Dolph Ziggler is set to face Sami Zayn at this year’s Survivor Series for an inter-brand IC title defense. Join us as we analyze the outcome and possible swerves.
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This past Monday on Raw, Sami Zayn battled Rusev for the right to face Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series. The winner of the match from Raw was in line for a shot at Ziggler’s IC title which is now on SmackDown Live. If Zayn wins, the title will come back to Raw and Raw would boast two mid-card titles in the process.
However, the decision to announce Ziggler’s challenger this early is questionable. WWE could have played up the suspense until the last moment. It always works well when the crowd is anxious. A mystery opponent or a mystery tag team partner is always a fun idea. Imagine the kind of pop Sami would have received as fans waited anxiously for Dolph’s challenger.
Thanks to what went down on Raw this past Monday that would not be the case. It is now official that Zayn would face Ziggler for the IC title at Survivor Series. Regardless, questions are plenty heading into this fight. What happens if Sami wins the title? Isn’t Dolph entitled for a rematch? Where would that match take place? Considering that is not a very practical idea, does that mean Zayn loses again?
Putting all these factors into perspective, here are the three possible outcomes and their long-term implications after Survivor Series.
This is potentially the most likely outcome for this match. If Zayn wins, the Intercontinental title will become a part of Raw. That would leave the entire SmackDown roster to fight for the WWE title and the tag team titles. Despite being a 2-hour show, SmackDown has done a better job of elevating its mid-card belt’s prestige. For that reason alone, the IC title would be better off at SmackDown itself.
Besides, after being confident enough to challenge the entire Raw roster, losing the title would make Ziggler look like a douche. The fact that he just won the title after putting his career on the line doesn’t help either. Ziggler needs a lengthy run with the title to maintain his integrity. Anything less than that would hurt the Showoff’s career.
The match can tease the possibility of Zayn going over multiple times. This is one of those matches were near falls can get fans on the edge of their seat. The quality of both performers is exceptional. One can blindly expect them to deliver one of the best bouts of the night. However, the most logical and probable idea would be for Ziggler to retain the title.
WWE would be really bold to take this route. Sami winning the IC title at Survivor Series is an idea with a lot of long-term effects on both Raw and SmackDown. To be honest, a lot of people don’t expect Zayn to win the title. Hence, a win for Sami would send shock waves across the WWE universe as fans take their time to get used to the news.
On the flip side, it makes Ziggler look weak. He made the challenge and he lost. A wrestler who accepts a challenge and loses is valiant in his efforts. A wrestler who issues a challenge of this nature and loses is just dumb. Moreover, one has to wonder what would happen to the IC title once it becomes part of Raw.
The IC title is one of the premier attractions every week on SmackDown. All the sudden, the title feels like something that is of value. It can easily be the story of the main event on SmackDown. The same can not be attained at the crowded main event scene of Raw. With Roman Reigns holding the US title, there is no place for Sami Zayn or the IC title on Raw’s main event. That is, assuming that the WWE Universal title isn’t being featured in the main event.
This would be the most interesting way to book this match. Rusev is slowly fading into obscurity as he is losing traction as a heel. The Bulgarian Brute took a beating from Goldberg of all people. Then, this past week on Raw, he lost to Zayn again. Rusev is also not part of team Raw. This means he would not be featured on the Survivor Series card at all. Interfering in this match would be a great way to book the Bulgarian Brute.
The storyline can take multiple approaches from there. For one, Rusev can choose to attack Ziggler or Zayn as they are both faces. Either way, Ziggler retains the title as the match ends in a disqualification finish. If Rusev attacks Zayn, he can move on to a full on feud with Rusev on Raw. Sami Zayn doesn’t have a direction or feud at the moment. This would be a great way to ensure that doesn’t stay the same.
The flip side to this idea would be that if Sami comes on top, Rusev loses even more momentum. The bad news is that Sami is in need of a win much desperately than Rusev. Also, this would essentially make Ziggler’s challenge a pointless affair. However, there is alway the possibility that if Zayn wins, he can still challenge Ziggler for one more match. He can even make a move to SmackDown to pursue his goal. That would be ideal for Sami as a whole.
However, if Rusev decides to attack Ziggler instead, WWE can now play up two angles. It can either have Ziggler looking for revenge against Rusev. Rusev can play up wanting a shot at the IC title. Soon, Sami can jump into the shuffle as he believes he deserves another shot as well. With so many stars laying their claim for a shot at the title, it would elevate the IC title to a whole new level. All the sudden, people on Raw want a shot at SmackDown Live’s mid-card title. This would essentially make the IC title one of the top prizes in the WWE once again.
Regardless of the outcome of the match, expect a five-star quality bout at Survivor Series. Ziggler and Zayn are both great wrestlers and often invokes great reactions from the crowd. With the IC title on the line, expect sparks to fly. Moreover, be on the lookout for Rusev if you are a Sami Zayn fan.