Five years ago, Dolph Ziggler was supposed to be the next Shawn Michaels. A two-time former WWE world champion, the “Showstopper” was everything. He had a great look, he had a great style, he sold in the ring like nobody else, and he could talk about as well as anybody else in front of a microphone.
Today, that same performer is nothing more than a supporting cast member on Tuesday nights.
The curious case of Ziggler has been one that I’ve fallen through the years. I’m a fan first when it comes to his ability. While he has been miscast in love triangles and bad programs, there is still been that potential of being “the guy” on any given night. Such might be the case as to why he was chosen as the number one contender for the WWE world title once brand extension took place on SmackDown Live. The match, with Dean Ambrose, what is nothing more than work out for the then-champion. Since that program, Ziggler has fallen further and further into the abyss.
One of the company’s most outspoken performers when it comes to matters behind the scenes and in the political world, it’s interesting to note that a heel turn has done nothing to help him. Wrestling the likes of Apollo Crews and Kalisto doesn’t scream “big time wrestling”. Now the man who could be champion has become the forgotten man.
This isn’t uncommon in this business. Wrestlers look the part, and do great things early on in their careers, only to fade into the animated sunset. Drew McIntyre is an example. While he never achieved the same kind of success, he was destined for greatness. You can make the argument for Cody Rhodes as well and Damien Sandow. Ziggler has been far more successful than those three wrestlers, but he’s following the same path.
Give WWE credit though. The company includes him in Six-Pack challenges, they try to insert him when they need a “buzz” to rile the fans. They inject his enthusiasm when pay-per-view events lack enthusiasm.
Although he still is under contract with WWE, a move to ROH or TNA or possibly even New Japan would be beneficial. As of now there’s no hope for salvation. If WWE had done what was best for business a few years ago – placing him in a program where Ric Flair was his mentor – this wouldn’t be a topic of conversation. The potential is still there, and his ability hasn’t waned. Could there be a revival? Of course there could. This is professional wrestling. Is it unlikely? Of course it is.
Just like Rusev and Wade Barrett, WWE has a strange way of developing talent only to abandon performers. Whoever looks to be a “sure thing” fall by the wayside and wrestlers become forgotten figures. Ziggler has become that person.
It’s bad booking of a solid performer. It’s a waste of a great character. It’s a chance to allow fans the opportunity to see just how good he can be. And the comparisons to Michael’s in the past is nonexistent now.
What a waste. It just shows what really happens when bad decisions and bad booking stall success and greatness.