Dolph Ziggler as WWE World Heavyweight Champion - Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Members of the Internet Wrestling Community like to keep track how often WWE “drops the ball”. I try, for the most part, to stay off this court. In the case of Dolph Ziggler I can’t help but lace up and get in on one of the most recent missed opportunities.

In 2014 Ziggler added a never-say-die attribute to his already stellar in-ring persona. Frequently promising to “steal the show”, The Showoff’s RAW, Smackdown, and Pay-Per-View performances lived up to those claims. Ziggler’s matches were consistently among the best on any given card, gradually becoming WWE’s bleached blonde, high flying Rocky Balboa.

During each bout Ziggler would endure insane amounts of punishment. Regardless of how intense the assault he’d refuse to succumb to a 3-count or submission. This built incredible audience sympathy for his character, greatly magnifying his popularity.

WWE headed into Survivor Series 2014 with a game-changing stipulation for its traditional elimination match main event. If John Cena’s team of grapplers were able to defeat a team assembled by The Authority – Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, the power couple would be removed from their maniacal position of leadership. After a rough-and-tumble, twisty-turny battle, the odds ended in The Authority’s favor.

Ziggler found himself alone, the only Team Cena combatant remaining. Unfavorably, he’d need to survive a beating from Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, and Kane, and eventually a cheating Triple H to be victorious. Ziggler took out Kane and Harper, engaged in a back-and-forth war with Rollins that saw Triple H interfere to save embarrassment.

This brought out “The Icon” Sting to the surprise of everyone in attendance. After dispatching Triple H, Sting placed Ziggler’s lifeless, battered body over an unconscious Rollins for the win.

After such a monumental boost Ziggler was way over with viewers, instantly a favorite to win the upcoming Royal Rumble match in 2015. The buildup was there. It made sense. Ziggler wins the Rumble, goes on to face brutal WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Of course Ziggler would succumb to a hellacious beating at the hands of Lesnar; at this point, however, fans believed Ziggler could withstand it, pulling off the jaw-dropping upset.

Instead, Big Show knocked out Ziggler during the Rumble match, and dumped his limp body and championship potential over the top rope like disrobed ring gear.

By: Mr. Joe Walker

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