Michael N. Todaro
How close is Vince McMahon to betraying the WWE Universe? That all depends on whether or not you think John Cena will defeat Dolph Ziggler at this month's Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) pay-per-view (PPV) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
"You talk to anyone here at WWE, some of the older superstars, some of the legends, and they all say they agree on one thing: Dolph Ziggler has more potential than anyone back in that locker room. He's just got to put it all together, and he's on the verge of that now."
That was WWE play-by-play man Michael Cole on last night's broadcast of Monday Night RAW, reminding viewers why Dolph Ziggler is still shackled to that Money in the Bank (MITB) briefcase he won back in July, less than two weeks in front of his five month anniversary.
More potential than anyone...
That means WWE, over the course of roughly 150 days, has been unable to figure out some way to get "The Showoff" into the title picture. Hell, even Daniel Bryan got to test the waters when he pinned Mark Henry (only to have it retracted on a technicality) simply to see if the "Universe" would buy it.
He's just got to put it all together...
Dolph Ziggler has done everything he can possibly do. Does he have room to grow? Of course, as does every wrestler from generation next. But the missing ingredient to that maturation process is the big, gold belt. You can't prove you're a champion unless you're given the chance to.
And there's a very real possibility that Ziggler won't be.
That's because John Cena has the opportunity to steal his MITB briefcase when they exchange ladders at this month's (Dec. 16, 2012) Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) pay-per-view (PPV) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. And if you're keeping score, Mr. "Five Moves of Doom" already came up lame in one MITB title shot.
Can we realistically expect him to hand off another?
I might be more optimistic if he hadn't already lost to The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, because you and I both know there are only a finite number of times this guy will put his opponents over in the same calendar year. Truth be told, I just don't think it's fair to have Cena win another guaranteed title shot.
Not exactly a compelling argument, but "fair" is the word I keep circling back to.
How often can you sharpen a knife before it gets dull? In Ziggler's case, he's about as sharp as he's going to get, cutting through the rest of the mid-tier roster with amazing technique (find me a better salesman) and ever-improving promos.
It doesn't make much sense from a historical perspective, either. You're telling me WWE was willing to put the strap on The Miz (sorry, Mike) and let him main event the "Granddaddy of them all," pinning Cena in the process, but Ziggy still has to "put it all together?"
It's also not fair to the fans.
WWE has asked its vaunted "Universe" to invest in Ziggler for the past five months. Like "The Showoff," we paid our dues and want nothing more than closure. I'm even okay with him cashing it in and losing. True, I wouldn't like it, but if it was done properly, I could at least accept it.
Sacrificing his spot for "Super Cena?" That I can't accept.
If it unfolds the way most of us fear it will, then Vince McMahon will have gone full George Lucas. Never go full George Lucas. In fact, you can argue that Vinny Mac's "Attitude Era" was Empire Strikes Back, and we're all living through Return of the Jedi.
That makes John Cena an Ewok.
The kids all love him while the adult fans despise him. In fact, fuck that, I'm now calling him John Cewok, at least until the TLC show is over. If he loses, as he should, then -- and only then -- will I strip him of this unflattering title, one that begets McMahon's "I know what the fans want better than the fans" speech.
Not coincidentally, Lucas (in the face of "Phantom" criticism) once said he wasn't making movies to please Star Wars fans. On the contrary, he was simply telling the stories he wanted to tell. That's cool, Georgie, but I'm not watching Star Wars to please the director. I'm simply watching the stories I want to watch.
John Cena STANDING TALL isn't one of them.