Dolph Ziggler’s recent relinquishment of the WWE United States Championship and apparent departure, continue to be the talk of pro wrestling fans. That’s certainly what the company was hoping for. It’s also surely what Ziggler was hoping for as well.
It’s better to be talked about than ignored of course. But in this instance, the two go hand in hand.
It’s not as if the WWE faithful necessarily forget about Ziggler. He’s been prominently featured on TV quite regularly over the years, even if it’s not always been in a main event spot. He’s one of the best hands on SmackDown Live and the case can be made for him being the best hand on the blue brand. So his ability has definitely kept him on the fans’ radar.
But at some point none of that mattered anymore. Ziggler had more false starts than perhaps anyone in WWE history yet that never stopped fans from having his back. They hoped beyond hope that one day he would eventually rise up and become the main event powerhouse he
deserved to be.
However enough was eventually enough. Fans were fed up with the whole thing and over time, Ziggler’s pop began to wane.
It’s definitely one of the most fascinating situations that any WWE Superstar has ever seen. Ziggler worked his way up through the ranks, won secondary titles, won the world title and then slipped back down. He then worked his way back up, won secondary titles again, won the world title again, and then slipped back down again.
During that entire time, he established himself as a five-star performer in every possible way. His gimmick was born of arrogance, but that arrogance became lovable cockiness. He was the best and he knew it. He was the complete package and everyone knew it.
He outlasted legends, red-hot attractions and controversial figures. He’s a mainstay. No matter whom WWE focused on or where they went as a company, Ziggler was the one constant. But does anyone care about any of that now?
Has too much time passed for this new spin on Ziggler’s character? The moment he laid down the U.S. Championship in the middle of the ring was perhaps not the shocker it should have been. Fans were intrigued, but they were also likely dismissive. Was this just another tactic by WWE to refresh Ziggler for the masses?
Absolutely. Did anyone care? Maybe not.
Ziggler is a guy that was given an opportunity to shine and he did just that. He was given a silly name but he made fans remember it for all the right reasons. The proverbial carrot of success was dangled in front of him but he grabbed it like no one before him. Fans respect him for that. They wanted the best for him and they likely still do.
But this is on the company. WWE had so many chances to make this right for Ziggler yet that did not happen. The fans wanted him on top but thanks to WWE, that never truly materialized. His win over Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship in 2013 remains the pinnacle of Ziggler’s career. It was the absolute closest he ever came to being a true top guy and it was snatched away from him before he could even get started.
Not every WWE Superstar can be Shawn Michaels. If the company had truly supported Ziggler the way he deserved, then he may not have emerged as a legendary performer that carried WWE on his back. Though it seems unlikely, there is always the possibility that Ziggler may not have fully connected as the man in WWE.
However fans may never know if that’s true or not because it was never given a chance. Now Ziggler is gone; presumably on a brief hiatus. The break will be good for him. He can heal up, recharge his batteries and hopefully return with a fresh perspective. But will his gimmick be fresh, or will it be the same old character that fans have seen for years?
Will he finally be given a shot at greatness or will he continue to fight for it like always? At some point, Ziggler must have grown tired of mediocrity; a return to more of the same can’t be what he wants. But if he’s committed to WWE, then it may be all he will ever have.
If this is a Hail Mary on WWE’s part then it may be just the shot Dolph Ziggler needs to get back on track. Maybe being the top guy is not in the cards for him but maybe being one of the top talents is. It all begins with this new angle, which will hopefully lead to a new direction. Ziggler has earned it and he most definitely deserves it.