Dolph Ziggler Needs a Defining Win at WWE Extreme Rules

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2013

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Dolph Ziggler has a huge World Title defense coming up at WWE Extreme Rules on May 19 as he defends the belt in a triple threat ladder match against Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. Though both Del Rio and Swagger are former World Champions and will surely have a good showing that night, it’s Ziggler who must come through with a very definitive victory.

He needs this win.

The seesaw booking of Dolph Ziggler in WWE has happened so often that it’s become expected at this point.  One week he’s up, the next week he’s down.  Despite the number of times he has had a great showing, done everything in his power to steal the show, Dolph historically always seemed to end up behind the eight ball.

In other words, he just can’t catch a break.  So, what’s different now?

Is it the World Championship?  Is that the big difference between the Ziggler that is on his way to Extreme Rules and the Ziggler who kept trying to cash in the Money in the Bank contract, only to fail? Is that it?

Indeed, it does seem as though Dolph is the same performer now as he was then.  The fact that he is the man wearing the gold has had little impact on how he carries himself and more importantly, on his work ethic.  Dolph is still the workhorse of the company, only now he has a trophy for his efforts.

And he deserves the title.  Ziggler has worked hard to receive the main event spotlight he’s currently getting.  He did everything right.  He earned his spot and now he is reaping the rewards.

The fact that the belt has not changed him proves that the title does not make the man.  Ziggler was not just your average, run-of-the-mill WWE Superstar with a sub par move-set that was essentially going nowhere and then had the championship thrust upon him for no reason.

Again, when you have a guy who has worked hard and exceeded expectations, then he should be rewarded.  But at some point, Ziggler must begin looking like a World Champion on a consistent basis. 

This looked as though it would definitely happen as on the April 12 edition of Friday Night SmackDown, Dolph pinned Chris Jericho in the main event.  This was the first time Dolph had worked on TV since his World Title victory on the previous Monday Night Raw and when the final bell rang, my reaction likely matched that of many fans out there.

Good start, this is how it should be.

But on the very next Raw, Dolph was pinned by Jack Swagger.  Wow, okay.

My first reaction was not very positive, as I suddenly began flashing back to, well, the previous week, when Dolph could not buy a victory.  What was WWE thinking here?  I understand that the company was already setting up the Extreme Rules pay-per-view and had to make Swagger look like a threat to the World Title, but this just seemed like too much.

And that trend continued on the next SmackDown when Alberto Del Rio pinned Ziggler.  Dolph then went 2-1 in the following two weeks on Raw and SmackDown.

This is true seesaw booking at its finest.

The bottom line is that when you are the World Champion, then you are held to a higher standard than everyone else.  Your days of losing in high-profile televised matches must end if you are to be taken seriously as a top competitor in the company.

Yes, Alberto and Swagger must look good going into the pay-per-view on May 19.  To sell the match, the crowd must believe that Dolph is in serious jeopardy of losing the World Championship. Otherwise, there is no drama, which means fans will not care about the outcome or about seeing the match in the first place.

And though Dolph Ziggler is still the same hardworking Superstar he was before the gold landed on   his waist, the truth is that the way he is handled now must change.  He has to start looking like a World Champion, like a guy who may put on a great show every time he’s in the ring, but who almost always comes out on top.

Because if not, then what’s the point of giving him the World Title in the first place?  If nothing changes, why reward him at all?

Extreme Rules will be the true test for Dolph.  Will he win by the skin of his teeth, with a possible assist from either Big E or AJ Lee?  Or will he win in very convincing fashion, making a statement to fans that he will now be stepping up to be the World Champion that he truly should be?

Or are his days as World Champ numbered?  Will the recent concussion that he suffered prevent him from either working the triple threat match or going over in the end?  

Dolph Ziggler must deliver at WWE’s Extreme Rules on May 19.  He is the current World Heavyweight Champion and will be facing the biggest title defense of his short reign as he takes on both Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger in a triple threat ladder match.  This will be the moment of truth for Ziggler, who must go over to establish himself as a credible champion in WWE.

He needs this win.