What's Next for Dolph Ziggler After WWE Payback?

Sharon GlencrossContributor IJune 17, 2013

At WWE Payback, Dolph Ziggler lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Alberto Del Rio.

In one of the most notable storyline developments of the evening, it appears the company elected to do a double turn in the vein of Steve Austin and Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13.

Del Rio seemingly abandoned his "nice guy" personality and ruthlessly attacked his recently concussed foe with several vicious, and uncalled for, head shots.

Ziggler, like any brave babyface, refused to quit, even as Del Rio continued to pummel him with many various brutal kicks and punches. After too many beatings, he eventually fell to the star for the one-two-three, but he put up a great fight.

Both he and girlfriend A.J. were visibly distraught by the result, and the trainers had to help the ailing former champion to the back.

In case the message wasn't already clear, Del Rio cut an extremely heelish promo after the bout.

Yes, the old, evil Del Rio is back.

The double turn at the pay-per-view may have been the best move WWE could have made.

It's no secret that Del Rio wasn't taking off as a babyface. Bland, boring and totally not over with the crowds, the Mexican star was a complete flop in the role. He might not be the best heel in the world either, but it's still a role he is far more suited to.

Similarly, Ziggler also benefits hugely from the character change. Charismatic, attractive and funny on the mic, he's a born babyface. His smaller size and exciting in-ring style make him more of a natural good guy, too.

It's really not surprising that WWE decided to turn Ziggler. The real surprise may be that they didn't choose to do it sooner.

Of course, there are still questions.

Will Ziggler get his belt back? And what about his stable? Will A.J. Lee, who won the Divas Championship tonight, stick by her man? Or will she end up turning on him? And what about Big E Langston? Will he stay aligned with Ziggler?

No doubt we will get answers in the upcoming days.

Of course, many will be disappointed that Ziggler's long-awaited reign ended so soon. He only won the title in April, after all. But look beyond the result and you'll see that Ziggler's WWE career may have a pivotal turn tonight, for the better. 

Can the 32-year-old be the next big babyface star WWE have been looking for?

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