The curious case of Dolph Ziggler
Nicholas Theodore Nemeth, more popularly known to wrestling fans as Dolph Ziggler has had one hell of a roller coaster ride in the pro-wrestling business. After achieving several records as an amateur wrestler at his University, Ziggler was spotted by WWE scouts and hired as a part of their developmental territory and thus started, what can be only termed as a curious case of Dolph Ziggler.
He made his main-roster debut shortly thereafter as the sidekick of Kerwin White. He was doomed right from the beginning and a quick look at his vignettes from back in the day can only be termed as laughable, to say the least. However, after Eddie Guerrero's untimely death, Chavo Guerrero dropped the Kerwin White character and Ziggler went back to OVW.
After being in a "Male-Cheerleader" group which he wasn't even a leader of, hardly anyone would've guessed that this man would go on to capture the World Heavyweight Championship and US Title twice, and the Intercontinental Title an astounding five times. However, once the group disbanded in late 2006, he was sent back to OVW and wouldn't be seen on TV till late 2008 where he adopted the ludicrous ring name, Dolph Ziggler.
While his name might be amusing to say the least, his in-ring abilities shone despite his lower mid-card position on the main roster. But, it always seemed that the WWE management never really had faith in him. Yes, he did win the US Title and the Intercontinental Title after the initial hiccups, but the main-event picture and thus, a world championship, eluded him. Even when he was "awarded" the World Heavyweight Championship once, he lost it even before his coronation as Champion.
He won the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2012 and his all-round wrestling ability, coupled with his much-improved mic-skills made many fans begin to imagine him as a World Champion. His moment of glory came at the raucous Monday Night Raw right after WrestleMania, which, in my honest opinion, is one of the best moments of Raw history and one of the biggest pops since the glory days of the Attitude Era.
In spite of getting tremendous reactions from the crowd, his push was halted and for no logical reason. He was also the sole survivor in the traditional Survivor Series match in 2014, outperforming everyone in the match and on the card, but yet again, his limelight was stolen by Sting's debut.
In the era of start-and-stop pushes and inconsistency in writing, the pops that he used to get while making his entrance have subdued as the fans know that Ziggler might never be the star of the company which he completely deserves to be. Even more perplexing is the fact that he's been a WWE loyalist right since 2004, despite being in the mid-card scene for most of his career.
He seemingly "quit" WWE in December 2017 after capturing the US Championship for the second time because "the fans didn't deserve him", which is unfortunately true. Just as the storyline started intriguing the fans, Ziggler inexplicably made a surprise entry in the Royal Rumble next month as #30.
I thought WWE was pulling a swerve by suddenly making him a dark horse to win the whole thing, which still seemed logical since he dropped a mid-card title for a World Title, which makes sense, in a way. But, he got eliminated in a matter of a few minutes and all those hopes crashed just like they always do in terms of his career trajectory. Now, he once again finds himself on Smackdown in a match which could put him in an already muddled World Title picture. The focus seems to be on Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, more than AJ Styles, who's one of the best wrestlers in the world.
If Ziggler does get inserted into the World Title match, it undeniably might just be to eat the pin since the management would want to protect Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and obviously, Styles.
In this era of main-event stars shoved down our throats (read Reigns, Cena), Ziggler organically got over both as a heel and a face. But, his role as a glorified jobber, despite being one of the best in the business, baffled many fans, including me. For all that he's given the business and especially the company, he definitely deserves a "consistent" push to the main event where he will able to justify his tag of being "The ShowOff".
As per recent reports, he's just signed a new two-year contract with WWE and this might just be a sign of a brighter future for Ziggler in the company to which he's given his blood, sweat and undoubtedly, many tears. So, who knows, we might just be near to solving the curious case of Dolph Ziggler.