGLER!” at the nearby fans and starts a slow trek down towards the ring.
Josh Matthews: And here we have Dolph Ziggler, a man who has made more enemies than friends since winning that World Heavyweight Championship back in December, and crucially, he doesn’t care one bit, John.
JBL: Not at all, Josh, and when you make an impact like Dolph Ziggler has, frankly I don’t think you have to care what other people think. Like I said, I thought what he did last week was sick too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the World Champion’s job to make the headlines, and he did that.
Josh Matthews: But isn’t it a little disconcerting that the man’s ego is bigger than his conscience?
JBL: You’re talkin’ to a man who once suffered the same problem, Matthews, but yeah, it’s a little disturbing. I never called what I did ‘entertainment’, either. That’s what separates me from Dolph Ziggler, and frankly I’m glad something does.
To the ring, then, as Ziggler takes a moment to stare at the crowd from the apron, before he swings inside the ropes. He shoots a glare at Christian as he marches to get a mic, then paces the ring, circling his Wrestlemania opponent, who never takes his eyes off the World Champion. Clear tension between the two here, neither trusting the other not to make an impulsive move. Ziggler’s music dies down and a series of “YOU SUCK!” chants stop him from speaking immediately. When they fade away a little, he raises the mic.
Dolph Ziggler: All right…
Immediate boos as the crowd try to drown him out, but he presses on.
Dolph Ziggler: Newsflash, buddy. You were never ready for a World Heavyweight Championship Match. Not against anyone else, and certainly not against DOLPH – ZIGGLER.
Some big heat for that, while Christian just stares at him.
Dolph Ziggler: What happened last week – that’s not the reason. The reason you were never going to beat me this Sunday is because you just don’t cut it anymore, alright?
More booing from the crowd.
Dolph Ziggler: I mean, for several months now, I’ve been top of the pile, stealin’ the show every single night, and you thought – you THOUGHT – you could topple all of that?
Christian keeps his poker face. Ziggler shakes his head.
Dolph Ziggler: Not a chance, Christian. And I’ll tell you why – because you’ve always been a failure. Always.
Big heat there.
Dolph Ziggler: Your entire career up until this point has just been hangin’ on to the coat-tails of a better man, and now that you’re starting to realise that… now it’s starting to seep into your brain, maybe you’ll start to realise that our match on Sunday is a foregone conclusion.
Christian finally begins to frown, no longer disguising his hatred for the World Champion.
Dolph Ziggler: So not that I gotta justify anything to you, but that’s why I did it. So I could ram it into that thick skull o’ yours, that the only reason you got this far… was ‘cause of Edge. And he’s not around anymore, so what does that makes you? Huh?
A smirk from Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler: Absolutely NOTHING.
Boos as Ziggler begins to circle his challenger again, but this time, Christian stays still, breathing deeply as he tries to restrain himself.
Dolph Ziggler: You wanted payback for last week, but you don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve a World Title shot, you don’t deserve to face a guy of my standard, and you don’t deserve to even stand here as a member of this company. You – you are a worthless piece of trash and –
Christian: Hey – shut the hell up!
Big pop in response to that! Ziggler scowls as Christian turns to face him, taking a step forward to bring the two men closer and amp up the tension.
Christian: I know you like to run people down, Dolph. That’s just who you are. But facin’ facts for just a sec, you’re a damn lowlife, and if I don’t deserve to be in this company, then you should be beggin’ for pennies on the corner of Sunset Boulevard.
“OHH!” comes the reply from the crowd, as Ziggler looks around in mild surprise. “What did you just say to me?” he snaps off-mic.
Christian: Any man who can do what you did last week, doesn’t have a soul. Not in my eyes. In fact, ever since you became champion, you’ve been pulling a lot of this stuff, but no-one’s ever called you out on it. And that’s about to change, right here tonight.
A pop as Ziggler spreads his arms wide and invites any criticism Christian might throw.
Christian: I didn’t want you out here to make excuses. I wanted you out here so I tell you… before long, you’re gonna crash back down to earth, and specifically – two days.
He holds up two fingers, getting another pop from the crowd.
Christian: Because you’ve tried gettin’ inside my head, but I’m not as easy to scare as you think I am. No, I’m happy with who I am. And I’m happy with how I got here. But you… where do you draw the line between man – and monster?
Again, Ziggler frowns. It’s perhaps cutting him more than he expected. Christian takes a step forward, staring into Ziggler’s eyes to show how serious he is.
Christian: Does that worry you? Huh, Dolph? Well, let me explain something else to you. You know when I said I wasn’t ready for Sunday? That I was losin’ the fire inside me?
A sly smile builds on Captain Charisma’s face.
Christian: …I lied.
BIG pop from the fans! Ziggler looks away, to the side, evidently frustrated. Christian, however, won’t let him off the hook.
Christian: You think I’d come this far, win a Rumble, and NOT be ready for this? I’m not just doin’ it for Edge, and I’m not just doin’ it for all my PEEPS around the world…
Another big, if cheap, pop there.
Christian: …I’m doin’ it for ME.
“CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN!” The chants build around the arena, as Ziggler bares his teeth.
Christian: You said it yourself last week – I’ve never held the World Title for long enough. Two years ago, I lost when it mattered. Well Dolph… not this time.
A solid shake of the head from the Livewire. Another pop.
Christian: So you keep trying to tell me about my career, but I’m not gonna listen. ‘Cause if I can’t beat you this Sunday – only then is my career on the rocks. Not a second before.
Ziggler looks up from the floor, into Christian’s eyes.
Dolph Ziggler: Well that’s real admirable of ya, but all that talk?
Ziggler turns to face the crowd, pointing to Christian as he does.
Dolph Ziggler: It’s just that, folks, it’s all TALK.
Heat from these fans.
Dolph Ziggler: And ya know, you’re not the only one who says you’re a threat. I keep hearin’ it from everybody, but it’s all… just… talk.
A shake of the head from the Show-Off.
Dolph Ziggler: To be honest, I’m SICK of it. I’m sick of bein’ told you’re some kind of big shot! I’M a big shot, I’m the only thing worth watching on this lousy show!
Dolph Ziggler: I mean, all I’ve ever seen from you is hiding behind Edge, and last week, I took that away from you.
Christian rolls his eyes as Ziggler tries to flog the dead horse, perhaps losing ground.
Dolph Ziggler: You don’t get to shy away from me anymore. You don’t want to face up to me because you know I outclass you, and that stupid partnership was your way of trying to disguise that. Not just me – everyone and anyone you’ve ever come across. You hid in a tag team because you couldn’t CUT IT by yourself.
Serious heat for Ziggler, who paces left and right, clearly frustrated.
Dolph Ziggler: At Wrestlemania, I’m gonna prove that, and it’s gonna be so sweet. It’s gonna be so – SWEET.
Ziggler laughs, but it’s all hate and no humour.
Dolph Ziggler: All I’ve heard tonight are the words of a guy who wishes he was still relevant. Like I said, all I’ve heard is TALK –
Christian: (cutting in) The hell do you want from me?
Dolph Ziggler: I WANT YOU GONE.
Oooh. There’s some heavy heat for that, but both men in the ring are motionless. Prompted by Christian’s interruption, Ziggler’s said something he never meant to, and both men take a moment to engage in a cold staredown. Pure hatred here. Ziggler’s the first to elaborate.
Dolph Ziggler: Yeah. I want you outta my life. I’ve proven to everybody in this damn company what I can do – Cena, Sheamus, Big Show, all of them. But you… you’ve got something I want more than any of those. Your career, on the line.
Huge heat rains down on Ziggler here – Christian stares at him for one, two, three seconds…
Christian: You got it.
“OHHH!” A big, big mixed reaction fills the arena, and Ziggler blinks. He’s taken aback, and he’s not the only one!
Christian: If that’s what it takes, man, it’s on. I know I’m going to beat you – but if somehow it goes wrong for me… well, I don’t wanna stay around. Maybe…
He looks away from the World Champion.
Christian: Maybe if I can’t beat you, Dolph… you were right all along.
Ziggler smirks, as Christian turns away momentarily.
Christian: But for Edge, for the title, for these people… and for me – oh. I'm gonna win alright.
He spins and goes nose-to-nose with Ziggler. The crowd fills the arena with “CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN!” chants, as Ziggler mutters something under his breath… but Christian raises the mic one more time.
Christian: And I’ll be hiding in no-one’s shadow.
‘CLUNK’ goes the mic against the canvas, and Ziggler detaches his title belt from around his waist. Raising into the air, he throws his own mic to the side, and starts muttering “Let’s end it… you and me, huh?” as the chants for Christian ring around them…
Josh Matthews: In just two nights’ time, folks, you heard it right there – Christian’s very career will be on the line at Wrestlemania! It’s all or nothing for Captain Charisma!
JBL: One hell of a way to up the stakes, Josh, ‘cause Christian wants to prove he deserves his job here, and if he can beat Dolph Ziggler for that title, I’ll drive him to the ring myself.
Josh Matthews: Ladies and gentlemen, the stakes are indeed, higher than ever, because if Christian doesn’t win his third World Title this Sunday on the Grandest Stage of Them All, he’s done with the WWE for good.
The pair continue to trash talk, this Sunday’s match now more important than ever, as the crowd tells Christian that they’re firmly behind him, and slowly, the SmackDown logo fades into view.
Josh Matthews: It’s Wrestlemania Twenty-Nine, LIVE in East Rutherford in forty-eight hours’ time… can Christian pay Dolph Ziggler back for what he’s done? Can he prove he’s his own man? And most importantly… was tonight the last time we’ll ever see Captain Charisma in a SmackDown ring? Goodnight!
We fade to black.
Title vs. Career
Youth vs. Experience
“The Show-Off” vs. “Captain Charisma”
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. CHRISTIAN
The bell chimes, and this atmosphere in the MetLife Stadium builds even further. Almost immediately, the vast majority of the 90,000 in attendance begin chanting “CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN!”, just like the crowd two nights ago when Christian agreed to put his career on the line here. The Livewire takes a few steps left and right, and the two men begin to circle one another, as the noise builds in Christian’s favour and Ziggler ignores it as best he can. They start with a lock-up; neither man finds an advantage in terms of strength, so Ziggler quickly grabs a side headlock and wrenches Christian sideways. Christian’s arms flail, fingers wrapping around Ziggler’s wrists to pry them apart… he’s free, so he hits the ropes – bang, right hand snaps Ziggler’s neck back. Dolph reels a little, then answers back with a right hand of his own, and wrings the arm. Christian winces but manages to twist out and send the Arm Wringer the other way – he forces Ziggler towards the mat, but the Show-Off rolls through to relieve the pressure, even sending Christian to the corner. Ziggler charges for the Stinger Splash – BUT HE EATS TURNBUCKLE PAD!
The crowd pops as Ziggler sells it, as usual, like he’s taken a shot with a sledgehammer, careering wildly backwards. Christian had just spun out of harm’s way, and now he lines up the SPEEEEAAAARRR – NO! Ziggler has enough awareness to leapfrog the attempt from Christian, and when the Livewire turns, rather than attack, the World Champion just STARES. A few weak “Spear!” chants can be heard around the airy stadium, but the focus is on Dolph Ziggler, who raises a finger to point at Christian – “I told you! Livin’ in his shadow!” – and Christian puts his hands on his hips. For a moment, he has to consider why he made that choice of move, but before he can think, the fight is back on, with Ziggler charging to drive him into the corner. Ziggler starts laying in the stomps, trying to wear down his challenger, but referee Charles Robinson moves in to break things up with a count of four. Ziggler steps back, holding up his hands, as Christian wheezes on his way out of the corner… DROPKICK FROM ZIGGLER! Down goes Christian, as Ziggler sweeps his hair from his eyes and makes a cover…
KICKOUT FROM CHRISTIAN!
No good just yet. Ziggler stands, ignoring the crowd’s cheers from Christian’s kickout, and leaps for the PERFECT Elbow Drop! Christian gasps in pain as Ziggler lands his signature elbow flush, then gets up and sets himself… a second Elbow Drop! Up gets Ziggler – and a third time! Ziggler stands, a smirk showing how pleased he is thus far, and he runs his hands through his hair, flicking the water down at Christian before he goes for it AGAIN – NO GOOD! The Elbow Drop meets nothing but canvas, with the Show-Off spending too much living up to his own name, and when he struggles back up… CHRISTIAN RUNS THROUGH HIM WITH THE RUNNING FOREARM SMASH! That puts Ziggler down in a heap, with Christian letting out his signature roar of adrenaline after that to let us know he’s fired up as ever tonight! Ziggler, holding his jaw with a look of considerable pain, wobbles back to his feet, so Christian grabs him for the Irish whip – but Ziggler sets his feet and sends the Livewire instead. Christian grabs the top rope to stop himself, and as Ziggler charges in, he raises the sole of his boot – Back Heel Kick stops Ziggler in his tracks! The World Champion groans and bends over to sell the hit, while Christian clambers to the second rope, getting some momentum as he twists into the SUNSET FLIP… ON THE MONEY, HERE’S THE PIN…
TWO… BUT ZIGGLER KICKS OUT!
Ziggler rolls out of the cover with a smooth backward-moving transition, to his feet now, while Christian uses the ropes… and Ziggler suddenly charges at his challenger, mauling him with a series of angry clubbing blows! The crowd boos, and eventually Charles Robinson has to step in again to make Ziggler relent, that count working wonders, as Dolph knows he has to win the match to end Christian’s career. Christian has a tired expression on his face as he moves away from the ropes, and Ziggler sets him for a Neckbreaker – but Christian spins out of it, and finds the inverted facelock, only for Ziggler to spin out of THAT in turn – he gets the Swinging Neckbreaker anyway! A few groans go up from the fans as Ziggler floors the veteran there, hooking both legs…
TWO… BUT CHRISTIAN GETS THE SHOULDER UP!
The crowd pops as Christian gets back to his feet, though he staggers momentarily and grabs his neck in pain. Ziggler, meanwhile, looks considerably frustrated and goes after the Canadian yet again with another clubbing blow or two. Christian retreats into the ropes to get some protection, and Ziggler doesn’t have to be told by the official this time, stepping away so he can look to clothesline Christian out of the ring – but Christian HAULS the top rope down, and Ziggler goes crashing to the outside! The World Heavyweight Champion takes a bad landing and groans out, while Christian turns to the crowd and yells “C’MON!” to get them fired up… Ziggler clambers slowly up… Christian to the ropes, looking for the triangular springboard as he’s done a thousand times – AND WIPING DOLPH OUT WITH AN AWE-INSPIRING PLANCHA!!! Both men go down and out, but what a move by Christian – the crowd are going wild! Staggering up, Christian raises an arm to these cheering fans, thanking them for their support, then turns back to Ziggler, clumsily pulling him back up.
Christian grabs Ziggler by the hair and leads him closer to the ring. He stares at the ring steps, and a smile breaks out, the possibility of inflicting some real punishment to his opponent becoming clear here, and he goes to HURL Ziggler into the unforgiving steel… but the Show-Off stops himself at the last second! Gasping for breath, Ziggler counts his lucky stars, then turns to see Christian charging at him – DROPKICK TO THE KNEES… AND CHRISTIAN LANDS FACE-FIRST ON THE CORNER OF THE STEPS!!! “OHHHH!” cries the crowd as Christian takes the brunt of a horrible impact, but Ziggler is on all fours, stunned but thankful he avoided such a fate himself. Christian writhes on the outside floor, giving Ziggler a chance to roll into the ring and back out as the referee’s count reaches seven. Evidently not looking for a count-out victory, Ziggler pulls a dazed Christian up again – and CANNONS his face off the steel surface! Once more, Christian reels back, but Ziggler won’t let him be, repeating that emotionless hit again, and then again, letting his opponent collapse to the floor when he’s done. Ziggler raises his arms to the crowd, enjoying the heat he receives in return, even from the ‘We Hate Cena’ guys nearby.
Done with gloating and returning to the task at hand, the World Heavyweight Champion pulls Christian up and rolls him into the ring. Following him in, Ziggler lays a couple of stomps to Christian’s chest, then forces him to his feet and shoves him to the ropes. Ziggler bends down – CRACK! Christian kicks him between the eyes, hitting the ropes again for some better momentum… but Ziggler comes right back with a kick to the gut – SIT-OUT FACEBUSTER! If the crowd had perked up after that first reversal, they are silenced again here, as Ziggler screams “STAY DOWN!” and rolls him into a cover…
BUT CHRISTIAN KICKS OUT!!!
Surprisingly, even the commentators at ringside seem buzzed about the kickout – feeding off the energy of the crowd, even Jerry Lawler can’t help but pump his fist a little as Ziggler is denied. The crowd is alive again, egging Christian on, and finally, the Livewire gets to his feet. Ziggler is up too, shaking his head with disgust as Christian refuses to stay down, and when the Canadian turns, he takes a stinging right hand to the skull. Christian wobbles, but keeps his footing and answers back with his own hit… that gets a pop from the fans, though Ziggler’s reply brings the inevitable heat. Christian lands a shot, getting more cheers from the MetLife Stadium, and soon we’re into the classic trading of blows, back and forth as the crowd swaps between cheers and boos… Ziggler with a right hand… Christian fires back… Ziggler… Christian… boo… cheer… boo… cheer… Ziggler… Christian… Christian… Christian… and here we go, ninety thousand firing the Livewire up as he throws these bombs, forcing Ziggler back into the ropes! Christian forces the champion into said ropes, flinging him off across the ring – they meet in the middle – FLAPJACK DRILLS ZIGGLER INTO THE DECK!!! The crowd pops BIG as Christian answers back with a big move of his own, and now Captain Charisma rolls sideways, making the pin…
NO! KICKOUT FROM ZIGGLER!!!
Christian rests on his knees. He’s breathing a little heavily, wincing as he tries to get up and showing the signs of Ziggler’s offence all over his body. Ziggler rolls to the side, using the ropes to pull himself up too, and the two stand across from each other; Christian looks worse for wear, but by no means does he look beaten. Raising his fists, Captain Charisma tentatively paces towards his opponent, like a boxer trying to sense a weak spot, but Ziggler shakes out his arms and just throws himself into the fight with a right hand. It’s testament to Ziggler’s brash nature, but it’s effective, because it sends Christian stumbling back into the corner. Ziggler takes a circular sweep of the ring, then launches for the STINGER SPLASH – HE GOT IT THIS TIME! The crowd groans almost in unison with Christian, who falls to his knees, but Ziggler pulls him up by his hair and shoves him into the corner again. A shot to the jaw from Dolph’s elbow keeps Christian there, and again he takes a run-up, looking to really lay on the pain here… STINGER SPLASH AGAIN – NO!!! Christian slips between the ropes – PENDULUM KICK CONNECTS! Ziggler gets whacked, and he just SPASMS back into the ring, selling it like he’s been electrocuted! Refusing to let the chance go to waste, Christian steps to the outside and hauls himself to that top rope with considerable effort. Ziggler’s struggling up, as Christian manages to grit his teeth and make title belt motions… he dives into the CROSSBODY – BUT ZIGGLER PICKS HIM CLEAN OUT OF THE AIR WITH A DROPKICK!!!
NO WAY!!! What a counter from Ziggler, who may have created his own Wrestlemania moment right there – both men are flat out on the deck! A few “HOLY SHIT!” chants can be heard, but mostly it’s just groans of awe, leading us into the “CHRISTIAN!” chants yet again as the pair lie still and the crowd look to energise the Livewire. It’s Ziggler’s head who tilts up first, however, as Charles Robinson’s double count reaches five, and even the World Heavyweight Champion looks surprised that he pulled that off! Slowly, Ziggler crawls to the ropes to haul himself up, as we tick past the ten minute mark, and Christian rolls to the side to show signs of life as well. Ziggler stumbles slightly, but he has the wherewithal to go after Christian again, falling on him with a series of blows across the face. He yanks him up roughly by the hair, ignoring Robinson’s remonstrations, and fires two more rights to the jaw. Christian’s hair is a mess of sweat, his eyes a little unfocused, and Ziggler drags him to the centre of the ring with a front facelock… Christian wrestles out, and throws a hopeful clothesline – but Ziggler ducks smoothly under it and delivers the INVERTED POWERSLAM! Ziggler takes Christian completely off-guard with some sweet execution, and here he goes, shooting the half to end this bout…
BUT NO! CHRISTIAN STAYS ALIVE!
Ziggler aggressively rubs his face, as if he can’t believe the resilience of his challenger. Getting up, he notes how the crowd remains buoyant, popping after the kickout, and he snappily waves them away when a few “YOU SUCK!” chants attempt to get under his skin. Rather than pulling Christian up, he waits this time, observing the Livewire’s suffering as he tries to recover. Eventually, Christian struggles up, and Ziggler fires a SUPERKICK – DUCKED! The crowd pops as Christian dodges a bullet, and Dolph spins in shock – Inverted Atomic Drop! Ziggler gasps in pain, but Christian doesn’t hang around, hitting the ropes and FLOORING the champion with a thumping clothesline! Christian turns to the crowd with a pump of his fist, again getting the crowd going in the MetLife Stadium, before he sprints at Ziggler as the Show-Off finds his feet… SPINNING WHEEL KICK TO THE CHAMPION!!! Another big hit leaves Ziggler down and reeling now, the crowd of course loving it, as Christian really begins to feel the vibe, heading out to that dreaded apron again to find the top rope… it didn’t work last time, but Christian’s willing to do everything and anything to keep his career alive, so he’s going to take some risks! Ziggler runs a hand through his straggled blond hair, getting to his knees and finally to his feet, spinning lethargically to face Christian, who SOOAARRS – AND NAILS THE DIVING CROSSBODY THIS TIME!!! HE STICKS THE PIN…
ONLY FOR ZIGGLER TO KICK OUT!!!
It’s head in hands time – Christian’s dumbstruck! He truly thought he’d done enough there, but though Ziggler looked beaten, he managed to kick out! Give the devil his due, Ziggler has taken the belt into the Grandest Stage of Them All for a reason, and as Christian forces himself to a vertical base, he nods his head, knowing he must do more. Ziggler is on all fours, but he snarls to himself and gets up. Christian whips him into the corner, but before he can add anything else on the offensive end, Ziggler’s hit the deck and rolled from the ring! Boos inevitably resound around the stadium, as Ziggler mutters to himself, slapping his own chest and trying to fire himself up, apparently not happy with his performance so far. Christian stands with his hands on his hips, but when Ziggler turns to face the ring, Captain Charisma sprints for the BASEBALL SLIIIIDE – NO! Ziggler sidesteps, so Christian slides to the outside floor – and Ziggler BASHES Christian skull-first off the top of the announce desk! The commentators get to their feet, moving out of harm’s way, but Ziggler is more focused on himself, screaming “I’M DOLPH ZIGGLER! I DESERVE BETTER!” at no-one in particular. It’s almost a demented Ziggler here, who clearly hates that this match has gone on for this long, even slapping Christian as the Livewire stands. Christian reels back, wincing, and Ziggler grabs him by the neck – BEFORE HE HURLS HIM BACK-FIRST INTO THE CROWD BARRICADE!!!
Not for the first time tonight, Christian writhes in pain on the outside floor, while Ziggler looks a little more satisfied. He rolls inside the ring, telling Charles Robinson to continue his count this time, content to win by any means necessary. Robinson’s at six, seven, eight, but Christian’s on his knees, stumbling up at nine… and launching himself desperately under the bottom rope before ten to avoid a cheap end to his career! A BIG pop goes up as Christian keeps this one alive yet again, but Ziggler immediately meets him with right hands on the canvas. Wary of the official’s five count, Dolph pulls Christian up, then stalks him for the ZIG-ZAG TO END IT – BUT CHRISTIAN GETS THE TOP ROPE AS ZIGGLER GOES FOR IT!!! Dolph can’t hit his finisher, spasming as he hits the mat and rashly getting up before he’s collected himself – Christian thinks KILLSWITCH – BUT ZIGGLER SPINS OUT – CRACK!!! SUPERKICK TO THE JAW!!! CHRISTIAN’S OUT LIKE A LIGHT, HERE’S THE COVER…
THR-NO!!! CHRISTIAN KICKS OUT SOMEHOW!!!
A big, BIG pop fills the MetLife Stadium there, as we get several replays of that astounded shot from Ziggler to Christian’s jaw, but clearly it wasn’t enough! Furious, Ziggler sweeps his sweaty hair away from his face and heads to the outside. The athlete clambers a little sluggishly to the top rope, but he’s there nonetheless, and he waits for Christian to haul his exhausted frame up… he does, so Ziggler launches with the MISSILE DROPKICK – BUT HE CRASHES AND BURNS!!! The crowd goes WILD as Christian dodges the high-flying move, and now it’s the Livewire who heads for the corner, simply stepping to the second rope as he desperately inhales some fighting breath. Ziggler is clutching at his back, face contorted in pain, but the World Heavyweight Champion takes a moment, and finds his feet, Christian measuring him all the while… FLASHPOINT CONNECTS!!! Christian gets the Diving European Uppercut directly to Ziggler’s face, and though he rolls away, he finds the energy to pull the blinded Show-Off up… REVERSE DDT AS WELL!!! The crowd going wild, Christian pulling out all the stops before dives into the cover…
HAS HE GOT HIM? NO!!! ZIGGLER FIGHTS OUT!!!
Christian’s up – he wants this too badly now – and he points out at the crowd! The Livewire’s got his teeth clenched, fighting through the fatigue to fire up the fans in their droves here in East Rutherford, and – yes – he pulls out the pincer motion! The ninety thousand begin to cheer even louder, building a terrific noise as Dolph Ziggler flails about the canvas and tries to find his footing. Though he stumbles, he’s up, and Christian hooks him up for the KILLSWITCH YET AGAIN – BUT NOOO!!! Ziggler won’t go down that easily, shoving Christian into the ropes rather than spinning out this time, and when Christian detaches himself to turn… THE DDT!!! THE JUMPING DDT SPIKES CHRISTIAN!!! The noise dies dramatically around the stadium, and Ziggler punches the air, more aggressive than ever, and screams “THIS IS WHAT I DO! BECAUSE I CAN!” at the fans jeering him from every corner. Slowly, he wipes the sweat sharply from his brow, and shakes out his arms before taking another long look at his challenger, still trying to figure out where he is. Ziggler crouches, nodding his head, and tells Christian to get up and face the finale. Slowly, slowly, though his forehead slumps to the canvas, Christian finds the energy to struggle up, but of course it’s right into the path of a furious Dolph Ziggler – AND HE NAILS THE FAME ASSER ON THE DIME!!! Surely that’s us done and dusted, Ziggler rolling Christian on to his back and staring darkly at Charles Robinson as the official counts…
THREE – NOOOO!!! KICKOUT BY CHRISTIAN!!!
“ARE YOU FREAKIN’ SERIOUS?” screeches Ziggler – the World Heavyweight Champion is INCENSED, contrasting the joyous ovation from the ninety thousand desperate to see Christian beat the odds! Poor Charles Robinson cops an earful from the raging Show-Off, who places two fists against his scalp and beats his boots into the canvas in frustration. Taking a series of deep breaths, Ziggler presses himself to a fully standing position, and stares across at Christian with nothing but pure hatred. Captain Charisma is a wreck, sweat still soaking his face and wearing an expression that you’d expect after he’d been run over several times. Ziggler, meanwhile, nods his head and says “I know… I know how to beat you…”, even though Christian probably can’t hear him over the thousands of people chanting his name instead. Ziggler knows how to steal the show, however, directing all attention back his way as he heads to the opposite corner, puts a hand on the top rope… AND CROUCHES, SWEEPING HIS HAIR OUT OF HIS EYES AND TELLING CHRISTIAN TO GET UP! The crowd immediately boos as Ziggler looks to put Christian away, with the very move that personifies a man so dear to the Livewire… Christian, feeding off the crowd’s noise for the umpteenth time, manages to find his feet, as Ziggler goes hurtling across the ring for the SPEEEAAARRR – BUT CHRISTIAN DIRECTS HIM THROUGH THE TURNBUCKLES INTO THE STEEL RING POST!!!
The crowd goes NUTS! The last thing anyone wanted was for Ziggler to win using Edge’s finishing move, and now the World Champion is screaming in pain, wedged between the turnbuckles moments after his shoulder got rammed into the steel! Christian, however, shakes his head, knowing how close the end was, and pulls Ziggler out of the buckles – “YOU DON’T KNOW A THING ABOUT HIM!” – AND FLOORS HIM WITH A VICIOUS RIGHT HAND!!! Incensed by Ziggler’s arrogance, Christian finds the second wind that allows him to climb to the top rope – he takes a deep breath… THEN COMES CRASHING DOWN ON DOLPH ZIGGLER WITH THE FROG SPLASH!!! These fans in New Jersey pop HUGE for that, with the title surely in Christian’s sights as he rolls away, only to slump back over Ziggler for the dramatic cover…
THREE – NEW CHAMPION – NOOOO!!! SHOULDER UP FROM DOLPH!!!
How close can a man come? Christian cries in pain, wishing that had been enough to justify his top-rope sacrifice, and he must somehow find even more energy, crawling towards the ropes. Dolph Ziggler’s eyes are glazed over, lying on his side with his right hand semi-reaching for the bottom rope. Christian is the first up, stumbling lethargically into the very ropes that help him up. Captain Charisma looks around the ring, wondering what else he can possibly do to keep Ziggler down for three, to save his career. The Rumble winner clenches a fist and tries to keep himself upright, as Ziggler’s fingers claw at the middle rope and he begins to find his feet. Seeing that, Christian heads for the nearest turnbuckle, slumping up to the second rope and sitting on the top buckle. Breathing heavily, he stares at Ziggler, waiting for the World Champion to turn so he can kill this off – turn he does… so Christian jumps off, grappling him and spinning into the TORNADO DDT – NOOO!!! Ziggler sends Christian sprawling with a last gasp shove, and when the Canadian finds his feet, he scrambles back at Ziggler – BUT THE SHOW-OFF SLIDES BETWEEN CHRISTIAN’S LEGS… AND APPLIES THE SLEEPER HOLD!!!
It’s unclear whether it was a bizarre second wind or just divine inspiration, but Dolph Ziggler has the dreaded Sleeper locked in, and Christian immediately starts flailing like there’s no tomorrow – there might not be for him! Dolph’s usual adrenaline rush whenever he locks in the hold has vanished, replaced by just a determined look as he tries to hang on to keep Christian losing air. The Canadian begins to fade, wincing and even closing his eyes, falling to a knee… but he clenches a fist and stands again! The crowd pops as he pumps that fist, Ziggler’s eyes lurching wide in shock… Christian staggers for a second – then THROWS Ziggler over his head to escape the hold! Ziggler yells in pain as he lands, but something inspires him up, and he turns back at Christian with a frown – BUT CAPTAIN CHARISMA TEARS HIM IN HALF WITH THE SPEAR!!! OF ALL THE MOVES, OF ALL THE TIMES TO HIT IT – THE CROWD GOES MENTAL, AND CHRISTIAN MAKES THE COVER…
BUT… CHRISTIAN – CHRISTIAN PULLS OUT!!!
“THE HELL ARE YA DOIN’, BOY?” roars JBL at ringside, and it’s a valid question – Christian ditched his own pinfall attempt! The fans around the MetLife Stadium are stunned, everyone looking at a dark-faced Christian as he stands and walks away from Ziggler! Christian heads for the corner, laying his arms across the top rope and shaking his head over and over… “Not this way, not this way…” Ziggler rolls to the side, shaking out the cobwebs – he doesn’t understand either! Christian looks a total mess, eyes downcast as he continues to shake his head… the crowd is making all kinds of noise, but for the first time tonight, Christian is oblivious! He’s stuck in his own little world, trying to figure out his dilemma, apparently unable to emerge from Edge’s shadow if he wins this match using the Spear! Christian rubs his face with shaking fingers, losing his composure when it matters most, and he turns to face Ziggler again – but the Show-Off is on is feet, darting behind the unsuspecting Christian… AND NAILING THE ZIG-ZAG TO THE DISMAY OF THE CROWD!!! Christian’s down, Christian’s out – he’s cost himself his own career, but Ziggler doesn’t give a damn, hooking the leg…
THREE – NOOOOOOO!!! SOMEHOW, SOME WAY, THERE’S A SHOULDER UP!!!
HE’S STILL IN IT! The crowd thought he’d thrown it away, the commentators thought he’d thrown it away – everybody did! But much to the disbelief of an exhausted Dolph Ziggler, this match is still going, and so is Christian’s career! The man himself hasn’t the energy to get up, beleaguered and battered from the trials of this long match, while Ziggler just stays on his knees, staring at his opponent with his mouth wide open! The Show-Off has well and truly been shown tonight, taught a lesson in resiliency, but he staggers back to his feet. Pretty much the entire MetLife Stadium is chanting “CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN!” now, believing that a famous win could be on our hands, as Ziggler finally reverts to anger, and pulls Christian up by his hair. He hasn’t even the will to trash talk, just shaking his head in the face of the Livewire, before he sets up for the ZIG-ZAG ONE MORE TIME… BUT CHRISTIAN THROWS AN ELBOW, AND IT CATCHES ZIGGLER IN THE FACE AS HE LEAPS UP!!! Back stumbles Ziggler, back into the ropes, and Christian roars “C’MOOOON!!!” before he spins to THUMP Ziggler into the canvas with as fierce a right hand you’ll ever see! The World Heavyweight Champion hits the deck in a mess of sweat and exhaustion, but somehow he staggers back to his feet, completely vulnerable… Christian hooks him up – he spins him round… AND HE SCORES WITH THE KILLSWITCH!!! THE METLIFE STADIUM COMES UNGLUED, AND CHRISTIAN ROLLS HIM ON TO HIS BACK, SLUMPING INTO THE COVER…
THREE!!! CHRISTIAN’S DONE IT!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!
WINNER AND NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: CHRISTIAN VIA PINFALL AT 22:22
*JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES*
Lilian Garcia: Here is your winner… and the NEW World Heavyweight Champion… CHRISTIAN!!!
IF THE STADIUM HAD A ROOF, IT WOULD HAVE COME OFF!!! The crowd goes just MENTAL as Christian slumps to the floor completely – even HE can’t believe it! Dolph Ziggler rolls out of the ring, leaving us with just Christian as Charles Robinson helps him stay on his feet, raising his arm to a HUGE ovation from these fans in East Rutherford. The title belt is handed in from ringside, and though he’s evidently happier about his career still going on, a massive smile emerges on the Livewire’s face as the title is placed in his grasp. “It’s yours,” mouths Robinson, and Christian needs no further invitation, lofting it triumphantly into the air, to the joy of the crowd.
Michael Cole: Well, he came into this match putting everything on the line, folks, but make no mistake – Christian has come out a worth, worthy World Heavyweight Champion, and on the back of that performance, I’m glad he’s not done just yet!
JBL: I tell ya, what a match, what an emotional moment, and I gotta say – props to ya, Christian, ya won it your way and ya did it in style! Well done! Ya did it!
Jerry Lawler: Just listen to the noise in here, guys! These fans spurred Christian on to something GREAT! I don’t think he coulda done it without ‘em!
Indeed, Christian heads to each turnbuckle, pointing out at the crowd to thank them for their support. On the outside, Dolph Ziggler is breathing heavily, completely exhausted and disbelieving that he couldn’t physically beat the inspired Captain Charisma. He holds his forefinger and thumb inches away from one another, trying to figure out how close he was. Christian, meanwhile, heads from the ring, lofting that World Title high as he backtracks up the ramp… and none other than EDGE walks out on to the stage, getting a HUGE pop from these fans! Christian turns, and uses whatever energy he has left to run up the ramp, meeting his best friend with a massive embrace, and Edge raises his arm high – the crowd just loves it.
Michael Cole: No-one would be more fitting to share this moment with than the Rated R Superstar, Edge, ladies and gentlemen – Christian has proved he’s a champion on his own terms, and what a picture right there! I give you a Wrestlemania moment, courtesy of Edge and Christian.
The two best friends play to the crowd, both wearing huge smiles, and Christian slaps his title belt, knowing for sure that tonight, he earned his place.