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John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler Feud Is Smart Move Only If The Showoff Triumphs

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterOctober 13, 2015

Credit: WWE.com

John Cena and Dolph Ziggler ended their match with both men drained, on their backs, darkening the mat with their sweat, but they should have been taking a bow in front of the Chicago crowd on Monday's WWE Raw.

The Showoff and the United States titleholder put on the kind of show that has to have officials giddy about the idea of these two colliding again in the near future. That's a plan with ample potential, but it can't just end with another Cena victory.

Reigniting a rivalry with Cena makes sense for Ziggler, but not if he just runs into a wall.

WWE has had Ziggler tease a darker side of himself of late. His more vicious side is emerging in flashes. Running with that shift in character with Cena as the catalyst will result in a series of standout matches and a better use of Ziggler's talents. 

On Monday's Raw, Ziggler and Cena displayed their top-notch chemistry together. On a sluggish night, they were the clear highlight, the most compelling bit of action in the ring.

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TheHistoryofWWE.com praised the bout:

The History of WWE @TheHistoryofWWE

17:40. Ziggler and Cena put on a fantastic show.

The folks at Wrestling Inc. did as well:

WrestlingINC.com @WrestlingInc

Such a great match going right now between Cena and Ziggler #Raw

It only makes sense to give fans more of these two against each other. But if Ziggler is just going to fall to Cena four or five times in a row, he's no better off for it. Cena will still be the champion with a white-knuckle grip on the U.S. title; Ziggler will still be the perpetual also-ran who has more moral victories than true ones.

Rather than stick with the status quo, WWE should embrace the changes developing in Ziggler's character and have him find a way to fell Superman.

In his failed attempt to dethrone Cena on Monday, Ziggler pulled out some more aggressive strategies than is befitting a babyface. He raked the champ's eyes to set up a superkick. Ziggler nailed his foe with a headbutt before hitting a Zig Zag.

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

HOW CLOSE WAS THAT?! After a headbutt & #ZigZag, @HEELZiggler STILL can't put @JohnCena down... #Raw #USOpenChallenge http://t.co/6BP5zsjVxY

Add those subtle moments to the face that he "inadvertently" kicked Cena in the jaw last week during a scuffle with The New Day, and imagining a turn to the dark side is easy.

WWE has a handful of narrative paths to take to that point. Ziggler's frustration over not advancing his career could lead to a darker version of himself. Jealousy brought on by Ziggler's feelings for Cena's real-life girlfriend, Nikki Bella, could be the crux of the men's personal war. 

Regardless of how WWE builds this battle, having it end with Cena standing tall is a mistake.

The company runs the risk of completely gutting Ziggler of his credibility. He's been unable to emerge with his hands in the air and the villain at his feet in recent months.

His feud with Rusev sputtered, the focus moving off his quest for revenge and zeroing on Summer Rae and Rusev's romance. Ziggler failed to vanquish Sheamus, getting his face pressed into the Irishman's buttocks instead.

Ziggler's battle with The Authority ended with the faction he ousted back in power and Bad News Barrett whipping him to take the Intercontinental Championship.

To follow all that up with Cena running him over would leave The Showoff looking inept. It's hard to root for a warrior who struggles so much in swinging his sword. 

Ziggler remains, for the moment, in the category of guys with a strong fanbase who fail to get top billing. It's clear that WWE is unwilling to have him ascend to the company's top rungs, but having him knock off Cena and carry around the U.S title for a spell appeases his supporters.

And beyond being a compromise to making him a marquee star, Ziggler outlasting WWE's Superman is a powerful end to a story that has a great shot of being special. Mick Foley, for one, certainly thinks so. He posted on Facebook, "MONEY! Properly executed, a Dolph Ziggler/John Cena feud could be HUGE!"

Foley talked about how having a nastier Ziggler with Nikki on his arm could lead to him being "the man."

That's an idea worth exploring. A change of attitude, the boost of beating Cena and a new piece of gold in his hands would catapult Ziggler. Rather than having him run in place, as he's doing now, he'd be charging toward a new, intriguing future.

None of that happens, though, if he keeps repeating Monday's result—suffering a gutsy, hard-fought loss. 

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