Saturday, January 19, 2013

Top Ten Cases: WWE 2012 Year-End Awards - Superstar Poised for the Most Successful 2013

My Pick:  Dolph Ziggler
While I do believe Dolph Ziggler has the best chance out of all the options, I’m still somewhat skeptical.  Dolph Ziggler was my pick last year (he was yours too, along with Sheamus) for this very category, and quite honestly 2012 was a very lateral year for him.  At the 2011 Royal Rumble, Ziggler battled Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship.  At the 2012 event, he fought CM Punk for the WWE Championship.  At WrestleMania XXVII he participated in a special attraction match (the Snooki mixed tag match).  He appeared in a similar specialty match at WrestleMania XXVIII (the 12 man tag to determine the WWE GM).  Thankfully, things did pick up for Ziggler around the summer following his Money in the Bank victory.  There was still some faltering – 50/50 booking against Chris Jericho, a losing PPV effort against Randy Orton, and being left off Hell in a Cell completely – but things ended on a high with a big victory at Survivor Series (and even being named team captain) and then a high profile feud with John Cena that saw him win in the show closing match.

And as strange as it sounds, the fact that Ziggler’s 2012 was pretty on par with his 2011 is perhaps the most promising thing of all.  Just look at the “Most Disappointing Year” posting – the fact that Ziggler’s year wasn’t terrible shows that they see something special in him.  Unlike Miz and Ryder, he didn’t go on a losing streak (that isn’t to say he didn’t lose a lot of matches).  Unlike Orton, he didn’t become a complete afterthought.  Unlike Tensai and Brodus, the company didn’t seem to completely lose interest in them.  In a twisted, ass backwards kinda way….NOT having a crappy year is showing that they’re protecting you.

Along with that, there’s the whole Money in the Bank thing.  Aside from Edge’s inaugural run with the briefcase, I don’t believe anybody has held onto the contract for as long as Ziggler has.  They’ve had numerous opportunities to have him cash in, and there have been a number of instances where he could have lost it (to Jericho and Cena), but they’ve resisted both possibilities.  That doesn’t necessarily mean anything positive – Edge held onto his briefcase for the longest, and was rewarded with a 3 week reign with the WWE Championship.  Conversely, Kane cashed his in the night he won it, and held onto the gold for 5 months – but it does show that they’re being careful and showing some wise restraint with him.

Ziggler always seems at the cusp of stepping up to that next level.  And while it hasn’t happened over the past year or two – which we’ve all predicted and expected – he also hasn’t taken tumbles down the card and experienced random losing streaks or squashes.  Hopefully this is the year WWE just allows him to take the plunge.

What You Said – Dolph Ziggler
Last year, Ziggler – along with Sheamus – was voted as your pick for the Superstar poised for the most successful 2012.  And while I don’t think we were right about Ziggler, you guys were on target with Sheamus.  So since Ziggler received more than double the amount of votes than anybody else on this list, let’s hope WWE once again trusts your instincts and gives him a shot at the big time.

It’s a tired and somewhat flawed argument (since the two SHOULDN’T be mutually exclusive), but I think Dolph (and many others who are right at the edge of making it to that next level) are hindered by these returning stars from the prior era.  If you look at any wrestling news site, they’ll tell you that they have WrestleMania matches lined up for John Cena, CM Punk, The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, and the Undertaker.  Of that group of six, only TWO are full time performers.  And only ONE is a relative new addition to the main event scene.  When the company seems more concerned with how they’re going to use Brock Lesnar’s 5 matches than they are with how to elevate Ziggler to the main event, there’s a real problem.  Ziggler has all of the tools to be an important face for the company, and the audience reacts to him, all he needs is a change in mentality from above.

Here’s hoping 2013 sees Ziggler get a run with the gold and a proper WrestleMania match.

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