In 19 days at Royal Rumble, Dolph Ziggler gets a chance to realize a dream few could have predicted he would achieve at this point in his career: obtaining the WWE Championship.
Currently held by CM Punk, the WWE Championship belt is symbolically given to a man that the company feels they can build the brand around.
Only 43 different men have ever had the honor to call themselves a WWE Champion. Even with that statistics, first-time WWE Champions are more common now than ever.
In fact, at least one man has joined the WWE Championship club every single year since 2004. Can Ziggler be 2012's addition to that short list?
With WrestleMania less than 12 weeks away, does WWE have the confidence in Dolph Ziggler to have him possibly obtain the title before the biggest show the promotion will have all year long? Ziggler has the chance to become a world champion yet again at the end of January, but some question if he is ready.
Ziggler has dominated the mid-card, holding the United States Championship for months. Still, there are those who wonder if Ziggler is good enough to sustain his spot in the world title picture.
Dolph Ziggler is not a flash in the pan, but will stay close to the top of RAW for the foreseeable future. Ziggler has proved to the world that this is a spot that he has earned through hard work.
Here are seven reasons to defend the Show Off.
Some critics of Ziggler could immediately cite that Vickie Guerrero, who stands at ringside for Ziggler during his matches, has to use her heel status to garner attention for Dolph. That may have been true a year ago, when Ziggler was chasing Edge and his World Heavyweight Championship.
But Ziggler has changed since that time. He can now pull a reaction out of the crowd all by himself.
His segments on Zack Ryder's viral YouTube series, Z! True Long Island Story, have given Ziggler extra time to show his face and get his character over to fans, including those who are pro-Ryder.
The show helped to spice up his feud with Ryder over the United States Championship. Ryder now holds that championship, but Ziggler has moved on to bigger and better things.
Do you remember the Chicago crowd a few weeks ago on RAW when Ziggler pinned CM Punk as the WWE Champion ran the gauntlet? Ziggler pulled the upset, angered the crowd and, for extra insult, grabbed the WWE Championship and paraded around with it.
Talk about getting heat.
Again, some of this may be due to in part by Ryder's YouTube show, but Ziggler has always been pretty strong with a microphone in his hand. Knowing his history with gimmicks, this was also finally a time of stability for Ziggler to stretch his wings and really dig into the soul of his character.
Ziggler's promos aren't just better because of his stick skills. Ziggler actually sounds invested in his words because he is invested in his character.
Ziggler is only now truly hitting his stride with his mic work, allowing himself to be witty, fast-talking and clear.
Ziggler's microphone skills are fantastic for 31-year-old and is something that I have not seen since Chris Jericho, who was the same age when he won his first-ever WWE Championship.
Not everyone can pull off the looks that Ziggler has.
We can forget about his short stint with short brown hair. His suit jackets with no shirt and a tie around his neck is a classic reckless look. Ziggler has even allowed himself to change his style to something all his own.
The designs and patterns for some of his trunks are very interesting.
Ziggler's crazy style can actually fit well as WWE Champion. Now, all that has to do is go out and actually grab it.
A few years ago, someone would have called you nuts if I was proclaiming that a man in WWE would have the Sleeper Hold, a very old-school move.
In fact, much of what Ziggler does offensively is either a throwback to the old days or something very unique and crazy.
It may seem anticlimactic when Ziggler, who was often compared to Billy Gunn in his career, does a Sleeper Hold. It still is something to cheer about as multiple big-time matches have been ending matches with sleeper holds.
You know you're doing well as a heel when everyone is giving you a good reaction. Ziggler even gets a lot of cheers from fans.
That is because even the fans can realize Ziggler's talent. He is considered one of the best workers in WWE right now, enabling him to elevate other talent and have phenomenal matches with top-tier talent.
Ziggler could feud with a broomstick and get that broomstick over with the crowd.
Dolph Ziggler even uses social media to connect with fans, strengthen his gimmick and lengthen storylines. Currently, Ziggler actually has over 200,000 Twitter followers. That only helps Ziggler's momentum, earning him the self-professed title as the "#HEEL".
Ziggler talks very bluntly in promos, doing enough to get young fans to hate him and having enough quips and obscure references to keep the marks at bay.
Ziggler is a student of Vickie Guerrero's, which means success naturally follows.
Look back at Vickie's list of superstars that she has coached from the sidelines. Unless your name is Eric Escobar, there has been some success in your stint with Guerrero in your corner.
Since starting an alliance with Vickie, Dolph Ziggler has been Intercontinental and United States champion. He was even World Heavyweight Champion last year for an official reign of 11 minutes and 23 seconds.
Without Guerrero at ringside for Royal Rumble, can Ziggler complete the grand slam of singles gold in WWE?
It was at last year's Royal Rumble that Ziggler had a great match against World Heavyweight Champion Edge. A year later, Ziggler's status as a main eventer is more sustained than it was back then.
In 2011, Ziggler seemed thrown into the main event just for filler. While some would argue that this is the same situation, Ziggler seems more ready for the championship.
I won't go on record with saying that Ziggler will walk out of St. Louis as WWE Champion, but the match will prove that Ziggler's place in world title conversations is not a mistake. While Dolph can continue to elevate the other guys in that spot, it does not do him any favors.
Plain and simple, Ziggler belongs in the main event.