Dolph Ziggler's road to success in the WWE was a torturous one, and it was a pathway that took several years to reach the end of.
From his humble days as Nicky in the Spirit Squad right through to his alliances with AJ Lee and Big E and championship reigns, there are few wrestlers who have done it tougher than Ziggler in his quest to conquer the WWE.
The night after WrestleMania 29 should have been Ziggler's career-defining moment, as he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase successfully to become the World Heavyweight Champion. The pop he received from the crowd that evening was ridiculous and should have cemented his position at the top of the tree for some time to come.
However, it quite simply hasn't worked out for Ziggler to date. That run as champion should have been a solid reign, especially given how he had finally become a babyface. But after he dropped the belt at Payback to Alberto Del Rio, he slid down the pecking order remarkably quickly.
At the age of 33, Ziggler still has plenty of time on his side to crack the WWE once again and make it as a star. But naturally, there are certain things that need to happen in order for him to become a main event guy once again.
First and foremost, he probably needs to turn heel again. When a guy is languishing in the lower reaches of the card and failing to get on TV often, the most sensible thing for WWE Creative to do is turn him in the opposite direction.
Ziggler had plenty of success as a heel when he first burst onto the main roster, and his whole gimmick is built around showing off and being an egotistical, arrogant guy.
He would still have plenty of fans as a heel and certainly wouldn't lose any popularity. Just look at Cesaro, who is almost becoming a tweener with his recent upturn and split from Jack Swagger. Why couldn't Ziggler be in a similar boat with some smart work from the guys backstage?
As well as turning heel again to boost his career, one thing Ziggler needs more than anyone is a mere chance. With popularity and skills undoubtedly in the bag, it is absurd to think that the company haven't given him a chance to push his way back up the card once again.
With Daniel Bryan's injury creating an opening in the card for someone, you get the impression many wrestling fans would overwhelmingly pick Ziggler to get a shot. Even if he didn't turn heel and remained as a face, he would be a perfect guy to shoot off at The Authority.
Fans of his on Twitter will have seen him mouthing off at Batista on the social media platform. That seems to be a good way to get noticed by WWE officials these days, and it also hints at a storyline brewing. If he continues on his tirade, you get the impression something might be about to happen that could please a lot of people.
Sure, he needs to be careful with what he says in interviews at times—something which has seemingly affected his push in the past—but his outspoken attitude is something you feel could eventually get him noticed. It has certainly worked for others in the past, after all.
Dolph Ziggler remains a guy who fans would love to see bust into the main event scene. After nearly a year away from it and some chronic mishandling from WWE Creative, that is a good level of popularity to have.
There definitely needs to be changes to push Ziggler back up to the top, but you get the impression the door has not completely closed on his chances of being a top star just yet.