We are only one week into the new WWE brand split. But if the first week is any evidence, it looks like things may be changing. On RAW, we saw Finn Balor defeat Roman Reigns to earn the right to face Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Title at SummerSlam. Yes Finn Balor beat Roman Reigns clean in the middle of the ring. If I would have typed that sentence two months ago I would have been laughed out of the Internet.
If the results on RAW weren’t evidence enough of change, Smackdown backed it up. The main event was a six pack challenge, with the winner fighting Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. The match featured John Cena, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews. When you see that list of wrestlers, you would expect one of Cena, Styles, Bray or even Corbin to win. But the WWE surprised us again, and Dolph Ziggler ended up pinning AJ Styles to win the match and become the #1 contender. Again, I probably would have been laughed out of the Internet if I typed that sentence a month ago.
For the longest time, Dolph Ziggler was considered one of the most under-utilized wrestlers in the WWE. Ziggler is a good worker in the ring. He may oversell from time to time and risk injury doing so, but there is no doubting his work in the ring. Then in 2013, Ziggler’s hard work finally paid off when he won the World Title the night after Wrestlemania 29. I was in the building when that happened. To this day, I still don’t think I have been to a live event that had a bigger pop than that. The reaction was great. Finally Ziggler’s hard work was going to pay off. But Ziggler suffered a concussion and was out of action for a month. In his first Title defense, he lost the World Title to Alberto del Rio. Ziggler also turned face during the match.
But as the months grew on, it was quite evident that the WWE began to lose faith in Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler never got back up to the heights he was once at. Ziggler spent time in feuds again for the Intercontinental and United States Championship. Some thought maybe Ziggler would get a rub from being the sole survivor in his Survivor Series match when Team Cena defeated Team Authority, but that never happened. Ziggler then got caught in the middle of the Rusev/Summer Rae/Lana program. Luckily for us, that ended with the whole TMZ article revealing Lana and Rusev got engaged in real life.
Despite all of the set backs, and despite all of the crap thrown Ziggler’s way, you could always tell that he gave 100% when he was out there in the ring. Ziggler was bound to prove the critics wrong. His ring work never suffered during this time period. But as time went on, you could tell some fans started to get off the Dolph Ziggler bandwagon. Some fans maybe saw that Ziggler was never going to get back to the prominence he was once at on the card. Maybe Ziggler was bound to be stuck in the mid-card for the rest of his life.
But the fans were wrong.
I was in the crowd at Smackdown last week when Dolph Ziggler became the #1 contender for the WWE Championship. The crowd’s reaction included shock and joy. I turned to my friend who I was the show with in stunned disbelief. Was the WWE actually going to give Dolph Ziggler a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam? By gawd, yes they were. Dolph Ziggler was getting another shot to be at the top of the card.
Naturally, some “smarks” weren’t happy with the decision. Many thought that Ziggler didn’t deserve the win and how it came out of nowhere with no build. Ziggler even called out those fans the other day on Twitter.
Well, isn’t that what the next few weeks of Smackdown are for? We know what Ziggler can do on the mic. And we all know that wrestlers everywhere give 100% when they have the most motivation. But we don’t have to worry about that with Dolph Ziggler. I expect to see Ziggler go out there and give everything he’s got in this program with Dean Ambrose.
But is this just a one time thing for Dolph Ziggler? I sure hope not. With the brand split, the WWE needs to establish that more wrestlers on their roster can be threats to the Title and main event shows every night. Over the next few weeks, Dolph Ziggler needs to show everyone in the WWE that he can still be the guy if given the opportunity. Ziggler needs to prove the doubters wrong. Ambrose and Ziggler have the chance to steal the show at SummerSlam. And I expect them to come up with a program to give their match one hell of a story leading into the biggest show of the summer.
Dolph Ziggler’s theme song says he is here to show the world. Well it’s time Dolph. It’s time to show to everyone that you are still a guy that can steal the show every night. We know you believe in yourself, now it’s time to get everyone else back on board with you.
Until Next Time,
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