Why WWE has overlooked Dolph Ziggler...again
Analysis of Dolph Ziggler's 2017 run and how WWE Creative has wasted yet another opportunity for company relevance.
2017 has surely not been a good year for Dolph Ziggler's run in the WWE. And this isn't the first time he's faced problems. Despite Ziggler's athleticism and selling capabilities in the squared circle, most of his career has been made up of playing the role as "enhancement talent", where he performs outstanding matches with other superstars, only to ultimately take the loss.
Ziggler's 2017 run as of now puts future success further in doubt. In fact, many wonder if staying in the company is possible, as he has been injected into lackluster feuds with the likes of a debuting Shinsuke Nakamura in the first half of the year and even Bobby Roode in the second half. Whats more, both feuds led to relative failure, which is to be expected from him.
Being in WWE for 12 years, Ziggler's only biggest feat was winning the Money in the Bank briefcase back in 2012 and successfully cashing it in on a vulnerable Alberto Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2013, his first major title in the company. However, Ziggler suffered a concussion on the May 10th 2013 edition of Smackdown when he interfered in a match between Big E and Jack Swagger. This unfortunate event led to Ziggler being unable to properly defend his championship and resulted in an unmemorable run with the world title.
In the late second half of 2017, Ziggler was introduced with a new gimmick where he started teasing and mimicking other superstars' extravagant entrances. In doing this, his main purpose is letting the WWE universe know that he does not need colorful lightings or a catchy entrance theme to reflect his talent or capability.
This would then lead to his feud with Bobby Roode, where he ironically refers to Roode as nothing but an entrance. However, Ziggler would go on to lose, even taking a leave of absence, only to be reintroduced back on the December 5th 2017 edition of Smackdown Live.
When then learned he was put into the Clash of Champions pay-per-view, competing against then United States Champion Baron Corbin, and Bobby Roode in a triple threat match for the title.
Despite early assumptions, WWE shocked us when Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Corbin to win the United States Championship for only the second time in his career.
On the following edition of Smackdown Live, Ziggler came out with a passionate promo regarding his efforts and struggle for the company. He claimed that the WWE universe is not worthy of his presence and seemingly vacated his United States title when he left his title in the middle of the ring and left.
A new United States Champion was then determined through an 8 man, elimination-style tournament, where Bobby Roode would successfully capture his first title on the main roster. Ziggler's absence played a big role here, giving fans an incomplete view of what WWE had in store for him. Especially with the interesting storyline of his teased exit from the company.
At a storyline perspective, it would certainly be a weak booking decision for Ziggler to return and challenge newly crowned United States Champion Bobby Roode for the title he voluntarily relinquished. Ziggler's promo showed multiple hints of him trying to prove that he is certainly better than the title itself. There is thus no better way to prove himself than to be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble and win to go on for a WWE Championship opportunity at Wrestlemania. This would definitely be an effective plot twist and more engaging than a predictive Shinsuke Nakamura Rumble win.
Of course, Shinsuke Nakamura versus A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 34 would be a dream match for most fans, but a big swerve such as Ziggler winning the Rumble would have been a major surprise, considering how his teased exit would complement this storyline in a variety of ways.
What was the point of building Ziggler's title vacation and absence as a sort of importance? What good did it bring for him to be a surprise entrant at the number 30 spot only to be eliminated by Finn Bálor in 2 minutes? The least that could have been done was to let Ziggler fight all the way to the final 2, giving fans edge-of-their-seats moments as it further enhances the unpredictability of the Royal Rumble outcome.
Ziggler's booking has certainly hurt all his credibility, and it is uncertain whether there ever will be a comeback on his part.