Ever since Dolph Ziggler won Smackdown’s Money in the Bank ladder match last July, he’s been hovering around the main event, his star power ready to explode. WrestleMania XXIX is the night WWE will trigger that explosion.
The career path for The Show-Off hasn’t been an easy one. Nick Nemeth originally debuted as a caddy for Chavo Guerrero, and was then turned into a male cheerleader.
Neither gimmick was going to get him very far, but the third time was the charm, as he was rebranded as Dolph Ziggler in 2008 and has been slowly climbing the ranks of the WWE since.
At the end of 2012, it seemed he was on the verge of a big push after huge wins against both John Cena and Randy Orton. Unfortunately, several losses to Cena and a couple of underwhelming months later, and most of Ziggler’s momentum is gone.
Some may see it as WWE losing faith in Ziggler, but that’s not necessarily the case. Vince and/or creatve obviously didn’t see Ziggler as being a big promotional tool for WrestleMania and cooled his push for ‘Mania season as a result.
He’ll be back on top after WrestleMania.
Similar things have happened to several other huge superstars. Edge won the WWE championship in early January 2006, wasn’t seen as ideal for WrestleMania’s title picture and lost the belt before the month was over. He was thrown right back into a title feud immediately after WrestleMania.
Similarly, Jeff Hardy won the WWE championship in December 2008 but lost it in January 2009 to enter a midcard WrestleMania feud with his brother. After that rivalry, he reentered his world championship program with Edge and would remain in the title picture until his departure later that year.
It may seem like Ziggler has had a career downgrade, but if he has, it's only temporary.
The booked main event of the Smackdown brand at the Show of Shows is Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger. It’s unlikely that WWE have any long-term plans of either man as world champion.
Del Rio won the title because Big Show’s contract was on the verge of expiring (via wrestlezone.com), and Swagger almost lost his WrestleMania opportunity due to a much-publicized arrest.
Additionally, WWE have found themselves in a position they’ve never been in before; a Superstar is holding a Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania.
Previous briefcase holders such as Mr. Kennedy and Daniel Bryan have claimed that they’ll cash in at WrestleMania, but they never do. Now WWE actually has a chance to make it happen.
As we’ve seen in the past, WWE aren’t scared to be experimental with their world heavyweight championship matches at WrestleMania. They tried to engineer an “OMG” moment with last year’s 18-second fiasco, but unlike that idea, Ziggler cashing in wouldn’t be preposterously stupid.
WrestleMania XXIX will be headlined by huge matches like Rock vs. Cena II and Lesnar vs. Triple H II, but don’t be surprised if Dolph Ziggler steals the show (and your girlfriend).