|Is Ziggler on his way out?|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Dolph Ziggler's contract with WWE is up in a few months, and the scuttlebutt is that he's considering leaving the company. His status with the promotion has been spotty at best over the last five years or so. He was set to be introduced in late '08, but he was hit with a Wellness suspension before his maiden run under the Ziggler name could have started. Since then, he's achieved massive popularity, accrued secondary Championships, and even had a taste of the main event in World Heavyweight Championship feuds with both Edge and then Alberto del Rio.
But since the end of the del Rio feud, which saw him drop the World Heavyweight Championship after concerns about a concussion suffered from an errant kick by Jack Swagger, Ziggler has been stuck in this limbo area where he's too popular not to feature in high-profile matches and feuds, but doesn't have enough faith in him from management to be given any kind of sustained push. He's seemingly fallen into a rut, which might just be from the lax treatment from the office. He's seemingly taken more care to promoting his budding (and if Dave Meltzer and his correspondents are to be believed, awful) standup comedy act than wrestling as well.
In all honesty, I am awaiting Ziggler's exit from WWE. It's not because I don't think he's a great talent. He can be one when he's motivated and he has a hook. But I could sense something was wrong when he wrestled Seth Rollins a billion times between the fall of last year and now and none of their matches even remotely resonated within me. Ziggler is a guy whose creativity and fearlessness have been his hallmarks, and he's only shown it in flashes. He's a guy who could use a tour around the indies, finding himself, supplementing his per-appearance rates with his standup act. Imagine Ziggler bumping around the American Legion in Reseda, or even taking dates for his ancestral home in Cleveland for Absolute Intense Wrestling. He's one guy who could not only keep up with the indie guys, but have the cache that would bring new fans in unlike the B-and-C list releases like Justin Gabriel and pre-RPG Vice Trent Barretta (I love Trent?, but he wasn't a draw at first; he had to work for that status).
Or he could head over to Lucha Underground if that branch of AAA ever starts filming its second season. It's done wonders for John Morrison/Hennigan/Johnny Mundo. He's seriously a completely improved competitor and character, and he's absolutely one of the best reasons to tune in every Wednesday (or Saturday if you're like me and only get it en Español on Unimas). I can't imagine Ziggler not killing in that environment, even if his prop bumping identity is filled by Angelico.
One place I would hate to see him pop up, however, is TNA. Dixie Carter reportedly wants to make an "aggressive" offer to Ziggler once his contract is up, which, if true, shows her delusion. TNA's television deal is in flux. Carter is allegedly behind on paying people again. Yet, she wants to make a big offer to a guy who won't move the needle. It's awful.
Still, a lot could happen between now and the contract expiration. Ziggler could very well re-sign with the company. But he is 35 years old right now, and WWE may not be willing to give his well-worn ass another shot when Triple H has made the rest of the human resources and scouting departments fall in love with the indies and Japan. Maybe a change of scenery will fit him best, even if that change involves him leaving wrestling altogether.