It was in 2010 at the final WWE Bragging Rights event where we witnessed Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan wrestle arguably the best match we had ever seen either man compete in. It was even ranked as the 2nd best match of the year behind Shawn Michaels's retirement match. Both men were still out to prove themselves as mainstays in the WWE, fast forward over 4 years later and though the two have proved they're valuable assets neither have established themselves as permanent main event superstars. About a month ago it was rumored that the two would meet one-on-one at WrestleMania but they both found themselves in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match and have the pressure of stealing the show on their shoulders. Though many believe Dean Ambrose is the favorite to leave WrestleMania with the Intercontinental Championship, but booking Bryan and Ziggler against each other for the title in the months after WrestleMania has much more benefits than another secondary title reign for Ambrose.
Ever since Brock Lesnar won the WWE title, fans have wanted the midcard belts restored more than ever. Now, heading into WrestleMania not only do the titles feel a bit more important but they also are taking up a large portion of weekly television. Though we do have better programming revolved around the title pictures, the titles themselves still lack importance. And Bad News Barrett isn't making the Intercontinental title much better. But Bryan & Ziggler are two superstars who have proved they can main event shows and they can wrestle match of the year candidates. Both of these men are ready to be pushed as WWE World Heavyweight champion, but that title picture is going to involve Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins after WrestleMania so a match for the Intercontinental title between these fan favorites would make for a great double main event for Extreme Rules in April.
This is the second time these two will be opponents at WrestleMania, two years ago they were on opposing sides of a Tag Team title match. When these guys are facing each other, it grabs the full attention of anyone who's watching. Both Bryan & Ziggler have proved that they can wrestle 5-star matches whenever they're needed too but don't get the opportunities, which is why this feud should (and most likely will) last through a few pay-per-views. The two faced off on this weeks SmackDown and not only did the crowd go nuts for the match, it's led to a large outcry to see these two feud beyond WrestleMania 31. Who's the face? Who's the heel? The simple answer to that question is who cares? Both have gotten over as a babyface and as a heel in their career, neither will have trouble winning over the fans in their respective role. Not that a turn is mandatory, this would make a pretty good face vs. face program, and a turn could be something used much later on to extend the program. A lot of people try to think of ways to restore the Intercontinental Championship to the prestige it had back in the '80s and '90s, but giving two fan favorites their first extended singles feud and letting them do it for the belt could be the first legitimate solution. Now, the only way this feud could restore that title is if WWE continues to take it more seriously beyond the point where Ziggler & Bryan have moved on.
There are a lot of directions WWE can go with the ladder match at WrestleMania, and it's not set in stone that Daniel Bryan or Dolph Ziggler leave with the title. Dean Ambrose, another popular face that has questionably spent the last 6 months losing a lot of matches, is someone who very well could become the Intercontinental Champion next sunday. But him winning the title wouldn't necessarily ruin plans for this feud. With Bad News Barrett likely to get his rematch on Raw the night after WrestleMania, a triple threat match at Extreme Rules featuring WWE's three most popular midcarders is a highly desirable scenario. Though a program between Bryan/Ziggler is being sought after by fans, a push for Dean Ambrose is something most fans want just as much. One could argue that Ambrose was the most over babyface in the company back in the summer. Losing momentum due to lack of PPV wins for some reason is a common issue in the WWE. Do I know how WWE ended up with three of their most promising guys diminished and thrown into the Intercontinental title picture? No, but all three are ready for so much more, so let's enjoy what these men do at WrestleMania 31.
Plans for the Intercontinental Championship after WrestleMania are going to be up in the air until after WrestleMania. WWE can't lock anything in place for the title after 'Mania because all 7 men in the title picture have a chance at being placed on the shelf at WrestleMania. The multi-person ladder matches have shown to be some of the most exciting matches in WWE's history, but they're very dangerous. Fortunately there's a good amount of ladder match experience in this group of guys, so hopefully nothing goes wrong. It's a shame that all 7 can't continue to feud past WrestleMania, all are very talented in one way or another and they've managed to be entertaining week in and week out on both Raw and Smackdown. This ladder match will be an exciting new start for the Intercontinental Championship. This is where I kick it to the readers, who do you have winning at 'Mania? What's the title match at Extreme Rules? Can WWE continue to successfully utilize the belt after WrestleMania? Let us know in the comment section!