Dolph Ziggler has been consistently fantastic in the ring for the WWE over his career, but time and time again he has been mistreated and poorly booked. That has led to him vacating his US Championship to ‘leave the company’. Obviously at this point, we don’t know if this is just in story or if Ziggler is actually stepping away from the WWE, but the possibility of The Showoff on the independents is an exciting prospect. With that in mind, we are going to look at 5 wrestlers that Ziggler needs to face upon joining the independents if that’s the route he decides to go.
5. Dalton Castle
Dalton Castle just recently became the new Ring of Honor World Champion, and has a bright future ahead of him. If Ziggler were to leave WWE and wrestle for ROH, it only makes sense for him to go after the top guy. Castle is a great wrestler, but the money in him is the character. The combination of these would work perfectly opposite a guy like Ziggler, and the two could create magic together. Unlike other entries on this list, this would have to be a program that builds to several matches with a story behind it. Otherwise a single match might fall flat, but it could go down as one of ROH’s best main events in recent memory if it did indeed happen.
4. Will Ospreay
Will Ospreay is the top high-flyer in the wrestling industry today. Despite the fact that Ziggler is not a true high-flyer, the athleticism on display would be incredible, and their match would likely be captivating from start to finish. Obviously this wouldn’t be as acrobatic as Will’s matches with Ricochet, but it would likely be just as good, as Ziggler’s in ring storytelling is as good as anyone’s in the world today. If Ziggler is looking for the biggest and most high profile matches, than a confrontation with Ospreay in Japan would do the trick as it could introduce him as a top star to another fan base entirely.
3. Keith Lee
We’ve seen many athletic big men in the world of wrestling, but none are doing it better today than ‘Limitless’ Keith Lee. With his incredible combination of size and speed, Dolph Ziggler would make the perfect opponent. Ziggler would bump around for Lee, and we’ve seen in matches against the likes of Ricochet and Flash Morgan Webster that Lee is perfect in this role and would be a match I’d pay to see. If Ziggler decides to primarily stay in the US with his wrestling, Evolve is a top contender for an appearance. It is the company that Lee made his name in and this would be just fantastic to watch.
2. Matt Riddle
We’ve mentioned it once or twice in articles by now, but Dolph Ziggler can bump and sell with the best of them. So why not pit him against one of the toughest and hardest strikers in the game today? Matt Riddle is a former UFC fighter, and is quite possibly the biggest star on the independents today. Matching him up against Ziggler would be perfect for both men as they could throw everything at each other and wrestle different style matches. This could take place somewhere like Evolve or anywhere in the UK, because Riddle is unlikely to sign with ROH or New Japan. It wouldn’t get the coverage perhaps that it deserves, but it would be one that many WWE fans the world over would seek out.
1. Pete Dunne
Pete Dunne is one of the hottest wrestlers in the entire world, and even though he’s working more and more under the WWE umbrella, there are certain indies he still works. If Dolph is done with the WWE, he NEEDS to search out The Bruiserweight. Given his ability to sell (and sometimes oversell), Ziggler would be the perfect opponent for Dunne. Whether it is for Progress, ICW or a smaller UK indie, this one would set the world on fire. If he could have hung around for longer, this is likely one we would have seen in the WWE, but the two would have much more freedom on the independents. It would likely be a match talked about all over the world for quite some time.
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