Dolph Ziggler : What If This Was It?
When Dolph Ziggler put his career on the line during his verbal showdown with The Miz last week on Smackdown, I thought two things…
1.You’re about to risk it all for the Intercontinental Title, which is either the 3rd or 4th biggest title at a given time (Nick Young Face)
2. If Ziggler never wrestled again, what exactly does that mean?
I’ve been a Dolph Ziggler fan through his up’s and downs for the last five years. From seeing him wear a US title that looked way too big for his waist in 2011, to his zenith moment of cashing in Money In The Bank after WrestleMania 29. One thing I’ve always noticed was the narrative that Dolph always deserved every achievement he came across, even if they never seemed to last. Whether it was in his control or not, Ziggler seemed to give his best while watching his contemporaries, and those younger than him reach heights that seemed to be just out of his grasp. His efforts resonated with fans, but the hope of his eventual rise began to erode slowly.
Upon falling to pre-show levels after many years of being cooled off, and coming out on the losing end of a Baron Corbin feud, Dolph headed into the WWE Draft a greater mystery than if Kim Kardashian’s Paris robbery was set up or not. Clearly blessed from an in ring standpoint, his credibility had been Rock Bottomed to the point where he ended up a mid-draft selection on what was thought to be the inferior brand. On what seemed like it was a flip of a switch, WWE decided to rebuild him by making his Superkick, which hadn’t seemingly beat anyone since Randy Orton at Survivor Series 2012, the deadliest weapon in WWE. (Non Stephanie McMahon slap division). With TV wins over Bray Wyatt, and promos to string it all together, I think some people believed it for a few weeks. However, to be a fan of Ziggler, is to revel in his performance while expecting it to never work out in the end for him. Despite the electricity in his promos, which gave his Summerslam match with Dean Ambrose some much needed juice, by the time the day came for Ziggler to climb the final mountain, it felt like the same movie we’ve already seen as he walked the aisle that night in Brooklyn. A man that had tricked us into believing in him once again, that was ultimately being used to traffic hope.
After that Summerslam feud with Ambrose, Dolph was substituted into a feud with The Miz in the place of the SD GM Daniel Bryan. Not literally mind you, but subconsciously as WWE had to defend Bryan’s honor somehow. While the Intercontinental title has been presented as the centerpiece for this clash, this feud has been about so much more than the white strap.
Looking at The Miz from Ziggler’s perspective, there isn’t anything Miz has done that he wasn’t capable of. Ziggler damn near burst into tears last week voicing his failures to the WWE Universe. As he looks at a man that shares the same hometown as him, the battle becomes less about The Miz, who is peaking as an all-around performer as we speak, but more about Ziggler. He’s truly reached the end of the road. If he wins, cool, another IC title to add to his mantle. But if he loses, he’s come too far to go on in such mediocrity. If there were no career element attached to this, a loss would totally destroy Ziggler, no questions asked.
We’ve all seen career stipulations, and retirement matches over the years. (Hi, Terry Funk!) Sometimes it is old age, which necessitates them, but for Ziggler this isn’t the case. He’s done enough to leave his mark, but still young enough to be seen as a tragic figure if this was the end. He’d be remembered as the second coming of Mr. Perfect, but instead of a back injury derailing him, it was something else. Something we can’t really explain but we’d have to ask. Maybe he wasn’t as good as we wanted him to be? In a reality sense, Ziggler’s opponent isn’t really The Miz, his opponent is our and his own expectations. I imagine Dolph considers himself one of the most talented guys in the company, and has wondered why he wasn’t “their” guy. Living up to the expectations is now the challenge that his career literally depends on. Instead of showing off, it’s time that he really show the world. THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!!!! (Apollo In Rocky 3 voice.)
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