If you were to wind the clock back 2 months and you were asked “whom do you know will grab that brass ring & become a world champion next year (2013)? Unless you’ve been living under rock one of, if not your only answer would most definitely be WWE’s resident “Show Off” Dolph Ziggler.
And while my opinion on that has not changed as I firmly just know Dolph Ziggler will in fact win the World Heavyweight Championship (if not the WWE championship) this year, it is more than evident to everyone watching that when you think of credible threats to today’s main event talent you do not think of the name “Dolph Ziggler” despite the fact that he holds that shiny, dented blue briefcase of his.
But why? Why is it that the man who has seemingly everything going for him feel like such an afterthought? Why is it that the only man in the company with a guaranteed title shot anytime anywhere feel like such a loser? Why is it that the man who closed the final PPV of 2012 standing atop of the WWE ladder looking down on a defeated John Cena with a Brooklyn crowd solidly behind him feel like he’s unworthy of challenging let alone holding a world championship?
Well I’m here to tell you why. The answer is actually quite simple really as it is something that the WWE has dabbled in quite a bit since it’s inception. Hell I’ll even go on record and say that it is one of the many things they’ve found tremendous success in, that being as the title above states: Improper Booking. For years Dolph Ziggler has been on the cusp of breaking through to the main event scene and trust me when I tell you that his road has not been easy.
On top of having the most unfortunate luck of being cast with a godawful name like “Dolph Ziggler” he has managed to overcome that and become one of the most talented workers in the company today. He has also managed to develop quite a fanbase in both the casual and “internet” crowds. A United States and Intercontinental title reigns under his name, both coming by means of defeating Kofi Kingston by the way (just thought I’d point that out (my God how many times have these two wrestled each other on tv?). The show off has even managed to let it be known in the record books that for 10 brief minutes in early 2011 he could be recognized as World Heavyweight Champion. So yes as you can see, improper booking in WWE isn’t exactly a fresh concept.
But now it’s time we get to the meat of the problem. After years of being mishandled by the creative team I had thought WWE had finally turned a corner with Dolph Ziggler when he was awarded the Money In The Bank briefcase last summer. So here we go, Ziggler is made of money & it’s time to go all the way with this guy and build him into a main eventer before he finally gets the gold. Sounds simple does it not? I mean, how do you screw up a sure thing? I guess when I asked that question back in July WWE took it as a personal challenge because they did it. Ziggler you’re screwed, probably.
Since winning the briefcase, Ziggler followed up this big victory by..: losing at Summerslam to Chris Jericho. losing to Randy Orton at Night of Champions and being left completely of the Hell in a Cell match card. And believe me there were plenty of TV losses along the way, most of which coming via Brogue Kick. Luckily, Creative managed to get their heads out of their collective asses for a brief moment & award Ziggler with a new concept for him: a WIN on Pay Per View. Ziggler would defeat Randy Orton via super kick at the Survivor Series as the sole survivor of his team. And of course, one month later he’d follow up with the biggest win of his career to date as he would defeat John Cena in a ladder match not only successfully defending his MITB contract, but he would leave the new Barclays Center with a little female companionship as the once loved AJ Lee would align herself with the very narcissistic #heel himself.
All is right with the world, but we should’ve known it wouldn’t last because here’s where things go downhill for Dolph. Since the start of 2013 Dolph Ziggler has been the recipient of many, and I mean many losses on television. He failed on two occasions to defeat John Cena in both a singles match and a steel cage despite hitting Cena with everything in his arsenal as well as rely on illegal assistance from both AJ Lee and Big E Langston. More losses would soon follow including not one, but two televised submission losses to World Champion Alberto Del Rio, a pinfall losses to Kane as well as Team Hell No & being thrown into an unadvertised impromptu match at the Elimination Chamber PPV.
Dolph Ziggler went from beating the face of the company to losing week, after week, after week and it has to stop now. I said at the beginning of the year that it’s not a question of “If” Ziggler will become champion in 2013, it’s a question of “when” and “where”. I still know that to be true but when that time comes it’s best Dolph Ziggler get there will some damn credibility. When Edge won the first MITB briefcase back in 2005 you didn’t see him constantly jobbing and made to look like a fool. No he went on to defeat Chris Benoit in a Last Man Standing match at the next ppv, challenge for the championship without using the briefcase even and be involved in a very personal feud for months with Matt Hardy which culminated in a successful MITB defense (granted that was such a good feud because of the circumstances but it’s still a valid point). Then Edge would head into New Year’s Revolution and shocked the world as he defeated a bloody & battered John Cena to win his first WWE championship and a new star was born. The formula works WWE, start using it again.
Now while I’m sure the crowd will react very vocally when Ziggler finally does cash in the contract and win the championship it doesn’t change the fact that WWE should not solely rely on the act of winning the championship and holding the championship as a vehicle to get him over. I’ve seen it time and time again, Daniel Bryan being a prime example last year. Bryan won the same briefcase in 2011 and would proceed to not only lose on a weekly basis afterward, but he would disappear from television for seemingly months. And while they did bring him back to TV a month before his cash in when he finally won the title it just felt so, anticlimactic.
Luckily Bryan managed to strike gold and make the best out of a bad situation and Ziggler could do the same but it’s not very often lightning strikes twice. It’s very evident that WWE’s way of thinking is that because a superstar holds MITB, that’s pretty much a license to beat them into the ground as much as they want because no matter how much they lose they’re getting that big win eventually and it’s going to erase all those losses. I’m sorry WWE, but that only works if we were to have our memories wiped clean after every one of your shows, and with that fancy new WWE app of yours which gives us weekly Raw and Smackdown results we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Wrestlemania 29 is a mere 6 weeks away, and not only is Dolph Ziggler heading into the biggest show of the year without any credibility but I’m not even all that convinced that WWE knows what to do with him on this PPV short of a “shocking cash in” on a weakened Alberto Del Rio. For someone who ended 2012 on the highest of notes, he’s seemingly heading into the Showcase of the Immortals without any clear direction and that is a true miscarriage of money and justice from the creative team (Sick Em Shield!). He may have the girl, and he may have the muscle but the one thing Dolph Ziggler has yet to obtain is legitimacy and that is truly what he needs the most. You screwed it up Creative, now fix it before the damage becomes irreparable.
Thank you for reading, please be sure to leave a comment letting us here at Wrestle Enigma your thoughts on Dolph Ziggler and your opinions on how WWE is handling his character.
And of course, don’t forget to check out the many other great editorials from the rest of our great writers and contributors.
And here’s where I sign off, until the next one everybody.
- Jason Collins