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Posted in: CPR Productions
Buried or Alive? The Dolph Conundrum (CPR Productions)
By Mazza
Jan 17, 2013 - 12:02:55 PM

‘Sup, CF? I guess a lot of you were expecting the latest issue of Ranking the Raw Talent. When I sat down to start writing it yesterday I had a total block though. The problem is there is a limit to how many times you can pretty much say the same thing. I just went through the same thoughts that I did almost every week. Hell No were hilarious, I love the Rock even though I get why some wouldn’t, Ziggler delivers again, Cesaro and Barrett have potential, Punk is... well... Punk. Of course it isn’t always quite as monotone as that but I realised that for the Road to WrestleMania I’d want to talk about points of interest in a little more depth. So a day after canning RTRT I find myself back in my column writing seat with my thoughts focussed in on one man.

Anybody who is a regular reader of my columns will know that I am a big Dolph Ziggler fan. I think his athleticism is extraordinary and I cannot wait for him to cash-in his Money in the Bank briefcase and finally become World Champion. Well, I guess technically he has held the belt before but let’s face it, David Arquette’s run with the big gold belt has more credibility than Dolph’s. But that’s another story for another day. Today I want to talk about how Dolph has been booked since he won the the Smackdown MitB match. I guess you know where I am going with this by now. You probably think I’m going to express my disgust at how Ziggler was once again buried by John Cena on Raw. If so then think again.

For the second week in a row, the future of the business threw everything he had (legal and illegal) at the company posterboy only to be put down for the one, two, three. To say this has upset the Internet Wrestling Community would be a bit of an understatement. Many having been waiting patiently for years for Dolph to have that push towards the glass ceiling and it is already almost two years since his aforementioned run where he was awarded the belt, only to lose it 11 minutes and 23 seconds later. I mean that really put Christian’s two runs with the strap a couple of months later into perspective. Anyway, since that first run, Ziggler has continued to get better in all aspects of his work and when he won the briefcase this year, it was surely only a matter of time until he would put right past wrongs. The only problem is we’re still waiting. Not only are we still waiting, we are not being shown any signs of Ziggler being booked like a world championship contender and those back-to-back losses to Cena may have just ruined his credibility for good... except that they haven’t. Dolph Ziggler is still very much on the path to becoming a bonafide main event player for the company.

Let’s start by heading back in time to the Money in the Bank PPV. It was six months ago yesterday that Dolph beat out seven other guys to land a guaranteed World Heavyweight Championship shot whenever he liked. Ziggler’s booking has undoubtedly been a tad, shall we say inconsistent since then, but what about the other guys he faced in the match. First off there is the criminally under appreciated Tyson Kidd whose 124 month injury won’t make one iota of difference to the Raw episodes he can’t snag an appearance on. Or how about the criminally under appreciated Christian who is in the middle of his own 124 month injury lay-off. Then of course there was Sin Cara, who is really tempting me to totally run this “124 month injury” thing into the ground. The other good guy in the match was Santino, who is lucky if he gets to make one appearance a month on the WWE’s overly long flagship show. Those were the face stars in the match, but what about Ziggler’s fellow bad guys? Well there was Tensai, the world’s largest non-shucking and jiving jobber as well as Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, who have only being given any kind of relevance thanks to the resurgence of the tag division. I am pretty sure all seven of those guys would love to be main event jobbing to John Cena right now.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that Ziggler needs to be built up and Cena has nothing to lose by giving Dolph a bit of a rub. Again, this is not something that I actually believe. In fact I would say that Cena needs the momentum much more than Ziggler. You see, Cena has a big date in a couple of months time at WrestleMania. It is extremely likely that it will be against the man who beat him last year and highly probable that said man will be WWE Champion at the time. WWE haven’t been trying to disguise the fact that Cena had an absolutely horrible 2012. If we are to believe that he has a chance of beating The Rock on April 7th he really needs to build up some wins. Even if Cena vs Rock II doesn’t happen, Johnny boy will still be in one of the night’s big three matches. Cena, Rock, Punk, Undertaker, Lesnar, Triple H - The Mania 29 Headliners Club is pretty much a given right now and Ziggler’s name will not be added to that list.

So what does WrestleMania hold for Ziggler? Best case scenario is that he is involved in the World Heavyweight Championship match, but if you believe the rumours, even that isn’t on the cards right now. I don’t see him cashing in before April and the chances are he ends up in some kind of multiman (or multiperson) cluster****, just as he has done the previous three years. I guess throwing him and Big E at Team Hell No could be a possibility but of all his options, none of them would really fully capitalise on the momentum a big win over John Cena would bring. Hell, even if he becomes the first man to cash-in his briefcase at the Granddaddy of them All, it really doesn’t matter because once he has that belt, everything that happened before becomes irrelevant.

See that is the gift and the curse of the Money in the Bank briefcase. The moment it is cashed in successfully it pretty much gives you a clean slate. Edge lost to an 87 year old Ric Flair on the same night he became the first man to cash-in. But that, along with everything else he did between WrestleMania 21 and New Years Revolution 2006 really didn’t matter. And it’s been the same story with every longish wait for a cash-in since. Sure, it encourages lazy booking but we all know that creative don’t need much of an opportunity to rest on their laurels. There were five PPVs between Money in the Bank 2010 and The Miz cashing in. His record on these PPVs is 3-2. He lost at three of them and couldn’t get a match on the other two. He went on to have probably the most successful run from a cash-in. Now let’s have a look at last year’s event. After picking up the briefcase, Bryan lost on the following PPV. He did pick up victories at the next three events, but all of them were in dark matches. He wasn’t even given that at Survivor Series before he cashed in at TLC. Like with Miz however, the booking he was given once he got the title was spot on and although that came crashing down at WrestleMania, he had a successful first run as world champion.

Compared to Miz and Bryan, Ziggler sits in a stronger position before his cash-in. First of all he is feuding with Cena. Whichever way you choose to look at it, that is big. In fact, he knocked off Cena in the main event of the last PPV. That is huge, even if there were some shenanigans in play. He may have had his ass handed to him every other time they met but when the stakes were highest, Dolph came through. You know what else he’s done since Money in the Bank? Retired Chris Jericho in addition to being captain and sole survivor of his own Survivor Series team. Now he even has his own entourage that are getting plenty of TV time on Raw. Each one of those things is a huge rub and a nod from management in my opinion and a few losses to the likes of Cena, Orton, Sheamus and Jericho isn’t going to cancel that out. Ziggler is a long way from buried and his shot at the big time is coming in the next few months. I, for one, believe is now ready to seize that opportunity when it finally arrives and “show the world”. I know it seems like it has been a long time coming but never forget, the best things come to those who wait.

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