At WWE No Mercy 2016, Dolph Ziggler put his career on the line against The Miz, who staked the Intercontinental Championship. Ziggler was victorious in the bout, saving his career and winning the Intercontinental Championship for a fifth time.
But as Ziggler explained on WWE After The Bell, the result wasn't exactly what he wanted.
"I said, 'I have to leave now.' Am I not going to re-sign a contract or am I going to fake an injury? But I have to leave," he recalled. "I find out I'm going to be putting my career on the line against The Miz, one of my favorites. I go, 'this is perfect.' I assumed, going into the match, that I was losing and leaving. We got there and I end up winning the match, to very much my dismay. I go, 'the one damn time I win a match is the time I don't want to.' I went, 'Okay, what the hell are we doing now?' And we went back to doing almost nothing and just hanging out and being there. I go, 'Damnit, this is why I was supposed to leave.' That match was a special match because I'm pretty sure 2/3 of the arena and anyone watching at home assumed that was my last match and I was going out fighting my friend. Anybody who looks back, I promise you, I wanted it to be my last match at least for a year or something. It was an awesome reaction and a fun time, but the next day we went back to me being Dolph Ziggler and sadly we didn't capitalize on it. So, I needed to get out of there."
Ziggler was able to take small breaks in 2017 before leaving for four months at the beginning of 2019. Ziggler has always been outspoken about his lack of time away, believing not taking breaks has hurt his legacy.
If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.