by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
Amidst all the buzz of last week’s constant stream of big WWE news–headlined by CM Punk walking out & the Royal Rumble and it’s fallout–a most interesting tidbit was missed by a large portion of wrestling fans. Considering that it took place on the WWE app, it’s no wonder that it wasn’t more talked about. Be that as it may, this thing that I’m speaking of saw Tom Phillips interviewing one Dolph Ziggler backstage after his loss to Antonio Cesaro on this past week’s SmackDown. Where most would look at the tag line under the video and possibly pass it up, those who actually watched the video were not disappointed:
When I saw it, I said it was the best promo in years. Better than the Mark Henry “retirement” (which I loved), better than the AJ “pipe-bombshell” (which I also loved)–hell, maybe in time, it’ll be better remembered than the infamous “pipebomb” dropped by the aforementioned Punk. This was chock full of real emotion by Dolph, who’s seen a fall from grace in the span of 8-9 months that is almost shocking. Outside of Daniel Bryan’s WWE title win at SummerSlam, Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase was the best moment in WWE’s tremendous 2013 run from April to September. I’d argue that the moment he was crowned World Champion was when WWE started that incredible hot streak. While it certainly looked like he was poised to finally be a top guy for the company, we’ve all seen what’s happened since then. A rash of concussions, possible trouble with some of the higher-ups backstage and other factors brought his title reign–along with his push–to an epic and jarring halt. It was one of last year’s most disappointing stories.
But despite all of this, fans continued to rally behind and cheer for Dolph Ziggler. No matter what show he was on or whether he lost more often than not, the fan base was still behind him. Take last week’s Royal Rumble for example: Pittsburgh echoed the sentiments of a majority of the WWE Universe by exploding when he came out. They followed this up with loud and boisterous “let’s go Ziggler!” chants and were just as vocal when he was eliminated. As fans, we know what to expect with Dolph when he’s on our screens. He will do everything he can to steal the show and he backs up that mantra every time he comes through the curtain. There are few who can do what he can and I’d like to think those in WWE know that.
I should address the point I made regarding its standing alongside some of WWE’s best promos in the last few years. This I’m sure will be the subject of any debate that comes from this article. Mark Henry’s fake retirement, which was one of the best things I’ve seen in years, didn’t garner him much after a main event title match against John Cena at ‘Money in the Bank’. He’s not done much since other than turn face again and getting tossed around by Brock Lesnar. AJ Lee’s “pipebombshell” was unexpected, much like this Dolph promo, but I’d argue that the Divas division has gone back to almost irrelevant since then. AJ had worked hard to make that division mean a little something again but it’s obvious that Total Divas-not the champ-dictate how the division will go. As for Punk’s “game-changing” promo from June 2011…did it really change anything outside of the short term? He had a healthy and historic reign but still found himself outside of the precious ‘main event’ slot on PPVs & TV. Now, he’s out of the company completely. With Ziggler’s impassioned diatribe, we might be able to look back on this in a few years as the true launching pad for his permanent placement as a top guy. On the other hand, it may just fall by the wayside and go the way of the promos mentioned earlier.
With a spot now seemingly open amongst the main eventers after that high-profile walkout last week, I’m sure Vince McMahon and/or Triple H has given that “who’s gonna step up?” pep talk to the locker room by now. Why couldn’t that guy be Dolph Ziggler? As you can see and hear in the promo, there’s a true fire burning with him. I’d venture to guess he feels he’s got even more to prove and he’s more than deserving of that spot. Dolph gets fan support like few on the roster do and he’s top 5 in the company in my view. All he needs is the faith of the powers that be…another shot at running with the ball. That interview could be the start of something. He just wanted to let us know that he never left, and that he’s in fact here…here to show the world.