— One of the reasons Dolph Ziggler made it all the way to the World Cup finals from Raw instead of Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley or Kurt Angle is because of his eventual loss to Shane McMahon in the end. WWE did not want to weaken any of the aforementioned competitors but they are okay with Ziggler taking a loss at Shane’s expense.
— Similarly, The Miz made it all the way to the finals because of the eventual plan to remove him from the match in favor of Shane. WWE did not want Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio or Jeff Hardy to look “weak” by not being able to continue the match but nobody objected to this happening with Miz.
— Finally, pre-tournament Rey Mysterio lost in the semi-finals to The Miz, surprising many people who thought that WWE would push Mysterio and certainly not have him lose so quickly on TV. WWE’s apparent way to protect Mysterio was to have Orton attack him after their quarterfinal match, thereby “weakening” him and letting Miz go over Mysterio, who was supposed to be perceived at as not being at 100%. The same situation played out in the Universal title match with Baron Corbin attacking Braun Strowman before his match against Brock Lesnar, which is again WWE’s way of telling the story that Lesnar beat a clearly not-at-his-best Strowman.
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