It’s a bit of a shock that Dolph Ziggler hasn’t etched out a permanent main event spot, and while that happening is overdue for the Show-Off, WrestleMania XXIX isn't the time for his transition.
As Bleacher Report's Sharon Glencross reported, there have been rumblings from Wrestling Observer Newsletter of Ziggler facing Alberto Del Rio for the big gold belt at this year's WrestleMania. To some it may sound like a good idea, but it's really not.
Ziggler is an extraordinary talent; he consistently delivers in the ring and has a cocky yet smooth charisma that sets him apart from the rest of the locker room.
However, this is more about the World Heavyweight Championship than it is Ziggler.
The prestige of SmackDown’s World Championship has taken a considerable dip in recent years, which has been encapsulated in the last two WrestleManias.
At WrestleMania XXVII the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Del Rio opened the show and got less time than any other singles match on the card.
That year it was a strange novelty to have the show’s opening and closing matches be for a world championship, but the big gold belt being defended in the opening bout at WrestleMania XXVIII was much more concerning.
It would be unnecessary to expound just how idiotic it was to have Daniel Bryan lose to Sheamus in 18 seconds, but suffice to say it made the title seem wholly insignificant.
In a perfect world, Dolph Ziggler and Del Rio would get around 20 minutes of match time, but it's extremely unlikely that these two would get that kind of time on a card stacked with names like Lesnar, Rock, Triple H, Cena and Punk.
Realistically speaking, if Ziggler is in the World Heavyweight Championship match, it will be booked in a way that unintentionally marginalizes the title.
Suppose, for instance, that Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio compete for the gold at ‘Mania, and the rumored Sheamus vs. Orton (h/twrestlinginc.com) match happens without the title being involved.
Which match do you think will get more buildup, promotion and match time? Sheamus vs. Orton of course, so that match should be contested for the strap.
In the same way, SmackDown’s most important match at last year's ‘Mania was Kane vs. Orton, so if that match was for the World Heavyweight Championship, the 18-second fiasco would have been avoided, or at least the title wouldn't have been so damaged.
On C.M. Punk’s Best in the World documentary, Triple H explains that World Championship reigns only work when the title is put on talent who are already stars, rather than putting the title on talent in the hope of making them stars.
This is part of the reason the World Heavyweight Championship has become less valuable.
The title is put on performers like Jack Swagger, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio to get them over, not because they were already over.
Sure, it works sometimes, but because the caliber of stars isn't elite (yet), the title is kept away from the main event.
If Ziggler is in a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania, WWE are more likely to book it so it drops the title to Ziggler’s upper-midcard level rather than elevate him to the main event, as it should be doing.
Additionally, the titles standing wasn’t helped at all by the fact that in 2012 Cena main-evented almost all PPVs, whether or not he was in a championship match.
As a result, the World Heavyweight Championship match was the third most important of the show, behind Cena’s match and the WWE Championship match.
The last time the World Heavyweight Championship closed a PPV was over two years ago at Hell in a Cell 2010. Up until around the beginning of that year, WWE at least pretended like the two world championships were equally as prestigious.
Since then, though, they’ve given up that charade and the championship and the many stars that held it have suffered as a result.
The World heavyweight title needs its value rejuvenated, and WrestleMania XXIX is the place to start that process.
Sheamus, Randy Orton and Ryback are three stars who WWE are more committed to than Ziggler, so a combination of the three of them should compete for the World Heavyweight Championship because they are more likely to get the amount of promotion and spotlight that is needed to make the title mean something.
Dolph Ziggler is ready to make his way to the main event and not look back, but when he makes that jump he deserves to have the spotlight entirely on him. Unfortunately, it’s not a spotlight we can reasonably expect him to get at WrestleMania 29.