In his return to WWE, Dolph Ziggler is striking out in his feud with Kofi Kingston, failing to make use of his time to stole the show.
Geez, man. What is going on? I feel like every week I’m writing about an amazing wrestler put in a terrible creative predicament. This week, I’m going to chat about a wrestler that I love and feel doesn’t get enough credit for his talent and growth of a wrestler: Dolph Ziggler.
It’s no secret that Dolph Ziggler was called back to action due to some superstars refusing to go to Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia. Kevin Owens chose to stay home and support his friend, Sami Zayn, and this decision took away the most logical opponent for Kofi Kingston to face on the Saudi Arabian PPV. So when Kofi was attacked by Dolph Ziggler, it wasn’t a surprise, and, to be honest, I was happy. I love Ziggler, especially when he’s a heel. His most recent work with Drew McIntrye was phenomenal and I was curious to see what he was going to do.
The attack was vicious – besides some weird spots where Ziggler, with his mouth open, was holding Kofi’s head – with Ziggler taking it “too far.” It was refreshing seeing a heel go all out in the attack, which was meant to be a statement. There, in the ring and ringside, Ziggler left the WWE Champion on the floor and went backstage. This attack could have led to so many possibilities.
Then, a weird thing happened. In a quick backstage promo, Ziggler said he was going to come out and explain his actions. I would have been perfectly fine with not getting a promo until the next week, but the fact that this promo didn’t happen immediately after the attack felt strange. Ziggler even walked out with no music and stood on the entrance ramp to deliver his soliloquy.
He talked glowly about how Kofi did everything right and is worthy to be champion, but it should have been him. It was delivered so well, with a heightened sense of desperation and emotion, but it was just a weird sentiment. To be honest, if the promo happened as Kofi was being tended to by the medical staff, it would have played so well and been so much more effective. Instead, it felt disjointed.
The following Raw, Kofi was attacked yet again by Ziggler. Another vicious attack, but this time it was interrupted by Xavier Woods. Eventually, the combo of Kofi and Woods causes Ziggler to retreat backstage. Yet, Ziggler comes back out again, and he delivers a promo. This time, Woods and Kofi were still in the ring so it wasn’t as awkward as the last time.
Ziggler’s promo started off with an interesting take of how Kofi is only focusing on Lesnar and not him. The big issue was the promo was delivered with the same emotional vulnerability as his last attack. He was still praising Kofi and trying to be a good guy and though it worked the first time, it fell flat the second time. Another long promo praising Kofi as the best WWE Champion while nearly pouring tears was not going to help Ziggler’s case. Also, the fans vocally were not buying in.
A massive contributor to this shaky situation is that no one expects Dolph Ziggler to be a long-term stay anymore. It is very public knowledge that Ziggler is active in the entertainment business and that WWE’s involvement in Saudi Arabia was a decisive topic for its current stars. With so little time before Super ShowDown, Ziggler’s progression and storytelling should be dynamic to utilize the time they have with him.
This week needed a change of emotion. If Ziggler is lamenting the fact that this should be his opportunity, then it should focus on the fact that he is lamenting the end of his career as a show stealer. Ideally, his promos would have mirror something akin to the stages of grief. If his SmackDown return was him spilling his heart on the verge of tears, then the next one should be a promo of anger, not understanding why people are overlooking him or looking at him as the bad guy.
Another issue was the fact that his return happened on SmackDown Live, his second attack happened on Raw and he did nothing on SmackDown. It is showing a misuse of pacing, a misuse of utilizing the pre-PPV shows and a misuse of the ability to build on this angle.
But what else is new?
Put this down in the books as another missed opportunity for WWE. You think with the current climate, they would be going all out in delivering the best product.