After watching Super Showdown, I needed to bathe in bleach. Not for any of the awful matches, but the slimy business deals. With that said, this op/ed will not write itself. As a result, I picked a point of focus. When watching Kofi Kingston defeat Dolph Ziggler, thoughts began to crystallize. Over the past fifteen years, the WWE managed to waste the majority of Dolph Ziggler’s career.
In 2004, The WWE signed Ziggler to a developmental deal. After toiling with crappy gimmicks from golfer to cheerleader and repackaging, Nic Nemeth found his stride. In backstage skits, Ziggler would introduce himself to everyone. Yes, with purpose of principle, Ziggler got himself over with that. While he does not cut an imposing figure, Ziggler stands out. Blessed with excellent mat technique and the otherworldly ability to bump and sell, marketable skills remain prevalent. More importantly, Ziggler offers a quicker pacing, when facing the right opponent. Additionally, Ziggler is the consummate pro, putting over opponents with little resistance.
In what world should a company book a heel to win his first televised singles match by countout? On December 1st, 2008, Ziggler defeated R-Truth by countout. Two weeks before, Ziggler lost to Batista/ Following that, Ziggler lasted less than a minute in a Royal Rumble. Fast forward through losing feuds with MVP, Great Khali and Rey Mysterio. Basically, the WWE used him as a mid-card job guy, used as cannon fodder.
Worst Title Run
After bouncing around in meaningless situations, some numbskull thought Vickie Guerrero would fit Ziggler. More importantly, Ziggler became the World Heavyweight Champion. However, he never won it in the ring, clean or otherwise. By handing him the title, the WWE simultaneously neutered Ziggler and rendered its championship irrelevant. Instead of giving him traction, the move drew heat for Vickie Guerrero.
If you want to see a microcosm of Dolph Ziggler’s treatment by the WWE, look at this year. In 90 TV/PPV matches, Ziggler claimed victory in just twenty-three. Granted, wins and losses may not matter, but extended jobbing inevitably derails a career.
April 8, 2013
The night after yet another disappointment at Wrestlemania, Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, defeating Albert Del Rio. The crowd popped louder for him that at any other time during his tenure. For the first time, the fans and management appeared aligned. Cashing in the contract allowed Ziggler to actually enjoy a real title reign. Unfortunately, with WWE Creative constantly pulling defeat from the jaws of victory, Ziggler’s title reign only lasted 69 days. More like, 68 and the company owed him one.
Since that watershed moment, Ziggler bounced from one meaningless feud to another. Yet, to his credit, he always did what creative asked. Kissing Sheamus’ behind one day to teaming with various personality vacuums like Strowman, McIntyre, pretty much anyone who struggles while speaking. However, Ziggler kept motoring along. After a winning the IC belt six times, the sustained trip to the upper midcard never arrived.
The Present Irony
After a hiatus to embark on a standup comedy tour, Ziggler returned to feud with Kofi Kingston. With a promo style, now laden with inspection, Ziggler’s tact centers around the notion that others, especially Kingston stole his shine. Granted, Kingston’s run evolved organically, Ziggler does make a point. Yet, his needs to feud with WWE Creative.
Kingston defeated Ziggler at Super Showdown via shenanigans. Now, that sets up a steel cage at Stomping Grounds next week. In all honesty, whether Ziggler wins or loses, the company let him down. Turning 39 in July, and eyeing a post-wrestling career, Ziggler seems content. Yet, from afar, watching the WWE waste great in-ring workers remains tiresome.
One day, probably very soon, Dolph Ziggler will walk away from the industry. Headed to the Hall of Fame appears to be a reasonable guess. Yet, looking back, watching the company fail to throw continued faith in him bothers many. Outside of comedy, Ziggler should learn culinary. Few have transforms chicken-bleep into chicken salad better. In a business where chosen ones, drive on a road with no stop signs, WWE Creative installed multiple red lights in front of Dolph Ziggler.