Raw Underground has been an early success for WWE thus far, and Dolph Ziggler might be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Whether it’s Dabba-Katto, Emily Andzulis, or Arturo Ruas, WWE have been using some up-and-coming names on WWE Raw Underground. Since Shane McMahon likes trying new things and seems more willing to push new talent than his father, that could mean big things for some of these bad-ass grapplers.
But the first beneficiaries of Raw Underground will be more experienced wrestlers with MMA and amateur wrestling backgrounds. We’re already seeing Shayna Baszler and now her fellow Four (Faux?) Horsewomen Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke make plenty of noise on the show.
Yet the wrestler who stands to benefit the most from Shane O’Mac’s latest venture is Dolph Ziggler, who likely enjoys a positive relationship with the WWE executive.
Ziggler was a legendary collegiate wrestler at Kent State, which is a fact that WWE used to make use of frequently in storylines. Now, Ziggler is nothing more than the guy Drew McIntyre eviscerated twice, his title triumphs of the past being just that – of the past.
But on Raw Underground, Ziggler is getting to be the wrestler WWE never allowed him to be. Vince’s infatuation with size meant that Ziggler was always going to be the plucky underdog babyface or devious, cowardly heel in his promotion, but, in real-life, Ziggler is not someone you want to get into a fight with. He’s in excellent shape and certainly knows what he’s doing in the ring with his amateur background.
Raw Underground allows Dolph Ziggler to show his full skill-set
What makes Ziggler even more intriguing in Raw Underground is that he can be a great grappler in that setting while still being a pro wrestler. He can showcase the best of both worlds.
His recent match with Erik was a great example of that. Ziggler used his amateur wrestling background to defeat the bigger man, but he also needed a little trick up his sleeve to take down Erik. His trick? An eye rake. It’s totally illegal in actual wrestling and combat sports, but in pro wrestling and in the world of WWE, he can absolutely do that. Hence, he becomes even more dangerous in Raw Underground and can do this kind of stuff that’s in line with his character.
New features should be coming for Raw Underground as the weeks advance, and I’m sure Shane McMahon has ideas for character development (beyond brawls or Nia Jax walking off, for example) and titles. And that can mean more for Dolph Ziggler, who should be considered a veteran pillar of the show.
Ziggler is usually the guy WWE bring out on television when they are out of ideas of who the champion should feud with, such as Kofi Kingston in the summer of 2019 and McIntyre this summer. But Ziggler is still talented and offers a lot more in terms of credibility, experience, and just pure skill. It seems like Shane is ready to make use of that “Underground”, which means fans may finally be invested in Ziggler again.