WWE’s New Era has come to fruition due to the influx of young talent being streamlined to the main roster, and often to main event status within said roster. With so much dynamic talent on hand, one must understand that there is not room for everyone at the top.
Despite the obvious assets they bring to the table, Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt are two such individuals. Both have had a handful of moments worth remembering, but neither have seemed able to capitalize on these moments and transition them into permanent main event status. Having to compete for screen time with the rise and fall of The Shield, anything that John Cena was involved in, and with the plethora of young, hungry talent looking to accomplish the exact same thing is a daunting task. Wyatt and Ziggler are both prime examples of this.
Enter the WWE Draft.
Ziggler’s and Wyatt’s biggest obstacle was also the WWE’s: If having too much talent on hand is one’s most looming issue, there might need to be new rhetoric created to describe the situation. With separate shows with thinner rosters, the talents of both Ziggler and Wyatt have been on full display on SmackDown Live, allowing fans to re-recognize what made then great in the first place.
In a time period that was consistently dominated my names like John Cena, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk. Although Mysterio and Punk were gaining steam based on their incendiary in-ring talent, it was very clear that there were performers that WWE wanted its fans to support.
Dolph Ziggler was not one of them.
After a couple years of being, arguably, the best in-ring performer in the entire company, the fans made it clear that they wanted Ziggler on top, or at least advancing towards it. On April 8, 2013, their wishes were granted, as Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to defeat Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. The rowdy post-WrestleMania crowed erupted as their chosen one (at that time) finally raw his masterful in-ring work rewarded.
Since that iconic moment, Dolph Ziggler’s career has been in cruise control. He was a figurehead in John Cena’s feud against The Authority, but was never rewarded for his efforts in that program.
After a failed love angle with Rusev and Lana, and after being absolutely fed to Baron Corbin, Ziggler is the No. 1 contender for Dean Ambrose’s WWE Championship. His path to the belt highlights the fact that he, as talented as he is, became a creative afterthought within the WWE. The fans’ acceptance of him in the main event proves his words to be true, as they have seemingly not forgotten what Dolph Ziggler brings to a WWE ring. In addition, he seems to be breaking free of his attempt to recreate Shawn Michaels’ early ’90s “Sexy Boy” gimmick and is now laser-focused on the task at hand.
Bray Wyatt is in a similar position to regain his ground, but has taken somewhat of a different path to get to the top of SmackDown Live. Where Ziggler was given fleeting moments such as the Money in the Bank cash-in, Wyatt was given fully developed programs with the likes of John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and The Undertaker. As the song he once sang says, he truly did have “the whole world in (his) hands,” even creating the eerie sight of fans holding up their cell phone lights as Wyatt’s darkness engulfs the arena, a tradition that continues to this day.
Promo after promo, segment after segment, Wyatt’s dark gospel, echoing Shakespeare and Manson, grasped the attention of WWE fans with an iron-clad fist. However, feud after feud, he was made to look as if he will never be able to eat this world and that the “Face of Fear” was only a face of false hype. His talents were never utilized to the point where he was meant to be taken seriously.
Since arriving on SmackDown, he has been given new life.
The WWE has created a brand division that, despite prior concerns, has allowed previous creative wrongdoings to be almost nullified. Ziggler is back, looking as credible as ever, pursuing the WWE Championship. Each chance he gets, Bray Wyatt is running through Ziggler and Ambrose like a lion through a gazelle, and back in the mic blackening hearts like only he can do. The WWE’s biggest concern, having too much talent, is now its biggest asset, as proven by the reemergence of these two awesome talents.