Dolph Ziggler is the best top guy WWE has never had. He’s there. He’s available. He’s capable. But he’s not at the top. Simply put, Vince McMahon’s company just doesn’t want him at the top. How many times has a pro wrestling promotion had this sort of dilemma?
Perhaps dilemma is the wrong word. WWE obviously doesn’t believe there’s a problem here, as Dolph has historically always been a bridesmaid and not the bride. He didn’t land in that position accidentally, and he surely didn’t land there by choice. This is where the company put him, and he’s been there for years.
But why is that? Fans have always been of the opinion that WWE believes Ziggler is injury prone. He can’t be relied on because of this, and that’s why he has consistently been used as nothing more than a good hand. Of course, if all of that is true, it’s certainly not stopped WWE from falling back on him whenever they needed him.
Dolph is a wrestler. He wants to wrestle. He lives between the ropes, and though he’s a gifted athlete, this is what he does better than anything else. When a guy like that gets an opportunity to shine, he takes it. The best always do. This is why Kurt Angle and Mister Perfect have always been held in such high regard; strip away the gimmick, and you’re left with a master craftsman.
Ziggler takes pride in what he does, and that’s been evident from day one. If WWE’s logo was similar to the NBA, Dolph’s silhouette would be the one chosen to represent the company. That’s how good he is, and he’s one of the best to ever lace up the boots. In any other company, he would be the top draw. But in WWE, he’s just a solid worker.
So what should be done with such a skilled talent when there’s no desire to elevate him to the top? Obviously, WWE’s answer is to exploit the situation and use it in a storyline. This is the norm of course; it’s been done for years. If the fans are talking, then why not spin it as a positive?
Ziggler’s lack of main event success has been such a topic of conversation for so long, and fans have never been happy about it. So rather than change direction and actually put him in a prime spot, WWE instead incorporated it into his gimmick.
Dolph is known as the hardest working guy on the roster, but the company doesn’t believe in him enough to let him rise above his station. That’s how fans see it, so that’s how it is. It’s another case of WWE trolling its audience, and it’s something that has gained a lot of steam through the PG Era to the New Era.
Using fans’ complaints and internet chatter may expose the problem, but it’s not really being addressed. The situation is diffused, and WWE takes some semblance of control. Apparently, this is more important than actually fixing the problem.
Ziggler’s upcoming showdown with The Miz at No Mercy is the latest example of this, and to WWE’s credit, it’s been effective thus far. The story of Dolph’s frustrations and disappointments leading him to the point that he would lay down his career if he doesn’t win is indeed compelling.
Of course, the likelihood that he will actually walk away from the business permanently is probably slim, but fans are wondering if it will happen.
That’s how far this has gone; there is serious doubt as to whether or not Dolph is ready to call it a day. Common sense says this makes no sense, as Ziggler is in great shape, he can still go in the ring, and he definitely still has a passion for the business.
But every time his name is mentioned, it’s usually followed with questions concerning his placement on the roster. So why not leave now?
Why not take some time away, and heal up? Why not get centred and refocus, without the noise that follows his presence on WWE on a daily basis? Maybe the time has come for him to reset mentally, then come back rejuvenated when the time is right. Or maybe, just maybe, he should walk away for good.
Dolph is 36. He’s been in the business for 12 years, and he’s a mid-card star at best. He’s underutilised even though he’s capable of so much more, and he proves his worth every time he steps into the ring. He can do anything, he’s a top guy waiting to happen, yet it’s not happening.
How could anyone in his position not want to leave and start over with something else?
But Ziggler is a wrestler. It’s what drives him. Like Angle and Perfect before him, Dolph can’t just hit the stop button and close the door. He lives for this; it’s who he is. His name will go down among the best in WWE history, and he surely knows that.
He also knows that fans respect him for what he can do and how committed he is to his craft. In their eyes, he’s always been a top guy.
However is that enough for him? Does Dolph need affirmation from WWE that he is a valued performer or does that even matter anymore? Maybe the only thing that matters here is what Dolph wants, and whether or not he’s happy. Fans are certainly happy with him, and that’s why his position in the company will always be a hot button issue.
Despite what happens at No Mercy, Dolph Ziggler will deliver. It’s what he does, and he will do it again. How many times he does it from that point on remains to be seen.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here
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