During a great conversation with Edge & Christian on their "Pod of Awesomeness," Dolph Ziggler went into his thoughts on the position he finds himself in at this point in his WWE career, that he's a gatekeeper of sorts for those the company sees as potential future world champions. That being the case, there are issues with how they've been booking him.
It's no surprise a guy who is getting beat all the time would take issue with such a thing but you'll have a hard time arguing against him:
"I see it both ways. Like, I don't know, I'm not a giant guy so maybe in some other world I would have worked here for a year-and-a-half as a caddie and a cheerleader and then went away. So I see the positive, like, hey, man, I've been here for 12 years, almost always regularly on TV but I think at a point that becomes a burden of not going away, of always getting passed over. You get passed over a handful of times for a couple of years then you start to have more of a cult following and it gets hot but after a couple of years of not having the trigger pulled and the 8-year-old kids now know that you're in that role... I've noticed in the last two years that my, even my live event matches are a little hard for me to do my job because when I come out a 10-year-old kid goes "I know you're losing." ... It's one thing to have, you know, 40-year-old guys going 'I know what's going to happen.' That's fine, I'm here to put on a show and we still have fun. But when you get in that role and you miss years of not going with it, it becomes a burden. Now my job of making somebody that should be ready for a world title picture becomes harder and it's not as much of a shove and if you see the last six months or year of TV basically I am a gatekeeper to the guy from NXT coming up who they have high expectations for but if I lose for eight consecutive months before they show up, they're no longer getting that pat on the back from me to go up a notch. So I feel like it's almost taking back from my role.
"So I don't know what the change would be, to switch things up or disappear here and there or... I've said this to the boss on several occasions, I go 'I've made a career out of almost never winning, which is awesome. But at some point I have to be seen as someone who could win, not just like pulling a needle out of a haystick or a lottery ball and finally that being the night because it loses all that luster.
"Wins and losses don't matter unless you're the guy who loses every single night and if you're that guy, then you should be maybe in the dark match, you know, not fighting someone to see who goes for the world championship the next night. And even if you do pull that rabbit out of the hat, people know that it's not long term."
He outright admits he hates it that he's in this role, because of course he wants to be the headline attraction, the guy in the main event of WrestleMania. "I think I should be a bigger part of the show, but so does everybody else," he said. He also acknowledges that the fact he can have a good match with anyone, which shouldn't be a bad thing, may have actually hurt him.
Either way, his lot in life is his lot in life, fair or not.
That said, there is an issue beyond that: if Ziggler never wins, and he's never given any kind of push to show that he's worth anything, why would it ever matter for someone like Bobby Roode to come in and beat him on Roode’s way up the card?
The answer is that it wouldn't, and that's a very real problem. His losing all the time isn't just an issue for his ego, it's an issue for WWE's business.