On Sunday July 19 at “The Horror Show at Extreme Rules PPV”, we will see Dolph Ziggler challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. However, we don’t know what the stipulation of the match will be. On the June 29 episode of Raw, McIntyre gave Ziggler the chance to pick the stipulation for their contest.
Ziggler recently returned to the Raw brand as part of a trade that saw AJ Styles head to Smackdown and Ziggler and teammate Robert Roode come to Raw. Ziggler wasted little time inserting himself into the title conversation when he interrupted McIntyre’s opening promo as part of the June 22 edition of Monday Night Raw.
Ziggler’s gripes refer to the time the two spent as a tag team with Ziggler’s main point being that McIntyre is only relevant because Ziggler brought him back to the main roster. Over the weeks, there have been consistent reminders from Ziggler of McIntyre’s firing by the WWE in 2014, followed by McIntyre’s return to the red brand in 2018 when he aligned himself with Ziggler as they went on a tag team run. McIntyre turned on Ziggler and since, McIntyre has seen success as the WWE Champion, while Ziggler’s most recent feuds have either been with Roode in the Tag Team division or against Otis.
All of this culminates with the two clashing this coming Sunday and we are left to wonder what kind of match stipulation Ziggler will come up with. Here are five options that would make sense for Ziggler’s championship match.
1. A Whole New Match Stipulation
On this week’s episode of “The Bump” when asked about the stipulation, Ziggler said, “It will be something that’s NEVER been done before”. Surrounding this particular quote, he mentioned that WWE doesn’t give him opportunities like this, which is a fair point. This will be Ziggler’s first stipulation-based singles match since June 25, 2019 when he lost a 2-out-of-3 falls match to Kofi Kingston on Smackdown. Ziggler also said that he won’t be picking a “normal match; no way in hell.” He sarcastically remarks, “uh chairs match, and I’m going to give a Cyborg a chair to throw at me and rip me in half? Or, I’m going to say uh tables match and just have him break a table over me, and then it’s over?...I need to make this something special.”
So for his choice, you could think Ziggler is going to do something that would give him an advantage, like a “No Finishers Match” or some random object match that we haven’t seen. Given the…creativity…of the eye-for-an-eye match on the same card, the possibilities are almost endless.
In my mind, with Ziggler’s fixation on McIntyre’s success, and how Ziggler hasn’t been properly attributed, I feel like it could be something like a “Bend The Knee” Match where the loser has to bend the knee, kiss the ring, etc. to show they are subordinate to the winner. Even if it isn’t exactly this, I don’t think it will be something that gives Ziggler a clear advantage because he will want to prove he is better than McIntyre on an even playing field.
2. Last Man Standing Match
Let’s say that his appearance on “The Bump” was another psychological tactic to make sure that McIntyre can’t properly prepare for their match. This could very well be the case since Ziggler’s first attempt at mind games didn't go quite as planned when he brought back Heath Slater on last week's Raw.
Anytime that a wrestler wants to prove their dominance over another, an easy way to win bragging rights is to make sure your opponent can’t make a 10-count. This would be a new match type for Ziggler while McIntyre is 1-0 from a win in March of 2019. I think this match stipulation best lends itself to the unique branding of the PPV this year, and they could really play into the "Horror" aspect of this with some pretty intense spots.
3. A Cage Match
On the final Raw of 2018, a Cage Match occurred and guess who fought? Ziggler was on the losing end of this bout and this ended the feud between he and McIntyre at the time. The WWE has come up with some interesting twists and turns (for better or worse) with cage matches, so even though Ziggler may be reluctant to be locked into a cage with McIntyre, he is sneaky enough that he could have some tricks up his sleeve.
4. TLC Match
Going back to Ziggler’s segment on “The Bump” when he was first asked about his stipulation, he mentioned he doesn’t want anything with chairs or tables. So again, with mind games at play, why not have both and throw a ladder into the mix? Neither Ziggler, nor McIntyre have ever been in a TLC Match and so you couldn’t say either one would have the upper hand. We have seen a wide array of strategies in TLC matches, and have seen some crafty, creative finishes so I think it could actually be relatively even.
5. Ironman Match
There’s other places I could’ve gone with this last one such as First Blood, No-DQ, or a 2-on-1 handicap Match, but with where Ziggler’s character is now, none of them seem to make a ton of sense. I thought about First Blood and No DQ, but if he was being honest about not involving weapons, those are most likely out. The 2-on-1 handicap championship match seems to be a recent trend in the WWE, but without a returning Robert Roode it wouldn't make a ton of sense. I also don’t think Ziggler would want McIntyre to have to go through other people to get to him, because then he isn’t beating him at his best.
With an Ironman Match, the wrestlers get to see who can score the most decisions over a set amount of time. With 30+ minutes to work with, Ziggler can still infuse cunning strategy, we can see a lot of big moves pulled off, and depending on how it goes it could work as a closing moment for a brief feud or as an extending agent if they want to keep this feud active until Summerslam. Also, at Extreme Rules in 2018, Ziggler beat Seth Rollins in an Ironman Match to retain his Intercontinental Championship at the time.
We will see if Ziggler chooses to let McIntyre in on the stipulation on the go-home show of Raw tonight, but part of me thinks he will continue to play up this power and he will surprise McIntyre, and us, at the PPV this coming Sunday, with his choice.
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