Fans, wrestlers and writers reacted on Twitter to Dolph Ziggler beating Alberto Del Rio to become World Heavyweight Champion with as much passion as the fans in the IZOD Center brought to Monday's WWE Raw.
Ziggler made the night a thrilling one by finally cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on an injured Del Rio. After winning the contract-filled briefcase back in July, it took until the Raw after WrestleMania 29 for him to reap the rewards from it.
Del Rio had just survived a handicap match where he faced both Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. He winced in the corner of the ring with his ankle in severe pain. Cue Ziggler's music and the ignition of an already hot IZOD Center crowd.
Moments later, Ziggler lifted the world title, bursting with elation.
The crowd had been chanting Ziggler's name all night. It would have been intriguing to see what might have happened had WWE let down those fans with no Ziggler cash-in and perhaps even no Ziggler appearance at all.
As The Masked Man of Grantland fame pointed out, the outpouring for Ziggler felt a lot like how the fans chanted for Daniel Bryan last year.
David Shoemaker @DavidShoemaker
Ziggler's totally getting Daniel Bryan'd tonight.4/9/2013, 1:04:50 AM
Now Ziggler gets his shot with the belt. A successful run, complete with great moments and thrilling matches, will prove all his supporters right and force his doubters to give him props.
The crowd in the IZOD Center, a collection of New Jersey and New York locals mixed with fans still around for WrestleMania week, became one of the night's stars in a strange way. The fans chanted for wrestlers not in the building. They chanted for Michael Cole.
They chanted, "We are awesome!"
While they seemed to be more into figuring out what to chant next than what was going in the ring at times, it was that groups of fans who helped to make Ziggler's big moment unforgettable.
Matt Hardy tweeted about how the crowd elevated that moment.
#BROKEN Matt Hardy @MATTHARDYBRAND
The NY/NJ crowd made the Dolph Ziggler MITB cash-in so much more awesome than it even was. Great stuff! It was pro wrestling at its best.4/9/2013, 1:19:29 AM
Ziggler holding the world title was an image a long time in the making. It wasn't from a lack of trying, but Ziggler just couldn't get his Money in the Bank contract to turn into championship gold.
John Cena and Del Rio were among the men who prevented him from making use of his briefcase. Just when it seemed that Ziggler was going to cash in, the opportunity was taken away from him.
Ziggler had the Money in the Bank briefcase in his possession for a long time, not as long as Carlito joked but long enough to raise some doubts about whether he would ever cash it in.
After carrying around the MITB briefcase for 8 years, he finally cashed it in to become WHC! Congrats Dolph Ziggler!4/9/2013, 1:26:25 AM
Fans can criticize WWE's lack of surprises and exciting moments at WrestleMania, but the company came back strong on Raw. From Wade Barrett winning back his title, to Ryback attacking Cena and of course Ziggler's coronation, Monday's Raw delivered in a big way.
WWE delayed Ziggler's cash in for so long that it made the night that he finally succeeded much more special. A hard worker and superb athlete now gets his shot in the spotlight.
This fan summed up the thrill of seeing Ziggler pounce on a fallen Del Rio.
Congratulations to The Show Off, WWE's newest world champ.
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