Chair Shots: Is Dolph Ziggler Worthy?
Apr 30, 2013 - 10:13:21 AM
Welcome back readers to the column that got picked before Manti Te’o in the 2013 NFL Draft- Chair Shots! So I’m going to cut right to the chase today because last night during Raw Tito and I got into a very good discussion over the merits of the new World Heavyweight Champion, Dolph Ziggler. Now I’m not going to take any shots at a fellow columnist, because that’s not what I do, but I will say that we had some major disagreements on Ziggler’s past, present, and future. The quotes you’ll see are Tito’s actual tweets, and while my responses aren’t the exact tweets, they are the idea I conveyed in 140 characters or less. What started the discussion, was Ziggler’s match against the current United States Champion Kofi Kingston.
“Needs tons of interference from 2 people just to defeat the United States Champion. Good God #WWE. You wonder why nobody but Cena is over.”
I was perfectly fine with the way Dolph won the match, and in my response to Tito, I compared it to the way Ric Flair, in his heel prime, would almost never win a match clean. Now I never meant to insinuate in any way shape or form that Dolph is in the same league as Ric, but Flair would use anything and anyone he could to come out on top and keep his title. He’d pull trunks, use low blows behind the refs back (often with the assistance of JJ Dillon), have the other Horsemen intervene, etc. In his heyday I probably saw Ric wrestle a dozen times at the Baltimore Arena and I don’t think he had a clean pinfall once. Ziggler can be that kind of champion, and he will get heat from the crowd by doing it.
“@TripleRLOP LOL. You’re comparing Ric Flair, who won his first title against Harley Race at Starrcade CLEAN, to Dolph Ziggler? LOL”
Flair won clean against Harley Race when he was a face (which was actually his second reign). The fans wanted him to beat Harley Race, who at the time was the heel champion. Once he turned heel, everything changed. And as I said, while I’m not saying Dolph is Ric Flair, you can definitely draw comparisons. It would not surprise me one bit that Dolph Ziggler patterns his in-ring style and attitude to the Nature Boy.
“@TripleRLOP Dolph Ziggler doesn’t have the credibility to be World Champion, let alone the heat with fans to cheat to win.”
“@TripleRLOP Ric Flair worked his way up to the top and earned the World Title. Then, when he turned heel, he was booked to draw heat.”
Saying Dolph Ziggler doesn’t have the credibility to be World Champion is ludicrous. He’s a former US Champion, former Intercontinental Champion, former Tag Team Champion (as a member of the Spirit Squad), and a former World Heavyweight Champion. Yes, you can discount that first title reign as it was handed to him, but on the books it is there. When Flair won his first World Title, he had won the United States Championship 5 times as well as several other regional titles. Both men worked their way to the top.
When Ziggler first debuted under his current persona, he was looked at as a joke. He introduced himself to everyone backstage and most fans wondered who the bleach-blonde moron was. But once Ziggler hit the ring he showed everybody what he could do. He’s never had the opportunity to be a fan favorite, but in my opinion Ziggler does draw heat with his “Show Off” attitude and his affiliation with AJ and Big E. Langston. There’s a very good possibility that that trio all have gold around their waist in the very near future. AJ could take the Divas belt from Kaitlyn, and after Big E.’s attack on Kofi last night, the US Title could very well be around his waist before the Summer hits. As a power trio, they have heat and it starts with Dolph.
“@TripleRLOP Dolph Ziggler is NOT a draw, his booking has been terrible, & he brings nothing to WWE other than in-ring athleticism. Not earned.”
I will agree that Ziggler’s booking has been less than stellar, but except for a few members of the WWE roster, like The Shield and Team Hell No you can say that for almost every Superstar. The WWE tends to have this idea that whoever is holding the MITB briefcase has to go on a severe losing streak prior to cashing in the briefcase. It happened to Daniel Bryan as well, and he went on to have a very successful title reign that saw his popularity soar, despite being booked as a heel.
Saying he brings nothing to the WWE however is mind-boggling. Yes he is a great in-ring athlete as you mentioned, but he’s also starting to really embrace the psychology of the match. As I mentioned earlier, seeing Ziggler as the heel champion who weasels his way out of every match is EXACTLY what he should be doing. Fans will hate him more and more as he steals victories any way he can. With the ladder match coming up at Extreme Rules don’t be surprised if at the end of the match he appears completely out of the picture but finds a way to steal the championship from under Del Rio’s feet.
“@TripleRLOP Tell me where Dolph Ziggler has been a draw to earn that World Title and tell me 1 person he has legitimately beat.”
The flaw in that argument is that outside of John Cena, nobody is drawing ratings that mean anything nowadays. That’s because the WWE’s booking has been so predictable and stagnant that Raw and Smackdown aren’t “Must See TV” anymore. Also given that Ziggler is the “other champion” means he won’t be given nearly as much focus as the WWE Championship gets. That in itself is a shame, because both men are World Champions, yet one is ALWAYS thought of as less important than the other.
That’s why the brand split was so important for the title holders. Now, there’s so much overflow and the same people appearing on both Raw and Smackdown that certain titles take backseats (namely anything other than the WWE Championship). If Ziggler was strictly on Smackdown, with no storyline overlap with Cena or whoever was holding the other belt, he’d be in a better position.
As for who Ziggler has beaten? Well since last November, Ziggler has pinfall victories over SEVEN former World Champions (Jericho, Del Rio, Bryan, Kane, Miz, Cena, and Orton). I’d say that saying Ziggler hasn’t beaten anybody to get that shot is somewhat without merit.
“@TripleRLOP Great wrestlers overcome bad booking. I don’t think that the WWE has anyone charismatic to replace Cena.
I both agree and disagree with this statement. When all you have is bad booking, it’s remarkably hard to overcome it, but Ziggler has done about a good a job at it as anybody. Daniel Bryan has also done a remarkable job getting over despite having almost no credible opponents for the Tag Team titles for the last three months.
As for the WWE having anyone charismatic enough to replace Cena, well that’s definitely a problem, but I don’t really see Cena as charismatic. Cena is liked and disliked at the same time, but that doesn’t always mean charisma. I think he relies too much on juvenile humour, but when he wants to get serious, he’s as good as anyone on the WWE roster. He appeals to a select fan base, mostly kids and females, but charismatic? I’m not so sure I’d use that word for Cena.
“@TripleRLOP That Izod Center in New Jersey was cheering for anything. Can’t use that as a measure. Can Ziggler draw a houseshow as a champ?
Yes, the post WM Raw crowd was on fire, and they were having the time of their lives, but that pop that Ziggler got wasn’t just a random cheer because they were having fun. That cheer and that fan reaction was from a crowd that was truly loving seeing Dolph Ziggler cash-in and win the World Heavyweight Championship- as a heel! It was a crowd that recognized someone who had earned that title by working his ass off for the better part of the last two years despite some of the crap booking he had to endure. That was a crowd saying “Thank You” to Dolph Ziggler for his hard work.
As for house shows, you can’t really gauge anything by what they draw. House shows are there for the towns that will never get a PPV or a televised show, and for the fans that couldn’t otherwise afford to go to a live event. A lot of times they’re warm ups for the upcoming PPV’s. You’re just as likely to see Alex Riley at a house show as you are the World Heavyweight Champion. As I mentioned to Tito, Mazza just saw a house show headlined by the New Age Outlaws, who aren’t even active wrestlers at the moment. House shows will draw what house shows draw. Not much is going to change that other than a John Cena appearance.
So this is pretty much where our conversation ended, but the only thing I really added was that we have to give Dolph time. If they are going the route of having him win at any cost, then I am fully on board with that. Cheating to beat the United States Champion not only gets Ziggler heat, but also lessens the blow given to Kofi in taking a loss. Remember, at one time the United States Champion was the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Quite frankly, I’d love to see some prestige given back to that belt. It is now on Dolph to show that he can deliver as a Main Event wrestler. It’s something that I’m looking forward to, because for a change, it’s something different. So let’s embrace this championship reign and hope that The Show-Off can honestly and truly show-off.
Until next time,
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