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February 18, 2013

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler

PHOTOS | VIDEO

It’s not quite a vision of WrestleMania future, but Alberto Del Rio’s clash with Dolph Ziggler on Raw was certainly an indicator of what could be, should The Showoff attempt to redeem his Money in the Bank contract and make a play for Del Rio’s world Title before The Show of Shows descends upon New Jersey. If it was a preview, however, Ziggler might have a ways to go before he can pencil himself in for a victory: Del Rio looked focused and fast coming out of Elimination Chamber, digging deep into his well and withstanding The Showoff’s attacks to earn a win in the Cajundome.

Ziggler did not exactly go easily against The Essence of Excellence, maintaining an early advantage by ensnaring Del Rio in submission holds and distracting the referee so Big E Langston could administer a cheap shot or two on the champion. Del Rio would not be so quickly cowed by The Showoff’s underhanded tactics, though, and quickly surged back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a superkick to Ziggler’s jaw that briefly knocked The Showoff into the Land of Nod. Although Ziggler rallied to make one final play for the win, The Essence of Excellence stood tall, thwarting one final attempt at interference by Big E before reversing Ziggler’s leaping DDT into a Cross Armbreaker to make The Showoff submit.

The night was not quite over for the World Heavyweight Champion, however, as Big E stormed the ring and felled Del Rio with minimal fanfare, leaving the Mexican champion in a heap on the canvas. Sensing opportunity, Ziggler made a move to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. But Ricardo Rodriguez quickly snatched the briefcase out of The Showoff’s hands and sprinted away, giving Del Rio time to regain his footing and clock Ziggler with an enzuigiri to keep his title in safe hands.

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