The Biggest Party of the summer is slowly closing in as the WWE approaches their second biggest PPV of the year, SummerSlam. For the second year in a row, the WWE will host this event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and this year has been described by fans as having the potential to be one of the best PPVs of the year, as well as one of the best SummerSlam event in years. With the long awaited NXT Superstar Finn Bálor being shot into the main event scene with Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Championship, the dream match between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton occurring, as well as the rematch between Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Charlotte, the WWE is trying their best to shake things up, as well as give fans what they want. However, one of the more controversial matches that will be taking place at SummerSlam is the SmackDown showcase between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship.
While fans were happy to see Dean Ambrose finally win the World Title a few months ago, they were also wondering what interesting feuds Ambrose would be involved in following the brand split and the eventual Triple Threat Match that occurred at Battleground this past month. And for many fans, Ziggler was not the ideal opponent for the second biggest show of the year. Now this wasn’t Ziggler’s fault, as his momentum and credibility had been destroyed prior to this point, but the fact remains that he got a title shot and some fans didn’t feel he deserved it.
So to look at both sides of the argument, this article will look at the eight Reason why Ziggler should be pushed now and the eight Reasons why he shouldn’t be.
16 For - Never Really Given A Chance
When people discuss upper midcard guys who were once given runs at main events, most people think of Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, and Dolph Ziggler. However, Ziggler’s opportunities at the main event were relatively limited in comparison to the other wrestlers previously mentioned. Where Del Rio and Sheamus were pushed as main eventers pretty much from the beginning of their WWE careers, Ziggler had to work his way to the top and change his gimmick and appearance multiple times. From the caddy of Kerwin White to Nicky of The Spirit Squad and finally to his current character, Ziggler truly had to bide his time until he was given a chance to be a main event player.
However, those opportunities in the main event were never really genuine chances. His first World Championship reign ended abysmally as Edge reclaimed the title in an eight minute match. His next World Title win would begin with massive amounts of momentum only for concussions and his commentary on certain wrestlers to cost him his chance. With all those limited opportunities beforehand, Ziggler’s new push could very well be his last chance as a potential top star. And because of this, the WWE would be wise to push him now and go with the controversy as they have done so many times before.
15 Against - Far from New
While it is true that Dolph Ziggler has been given limited chances in the past, the fact remains that Ziggler is far from a new wrestler. And in an era where the WWE is focused on their newer wrestlers becoming stars, how does pushing Ziggler accomplish that goal?
Excluding his other characters, Ziggler has been on the main roster since his debut in 2008. Including his time in Ohio Valley Wrestling until now, Ziggler has been with the company for 12 years. On top of that, Ziggler was being pushed as a potential main event level player from 2010 to the summer of 2013. He feuded against bigger stars like John Cena and Randy Orton and had the momentum necessary to warrant a main event spot, but that time has long passed. Whether it was creative messing it up or Ziggler not being healthy enough, the fact remains that he has been given chances to some degree and some of them just didn’t work out. And to push him now, when other stars like Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles are far more popular, seems like a poor decision.
14 For - Shows He Still Has Value
Following the events of the 2014 Survivor Series PPV, Dolph Ziggler had a lot of momentum that could’ve led to an eventual main event run down the line. With a string of good matches as the Intercontinental Champion and the crowd still very much behind him, all it would’ve taken was a few matches for the WWE Championship to show the fans that he could still be used as a main event player.
Unfortunately for him, the WWE squandered that opportunity by taking taking the Intercontinental Championship away from him. Follow that up with a terrible feud with Rusev, Lana, and Summer Rae and it all but solidified the thought that Ziggler would never get a main event opportunity again. However, with him recently becoming the number one contender, the idea of him being champion has begun to fester in the minds of fans and some of them believe he actually can do it. And even if he doesn’t win, this could be the jolt that he needs to put some life back into his career for a long-term basis.
13 Against - He's Stale
Dolph Ziggler had been a heel throughout the majority of his career following his debut in 2008. Slowly but surely, fans were waiting for when the WWE would hear the cheers he was garnering and turn him face. This would eventually happen at the Payback PPV when he would lose the title to Alberto Del Rio in a double turn.
Since that time, Ziggler’s character has remained the same with little to no interesting storylines to change that fact or put a new spin on his gimmick. And after the WWE missed the chance to build on the momentum of Ziggler following the 2014 Survivor Series match, his character was clearly stale. He was trying different things with his attire, but it didn’t do much to change the fact that his face character had run its course. Now the WWE may be able to fix this if they turn him heel, but that itself brings about another problem.
12 For - He's Trying His Best
When Ziggler was announced as the number one contender for the WWE Championship, many fans believed that he wasn’t the right person to put in a feud with Dean Ambrose. With a lack of buildup and credibility working against him, Ziggler getting a main event push seemed like something that should’ve happened later rather than sooner.
But after watching SmackDown this past week, the WWE seems to be trying their best to make Ziggler a credible main event level superstar again. The WWE integrated some of the backlash of Ziggler becoming the number one contender into the story on the latest episode of SmackDown and it really helped in making Ziggler look a little more credible as a contender. His promo was better than most of the stuff he has done over the past few years and the match between himself and Bray Wyatt made for some interesting TV. He’s always put effort into what he’s been given by the WWE and if he continues to put forth this effort, in addition to correct booking, then he might be able to prove why his main event run should’ve happened much sooner.
11 Against - Not Very Exciting
When people describe Dolph Ziggler’s in-ring skills, most people can only ever talk about how he sells moves. Other than that, Ziggler’s in-ring ability is relatively basic and not very exciting. His moves don’t involve any high-risk feats, anything really technical, nor are they done better than other wrestlers who have done the moves previously. The most well-known moves in his arsenal are the superkick, the fameasser, jumping DDT, facebuster, and his finishing move, the Zig-Zag.
Of all those moves named, none of them really stand out. This is especially true in regards to the superkick, DDT, and facebuster; moves that almost everyone does in the WWE nowadays. When looking back at some of his best matches, it ultimately comes down to the one thing he’s actually known for doing; selling moves. This is evidant in one of his best matches, the World Title match against Alberto Del Rio in 2013. Del Rio was mostly attacking his head and Ziggler selling it. And while selling is a great trait to have, his in-ring work is not that interesting.
10 For - He Fits The Underdog Narrative
Anyone who has watched the WWE over the years will know that the one storyline they love to utilize is the underdog story. Whether it be a wrestler who keeps getting screwed with or a wrestler who doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a WWE Champion, or sometimes both, the WWE will always try to push this narrative; especially for their big PPVs. An example would be the recent push of former NXT superstar Finn Bálor as a main event level Superstar. Bálor is wrestler who’s taller than Daniel Bryan, but leaner than him as well to the point where he makes just about everyone next to him look bigger. Aside from that point, Bálor is also completely inexperienced in regards to the main roster of the WWE since he’s only been there for a few weeks now. In this scenario with a two-time World Champion in Seth Rollins, Bálor is clearly the 'underdog'.
The same could be said of Dolph Ziggler, who the fans have gotten behind again and again, but to no avail. He’s held the World Title before, but both reigns were honestly laughable in how short they were. Though Ambrose didn’t start winning until recently, he is still in a better position and has more momentum than Ziggler, making him an ideal underdog in this situation.
9 Against - Not Really Original
When looking at Ziggler’s character, attire, and his in-ring work, most people can’t help but compare him to past wrestlers like Mr. Perfect, Billy Gunn, and Shawn Michaels. The Mr. Perfect comparisons are often associated with his selling ability and similar look, the Billy Gunn comparisons mostly come from the fact that he uses the fameasser, and the Shawn Michaels comparisons are way too obvious not to notice.
From the pattern on his wrestling tights to the stomp he does before his superkick, Michaels' influence on Ziggler is obnoxiously apparent. The comparisons with Mr. Perfect and Billy Gunn aren't big of issues, but his incorporation of some of The Heartbreak Kid’s trademarks have caused many fans to think nothing more of Ziggler than a rip-off of the Hall of Famer. Even his mantra of “Stealing the Show and Your Girlfriend” can be directly related to Michaels’s character and his moniker as The Showstopper. He’s had eight years to find his own identity and if the best he can come up with is a poor man’s Shawn Michaels, then he doesn’t need to be anywhere near a World Title.
8 For - Other Wrestlers Are Preoccupied
It goes without saying that many fans would’ve probably preferred that Ziggler’s push not happen at this moment and that other wrestlers get the opportunity for the World Championship instead. Many fans would’ve entertained the idea of Bray Wyatt receiving the opportunity or perhaps John Cena or AJ Styles. All of those wrestlers have far more momentum and popularity amongst the fans than Ziggler did at the time of the number one contender's match.
However, the WWE seemed to already have plans for the other wrestlers in that number one contender’s match. Apollo Crews became the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship, John Cena and AJ Styles are having another match, and the plans for Baron Corbin and Bray Wyatt will more than likely be revealed before SummerSlam; assuming there are plans for them made. So with only a handful of Superstars who could’ve believably challenged for the World Title, Ziggler was probably the second best option for this match at SummerSlam, but a good option nonetheless.
7 Against - This Doesn't Help Dean Ambrose
While looking into the reasons why it’s good or not good for Dolph Ziggler to get this push right now, one of the biggest reasons actually happens to be the current WWE Champion Dean Ambrose.
When The Shield broke up, Ambrose was getting the biggest crowd reactions in the company short of Brock Lesnar. His character as an unstable madman was connecting and he could’ve easily been inserted into the world title picture with little to no questions asked. But rather than build on what they had in Ambrose, they made him lose every major feud he had. Look at all the biggest names the WWE currently has and all of them have defeated Ambrose at one point or another. Only recently did Ambrose beat Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, but they aren’t that much bigger in regards to star power. The best option to make Ambrose credible would be for him to fight an opponent who’s on a higher level, like Lesnar or John Cena. Putting him in a headlining match against a midcarder does nothing to help the prestige of the belt, nor will it make Ambrose look good if he loses. Also, Ziggler and Ambrose have faced each other multiple times, so another win for Ambrose won’t mean much more than it did previously.
6 For - Homegrown Guy
When looking at the WWE over the past few years, there are very few homegrown talents that have been pushed by the company. Ever since the end of Ohio Valley Wrestling, most of the WWE’s talent have come from the independent circuits as opposed to the WWE’s own developmental systems. Look no further than The Shield to exemplify that as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins made names for themselves in independent promotions while Roman Reigns was purely a product of the WWE’s Developmental System. And with so many wrestlers from other independent promotions getting pushed, the narrative has mostly become that the WWE is struggling to create their own stars, so they have to take them from other promotions.
If the WWE wants to mix up the type of wrestlers they push, then having Dolph Ziggler get promoted would be a great way to show that their homegrown talents are just as capable. Ziggler is a product of the now-defunct WWE developmental system in Ohio Valley Wrestling and is a WWE guy through and through. And in the off chance he wins, it’ll show that the WWE can make their own stars big names rather than simply elevating independents.
5 Against - Not A Credible Opponent
Initially, Dean Ambrose’s credibility was ruined by the WWE when they had him face every big name they had to offer only for him to fall short. For Dolph Ziggler, he’s dealt with the same issue, except it has been much more severe in his case. Since the beginning of 2015, Ziggler has been relegated to that of a lower midcarder. He’s been placed in a few big matches like the two Intercontinental Championship ladder matches these past few years at WrestleMania, and even managed to get a match against Triple H on Raw, but other than that he’s been in no major feuds that would make him a credible opponent for the biggest prize in professional wrestling.
Now many would recall Daniel Bryan losing a few matches after WrestleMania and then receiving a title shot by John Cena, but those losses were morphed into a story that began long before the buildup to SummerSlam. In Ziggler’s case, there’s been no buildup and it seems like a random title shot.
Speaking of buildup…
4 For - No Longer Wasted Talent
When fans think about Dolph Ziggler and all the potential he had following his debut in 2008, the one thing that comes to mind with the fans is the phrase “wasted talent.” To say that Ziggler was always a main event level Superstar would be the furthest thing from the truth, but he was as ready as he would ever be in 2013.
After feuding with some of the biggest stars in the WWE, Ziggler had the credibility and the momentum on several different occasions from 2012-2014 to warrant another run at a World Title. Countless opportunities were wasted as Ziggler was looked over and ignored in favor of other wrestlers the WWE was more concerned with pushing at the time. With this opportunity presenting itself for Ziggler, the WWE now has a chance to prove that Ziggler won’t be another wasted talent like so many other wrestlers have been. Whether Ziggler wins or he loses, he can become an important part of the show once again.
3 Against - Not Built Up
As stated before, due to the consistent losses Ziggler has sustained over the past two years, he doesn’t seem anything like a World Champion contender. His overall lack of credible wins prior to becoming the number one contender made him closer to an enhancement talent than World Championship material.
However, this credibility problem could’ve been easily fixed with a proper build. Rather than making Ziggler the number one contender on week one, they could’ve had Ziggler discussing the brand split for weeks prior to the draft, explaining how it would provide him with a second chance at becoming a main eventer. Then, after being drafted to SmackDown, Ziggler could’ve picked up some wins in a two-week tournament where Ziggler beat some of the bigger names on SmackDown. And with Ambrose’s interview with Steve Austin happening in the midst of the SummerSlam buildup, Ambrose could’ve made a prediction of who it was going to be. Then, when Ziggler won, there would be a story of Ambrose underestimating Ziggler and Ziggler looking to prove himself.
2 For - Fulfills The Purpose Of The Brand Split
When looking at the brand split of previous years, the one thing that it can be credited with was the creation of newer stars in the WWE. John Cena, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar are three of the biggest and most well-known WWE Superstars on the roster and they were each products of the initial brand split that started in 2002. The brand split was effective in making stars for the company which ultimately contributed to the enjoyment of the WWE by the fans during those years, enjoyment that isn’t as strong as it once was.
So with this new brand split, the WWE has a chance to create stars and make certain wrestlers more important, so long as it’s executed well. With both Ziggler and Finn Bálor getting main event pushes, the WWE has already started utilizing the brand split for its purpose, as two men are getting main event level pushes at the same time. Ziggler may not be the most credible wrestler, nor has he had a sufficient build up to his title shot, but the fans seemed to have accepted it and that’s all that really matters. And as long as the WWE executes this well, then the buildup following his ascension back to the top of the card will make up for the lack of build beforehand.
1 Against - Push Isn't Genuine
Due to the lack of genuine star power on the roster, many fans were expecting that overlooked talents like Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt would be given a chance in the future to compete for the world title. These opportunities would come relatively soon as Ziggler became the number one contender on the first week of SmackDown Live. Now there have been many arguments made against Ziggler getting this main event push right now, but the biggest reason of all of them is that this feels like a forced push.
While Ziggler did seem like someone that the WWE would push as a main eventer, they missed the boat time and again with his booking. They’ve had moments where he had the momentum necessary for a push and the WWE failed to capitalize on them. Now, two weeks into the brand split and Ziggler’s push seems like nothing more than a moment for the hardcore fans to look at as the sign of WWE “doing things right.” No buildup, no foreshadowing, no credibility, and no storyline all make this push a forced one as a result of the brand split. Nothing more, nothing less.