One of the most talked about facets of sports is the idea of an athlete's "prime." That is, the duration of time when an athlete was able to perform to the fullest of their ability without the hindrance of age, injury, or circumstance. Oft-cited examples of this phenomenon are Muhammad Ali in the Cleveland Williams fight, Pedro Martinez in '99-'00, Gale Sayers in the mid-60's, Michael Jordan prior to his first retirement, Lebron James in the present moment, and a pre-injury Bo Jackson.
In professional wrestling, a favorite example of a prominent wrestler's prime is Shawn Michaels in '97. It was at this time that talent, experience, and opportunity seemed to coalesce into what many feel is the perfect specimen of what a wrestler can and should be. Sadly, this iteration of Shawn Michaels was forever lost to us when he was injured at the hands of the Undertaker at the 1998 Royal Rumble.
As fans, we are always in search of the next great wrestler who's prime will become the stuff of legend. #10 Dolph Ziggler is often cited as a hopeful contender in the regard, but this has now been the case for several years.
As you can see, Dolph has had numerous fruitful spurts (marked above, in orange) where he flashed an ability to win matches in bunches. Unfortunately, he has also suffered stretches where he was either stuck in a terrible tag team with a pre-zealot Jack Swagger or mired in huge losing streaks at the hands of John Cena, Ryback, and others.
Worse still is the prospect of the recently formed Ziggler/Big E Langston team which will almost certainly serve to derail the recent momentum that Dolph has built up leading into Wrestlemania 29.
Dolph Ziggler is 32 years old which, for a wrestler, is by no means ancient. But remember, Shawn Michaels was 32 for his magical 1997 season and that was the last we saw of his prime. We never know how long an athlete will be at his peak. Mr. Ziggler would do well not to forget this fact.
Time will tell, but the unfortunate truth may be that we are currently experiencing Dolph Ziggler's prime, and he just isn't the wrestler that we'd hoped he would someday become.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE OR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 28 and culminates with WrestleMania 29. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night Raw -- 3/18/13
- Wade Barrett - 3 points (IC title bout, win)
- Chris Jericho - 1 point (IC title bout, no win)
- Miz - 1 point (IC title bout, no win)
- Alberto Del Rio - 2 points (win)
- Ryback - 2 points (win)
- John Cena - 2 points (win)
- Dolph Ziggler - 2 points (win)
- R Truth - 2 points (win)
Main Event -- 3/20/13
- Wade Barrett - 2 points (win)
SmackDown -- 3/15/13
- Miz - 2 points (win)
- Dolph Ziggler - 2 points (win)
- Mark Henry - 2 points (win)
- Jack Swagger - 2 points (win)
WRESTLER WRANKINGS, WEEK 51 *TOP TEN*
1. SHEAMUS -- 165.5 points
2. Alberto Del Rio -- 129
3. Ryback -- 126.5
4. CM Punk -- 116.5
5. Big Show -- 102
6. Antonio Cesaro -- 92
7. John Cena -- 74.5
8. Randy Orton -- 73.5
9. Miz -- 61
10. Dolph Ziggler -- 57