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DETROIT — Is it too much of a layup to say Bobby Roode’s WWE pay-per-view debut was positively glorious? Perhaps. But it was all the same, as the former NXT Champion knocked off a Dolph Ziggler that the WWE Universe may not have recognized initially.
The Showoff, who has spent the last month or so mocking every elaborate entrance in WWE history, made a unique statement before the match began by entering to almost no music or lighting in order to keep the spotlight on his near-unmatched skills in the ring. To Dolph, Roode, who walks the ramp to one of the more extravagant entrances today, is the epitome of flash over substance. Still, The Glorious One showed he could hang with the former World Heavyweight Champion’s skills almost instantly. Roode went move-for-move with Ziggler and still found time for the occasional call-and-response “GLORIOUS!” chant with the crowd.
Ziggler answered with a gritty, unforgiving offense, pulverizing Roode with holds, locks, and at one point, a drag of his face across the ropes that would have been welcome in the knock-down main events of the territory days. It was a stark departure from a Superstar who once combined his chinlocks with headstands just because he could, but it proved effective nonetheless, as a Famouser landed The Showoff a precarious nearfall.
You can’t take the showoff entirely out of Dolph Ziggler, though. He took a little long to tune up the band in preparation for the superkick, leading to a brutal spinebuster from The Glorious One. The ensuing scramble resulted in a series of rollups, and when Dolph attempted to get the win by grabbing a handful of Roode’s tights, his foe answered by grabbing a handful of Ziggler’s own trunks to get the deciding pinfall.
Turnabout, of course, is fair play, but Ziggler did not take the loss lying down, wrenching Roode to the mat with a Zig Zag seconds after the pin had been counted. The move makes sense. For Bobby Roode, a win in his first-ever WWE pay-per-view match is, perhaps, the best entrance of all. And we know how Dolph Ziggler feels about those.