It’s quite clear to see that Dolph Ziggler has not had the best of times in WWE since fighting for The Intercontinental Championship. He has been used as the SmackDown Live Welcome Mat for superstars who have moved up from NXT. Both Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode have started out against Dolph Ziggler in feuds that have appeared more underwhelming than anything.
Unfortunately for Ziggler, he has come out looking worse in both of these cases. In fact, his entire in-ring persona is one of apathy, which he has made extremely believable – because it’s genuine.
The interview almost seems therapeutic as Ziggler explains his frame of mind and how he thinks:
“I hate it […] But also I’m someone who, I hate that I’m not the champion. I hate that the show is not about me because that’s the mentality you should have if you’re in the business. If you’re the ‘Hey I want to be the opening guy who works for 10 years and saves a bunch of money,’ (guy) that’s great. But there’s a thousand other guys in the back that say, ‘I want to be the best. I want to main event WrestleMania, I want the show to be about me.’ […] So you have to have that mentality. But also I’ve been around enough to know the score, to know what’s going on. So I hate being in that position. I think I should be a bigger part of the show. But so does everybody else.”
“I see it both ways. Like, I don’t know, I’m not a giant guy so maybe in some other world I would have worked here for a year-and-a-half as a caddie and a cheerleader and then went away. So I see the positive, like, hey, man, I’ve been here for 12 years, almost always regularly on TV but I think at a point that becomes a burden of not going away, of always getting passed over. You get passed over a handful of times for a couple of years then you start to have more of a cult following and it gets hot but after a couple of years of not having the trigger pulled and the 8-year-old kids now know that you’re in that role… I’ve noticed in the last two years that my, even my live event matches are a little hard for me to do my job because when I come out a 10-year-old kid goes “I know you’re losing.” … It’s one thing to have, you know, 40-year-old guys going ‘I know what’s going to happen.’ That’s fine, I’m here to put on a show and we still have fun. But when you get in that role and you miss years of not going with it, it becomes a burden. Now my job of making somebody that should be ready for a world title picture becomes harder and it’s not as much of a shove and if you see the last six months or year of TV basically I am a gatekeeper to the guy from NXT coming up who they have high expectations for but if I lose for eight consecutive months before they show up, they’re no longer getting that pat on the back from me to go up a notch. So I feel like it’s almost taking back from my role.”
He makes a great point, how good does Bobby Roode look if Ziggler has lost most of his previous matches?
In the end, Ziggler is aware of his role in the company and is extremely experienced in what he does. The revealing interview is either a cry for help from within the company, or a sign that he’s looking to move on and becoming something new.
“So I don’t know what the change would be, to switch things up or disappear here and there or… I’ve said this to the boss on several occasions, I go ‘I’ve made a career out of almost never winning, which is awesome. But at some point I have to be seen as someone who could win, not just like pulling a needle out of a haystick or a lottery ball and finally that being the night because it loses all that luster. […] Wins and losses don’t matter unless you’re the guy who loses every single night and if you’re that guy, then you should be maybe in the dark match, you know, not fighting someone to see who goes for the world championship the next night. And even if you do pull that rabbit out of the hat, people know that it’s not long term.”
It’s also very possible that this is a fantastic publicity stunt before Dolph Ziggler challenges for the US Champion at Clash of Champions.