Dolph Ziggler has utilized a plethora of gimmicks since first appearing on WWE television years ago. He was a male cheerleader, a condescending figure who really loved handshakes, a show-off who lives to have the top match on the card, a jean jacking-toting cocktail of Bret Michaels and Randy “The Ram” Robinson, to his latest gimmick that pretty much comes off as being a diehard Shawn Michaels mark.
Admittedly, I, along with a multitude of other fans are also HBK marks. However, do you know what we all have in common? We are not world champions.
This creative anchor had been strapped to Ziggler’s heels for quite some time, a time that resulted in lopsided feud losses to Rusev, Baron Corbin, and apparently the CEO and Chairman of Levi Strauss. The hits just kept on coming for a former, a somewhat forgotten, World Heavyweight Champion.
In 2016, there is not a whole lot of the “Heartbreak Kid” gimmick that is going to go over with fans. Ass-less chaps are going to be seen as too cheeky (no pun intended), golden mullets are only seen at Larry the Cable Guy shows and at West Virginia football games, and any freshly produced theme music that would sound remotely like the iconic “Sexy Boy” might lead to the immediate and unfortunate assassination of Hall and Oates.
However, Ziggler showed on this past week’s SmackDown Live that he has tapped into Shawn’s one attribute that made fans believe that he could overcome wrestling giants despite his size: his pitbull-like tenacity. There is no existing universe that should find it believable that someone that is the size of Michaels should vanquish competitors with the size of guys like Diesel, Yokozuna, Sycho Sid or The Undertaker. It was Shawn’s defiance, the defiance for rules, respect, and rationale, that cast doubt and logic aside and made one believe that he was walking away with the victory. Ziggler has show flashes of a similar tenacity a certain point of his career, but he brought it out permanently last Tuesday night in segments with Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan.
The character of Dolph Ziggler has been ignored and underestimated. Because of this, he is pissed off. Say hello to a worthy WWE Champion.
The parallels between the careers of Dolph Ziggler and Shawn Michaels are uncanny. Shawn’s path to the WWE Championship, a belt that he finally won from Bret Hart in the legendary WrestleMania 12 Ironman Match, produced a feel-good moment and title reign that kept the WWE (then the WWF) afloat as Eric Bischoff’s WCW was attempting to take over the professional wrestling landscape with the backing of Ted Turner’s wallet.
This title reign came to an end at a time when fans were slowly beginning to slowly reject the dancing, smiling Michaels. Shawn’s lasting legacy, even after the moments he had up to this point, would be cemented as a he crept towards being a heel and formed D-Generation-X. It is well documented that Michaels was not the smiling, baby-kissing face we all saw on television. He was a brooding, angry young man, and his true self was displayed as he and Triple H hoped to own the wrestling world.
It should be safe to speculate that Dolph Ziggler is not having all of the issues that Shawn had in the late 1990s (no need to mention what they were). However, one has to imagine that someone with the talent of Ziggler must be curious as to why his name is not alongside those like Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as the name that are going to take the WWE to heights not yet seen.
Tuesday’s SmackDown showed that we might be getting the Dolph Ziggler we have always wanted. No longer will he be giving slight, understated verbal jabs on television or be putting “Over It” on his tights to indicate his displeasure within the company. He has now found the intestinal fortitude once seen by a defiant Shawn Michaels to express his displeasure regarding the injustice of not utilizing his talent appropriately.
As much of a legend as Shawn Michaels is, a blatant carbon-copy (minus the music) of his gimmick was not the best route for a wrestler like Dolph Ziggler to go down. However, Tuesday night made it apparent that he has channeled the tenacity that made Michaels special.
We felt his pain every time he was in the ring. Dolph Ziggler has made it obvious that if we were not feeling his pain already, then it may be time for WWE fans to invest in mental Vicodin. A new, tenacious, at-all-costs driven Dolph Ziggler has arrived, and like his wrestling hero, will not be impossible to ignore.