With the end of the year fast approaching, wrestling fans may well cast their minds back to what their highlight of the year would be. For most, the night after WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey would be a fond choice. For me, though, there is one particular segment of that night that stands out.
Dolph Ziggler's cashing in of his Money in the Bank briefcase produced an absolute thunderous roar from the crowd. Despite being a firm heel at the time, the crowd's reaction to Ziggler appearing from the back was unbelievable—and the reaction when he got the win was even greater.
Putting it in simple wrestling terms, Dolph Ziggler was over. He had a major title around his waist, and it seemed as if WWE was ready to get behind one of its hottest talents and put him up there with the best.
Fast forward seven months, and Dolph can't even get regular time on TV tapings. And when he does get regular matches, he more often than not gets beaten. Per the excellent Internet Wrestling Database, Ziggler has lost four of his last five matches on TV.
Monday seemed like a brilliant opportunity for Ziggler to move forward with his career once again. He faced Curtis Axel in a hastily arranged title match—and many were surprised when Axel continued his reign as the Intercontinental champion with a victory over Ziggler. It again raises questions about where Ziggler goes next, what he needs to do himself and what his future holds.
Alter His Image Outside of the Ring
The constant word online is that Ziggler has heat backstage with WWE officials because of the way he sounds off in interviews about the company. It presents an interesting dilemma since, per this piece with WrestleZone.com, Ziggler believes he is trying to maintain his gimmick and keep up the charade outside of the ring.
If that is the reason why Ziggler is slipping down the card, the simple thing for him to do would be to change his image in interviews and media pieces. It seems so simple that a fresh approach from Ziggler could halt this alarming slide he is on of late. Unfortunately, it seems so simple that it probably isn't true.
Surely WWE wants its Superstars to maintain storyline mode and keep their gimmicks up during interviews? With Ziggler being the brash, cocky guy with attitude, it would seem silly if he did an interview and came across like the most polite guy in the world. CM Punk stuck to his storyline when he left with the WWE Championship, didn't he?
Go Back to the Original Dolph Ziggler
Let's get one thing straight: It really doesn't matter if Dolph Ziggler is operating as a face or as a heel. The crowds love him. When he cashed that briefcase in earlier this year, he was a heel, yet the crowd was going crazy for him. There is no way Ziggler would ever become a guy who people don't find interesting.
So why not go back to what got him the original push in the first place and turn him heel again? Personally, I enjoy Ziggler working as a face, but it could be best for his career if he turns.
He could even realign himself with AJ Lee—they made a fantastic couple and were arguably the power couple of the WWE. It could even set up an interesting rivalry with Ziggler's former bodyguard Big E Langston, who himself is on a major momentum roll right now.
It just seems like Ziggler's best chance of forcing his way back into the picture at the top of the card is to become the menacing heel he once was.
Create His Own Defining Moment
Granted, for this, Dolph would need some sort of freedom from creative, but bear with me. Ziggler has the mic skills to cut excellent promos, and those skills could save his career with the WWE.
The situation Ziggler is in now is not too dissimilar from the one CM Punk was in two years ago. Punk saved his WWE career with a promo that shocked the wrestling world—and it catapulted him back into the spotlight after the disaster of the second Nexus group.
Imagine if Ziggler was given an opportunity to say what he really felt, given how much heat he supposedly has backstage.
Ziggler's ring work is also to be admired. Back when he was on the road to becoming World Heavyweight champion for a second time, he was consistently pulling out brilliant matches, which is also another feather in his cap. It is another thing that could save him in the WWE. By working hard and impressing creative with solid ring work, Ziggler may not end up being a forgotten man in the company.
What do you think? Can Ziggler save his WWE career? What does he need to do to get back to the top? Join the discussion below.