Statement night for WWE’s Dolph Ziggler, Ryback


Miami Herald Writer

Ryback made a statement during the closing moments of Raw by hitting Shell Shock on WWE champion John Cena on Monday, April 8, the night after WrestleMania 29.

With The Rock out with an abdomen and adductor injury and Cena vulnerable from his main event match with Mark Henry, Ryback saw his chance to strike.

The other major story was Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to dethrone Alberto Del Rio and realize his destiny as World champion. The boisterous New Jersey crowd in the Izod Center erupted when Ziggler’s theme music, “Here to Show the World” (how appropriate) began to play. This comes after the talented performer won the title opportunity at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July.

Less than 24 hours after winning the Intercontinental championship, The Miz dropped the belt to its previous owner, Wade Barrett.

Brodus Clay and Tensai (Tons of Funk) and Naomi and Cameron (the Funkadactyls) had the match they were supposed to have at MetLife Stadium with a win over Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow (the Rhodes Scholars) and the Bella Twins.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins (The Shield) looked to make an impact on Raw using The Undertaker. Kane and Daniel Bryan evened the odds against the dangerous trio.

Paul Heyman announced CM Punk would appear next week for Raw to address the WWE Universe and his other client, Brock Lesnar, wants to fight, but not for free.

The journey begins on the road to WWE’s pay-per-view Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 19.

•  Notes and observations:

I have to say New Jersey brought it and one-upped Miami’s Raw crowd last year the night after Mania. They were alive from start to finish, which really made the show fun to watch at home.

At times it felt like WWE’s flagship show was occurring in the ECW Arena. I haven’t heard a more defiant crowd since the Attitude Era. This was most evident during the Randy Orton versus Sheamus match where ChantMania was running wild. Fans chanted everything from referee Mike Chioda’s name to RVD and even Michael Cole. Must be lots of Cole Miners in the Northeast. Fans hummed Fandango’s theme, even when his music wasn’t playing. The real kicker was the packed arena resurrecting the Wave.

I couldn’t be happier WWE finally pulled the trigger and gave Dolph Ziggler the world championship. Nobody on the roster deserved it more. Ziggler is proof the cream rises to the top and hard work can pay off when the time is right. I’m glad the company decided to do it the night after WrestleMania, rather than at the actual event, so his big moment isn’t overshadowed. Here’s hoping the Show Off gets a lengthy run with the gold.

I don’t know how last minute booking of the show was, but the finished product ended up being one of my favorite Raws in recent memory. You can even see Extreme Rules formulating with two potential matches -- The Shield against Undertaker, Daniel Bryan and Kane and John Cena versus Ryback for the WWE title. Another may be a rematch between Chris Jericho and Fandango. Every time I see the flamboyant dancer, I have become a bigger fan of the Fandango character. His program with Jericho is a great launching pad for the young star.

It’s time for a Randy Orton heel turn. You can see it in the third generation performer’s face. He wants to return to his natural element, and I see it happening sooner than later. It’s a ticking time bomb.

Superfan Tye Dye Guy, a South Florida original, with his sidekick, Christian, stood front center again in TV camera view on Raw.

• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN,!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.

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