Dolph Ziggler and Five WWE Raw Superstars Who Need a Storyline Now
With WrestleMania fast approaching in less than four weeks, the WWE has given most of their television time over to promoting the three big matches on the event's card: The Rock vs. John Cena, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho and The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match (with Shawn Michaels as guest referee).
All three matches will be big draws for the pay-per-view but are notable in that between the three matches, only two participants (Cena and Punk) are full-time wrestlers.
With most of the available time on Raw and SmackDown being devoted to these part-time or guest wrestlers, there has been little opportunity to successfully build additional feuds or storylines to the card.
It comes at the expense of a number of hard-working, charismatic superstars who are already "over" with the crowd and are finding themselves marginalized on their own shows.
The WWE seems content to put some of their top talent into rushed last-minute matches to pad out the WrestleMania card.
The five superstars listed here deserve to be pushed front-and-center in the new wrestling year and should see bigger opportunities after the event.
"The Show-Off" has come a long way over the last few years and has planted himself as a top heel in the WWE based on his charisma and in-ring abilities. He can generate a tremendous amount of heat, even without manager Vickie Guerrero's involvement.
After holding the U.S. championship for six months in 2011, Ziggler dropped the title in December and quickly ascended to the WWE championship title picture and met Punk in a title match at January's Royal Rumble.
Going into WrestleMania, Ziggler is a popular heel without a face to feud with.
He was pushed aside in favor of a Punk-Jericho match and has yet to reestablish himself with another storyline and like most of the other Superstars on this list, he has been biding his time in meaningless tag team matches.
Though Dolph seems due to face CM Punk for the title sometime after WrestleMania, he is currently the victim of bad timing.
The Ghana-born superstar has often been seen his momentum start and stop over the years.
Last summer, the WWE paired Kingston with Evan Bourne to form Air Boom and gave the two talents something to do.
With Bourne suspended due to a wellness-policy violation for the second time in less than three months, Kingston was forced to work as a solo Superstar once again.
He was fortunate enough to build momentum in the lead-up to his appearance in an Elmination Chamber match at last month's eponymous pay-per-view and remains as popular with the audience as ever.
It has since become apparent that his build leading to Elimination Chamber was only to make him a viable competitor in that match and the WWE has done almost nothing with Kingston after the event.
After an awkward pairing with R-Truth, Kingston was illogically thrown into a victory celebration for Santino's United States Championship win this past week.
It's clear that the WWE isn't sure what their plans for Bourne (and Air Boom) are going forward.
For the moment, Kingston is taking the biggest hit of Bourne's suspension and should be better utilized until he comes back.
Jack Swagger has always been an awkward heel that has occasionally been given title runs.
Last summer, Swagger joined Guerrero's stable, granting him nearly guaranteed television time every week, occasional spats with stable-mate Ziggler and a brief rivalry with Zack Ryder.
Back in January, Swagger beat Ryder to win the U.S. title and held it for almost a month-and-a-half.
However, Swagger's U.S. title run was extremely quiet and he failed to appear on Raw for weeks.
He dropped the title this past week to Marella in slapdash fashion with no build, which was meant to indicate the WWE's push of the victor, but came across more like Swagger's burial.
Swagger's in-ring abilities and inherent awkwardness should make him a solid comical heel if the WWE is interested in building him up again. He has enough heat from the audience to warrant such a push.
The Miz has been one of the WWE's most utilized heels since he joined the company full-time in 2006.
In November 2010, Miz won the WWE title and remained champion for 160 days, the lengthiest title run since Triple H held it in 2008.
Since dropping the title to Cena, Miz has found himself in forced story lines involving R-Truth and utilized backstage as a punching bag for low pay-per-view buyrates.
Though despised amongst many members of the Internet wrestling community, Miz still draws some of the biggest heat in the company and is still one of the most charismatic superstars on the microphone.
He may be a victim of behind-the-scenes politics, but Miz is one of the more marketable members of the WWE roster and could be better utilized in a feud or as a valet.
Even though the current Divas roster is one of the weakest in recent years, Beth Phoenix stands as one of the most talented female wrestlers in WWE history.
After an extended rivalry with Kelly Kelly, Phoenix won the Divas championship last October and has held the title ever since.
Paired with Natalya, Phoenix has started small feuds with Eve Torres and Tamina Snuka while defending her title.
However, Phoenix receives far less screen time than many of the other Divas.
The WWE not only seems unsure of what to do—not only with Phoenix, but the entire Divas division, investing little screen time in any of the women.
Though the WWE may be waiting for Kharma to return from maternity leave to pick up on an major Divas storylines, there is still plenty for Beth to keep busy with.
She could compete against new heel Eve or turn against her partner Natalya.
If the WWE decides to reinvest in the Divas division, Beth's role as Divas championship earns her a prime spot in any major storyline they create.