Unusually, this did not come after Ziggler’s performance and subsequent loss to John Cena.
Instead, the words of color commentator Jerry Lawler may well be the catalyst to the realignment of Ziggler’s character, which would allow him to go on and be seen as a success beyond Vickie Guerrero and everything that has come before.
This small but powerful comment was inserted to establish the importance of Ziggler’s speed advantage over his opponents, and how deadly that can be when applied properly. In fact, Lawler went as far as saying “speed kills” in reference to the speed-awareness campaigns played out around the world.
Implanting the idea that Ziggler is quicker than his opponents may not seem groundbreaking on its own, but this change in how the WWE sells his move set could be incredibly important.
Firstly, the WWE has never comfortably dealt with Ziggler’s size, and the clear difference between him and opponents such as Sheamus and John Cena.
Ziggler’s moves have become proportionally weaker against these behemothic opponents due to this relative size issue, but the WWE has neither recognized this publicly nor established a countermeasure that might allow Ziggler to compete against such opponents.
Giving Ziggler the gift of speed is potentially the perfect remedy for this issue, as it makes his smaller size an asset and offers another unique style to the current title picture.
Quickness has been used successfully in the past to sell smaller wrestlers so including that trait once again can only bring more excitement to the WWE’s product.
Another issue that the WWE has had with Ziggler is how to define his in-ring style. “The Show Off” tends to grind down opponents before hitting them with high-impact moves such as his beautiful dropkick.
This does not fall into the nice succinct category system that the WWE tends to use when promoting its stars. Advertising Sheamus as a brawler or Sin Cara as a high flyer is much easier than having to explain Ziggler as a mat wrestler who possesses explosive well-timed attacks that inflict maximum damage.
Speed encapsulates that idea nicely when twinned with his actions in the ring. His moves can seemingly come out of nowhere, and that ability should let him claim victory by taking opponents by surprise if nothing else. This might even explain why Ziggler has been using so many different finishing maneuvers recently.
Of course this was all somewhat undermined by Ziggler losing to Cena after performing his entire arsenal of finishers on Monday night with no success. Plausibly, this opens up the chance of Ziggler establishing a new move to complement this proposed new direction towards speed, but that is pure speculation at this time.
Finally—and probably most importantly for Ziggler—speed would give him a new moniker to work under as he progresses past 2012, when he suffered a lot of defeats.
Of course the WWE is a predetermined sport, but wins and losses do leave an impression with the audience. Someone who cannot win the big match will not be seen as a reasonable contender for the championship, and Ziggler simply could not get the job done often enough.
Effectively, reincarnating his image under this new banner of a speed wrestler who can pull off a move in an instant gives Ziggler some separation from those losses. This—along with dropping Vickie Guerrero—could well help Ziggler start 2013 with a fresh slate.
Speed as a defining feature has worked in different incarnations for several smaller wrestlers in the past.
Shawn Michaels was seen as someone who could provide an instant game-changing impact, and that was connected to his ability to use speed and agility to hit unaware opponents. To a lesser extent, Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio also used speed as a defining premise that took them to WWE or World Heavyweight Championship glory.
Dolph Ziggler should emulate and surpass the latter two wrestlers’ title runs with this style, should the WWE fully implement speed as a part of his character.
This is an exciting development for fans of Ziggler, as speed might just be the final trait that makes him the championship contender that his in-ring performances suggest he should be.