Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: REQUESTING FLYBY #47: The Rise and Stall of Dolph Ziggler (Redux)

  1. #1
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691

    REQUESTING FLYBY #47: The Rise and Stall of Dolph Ziggler (Redux)




    #
    47: The Rise and Stall of Dolph Ziggler (Redux)

    Just over a year ago, in the aftermath of Dolph Ziggler’s feuds with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton, I wrote a column that expressed my frustration with the manner in which the Show Off was being handled, saying that the toxically inept booking he was receiving would lead to his much anticipated Money in the Bank contract cash-in falling flat. I forcefully made the point that no casual fan could perceive Dolph as a star unless he was consistently presented as such. It was the sixteenth edition of ‘Requesting Flyby’ and was, to that point, its best received iteration. Since then, of course, I’ve come an awfully long way as a wrestling columnist- writing another 40 feature length columns and a 33 part daily series will tend to have that effect- but how far in the WWE hierarchy Ziggler has come in that same time frame is highly debatable.

    So, in September 2012 I wrote this:

    “There’s no doubt that Dolph Ziggler should be a major main event player in WWE’s immediate future; he has the wrestling chops, much improved mic skills and an it-factor needed by any potential champion. What I worry about is how long WWE are going to wait to pull that trigger…”

    Every word of that quotation still rings chillingly true, doesn’t it? The worst thing is, just as with the man’s entire career with the ‘E, there have been opportunities for Dolph to progress to the next level, but every time that touchdown pass has been thrown, WWE have fumbled it. So if I can beg your indulgence for a few moments, we’ll examine the journey Zigs has been on since I wrote about him last.

    One thing we can’t deny is that the hard bumping Show Off has been given his share of high profile opponents over the last year. Sure fire future hall of famers Jericho, Orton and Cena all put Ziggler over in high profile encounters; this should have been the making of him. So why wasn’t it? The answer is obvious really; it was the manner of those victories. Y2J had “taped ribs” after a backstage attack. Orton beat Ziggler one on one at Night of Champions, only laying down for him in a five on five Survivor Series match where the victory meant less. As for the ladder match with Cena…Ziggy looked like a total afterthought in a feud dominated by AJ Lee and Vickie Guerrero, the victory came courtesy of AJ interference, and Dolph was squashed like the proverbial bug in all rematches that followed. Any ground that Ziggler’s character might have gained by beating high profile headliners was immediately eaten back up by the “lucky” style of the wins and by the TV rematches that followed.

    Still, Dolph was still holding the briefcase, he had a new love interest in AJ, who rapidly gained heat as a performer in her own right, and in the lead up to the Rumble, he began to look like a star again. Entering at number one, he and Chris Jericho, who had entered at number two, had lengthy sojourns and were widely declared the reverse battle royal’s MVPs. Come ‘Mania season, Mr Ziggles teamed with Big E. Langston against the white hot Team Hell No, putting on the second best match of the evening, even though they were only allotted eight minutes or so. There had been a lot of speculation about Ziggler cashing in on the night of Wrestlemania- something that’s still never been done- but his actual cash in took place at the Izod Centre one night later, to a rapturous reaction. The Champion of the Smarks was finally the Champion of the World.

    What happened next was pure bad luck; a mistimed mule kick from Jack Swagger gave Ziggler a serious concussion, forcing him to miss several weeks of action. A planned triple threat at Extreme Rules became a number one contenders bout between Del Rio and Swagger. Upon his return at Payback, Dolph took on Del Rio in a match of the year contender that featured a heart in mouth double turn. Everybody agreed that it was a star-making performance from the Show Off. Little did we know that WWE would manage to drop that ball too; a rematch at Money in the Bank ended inconclusively after AJ Lee got her man disqualified, gaining herself a storyline ticket to dumpsville as a result. However, the inconclusive nature of the result of the match with the Mexican Aristocrat was never resolved, as Dolph transitioned into a programme with AJ’s hired muscle, Big E. Langston rather than a rubber match with ADR.

    If you listened to The Right Side of the Pond two weeks ago, you’ll know that my partner-in-crime ‘Plan feels that this was the single biggest mistake that WWE made with Ziggler. If you haven’t yet listened to him and Joey Shinobi break down their favoured creative direction for the Show Off in the debut edition of the “Brits’ll Fix It” segment, I urge you to track it down forthwith. To briefly discuss Pinkerton’s view, Dolph should be the mainstay of a revamped WHC division which emphasises the in-ring work. Now, I think that this is a role Ziggler is indeed well suited to, and yet, at the time at least, I didn’t feel like pulling Dolph from the Del Rio programme was such an issue. He did a great job making the intergender tag at Summerslam an enjoyable watch, and if we’re seeing Del Rio’s run with the big gold belt as a New Gen style “strong champion takes on challenger of the month” deal, then the succession of Dolph, Christian and Rob Van Dam as vanquished contenders has done wonders for the belt’s credibility.

    You see, I was excited when Billy Gunn’s spiritual successor made those kayfabed remarks about Triple H in the aftermath of Summerslam. I was even more excited when he was booked in thrilling handicap matches and singles matches against members of my favourite stable, The Shield. It seemed to me that Dolph was suddenly right in the middle of the company’s biggest storyline, standing shoulder to shoulder with Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Miz and Cody Rhodes against The Neo Corporation. It came out on various dirt sheets after a while that Zigs was being punished for saying that Randy Orton got opportunities others did not; I’m still convinced that this was a work, since nothing that happened in the matches with Ambrose suggested to me that he was legitimately in hot water. The man was prominently featured and in a programme with a hot young stud in Ambrose. I was happy. This is where ‘Plan and I had a difference of opinion; in a lengthy Twitter debate, we debated whether the U.S Title scene was the best place for our guy (it’s worth bearing in mind that both of us are rabid Ziggler fans). I thought that a feud with The Shield, regardless of whether it was over a strap or not, was a good place for him to be. I’d much rather he was in a visible narrative than tucked away in the “work rate” portion of the card; Del Rio is doing a great job in that role, I’d like to Ziggler to be more than that. ‘Plan felt that the U.S Title, tarnished as it has been over the last few years, barely defended by Ambrose since he won it, was no place for our man. ‘Plan was deeply worried for his future; I was more sanguine. This tends to be our default positions as a pair of analysts and the reason why we mesh well on radio…

    …And then, annoyingly, because he tends to be quite smug about these things, ‘Plan turned out to be right.

    That’s correct, for reasons best known to themselves, the brains trust in creative took Dolph out of the programme with Ambrose for no fathomable reason and stuck him in a pre-show match with Damien Sandow, which had not even a cursory storyline attached to it. It was just…announced…and on an episode of Raw to boot. Good one. I suppose our man won the match, at least, and indeed the rematch on Raw the next night. But with Del Rio on a collision course with Cena, with Orton tied up with Bryan and then- reportedly- The Big Show, it’s difficult to imagine what Ziggler is going to be doing for the next few months. Could he part of a Survivor Series team? Yes, I can still see that. But an important part, an integral part of the storyline? It would seem that ship has sailed.

    The frustrating thing is that Ziggler has been right on the verge of real success time and time again only to have the rug swept out from under him. With the storylines being set in motion for ‘Mania season, it very much seems as if the Show Off is going to stay an afterthought, at least until late spring, and that is truly a sad thing for professional wrestling. Although our favourite blonde dynamo still has time left to make it to the very top, it is concerning that he’s been in this upper midcard holding pattern for two calendar years or more. The worst thing is that it isn’t even that easy to fantasy book a scenario that gets him over as the number three or four babyface anymore, since it seems that Cody has steamed past him on the outside and claimed the spot. Talent and drive should always see a wrester hit the spot he deserves eventually; let us hope that Ziggler’s moment, when it comes (and I hope it’s still a question of when), lifts him with no questions asked into that top echelon he deserves to be a part of.

  2. #2
    I wish Dolph would have been the new Heyman guy instead of Axel and then Ryback. I think he'd benefit so much from having Paul in his corner and I for one would love the interaction between the two of them...

  3. #3
    Agreed with pretty much all of this. Great column Mav, the booking for Ziggler has been awful at best.

    While I think Orton did a decent job of putting Ziggler over at Survivor Series, that was just to be fed in a feud to be Cena's bitch. The angle of him sending Jericho packing could have been handled much better too- for example they could've gone back and forth for 20-25 mins at Summerslam last year, Ziggler getting a clean victory, shaking hands with Jericho, then Ziggler heelishly attacking him after the bout would've worked much better than what we got (and wouldn't give Jericho and Ziggler something less pointless to do at Wrestlemania).

    And what was the point of the AJ- Dolph Ziggler union now it's over, other than protecting Cena from a clean loss- what did it achieve? The payoff from the Cena thing happened about 3 weeks later in a throwaway match on Raw when Cena kicked out of Ziggler's entire moveset (and Big E's finisher and shot with a briefcase) to crush Ziggler with the 5 moves of doom (2 weeks in a row). While Ziggler lasted a long time in the Rumble, he was a none factor in the finishing sequence. At Elimination Chamber he was booked in an impromptu 4 minute match against Kofi Kingston for the billionth time and at Wresltemania he got booked to lose in a 6 minute tag match that was clearly thrown together less than 3 weeks before. And when Ziggler goes face and AJ is killing it as a heel- it's just an inconvenience to the company to have them together rather than any decent pay off.

    How about Ziggler beating Cena clean at TLC in a career making moment, Ziggler being the final man eliminated by Cena at the Rumble after almost going coast to coast, then the 2 engaging in a competitive battle at Elimination Chamber with Cena winning. I know it's fantasy booking, but it would help Ziggler get over at the expense of nobody as it would also help the story of Cena overcoming all his demons of 2012 before facing The Rock to finally put down The Show Off- plus Ziggler cashing in would've been even more huge and raised the World Heavyweight Title from the midcard doldrums.

    I loved the double turn at Payback when it happened, but it's becoming increasingly apparent the reason for it was to turn ADR heel because his face turn wasn't working, rather than make Ziggler one of the top faces.

    Where does Ziggler go from here? I'd like to point out in the past the poor booking of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan and say 'the cream always rises to the top' but I don't think the WWE ever intended those two guys to get to the stage they did- had Punk not done the pipe bomb, he'd probably have left the WWE by now anyway and had they tried to bury Bryan in front of a less smarky crowd than the one at WM28, he'd probably be at an Cesaro/ Kingston type level now. Those are two things you can't predict that will happen so I think the safe bet is Ziggler never really to advance above a Christian-like role- he'll have his moments, but they will mainly be in the midcard.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    780
    It's disappointing that in a time when WWE seems to have improved in a lot of areas, Ziggles is continuously left behind. I've been ready to see him as a real world champion since 2010, but every time WWE seems to be ready they suddenly drop him like a hot potato. Maybe it's apt that he's compared to Curt Hennig, who never got his fair time in center stage either.

    Nice callback to the first edition of the column, I remember it well. Honestly, at this point, I'll believe it when I see it with Ziggler.

    Good stuff here 'Rick, looking forward to the next one.

  5. #5
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Kolkata, India
    Posts
    1,248
    I think Ziggler outspokenness has been his own undoing. Its one thing to be cool and cocky in interviews and its other thing to lash out at the management all so openly with your tweets and interviews. The things that win you favors with the IWC don't necessarily please the Management and that's what has kept Ziggler hanging by a lose thread even though he has all the talent in the world. He has come up leaps and bounds on the mic, but sadly he has used it less and less ever since. As much as I want him to succeed, I want him to check his mouth more often. Maybe he'll win some credit over due course and finally rise up the ranks. Fingers crossed.

  6. #6
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    Proper feedback later, but had to quickly come back on Sub here; those interviews are a WORK. Still convinced of that. It was part of the Corp storyline. If Zigs goes come back into things, they'll bring that up as a plot point I'm sure. I don't think it's his backstage behaviour that's holding him back, it's the typical maze of obstacles that faces any up and coming talent.

  7. #7
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Kolkata, India
    Posts
    1,248
    I'm sure the interviews were a work, too. But he went out of his way in making those comments. Plus his tweets are never filtered. He has done a lot of interviews that are in character, but unlike others, he has crossed the thin line between kayfabe and reality and questioned the management and its decisions rather than discussing what his character was doing at that time.

    EDIT: Did you hear what Ambrose was badmouthing him with during his first attack before a match vs. Ryback? He said, 'Respect the business'. Sure it could have been just him playing with those comments but it looked more like the people backstage teaching him a lesson.
    Last edited by Subho; 10-14-2013 at 06:25 AM.

  8. #8
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    That Ambrose interaction was the red flag that it was a work! They're constantly using our smarkiness to make stories on TV nowadays. This isn't like it was with Punk.

    My argument isn't that Ziggler 's been depushed, it's that he's in the same place.

  9. #9
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Kolkata, India
    Posts
    1,248
    He has become more and more directionless ever since SummerSlam. Sure, he's at least getting a few wins here and there but his image has definitely been hurt.

  10. #10
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    Don't have a problem with Ws and Ls...he wins more now than as a heel, that 's for sure...it's the fact he's not in a STORYLINE that's the problem (as the column states).

  11. #11
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Kolkata, India
    Posts
    1,248
    Though it seemed for a while there that he was becoming an integral part of the Corporation storyline. He soon became a non-factor and now its almost as if he doesn't exist.

  12. #12
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    That's what I said in the column! But the comments you seem to think we're guaranteed depush comments were MONTHS ago. They would never have put him in that high profile story at all if he were being punished for those.

    What's happened here is that creative simply ran out of ideas. That's my take on things.

    Anyway, seems we're going to have to disagree on the "why" of Ziggler's stall. I'll let everyone get on with feeding the column in the usual way now. As you were.

  13. #13
    The Underage Pessimist Subho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Kolkata, India
    Posts
    1,248
    Sorry, man, if you felt I was sabotaging the column or something.

  14. #14
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    No, not offended in the least.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    515
    Interesting stuff buddy. The Ziggler subject is a well-worn one, so choosing to bounce off your earlier work was a great choice! I did think it was a little light in honesty, but hey, not everything needs to be mega-deep and heavy on substance! If anything, I think it's good to see you writing something that follows the MP mantra. About time you shoved your worth for that spot into the faces of the powers that be!

    Nothing much to add than what the two of us have already talked about to be honest. Ultimately, I maintain my stance. I see what you mean about wanting more from Ziggs, as in seeing him in the thick of the major stories, but then I don't like that it almost infers the idea of the WHC in-ring role is second best. If anything, it's more important - it's the foundation any show needs, the match that can steal the show, the unsung hero. I know that wasn't your intention, but I nevertheless think there's a certain inference in that idea. I loved your point about ADR's vanquished challengers pushing the WHC rep up as much as the champ, but I maintain the role is tailor made for Ziggs, and certainly doesn't need to be his ceiling. But for now, I certainly think it's the safest place for him and, actually, the place he can achieve the most too. I guess it's a case of being second best at the top, or the top of the second best and my own philosophy doesn't allow me to feel comfortable about being second best at anything, as you've no dout come to learn! You should start a charity or something!

    But I am NEVER smug! I'm always right though....

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    315
    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick
    ‘Plan was deeply worried for his future; I was more sanguine. This tends to be our default positions as a pair of analysts and the reason why we mesh well on radio…

    …And then, annoyingly, because he tends to be quite smug about these things, ‘Plan turned out to be right.
    Hahaha...this made me chuckle. How dare you say such things about the oh-so humble 'Plan...

    Quote Originally Posted by 'Plan
    But I am NEVER smug! I'm always right though....


    I remember writing, in January, about Ziggler's long, hard-fought road, and how the wait is always worth the reward at the end. I preached patience for Ziggler fans. Now, even my patience is starting to wear a bit thin. He's clearly one of the most talented guys on the roster, he's been established, although inconsistently, as true threats to the likes of Orton, yet he's yet to genuinely crack the top echelon and stay glued there. I want to hammer home that he just needs to stick it out, because cream always rises to the top, but even I've got a hint of doubt now...

    Through the optimist's eye, though, he's on virtually every show and at least not pulling bench duty. I know it's a far cry from superstardom, but he continues to impress every night in the ring, and he's nowhere near Tyson Kidd-ville in terms of status/exposure. I don't know. Maybe I'm just patting myself on the back to avoid the inevitable.

    Great read here, Mav. Purely excellent writing crops up in every paragraph, and it's always a joy to read your stuff.

  17. #17
    Maker of Rain Sidgwick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    319
    The only criticism I’d levy against this column, which otherwise was a typically erudite, nail-on-head Maverick offering, is coincidentally the same criticism I’d aim at Ziggler himself – a lack of balance. It was taken as read that Ziggler should be the recipient of a consistent push, but I reckon it could’ve been more interesting if you explored why this hasn’t been happening. I’m a Ziggler fan. I’m a fan of continuity and opportunities being afforded through merit. I can’t help but feel, though, that Ziggler isn’t entirely blameless here, and I’m not just referring to his worked/not worked backstage “attitude”.

    I don’t think Ziggler is well rounded enough, yet, to warrant the position on the card many feel he should occupy. He’s perfected the art of bumping to such an extent that he’s erected his own glass ceiling. I think it was Terry Funk who advised someone whose name escapes me to “not get too good at doing jobs. They’ll have you lose all the time”. In other words, I don’t buy Ziggler’s offense because he’s been much too generous with his defence. With the exception of Shawn Michaels, big bumpers don’t usually climb that high, precisely because they’re so good at helping others ascend. HBK did it, yes, but I think it’s funnier to believe he did so as a result of Vinnie Mac’s legendary crush on him…he’s the exception which proves the rule, in any case.

    I reckon Ziggles needs to tone down the bumping for the sake of his health and his place on the card. It may generate sympathy for his face character but it doesn’t inspire belief.

    He’s still a bit “stock” on the stick, too. I haven’t heard enough to suggest that he truly could carry a top-line feud. Of course, he needs be afforded a chance, one he probably has merited, but that’s another response to another column.

  18. #18
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    Thanks for all the feedback everyone, much appreciated.

    Rabid Mexicano- I'm actually of the opinion that Dolph was harmed by relying on Vickie and AJ for so long. He really needs time by himself to really establish who he is. Heyman has almost been cast in the role of universal panacea, but I think he needs to be used quite carefully.

    BFB- Christian is a very valid comparison I think. Similar wrestlers, similar talent, similar cold feet on the part of the higher ups. Zigs still has time, but it is worrying how much he's been left out to dry over the past month or so.

    Mizzie- I guess Perfect was a different case, since he wrestled in the Hogan era when NOBODY else was going to get a look at the main event for long, whereas in this day and age, we almost EXPECT talented midcarders to make it to the top.

    Sub- As we've established already, I don't think he's being punished or that is attitude is a barrier. I think it's genuinely a case of the company not quite knowing what to do with him and booking themselves into scenarios where a push is difficult to sustain.

    'Plan- It's a very good point that the WHC scene is the safest place for him to grow. I'll definitely give you that! As for the MP, well, let's see how this whole Davey Boy Cup lark goes...

    Skul- That Round 1 NXT column of yours was awesome. And I still think you're right...he should make it. Just not quickly enough for most of our likings!

    Sidg- Very good point. Ziggler's offense does look weak sometimes. I think he needs a new finisher and some more impactful offensive transition moves; Shawn developed them, so can Dolph. I've thought for ages that Zigs should adopt the superkick as his finishing move; I loved when he pinned Orton with it at Survivor Series. If Miz can be "gifted" the figure four by Ric Flair, I don't see why Zigs shouldn't be "gifted" Sweet Chin Music by Shawn!

  19. #19
    Shine a light JCool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    420
    Just want to add that "Rise and Stall" is quite humourous in its own right, but even moreso in the early morning hours, half-awake, after marking worksheets.

    Dolph Ziggler is a hard-working, charismatic dude...somebody oughta do a sit-down interview with him so us fans can get a better idea of what drives this man to want to be champion. It worked for Foley, it worked for Goldust, and I'm sure there are others who've benefited too that I can't remember.

    Think about it...dude's lost his girlfriend, his best pal, won the championship, got a concussion, been hurt, and was recently relegated to wrestling in the pre-show. So many obstacles for him to overcome....Wrestlemania 30 should be a platform for him to show his stuff! What the Royal Rumble last year COULD have been...what the summer of '13 COULD have been. Sigh.

    Excellent topic, sir.
    THE ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE






    Click Here for The State of the CF for July

    Coming Up: A review of the summer of 2014 in TNA...

  20. #20
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    JCooool- My man, thanks for stopping by! That's a very interesting thought about a worked shoot video. Certainly worked well for The Shield back in November. I like it more and more with each passing moment. And thanks for the kudos on the title. I'm not much one for puns usually, but that one came to me a year ago and it seemed a pity not to re-use it!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    693
    I wonder what would have happened if Ziggler had never had that concussion. Would they have still turned Del Rio? Could it have been in the same way? Would Ziggler still be a heel, and have had a long reign with the WHC? Would love to know what the creative plan was before that injury. No doubt, they should have kept going with Ziggler in the immediate aftermath of that match - Ziggler was certainly on track to become a serious face contender, and the failure to follow through on WWE's part is definitely their worst creative decision of the year so far. A shame, really, but there it is. I retain faith that his time will come - I just think it should already have. And having him as a central feature in this ongoing authority storyline would have been a good thing.

    Good stuff, Mav - always good to look back, isn't it? Be interested to see you do a redux redux in a years time, and just keep monitoring the Show Off as time goes on!

  22. #22
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    691
    Hey Oli, cheers for the feed old chap. There's a lot of serious what-ifs surrounding Ziggler. In some ways, the concussion made him a much bigger face than he would've been otherwise given how the Payback match went. But then, of course, WWE botched the momentum of that push, so perhaps a concussion-less Ziggler might have ended up having a lengthy title reign and turned face anyway. And we're in agreement on your last point; he should still make it, but he should have already. There lies the issue!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •