WWE’s first-ever Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, made his first appearance on WWE Main Event to host his talk show, “The Highlight Reel.” Jericho’s guest was scheduled to be The Miz, but due to injuries suffered at the hands of U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro, The Awesome One was not in attendance. That did not prevent Y2J from hosting his acclaimed show and in an effort to make up for The Miz’s absence, Jericho instead invited World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio to be his guest.
Del Rio didn’t want to talk about his opponent at Elimination Chamber, Big Show, because the Mexican Superstar felt the time for talking was over. But Elimination Chamber Match participant Jericho took the opportunity to tell the World Champion directly that he intends on leaving the sadistic structure victorious and challenging Del Rio at WrestleMania.
Exchanging heated words en espanol, the two potential opponents drew the ire of Mr. Money in the Bank — Jericho’s nemesis — Dolph Ziggler. Approaching the ring with Big E Langston and AJ Lee, The Showoff interjected his own feelings on the future of the World Heavyweight Championship, once again claiming that he would cash in his Money in the Bank contract sometime between WWE Main Event and WrestleMania, claiming the title.
Tired of listening to Ziggler, Del Rio was prepared for a fight, leading Jericho to ask the WWE Universe in Little Rock if they wanted to see an impromptu match between The Showoff and the World Champion. Chanting “si! si! si!” the WWE Universe got what they wanted and a high-caliber contest was set!
Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler
With the microphones and “The Highlight Reel” removed from the ring, Del Rio and Ziggler commenced their non-title bout. The odds were immediately against Del Rio as Big E Langston and AJ Lee remained at ringside — presenting the very real possibility that the Mexican Superstar could be taken out, allowing Ziggler to cash in the Money in the Bank championship contract.
The unexpected battle captivated the WWE Universe in Little Rock as both Superstars slowly calculated their strategies in dealing with each other. The raw athleticism and experience of both competitors provided neither with a clear advantage early in the contest. Knowing their respective backgrounds — Ziggler as an amateur wrestler and Del Rio as a lucha libre star — they each tried to rely on technical maneuvers and high impact strikes to seize control of the contest. The most poignant example of the struggle came as Del Rio tossed Ziggler into the air and then charged at him in the corner only for The Showoff to duck away, causing the World Heavyweight Champion to crash shoulder-first into the steel ring post.
Del Rio’s miscalculation was the opening Mr. Money in the Bank was hoping for, as it swung the momentum entirely in his favor. Ziggler’s domination of the bout allowed him plenty of time to show off and still maintain his edge over the World Heavyweight Champion. Although reeling, Del Rio displayed the heart of a champion, showing the resilience to stay in the fight even as his opponent flipped him over the ropes, causing him to land face-first on the steel steps.
The Mexican champion’s fighting spirit and the support of the WWE Universe kept him clawing back — executing an impressive reverse superplex. After exchanging blows, the World Heavyweight Champion took control, building up a strong offense that brought the WWE Universe to their feet. Though Del Rio maintained an edge, roles reversed and Ziggler showed off his own vigor, resulting in a string of near-falls for both Superstars — including an assist from AJ Lee in her boyfriend’s favor.
Failing to secure the three-count and nearly falling to the sleeper hold, Del Rio prepared to execute the Cross Armbreaker and end the match. Ziggler managed to push his opponent away as AJ jumped on the apron to distract the referee, allowing Big E Langston to land a cheap shot on Del Rio. The match appeared to be over for the World Heavyweight Champion, but he still managed to counter the Zig Zag and lock in the Cross Armbreaker for a hard-fought victory.
- Saturday February 16th, 2013
- By Shirlz
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