Friday 19 August 2011

Zig-Zagging to the Top

If you go back and watch this year’s Royal Rumble on DVD (or, should you be particularly old school, tape) you’ll see Dolph Ziggler wrestling Edge in a very enjoyable World Heavyweight title match. Yes, at the start of the year Dolph Ziggler seemed on the cusp of breaking out of the mid-card scene and establishing himself as a true main event star.

Over half a year later Ziggler is actually lower on the card than he was this time last year. Whilst he was on SmackDown Ziggler was presented as a rising star and given time to develop his character. The January and February feud with Edge was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the SmackDown writing team and Ziggler himself. It should have been Ziggler’s ticket to a permanent spot at the top of the card. Sadly that wasn’t the case.

I’ve written before that the move from SmackDown to RAW is often detrimental for a wrestler. Ziggler has turned out to be a textbook example of how misjudged the move can be. In just six months he’s gone from wrestling for a world title at one of the company’s biggest events to not having a match of any sort on two back to back pay-per-views. He last appeared on a monthly PPV at the less than successful Capitol Punishment. He captured the United States championship at the event but hasn’t done anything of note since.  

On a positive note Ziggler has been one of the few non-main event talents to routinely appear on RAW over the last two months, and the most recent episodes indicate that management want to elevate him back up the card: a feud or partnership of some sort with Jack Swagger could prove enjoyable and his new catchphrase, “Follow that!”, could take off if played right (though the chances of that happening are slim, unfortunately). He’s not in danger of becoming a huge star, but the consistency is promising.

I’m a big fan of Ziggler. His wrestling skills have improved dramatically since his Spirit Squad days, his verbal skills are amongst the best in the company, and he has that all important “WWE look”. He possesses all the tools needed to wrestle at the top of the card against the company’s biggest names. Had he stayed on SmackDown instead of being moved to RAW after his all-too-brief feud with Edge concluded I think he’d be one of the show’s top stars now.

With the recent storyline developments involving the WWE championship it’s unlikely Ziggler will be elevated to the top level any time soon, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He could easily be made into the centrepiece of the mid-card division. Men like Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, Evan Bourne, and Alex Riley would all make excellent opponents or partners (or both) for Ziggler. It already looks as though storylines are developing involving Riley and Swagger, so we could be on our way to seeing that.

Ziggler is one of WWE’s most consistent performers and has the potential to become a huge star. I hope that sooner or later Triple H, Vince McMahon or somebody else in a position of power decides to go all the way on a push for the guy. He, and we, deserve it.

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