Dolph Ziggler is just two days away from arguably the biggest match of his WWE career when he’ll put his Money in the Bank briefcase on the line against John Cena at WWE TLC.
This is a major opportunity for “The Showoff,” but as we approach what may be the most important night of his life, the WWE has given us no reason to believe in him.
It was only a few short weeks ago that Ziggler had one of the best weeks of his career. He was the soul survivor for his team at Survivor Series, he laid out Cena on Raw and then picked up a big victory over Randy Orton in the main event of SmackDown.
But that was a great week in the middle of plenty of bad ones.
Even though Ziggler is being portrayed as a main eventer for essentially the first time in his career, he’s spent most of the year losing to the WWE’s biggest babyface stars.
It’s hard to count how many times he’s lost to Sheamus over the course of 2012. Heck, he just lost to “The Great White” on Raw this week when he got himself disqualified by hitting Sheamus with a chair.
Ziggler also lost to Randy Orton at Night of Champions and Chris Jericho at SummerSlam. In fact, aside from his wins at Money in the Bank and Survivor Series, he's generally been booked like a loser for the majority of 2012.
Superstars turn their fortunes around all the time, going from consistently losing to consistently winning. The problem for Ziggler is whom he’s lost to recently.
That person is none other than the man he’ll be facing at WWE TLC, John Cena.
Since Survivor Series, Ziggler has crossed paths with Cena in two major matches on Raw. One was a tag match in which Ziggler and Big Show took on Cena and Sheamus, the other was a singles match between Ziggler and Cena.
It probably doesn’t take a genius to figure out who won those matches.
Of course, it was the babyfaces who emerged victorious from both of those bouts, and guess who took the pin in each of them? Ziggler, who lost both matches clean after Cena hit him with the AA.
We all know that the WWE loves to book its babyfaces to be more dominant than its heels, but that becomes a major problem when a babyface is booked to be too dominant.
All that really accomplishes is making the heel look weak, and in Ziggler’s case, it doesn’t give the fans much of a reason to believe that he can beat Cena on Sunday or that he’ll be booked well going forward.
While it seems to be a foregone conclusion by many that Ziggler is going to retain his briefcase at WWE TLC, the fact that he’s defending that briefcase against Cena means that there are absolutely no guarantees.
Cena has no business winning the MITB briefcase, and Ziggler needs it 10 times more than he does. But as we all know, it’s Cena who is always one of the—if not the—top priorities for the creative team.
Even though most fans see that Ziggler is right on the cusp of solidifying himself as a top guy, we can also see that he’s had too many big losses recently—losses which put in doubt his chances of winning on Sunday.
Even if Ziggler were to win at TLC, though, why are we sure that he won’t become the next Jack Swagger or The Miz and be booked terribly after successfully cashing in?
Neither Swagger nor The Miz was booked all that well either before or after their cash-ins, and their post-cash-in World title reigns suffered big-time as a result.
Might the same fate await Ziggler?
Judging by how poor he’s been booked at times in 2012, there’s certainly a chance that it will.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!