Monday, June 29, 2015

Ziggler Re-Ups with WWE

Ziggler will continue mugging for the camera in WWE for a couple more years at least
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According to Mike Johnson's Magic Site of Malware and Grandiose Empty Promises, Dolph Ziggler has signed a "multi-year" extension to his WWE contract. Ziggler reportedly was considering leaving WWE when his contract was up in the late summer/early fall, but this deal will keep him in the fold for a couple more years at least. I guess all fantasy bookings of Ziggler under some other name popping up at Hell on Earth or King of Trios or even the Temple for season two (which better happen, c'mon guys get it together) of Lucha Underground are all for naught now. I imagine he'll still get to hone his standup comedy career. He could have used the change of scenery, but it is his career, so if he thinks WWE is the best fit for him, then by all means.

Of course, the focus will now shift to whether WWE will now push Ziggler to the main event on a permanent basis. It would be nice to see him get a chance to run the ball in a feud that doesn't involve him talking about "stealing the show" or scoring various women on the roster on the rebound. However, his role may just be acting as a permanent rock for the midcard, much in the same way Curt Hennig was in the late '80s and '90s after his house show run with Hulk Hogan flopped at the box office. A lot of critics, myself included, have bemoaned the lack of midcard in WWE, but the problem is that the biggest problem with the company's treatment of that level is that it's exceedingly transient. The wrestlers who have any modicum of talent are shunted too quickly to the main event, and the ones who remain there are, well, R-Truth.

Ziggler as a gatekeeper for the main event would not be the worst role in the world. He can work a variety of styles. He has weight and history behind his character that with a little bit of refurbishment can really make beating him mean something again. He's also super-over. The best thing about the salad days of the Monday Night Wars wasn't the TV-14 rating or the choice to flip between channels, but it was the crowd noise. Even midcard acts that got over blew the roof off the arena. The nature of fans may have changed, but with a little terraforming and work, WWE can build a card structure that gets people involved not only in the main eventers and the indie darlings.

Ziggler can be the cornerstone for that renaissance, and his contract will be worth every penny to him and to WWE. Not every wrestler needs to contend for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to be relevant, and I think that fact has been lost on Vince McMahon over the years. Besides, the real currency isn't about titles or wins, but about stories. Every wrestling show should have stories up and down the card, and if Ziggler gets to work long matches and get good stories, does it matter whether his opponent is John Cena or someone lower on the card structure.