Dolph Ziggler seemed destined for his big push last April, when the still-reigning Money in the Bank contract holder cashed in his briefcase for a shot at then-World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio on Monday Night Raw and won the 40 pounds of gold.
Not long after, though, Ziggler suffered a concussion in a TV taping, and on top of a run of issues with concussions, and what we all now know about what a history of concussions can mean for an athlete, Ziggler was put on the shelf, then the backburner, and eventually, as is often the case in wrestling, was almost entirely forgotten.
Which gets us to SummerSlam, with Ziggler in the opening match against Intercontinental Champion The Miz in a match that had all the promise of match of the night given the skillsets and workrates of the two participants. The match fell short of reaching that status, largely because of the time constraints that they had to work within, but the result was important to Ziggler, who once again has gold around his waist after scoring the clean-fall win.
Is this a sign that WWE is once again showing faith in a push for Ziggler, who when healthy has all the potential in the world, in ring and on the mic, to be the kind of guy to build a company around?
The I-C title isn’t what it was in the 1980s, when Macho Man Randy Savage turned a long reign into momentum for a long run at the top. But though it isn’t what it once was, the I-C is still a steppingstone for talents to use as a testing ground for runs at the top of the card.
A key to the reason that we see Ziggler on the disabled list as often as he is has to do with his style, which involves active selling of his opponents’ moves, sometimes to his own detriment, so he will have to continue to work on how he works with his partners to put on what are often the best matches on the live and TV shows that he works without chopping off more time from the end of his career.
He’s been doing that well of late, and his mic work continues to be elite. With that and his look, a cross between Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and Shawn Michaels, Ziggs’ potential is limitless.
– Column by Chris Graham