Yes, dear Cagesiders, we've reached the end of this great epic about the Showoff. Today those Moscow girls make Ziggler sing and shout...
So at the end of the last artcile, Ziggler had just lost out to Daniel Bryan as Intercontinental Champion. Altough the Showoff had come up short once again, the notion of D-Bry and Ziggler stealing the show over a couple of PPVs for the IC Championship did not seem like a terrible idea.
So what happened?
Well, for a start, Bryan soon would be laid low by injury for what we now know to be the last time.
Well, at least Ziggler could beat someone else for the championship at Payback.
Oh, wait, he lost clean to Sheamus? Well, I guess you have to build Sheamus up again (though I don't know why Ziggler has to keep taking these losses). Well, it still doesn't mean that Ziggler can't win the Intercontinental Championship at the Elimination Chamber.
What do you mean, he didn't win it? Well, who the hell did?
Here's the skinny. The Intercontinental Championship should be a big deal. It should belong to wrestlers who can steal the show with a whole bunch of different superstars. Ryback- for all of his good points (and he has improved over the years, don't get me wrong) is not what I see an Intercontinental Champion looking like. And I think deep down the WWE feels the same which is why he was booked so inadequately.
Ryback defended the IC Title at 3 PPVs and had a rematch at one. Not one of these matches went over 10 minutes. That's bizarre to say the least. And it's not as if he was going out there with schlubs. Kevin Owens is a great wrestler and a great heel to work with. So instead of having a IC Champion who could restore some prestige to the brand as Cena was doing with the US Title, they slapped the belt on another, less technically gifted guy and then made sure it was easy to see what his weaknesses were. If you were going to give it to Ryback, why not give him an Ultimate Warrior-style run with the belt, where he comes up against midcarders and beats them easily (making sure they're midcarders who can afford to lose).
Anyway, to see what happened to Dolph we need to go back a bit.
At the end of Payback John Cena had finally finished off his feud with Rusev where he managed to beat him for the third consecutive time. I'm not going to go into it in detail (it's another HSDoW of the future people!) but suffice to say if you want to know how badly it shat on Rusev's character; almost a year after Bray Wyatt faced off against John Cena and was done away with, he came back and faced the Undertaker. This year he'll face the Beast. Whether you 'believe' Wyatt is a 'viable' threat or not, there is no doubt that Bray continues to captivate audiences in a way that sees him near the top of the card.
Rusev, on the other hand, went into the Royal Rumble this year (where more people were injured by the way) and was immediately disposed of. Why? Because Rusev's Cold War gimmick was essentially neutered when Cena beat him 3 times for his title!
And that's not all...
During their time together, there was no doubt that Lana's looks had begun to get positive reactions from the crowd. The issue was, while it may have been sounded like a good idea on the surface to play off this in order to sow a little discord and make Rusev into more of a 3 dimensional character. But imagine if you tried to make Rocky V with Ivan Drago as the villian again. Why would you bother? The guy had just lost on the biggest stage to the American Hero. How can he come back from that. And now you're going to take Bridgette Neilsen away as well?! WTF WWE?!
And on the same night he spurns her, she sidles up to Dolph Ziggler and plants one right on his lips.
Look, CJ Perry is an amazing looking woman. I would have to be dead not to see that. But time after time after freakin' time when she was a heel, all we got was so-called babyfaces calling her out about being a 'skank' depsite the fact that she had only been with one man. Then, the same night Rusev breaks up with her, thus one would assume completing her turn, she just reinforces everything the babyfaces said. Even though she is supposedly a babyface herself.
And it also allowed the worst traits of Dolph Ziggler's babyface character to rear their ugly head again.
Look, I would just love it if they actually dialled down the 'Showoff' schtick on the Ziggler character just a bit. I don't mind if he has sexy valets or if he actually is known for stealing girls' hearts like Rick Rude or Shawn Michaels. That's fine. But that doesn't have to drive his stories! I don't want to see Ziggler in a towel backstage as a massive part of a segment, nor do I want to see stupid skits where his girlfriend is being compared to a cold fish. And at the end of it all, where are we really? Ziggler is still bouncing around the midcard, and Rusev is back with Lana- only lower down the card because they *gasp* revealed they are engaged to each other! And here I was thinking that Mark Calaway really did summon fire.
Why can't we have strong women who care about more than than being catty and attempting to get one over their jealous ex boyfriend? Why must we have feuds where great talent like Lana is being wasted because Vince and Kevin are more interested in female valets being admirers of their muscular gods (strange how Lana seemed to give out less instructions/advice when she became a babyface to Dolph. When she was a heel, she was barking out all sorts of ideas...) rather than proactive characters who can contribute to the twists and turns of a feud? Because this is what killed Rusev and Ziggler as a feud. The talent was all there. But creative couldn't trust it to actually do something intersting.
Now, before I wrap this whole Ziggler thing up, I'd like to make one last comment. More than a couple of people at the bottom of the page have quite rightly told me that the notion of Ziggler being a total innocent in all of his stop-start booking is false. That Ziggler, for all his good points, has a total inability for keeping his mouth shut. That is no doubt true, but he's hardly the only one to have a big mouth on him. Randy Orton, for example, has had a relatively chequered career with incidents and he's still going on strong while Jack Swagger has been caught Driving Under the Influence and he was in a Wrestlemania World Title Match!
Suddenly being mouthy doesn't seem so bad...
Anyway so draws to an end this 5-part series! Next time it's all about the Intellectual!
See you then!
The InVasion Saga
Article One: Shane has a surprise for Daddy
Article Two: Booker T vs Buff Bagwell and the Temple of Boos
Article Three: Daddy's little Girl Gets in on the Action
Article Four: "WHY AUSTIN DAMMIT?! WHY?!