by Daniel Johnson
At WWE SummerSlam 2014, Dolph Ziggler was victorious against The Miz and earned the WWE Intercontinental Championship for the second time Yet, because of so much yoyo pushing, a weak start and Ziggler just not getting any younger I’m left wondering if Ziggler fans should start getting excited just yet.
The WWE Intercontinental Championship was the first title Ziggler won in the WWE. Well, unless we count his run with the World Tag Team Championship with The Spirit Squad when he just went by Nicky (which we probably shouldn’t). At their best midcard titles can be a great way to push rising talent. Yet, at least since Razor Ramon won his fourth WWF Intercontinental Championship in 1995 too many midcard titles to some extent has been a sign that so and so is not going to the real main event.
Including Ziggler’s WWE United States Championship reign he is now on his third run with a title that is clearly meant to be a midcard title. He’dbe on his fifth if you added his World Heavyweight Championship reigns. Of course, Ziggler did not go from midcard belts to main event ones. His title tenures have shown a crystal clear display of yoyo pushing.
Also, troubling from Ziggler’s latest midcard run is his performance from the latest WWE Monday Night Raw. Instead of facing new competition or getting a decisive win over the man he just beat for his championship, Ziggler lost by countout. To the man he just beat for his championship.
On the plus side at least Ziggler got praised by Ric Flair in a backstage segment. It was a little too on the nose of a way of giving Ziggler credibility. Kind of unneeded too since with his work ethic Ziggler already should have as much credibility as any midcarder in WWE today, if not more.
Not to get too off focus here, but whatever happened to people keeping their allegiances in mainstream American wrestling? For example, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair each turned from fan favorite to heel at least a few times (okay much more for Ric than Hulk), but Bobby Heenan always hated Hogan and at minimum appreciated Flair. Now, Flair is pretty much burying Miz despite Miz being Flair’s protege just around a year ago. Flair is not the only one either. A few short years ago Michael Cole practically creamed himself at the sight of The Miz now he is only all too happy to crap on him.
Sexual fetishism aside, while the Flair endorsement was sort of nifty, a loss is a loss. Although Ziggler and Miz continue to have good matches at some point for Ziggler to excel he’ll need to get beyond Miz. This is tough for Ziggler to convincingly do when Miz is scoring victories over him. Not even particularly cheap victories for the heel either.
Lastly, in this triad of trouble for Ziggler is time itself. Bret Hart was 35 when he won his first world championship in the then WWF. You’ll be hard pressed to find a world champion who got the title for the first time older than that who accomplished more. Ziggler was 30, but his first run with the World Heavyweight Championship lasted minutes (literally) and his second one didn’t even reach 70 days. Also, it wasn’t even the most prestigious championship in the company at the time. Hart on the other hand held the WWF Championship for 174 days when it was the only world title in the WWF around and only lost it in the advertised main event of the greatest WWE spectacle there is, WrestleMania.
To end on a somewhat optimistic note I’ll briefly talk about the other side of the coin, which is much more positive. Unlike Kofi Kingston, Ziggler hans’t had 10 midcard title runs. Ziggler’s current run with the WWE Intercontinental Championship could instead be a rejuvenating midcard title reign, which no less of a force in the WWE than HHH has had. Miz beating Ziggler in his first title defense may have been a bad start, but it is just that, a start. Likewise, with Hulk Hogan teasing an in-ring return at 61, at 34 years-old Ziggler could have decades left to be in the main event.
Categories: Smooth Runs