While nobody gets a bigger push than the Superstar who actually wins the Royal Rumble, there is always a guy or two who comes up short but lasts a long time and impresses the fans in the process. In the 2013 Rumble match, that particular Superstar should be Dolph Ziggler.
As the Money in the Bank contract holder, it's only a matter of time before The Show Off becomes World Heavyweight Champion. In the meantime, it's important that the creative team makes him look as good as possible. With a victory at Survivor Series and a win over John Cena at TLC, that hasn't been a problem as of late.
The WWE has been inconsistent when it comes to booking Ziggler, but it can't allow this golden opportunity to slip away. It takes a special type of competitor to last in excess of 45 to 50 minutes in the Rumble, but Ziggler is definitely a guy who fits the prototype.
Among those who have accomplished such a feat are Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Bob Backlund, Triple H, Ric Flair, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Kane and The Rock. A good chunk of them were considered great in-ring workers, and all of them will be remembered as some of the greatest stars of all time, so being the iron man certainly means something.
There isn't a single guy on the roster currently who is more capable than Ziggler to handle the load physically. He is in fantastic condition and actually pulled double duty at a few pay-per-views last year, so lasting for an hour would be like light cardio as far as he's concerned. Also, the fact that he is so close to becoming a world champion makes him a prime candidate to challenge Mysterio's iron-man mark of 62 minutes and 12 seconds.
The ideal situation would be for Ziggler to enter first or second and then last until the final four. Since he is Mr. Money in the Bank, there wouldn't be much value in having him win the Rumble. It would obviously be a compelling story, as it could lead to title unification, but the odds of that happening are astronomical, so it's best to consider him a non-factor.
Ziggler can still look incredible in a losing effort, though. The top candidates to win the Rumble are John Cena and Ryback, so allowing Ziggler to remain in the mix with guys like that will make him look legitimate, and it could be the springboard that he needs to reach that world-title level. I could argue that he already has enough credibility, but a little more certainly wouldn't hurt.
A glance at the WWE roster shows that there are several superstars with a similar makeup to Ziggler who could believably be the iron man, but none of them has as much to gain as Dolph does. The Rumble has been used to catapult guys to new heights for quite some time, and Ziggler is clearly the company's next big star alongside Ryback.
Ziggler's character is all about showing off and bragging about his accomplishments, and lasting the longest in the Royal Rumble match will give him another thing to boast about. It won't matter if he ultimately falls short of winning, because Ziggler will simply take the situation and spin it to make himself look good.
Although Ziggler may not technically be a main-eventer yet, he steals the show more often than not and figures to do the same at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Ziggler turned in a fairly impressive showing last year, but he has a ton of momentum right now and needs to build on it by besting what he accomplished in the 2012 Rumble.
Ziggler is often compared to Shawn Michaels, and going wire to wire in the Rumble is something that Michaels managed to do in 1995. It's highly unlikely that Ziggler will duplicate the feat by winning, but simply lasting a long time and turning in a strong performance would do plenty of good for The Show Off.
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