Dolph Ziggler has become a big favorite among the more hardcore wrestling fans, especially the Internet Wrestling Community. Yet the WWE star has been unable to crossover to the casual audience thanks to some questionable booking. Is it too late to save Dolph Ziggler?
The WWE have made feeble attempts to promote Ziggler as a major star. Ziggler is a former WWE world heavyweight champion, yet his title reign was over in the blink of an eye. Ziggler won Money in the Bank 2012 and is coming off two big wins over Randy Orton. It looked for a brief second that the WWE were finally committed to pushing Ziggler strong. That was until Monday night.
Ziggler shined on Monday night in a fantastic match against John Cena. On television, it was probably the best match Cena has had all year. The setup was perfect for the upset. Cena had one bad leg and the excuse could have been used that Ziggler beat an injured Cena, saving a rematch for a later time when Cena was healthy. Instead the hopes and dreams of Ziggler’s supporters came crashing down around the world when a one-legged John Cena defeated Ziggler ending his streak and reminding fans that Dolph is just another mid-card goof.
Now I know what the WWE uncreative team would say if I brought this up to one of them this morning. I am sure the directive from Vince McMahon would be, “Ziggler was getting a push just by being in the ring with John Cena.” That philosophy ladies and gentleman is exactly why you have had one new WWE star draw money on top in the last several years. Ironically the last star to do so just did it less than two months ago yet nobody has learned their lesson.
WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 buyrate numbers are in and the show was a monster success. Ryback is being credited with drawing the big number as the fresh face on top. Ziggler (and many other WWE stars) are far more exciting to watch in the ring than Ryback, so why did Ryback work? He worked because the WWE didn’t have enough time to screw it up. Ryback was undefeated heading into Hell in a Cell. Fans finally believed in a new character and wanted to see him wrestle the champion. The intrigue of the unpredictable finish helped draw a fantastic number for the show. The blueprint is right in front of their eyes, yet they continue to ignore it almost weekly with Ziggler.
What would happen now if Ziggler suddenly decided to cash in his title shot against The Big Show or anyone else in the main-event? I’d bet that just about every one of the casual fans wouldn’t believe for a second that Ziggler was winning. That dynamic of the wrestler with the hot streak going against the undefeated champion wouldn’t apply here, like with Ryback and Punk. Maybe Ziggler wins, maybe he doesn’t, but fans would still see him as somewhat of a fluke champion. The numbers wouldn’t be there and he’d wind up right back where he is at some point.
Look no further than CM Punk as a perfect case in point. I know that some of you Punk fans aren’t going to believe this, but Punk is not a draw. The ratings patterns every week show a guy that loses fan interest and draws some of the worst overrun numbers in years when he is without Cena. The push has certainly been there so what’s the problem? The problem is that Punk was marginalized before the big push. He lost to Triple H, he had Kevin Nash mocking him on television every week, and he even lost to Alberto Del Rio. Even the years before that Punk was always pushed, but never protected the way guys like Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, and Cena were on their way to the top. Even one year later fans don’t believe he’s the real deal. If Punk can’t convince the casual fans that he’s legitimate, how in the world will Ziggler?
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