So Survivor Series happened. Wait, quite a lot of interesting things happened on the show? In that case, SURVIVOR SERIES HAPPENED!!! Of course everybody has been talking about the highly anticipated debut of Sting. There were also interesting developments with the booking of Ryback, AJ Lee and of course John Cena. But one of the key things to stand out to me was something else – and this kept going through Raw last night. That was the booking of Dolph Ziggler.
For a couple of years now Dolph has been a favourite of the fans. Even when he was a heel, his athleticism and regularly improving mic skills meant he was hugely respected. He has certainly gone about earning respect the hard way – he has gone from being a caddy, to a male cheerleader, to wrestling Kofi Kingston thousands of times. But he is also a two time World Heavyweight Champion, a former Money In The Bank briefcase holder, and has squared off against the biggest names in the business in Edge, Chris Jericho, John Cena and CM Punk.
And he was booked like the star at Survivor Series. Not just a star. THE star. He survived three out of the five men on Team Authority by himself. He was the sole survivor on a team consisting of men who had been booked as strongly as John Cena and Ryback. And on Raw, he was booked as Cena’s partner. I reckon this is a test. He’s out there with Cena to see how his popularity compares – and more importantly to see if it lasts.
And, importantly, I think he is being given the chance now to prove he belongs at the main event level. If he does well, we could see him become a World Champion again in 2015. The reason I say that is because he is being booked less like a friend of Cena, and more of an equal. That Ziggler was the first man Cena went to when he was forming his team shows the respect Ziggler commands, and we are just seeing that brought to the forefront for the moment.
When you think about it, he doesn’t even need to be a face to reach the top. In the same way that being the first ever Undisputed Champion gave Chris Jericho something to brag about for years, Ziggler can always become a heel by bragging about how it was him that overturned establishments, it was him who delivered when Cena couldn’t. Personally, I really wouldn’t mind that move. He is great as a face, and certainly has the backing of the crowd. But at the same time, with Cena around, there is always going to be a glass ceiling on the face side of things. There could be more room to rise up the card as a heel.
The only thing I could see holding Ziggler back is that there are just so many people in the company right now who you would say deserve a better opportunity than they are currently getting. Look at people like Cesaro. Cody Rhodes is someone else who we were all saying was destined for greatness not too long ago. Where is Daniel Bryan going to fit in when he returns to in ring competition? Is Damien Mizdow going to be able to get a push when he breaks away from Miz? Will Dean Ambrose get to the very top? Will Tyson Kidd ever get the recognition he deserves for being a workhorse? There are so many people right now who could easily warrant a shot at the top, but there isn’t room for all of them. Ziggler really shouldn’t, but still could, get lost in the shuffle.
I listened to Ziggler on Jericho’s podcast, and it was a really interesting listen. Ziggler essentially learned the trade in the WWE. He never really went to any independent promotions; he had never really done much professional wrestling before he signed with WWE. But he was a record breaking amateur wrestler, who has dedicated decades of his life to becoming the best in the WWE. Quite a cool point from that interview I thought was that he said he only did amateur wrestling to eventually get into professional wrestling. This is a guy who absolutely deserves everything he gets, and I really do hope he gets to the very top one day.