Being Dolph Ziggler must be interesting.
On one hand, you’re constantly being featured against other current top of the card talents. You can read just about any wrestling publication in the world and see stories about how you’re an underutilized talent and that you’re one of the guys WWE needs to guarantee its future dominance. You are told you are world caliber talent, even though you once were part of the Spirit Squad.
These kinds of positive sentiments regarding Ziggler are espoused frequently and found everywhere. Some of them are even signed with my name.
However, on the other hand, if you’re Ziggy, you’ve had the Money in the Bank briefcase for months and been given precisely squat to do with it. You’ve never held the WWE Championship and your only World Heavyweight Championship reign lasted an underwhelming nine-ish minutes before dropping it right back to Edge in a title-switcharoo angle that made no sense to anybody *with* sense. You get prime slots on television, but let’s face it: When pay-per-view time rolls around, you’re going to lose.
Sometimes, in column writing, you’re better served beating around the bush a bit to draw readers in. Not today.
Wrestling dualities often appear where you least expect them to. In this case, we’d never expect to look at Orton and Ziggler the same way. We view one as a young up and comer who has great years ahead of him. We view another as a guy who has hung around for a while and is probably on the downside of his career.
The reality is that both men are 32 and both men have a lot of miles on their careers’ tires. We look at them as at completely different places career wise anyway though, and with good reason. Ziggler has no chronic serious injury history, no history of drug suspensions, and tremendous character upside. Randy? Well…he’s pretty much the same Randy whether he’s heel or face, and even then only when he isn’t rehabbing something.
With that in mind, Ziggler’s loss to Orton last night becomes monumentally inexcusable. What possible upside could there be for Ziggler losing to Orton? So he can take time to rebuild himself as a legitimate contender to cash in his MITB briefcase just in time for gimmicky angles like briefcase contracts to take a backseat to the Royal Rumble and the subsequent Wrestlemania build? So he can hold the case until next July and win a second one? So he can lose it in an airport and set in motion a hilarious angle where The Blue Meanie finds a MITB case in a Philadelphia Airport and subsequently cashes in Dolph Ziggler’s case?
The answer is none of those, because there isn’t an upside. The only possible reason they could be doing this is that WWE is officially lost on what to do with Ziggler.
For God’s sake, the man got pinned cleanly by a barely-back-from-the-DL-Randy Orton last night.
Let’s highlight the pay-per-view futility Ziggler has been booked to have. Ziggler’s last ppv win was in July when he won his still unused briefcase. Before that, his last overall pay-per-view win was in a Twelve Man Tag match at Wrestlemania XXVIII; his last singles win at a pay-per-view before MITB 2012 was at last year’s Survivor Series. His record in pay-per-views this year is 2-7 overall. That’s not “cash in for a world title” territory. That’s “please give me something worth doing” territory.
Admittedly, WWE is pretty crowded if you’re a heel looking to move up a card.
But that doesn’t excuse the obvious mismanagement of the more valuable career. I’m not just talking about Ziggler’s career either. If ol’ Ziggy isn’t going to get over the top, his tv time could be spent far better on someone else. This halfway-booking that is going on right now is a disservice to not only Ziggler, but to others on the roster.
Time may be running out for our patience with Ziggler’s push (or lack thereof), but time might be running out for other WWE Superstars to make a career.
And that’s what’s really sad about last night’s result.
– I find it astonishing that Ring of Honor still demands to be taken seriously. Their television deal still excludes major markets (including Chicago…the 3rd largest in the United States), they still bleed talent left and right to other promotions, and they still can’t run an iPPV. Yep, you read that right. Ring of Honor had technical difficulties again at an iPPV this weekend. At some point, either the technology sucks, or you can’t work it. Hmmm…
– The best action this weekend was at the King of Trios tournament. I won’t see the matches until they come out on DVD, but I have seen the lineup. The best action this weekend was at the King of Trios tournament.
– Katie Lea/Winter recently did an interview where she talked about how she didn’t see wrestling as a career. It’s a shame she’s probably got the right idea.
Ray Bogusz is the co-host of the In The Room Show and a syndicated wrestling columnist. You can reach him via his Twitter @wrestlekingray. To get “ITR on the Go” on your website, email firstname.lastname@example.org.