Dolph Ziggler has a point to prove. He believes he's the best wrestler currently in the WWE, and he's not getting the respect or attention he deserves. As a result, in an attempt to find a way to gain that respect and earn that attention, Ziggler chose a unique approach.
In a WWE full of grand entrances, larger-than-life personalities and characters who can often talk the talk, but not walk the walk, Ziggler is trying to show the WWE Universe that they are falling for the hype. Their focus should be on excellent wrestlers and not the flashy lights and outlandish costumes. To some, he might be right.
Being a strong in-ring worker is making a comeback in wrestling. Stars like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Shinsuke Nakamura—and even those outside the WWE like Kazuchika Okada—are being rewarded for their five-star match ability. Not Ziggler, however. Ziggler is overlooked and underappreciated and everyone knows it. So why is his new gimmick falling so flat? Why is pointing out the obvious not working? We've determined a few factors that seem to be stalling Ziggler's approach before it ever gets off the ground.
So why is his new gimmick falling so flat? Why is pointing out what should be obvious not working? We've determined a few factors that seem to be stalling Ziggler's approach before it ever gets off the ground.
5. People Like Flashy
Despite how much Ziggler believes anyone can do a flashy entrance or dance and parade around in outlandish costumes (and he's almost entirely correct in that observation) people like flashy and outlandish. Some of the most popular WWE Superstars are those who have an entrance, theme song or moment you look forward to seeing on TV or in person.
You can ask fans to respect better wrestling and they will. You can even ask them to not love a character solely because they can talk but not back it up. They might. But if you expect them to cheer for you while you bash the other things they like, they'll turn on you. That's what's happening here. No one cares about Ziggler's cause because they like what's he's fighting against.
4. He's A Tweener and Doesn't Know It
The way his current character is being portrayed on SmackDown Live, the WWE is going for a Miz type of approach. That is, whine until people hate you. The problem is, like The Miz, people don't actually hate Ziggler. They respect what he's done in his career and how he shaped a decent legacy. People, in fact, want to cheer for Ziggler and they think he's been shafted.
Since the WWE is trying to turn Ziggler heel and the fans want to root for him, it's a mixed bag of emotions. If you wanted this gimmick to have an effect, he needed to take on wrestlers who are receiving a push but, in the eyes of the fans, don't deserve it. This would be guys like Big Cass, Roman Reigns, or Jinder Mahal.
3. His Entrances Aren't Actually Entertaining
Focusing more on showcasing the silliness of the spectacle that is the WWE in all its glory, Ziggler is pouring his heart out in his performances to deaf ears. He's trying to recreate something that is synonymous with the talent who made these entrances famous, and like Mizdow or Axel before him, it doesn't work to recreate or even spoof these types of characteristics of past and present stars. The reason they work isn't just because they exist. It's because the people who play the characters matched the entrances perfectly.
There is the odd time when whatever Ziggler is doing comes across as funny. Most of the time, however, it's weak and sad and simply not very entertaining.
2. There's No End Goal
What is the ultimate goal here with these vignettes, entrances, and interruptions? Is there going to be a new version of Ziggler who eventually appears? Or, is this just going to continue on until he simply doesn't do it anymore? The point was made after the very first entrance. The second and third was tolerable, but the rest is just pointless demonstrations that the more this happens, the more it shows WWE may not have a long-term plan.
One of our colleagues here put it best. It's like watching an episode of a crime thriller where one crime and one case lasts a whole season and drags on and on. You realize about halfway in, there better be a large payoff here, or you're going to be disappointed. What's the payoff with this Ziggler idea? We're bound to be disappointed.
1. Ziggler Has His Foot Out The Door
When Ziggler disappeared, there was some buzz that he'd come back with a whole new look, gimmick and a fresh idea. He needed it because he lost the support of the WWE Universe and he didn't do anything relevant in quite some time. When he re-debuted and nothing had changed, a collective sigh of disappointment crept through the fanbase knowing this was likely the beginning of the end.
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Most people feel like this is Ziggler's last hoorah in the WWE. It's only a matter of time before he's gone and knowing he's been saddled with something silly like this is going to push him out the door even more quickly. Why try and get behind something you know won't last?