John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler's TLC Match Stipulation Should Not Surprise Fans

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

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John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler at WWE TLC.  We all pretty much saw that one coming, right?  But, John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler at WWE TLC with Dolph’s Money in the Bank briefcase on the line? That’s the part that maybe we did not count on, or were hoping was not going to occur.  But the truth is, it’s a scenario that was bound to happen.

Indeed, the moment the announcement was made on the Dec. 3 edition of Monday Night Raw, while it was surprising, it was also somehow expected.

Very expected.

At this point, Cena’s supporters would likely take that last comment to mean that I believe John just slid in and stole Ziggler’s thunder as championship contender.  So, that must mean I’m upset at the guy, right?

Actually, it’s not anger that caused me to write this piece, it was part disappointment, part curiosity.

Let’s be honest here, the fact is that no one should have been shocked that Dolph was “forced” to put his contract on the line against Cena at TLC.  John is the top guy in the company after all, and despite the fact that he has spent the entire year that CM Punk has been WWE Champion merely chasing the belt, we all knew he would get back to it eventually.

We perhaps just did not know it would happen like this.

For the past few months, Dolph Ziggler has been doing what he always does: building his reputation. Week in and week out, he does nothing but get in the ring and perform.  Match after match, he brings everything he has and proves why he is one of the best hands in the company.

He does not win every match.  His won/loss record at times is nothing to brag about.  But we as fans get so wrapped up statistics, in who goes over and who doesn’t, that sometimes we end up missing the point.

Ziggler is establishing himself in the ring and earning his stripes in the process.  While we sit back and analyze his matches and his direction, the way we do with so many other WWE Superstars, the better he gets and the more ground he gains.

So, time for the million-dollar question.  Has it all been for nothing?

The thought of Cena taking that blue briefcase away from Dolph is likely too much for some fans handle.  John is Mr. WWE, the man who always comes out on top, but to do it the expense of a younger Superstar who is still trying to grab that main event spotlight?

For Dolph Ziggler’s fans, that is unacceptable.


But the reality of the situation is that CM Punk had knee surgery on Dec. 4 and is now out of the TLC pay-per-view.  And while his recovery time is not yet fully known, he did post a couple of cryptic tweets on the 3rd that could lead back to the contract stipulation between Cena and Ziggler.

"No matter anybody's "plans" for you. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Know."




No matter anybody's "plans" for you. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Know.

— CM Punk (@CMPunk) December 3, 2012



Were these posts purely just Punk showing his frustrations over not being able to perform at TLC?  Or was he perhaps informed by WWE creative that immediate plans for the championship had changed and now the gold was going back around Cena’s waist?

Many fans, myself included, have been of the opinion that it should be Punk who not only faces the man who has the WWE Title shot at the Royal Rumble, the Rock, at that event, but also at next year’s WrestleMania.  Was Punk told differently on Tuesday?

The fact is that Punk is very good at working Twitter, and those two posts could have been part of some agenda to throw fans off track.  Actually, just that notion alone is enough to show that yes, we do tend to over-analyze the majority of information that comes out of WWE.

But watching John Cena leave TLC with the Money in the Bank contract is not very hard to imagine and cannot be considered jumping to conclusions at all.  And, if WWE does go this route, have we seen Dolph’s road to the top come to an end?

I believe that yes, the inclusion of Dolph Ziggler’s title shot at TLC was bound to happen.  Whether it was for the purpose of getting Cena back to the WWE Title, or to provide Ziggler one last big victory to get over the hump, is anyone’s guess.  One thing is for sure, however.

WWE knows drama.  The hype surrounding this match will surely be big and the more people are talking, the more will likely buy the event to see what happens, and that is good for business in WWE.

Will TLC see the continuing rise of Dolph Ziggler, or will it be the start of an eventual return to the norm for Vince McMahon’s company?

What are you expecting?