One of the primary reasons for SmackDown Live’s existence is to give talent who would otherwise not get meaningful angles, you know, some meaningful pushes. With Drean Ambrose the WWE Champion, and Dolph Ziggler becoming the No. 1 contender for the title through a six-pack challenge on Tuesday, those things are truly happening.
Ziggler is in a tough spot, though. The WWE is halfheartedly cashing in on push the “Showoff” initially received nearly two years ago, and it might be 18 months too late.
In a way, through no fault of the performer, thanks to the WWE’s handling of Ziggler’s character over the last two years, the WWE Universe soured on him.
No. He’s not booed or hated or has the type of actual hate-heat like Roman Reigns. Instead, there’s a large level of indifference steered toward him, but that’s only because most of the WWE Universe doesn’t trust the WWE to use Ziggler in meaningful ways.
Nobody can blame those fans, either. Forget whatever era of wrestling he was in, Ziggler was regularly putting on some of the best matches on any card he was on, for a large portion of his career he was receiving some of the largest pops on the main roster, and in return the WWE consistently had him win a match here and there with the sole purpose to be fed to a star the company valued more at some point thereafter.
On Tuesday night, however, the WWE has given the idea of Dolph Zigger new life.
Yes, most certainly, this can simply be the WWE’s attempt at showing how new era-ish it really is, when in reality it is not. Ziggler’s huge win can be a victory that’s only meant to buy Ambrose another month-and-a-half with the title, and the showoff can be in a position of being flat out jobbed to “The Lunatic Fringe” at SummerSlam.
All those things can be true. So, too, can be the idea that a large portion of the WWE Universe feels indifferent toward Ziggler’s win, as they’ve been sucked dry of hope for his character by the company’s inability to rarely use him in ways of importance.
But we shouldn’t give up on Ziggler yet. Not if he still values wrestling over stand-up comedy and not if he’s willing to evolve his character or tweak it from being just – and by no means is this a horrible character – the guy who literally tries to get over by out-wrestling everyone on a card.
Most fans can agree that Ziggler has been misused for the better part of four years now. That he is as talented an in-ring performer that there is, and that he is a special talent who can ascend to the next-level if given the right opportunity. Now that he has been granted such an opportunity – one that does warrant a bit of a character change, mind you – we can’t now still complain about him being pushed at the wrong time.
Be open to the idea that Ziggler is being sincerely pushed in this supposed new era, and let’s also rejoice in the fact that someone relatively different has been given a shot at the WWE World Championship.
And no, we can’t have our complain cake here and eat it too. Opining over Ziggler now being irrelevant, while also whining over “different” guys not getting pushed, not only shows a level of hypocrisy, but highlights how the Internet Wrestling Community would find a way to get upset no matter what.
Be open-minded with Ziggler moving forward. If you feel indifferent about him now, but also recognize that there’s nothing inherently wrong with him as a talent, it is you who has the issue moving forward, not the wrestler or the company that has finally decided to utilize his talents, even if it is only for the next month or so.