Dolph Ziggler – Future or an afterthought?
The charisma of Rick Rude, the work ethic of Roddy Piper and the athletic ability of Shawn Michaels; think of a performer who has all of these qualities, and Dolph Ziggler will be the closest to the expectations. It is very rare for an individual to possess these qualities, and even when you look at Mr. Perfect, you can see shades of Dolph Ziggler in him. In a perfect world, it would mean that Dolph is the complete package, and he is. Ziggler is one of the hardest working individuals in the WWE, and has been a work-horse for over 2 years now. Who remembers Ziggler performing not once, but twice on consecutive PPVs? That would make him the guy in the WWE. But in reality, Ziggler has been far from that.
Ziggler, for the past 2 years, has been on the brink of breaking out as a superstar in the truest sense, but hasn’t been able to go the extra mile. Two years ago, WWE were banking on Dolph to wrestle twice in one night to fill the card, to be that guy who carries a match, and in spite of Dolph doing just that, the lack of faith shown by the WWE management has hurt his credentials. When he lost his US title to Zack Ryder in December of 2011, it was supposed to be Dolph’s time to get into the main event scene and feud with the likes of Cena and Orton. Ziggler has proved time and again how he is the ‘Ultimate performer’, but the WWE management snubbing him time and again has not only dented his stake but has also made him an afterthought.
Couple of years ago, Ziggler made his presence felt in the WWE and quickly rose through the ranks to cement himself as a main player on Smackdown! He was teamed up with Vickie Guerrero, and was given the opportunity to prove himself on Smackdown!, which had a relatively thin roster. Not only was Vickie a perfect manager for him, but he rose above people’s expectations, and became one of the top guys on the show. Ziggler has the cockiness and arrogance of a Rick Rude or a Roddy Piper, and that would mean that he was a natural heel. People loved hating Ziggler, and that was why the IWC absolutely adored Ziggler. The Internet Wrestling Community predicted Ziggler would soon be the face of the WWE, and until now, that hasn’t happened.
After Ziggler won the World Heavyweight title from Edge, albeit for merely minutes, people thought this would be the storyline that would elevate Ziggler into the main event scene. Vickie being his manager only helped Ziggler in getting more ‘heat’ (people booing him), and he was set to be the biggest heel in the company, but that never happened. Instead, Dolph was switched to RAW, where the main event scene was dominated by the Cenas and Mizs. This hurt his push, as he was sent back to the mid card, where he feuded with Kofi for the United States championship. Ziggler was the all – round performer, but never got the decisive push that would send him to the top tier.
After losing the US title to Ryder, Ziggler had a short run in the main event scene against the likes of CM Punk and Sheamus, where he failed to capture the WWE/World Heavyweight title. He then won the MITB match, and the IWC was ecstatic! It was figured that finally Dolph would get his moment under the spotlight, and finally win ‘The big one’. Any superstar holding the MITB suitcase is seen and built as a threat to the champion, as per the stipulation that the MITB brief case can be cashed in at any time. This made Dolph a legit threat, at least for a while. The Ziggler/Vickie/Swagger association broke up, and Ziggler was once again sided with Vickie, but his relevance in the main event scene faded away. By the end of 2012, Ziggler was feuding with Cena, and had defeated Cena at TLC when AJ turned on Cena, joining hands with Ziggler.
This not only ended Ziggler’s affiliation with Vickie, but it also started another angle where Ziggler was associated with AJ. The point was for Ziggler to team up with someone relevant, and at that point, AJ was more over with the WWE universe than Vickie was. This also meant Vickie could move on to a different angle, as she became the GM of RAW. Ideally, this would mean that Ziggler was due for a push, but he once again got stalled, and the WWE once again dropped the ball with him. In 2012, he lost 57 PPV/TV matches out of 90, which would mean that he lost his credibility as a threat for the title. Ziggler still has the MITB brief case with him, but the sad part is, the fans don’t take him seriously, and that doesn’t make him a threat for the World Heavyweight championship.
The WWE made a mess out of hyping Ziggler, and now, they don’t even have a proper feud for him! Although Dolph lasted for 50 minutes at this year’s Royal Rumble, being the first contestant in the Rumble match, he has lost a number of TV/PPV matches for the fans to take him seriously. He is now involved in a tag team match with Big E against Team Hell No, which was a last minute decision to get all these performers on the card. It’s sad that instead of being a constant threat to the World title, Ziggler is now involved in mediocre feuds which are of no importance! Would you take a jobber seriously if he won the world title? That would make it a David Arquette-esque run, which is not something Ziggler would be proud of.
Although his character was tweaked from being the ‘Perfection’ (An ode to Mr. Perfect) to being an arrogant ‘Show-off’, the WWE has failed to capitalize on the great work Ziggler has done over the past few years. Ziggler is the future of the WWE, but with the management treating him like a glorified jobber, his stake in the organization and in the eyes of the WWE Universe has taken a heavy toll. Unless WWE shows faith in Dolph and gives him a good run in the main event scene, no one is going to take him seriously, which is a huge loss for the company. After all, when you have a guy who can be an old school heel, along the lines of Piper and Rude, you need to take advantage of it. Guys like Ziggler, who not only work a good match, but can also make the opponent look like a million bucks, don’t come along often. Ziggler should be a threat with the MITB brief case, and not an afterthought in the company. The next couple of months will be pivotal for the career of Ziggler, as it will decide if the WWE shows enough faith in him to carry the organization on his shoulders. As a fan of Ziggie, I can only hope that WWE realizes its mistake and gives Ziggler his due.