World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler suffered a concussion during the May 7 taping of SmackDown, during a brawl that occurred in the Big E. Langston vs. Jack Swagger match.
According to WWE.com, he was originally diagnosed with retrograde amnesia and could not remember anything that happened early last week. He will visit soon with a Phoenix Suns doctor to determine if a CT scan is necessary.
As with all sports, it’s mandatory that he passes impact tests before returning to the ring, which leads me to the question: What happens if Ziggler cannot defend the World title at Extreme Rules?
WWE can adjust the ladder match a couple different ways.
The first option would be to change the match to a singles match between Alberto Del Rio and Swagger, which would determine the No. 1 contender to Ziggler’s title.
It may not be the most attractive option, as we’ve seen this match before, but the ladder aspect would spice it up. Ricardo Rodriguez and Zeb Colter could still get involved to help their respective partners. The likely outcome would be for Del Rio to win to avoid the heel vs. heel match.
A second option would be to keep it a Triple Threat ladder match, but instead of Ziggler, Langston would be the third competitor. He could defend the title on Ziggler’s behalf.
This could lead to a few different outcomes. One being that Langston loses the title, forcing Ziggler to go back into chase mode and try to regain something he never lost.
A second outcome would be Langston retains but refuses to give up the title to the returning Ziggler. This could be the catalyst for a Langston face turn, culminating in a singles match between the two over the title.
A third replacement match would be a Triple Threat ladder match, but instead of Langston defending the title, it would be a No. 1 contender’s match.
This match was not going to be the main event, so putting Langston in as a substitute wouldn’t affect the star power of the card that much. Ziggler fans would be bummed out, but his safety and health come first.
WWE has a few different options for the ladder match. The important thing to remember is that there is no need to rush Ziggler back into the ring. He’s one of their top stars and will be for years to come. WWE gains nothing by putting an injured Ziggler in a dangerous ladder match.
Concussions are a scary injury, regardless of the sport. Former Superstar Christopher Nowinski suffered from a concussion June 23, 2003. He continued to suffer from post-concussion symptoms for a full year and chose to retire.
We should find out more about the situation this week on Raw. Until then, I wish Ziggler the best in his recovery.