First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. I am finishing up my series on my all time favorite wrestlers. In late September I started my first blog about my first favorite wrestler Brian Pillman. After Pillman, it was Lex Luger, Ultimate Warrior, Crush, The Rock and Edge. Now that brings me to my current favorite wrestler, Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler first came to WWE as a caddy for Kerwin White aka Chavo Guerrero. He then resurfaced as a member of the Spirit Squad. After the run with the Spirit Squad he went back to developmental and was repackaged. I want to say it was a round 2007, 2008 when he showed up as Dolph Ziggler.
I can vividly remember when he first came to WWE as Ziggler he would walk around introducing himself. “I’m Dolph Ziggler”. I want to say he picked up his first win against Batista via count out. A win is a win, and a win over Batista in one of his first matches is quite impressive.
When he started I immediately liked his in ring style. His offense was good, but it was the selling he did that I thought was very Shawn Michaels like, and I loved that. Nobody was selling like he was and it started to get noticed. His character was always the sleaze ball, better than you, ladies man type. The best way to describe his character is a mixture of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Rick Rude.
He made a great heel and when Edge was no longer the “love interest” of Vickie Guerrero, Dolph Ziggler was next. Vickie help catapult Ziggler into the main event picture. He was becoming one of the best heels in the business. Then something happened. He started gaining and earning respect from the fans.
April of 2011 my favorite wrestler at the time was Edge. He was forced to retire due to injury, and even though I was sad to see Edge go, I knew Ziggler was the wrestler I would be rooting for next. And once I started rooting for Ziggler, I noticed I wasn’t the only one. By late 2012 early 2013, I would say he was getting more cheers than boos on a regular basis.
Then, in 2013 the night after Wrestlemania, something amazing happened. It was one of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Dolph Ziggler had won Money in the Bank the year prior and cashed in on Alberto Del Rio. When he won the title that night, that was the loudest I have ever heard the WWE universe.
From that night on Ziggler went on to begin a baby face turn. The next pay per view he put his newly won World title on the line against Del Rio in a rematch and then the turn was official. It was a double turn that night as Alberto who as supposed to be a fan favorite, beat Ziggler in ruthless fashion. Using short cuts and cheap shots, Del Rio was able to regain the World title.
The next night Monday night RAW was in Grand Rapids, Michigan and yours truly was in attendance that night. Del Rio started the show and immediately turned on the fans. Ziggler would come out towards the end of the night and attack Del Rio. Ziggler was on his way to becoming one of the most popular guys on the roster.
A little side note about RAW from Grand Rapids that night. That was the night. Mark Henry gave his infamous fake retirement speech. I can tell you first hand, that man had everyone in that arena fooled that night. If someone tells you that they knew it was a rouse, they’re lying to you.
Back to Ziggler who is now a good guy and embracing his new role. He went on to have some feuds with some of the top heels, but was starting to lose… a lot. So much so that it was becoming predictable. Although Ziggler could have you interested in any match he was having, you knew he was going to lose.
For what seemed like years, he was putting anybody and everybody over. New guys from NXT, old vets and even jobbers who Ziggler should have easily beat we’re getting victories over him. You could see Ziggler was starting to get frustrated and I think he was close to leaving WWE on a couple of occasions.
It wasn’t until the brand split that Ziggler got somewhat of a reboot. He started to win matches and even went on to wrestle Dean Ambrose for the WWE title at Summerslam 2016. But it was a feud later that year with The Miz that really helped Ziggler get over the losing slump he had been on.
Ziggler and Miz had a several pay per view rivalry and it was also during the feud that Ziggler gave one of, if not the best promo of his career. Ziggler had multiple chances to win the intercontinental championship from The Miz and was unsuccessful. It was a Smackdown from Cleveland, Ohio when Ziggler asked for one more chance at the title. He said if he didn’t win he would leave WWE. Ziggler was emotional that night and you could tell the guy legitimately loves wrestling. I believe the promo he gave that night was from his heart. The career on the line angle was storyline, but the words he used that night had to be his own.
Ziggler went on to win the title and save his career at Backlash, only to lose the title back to The Miz a few weeks later. Ziggler started losing on a regular basis again. This led to a frustrating heel turn. He would spend most of 2017 as an irrelevant heel until the end of that year.
Ziggler was placed in a United States Championship match at TLC that year and won the title. The following Smackdown he came to the ring to celebrate and in a shocking move, relinquished the title and walked out of WWE. I think there was some serious thoughts of leaving WWE at this point.
No one had heard anything from Ziggler until he was the 30th entrant in the 2018 Royal Rumble. Although he didn’t stay in the match long, I was relieved that he was back. I would later learn that he signed a multi year, multi million dollar deal with the WWE.
2018 has been one of the best years in Ziggler’s career. He left Smackdown for RAW and aligned himself with Drew McIntyre and has been in the main event picture all most all year long. He had an amazing rivalry with Seth Rollins over the summer. The two of them put on some classic matches including an iron man match.
He also won the RAW tag team championship with Drew McIntyre and has had some of the best matches of his career. Earlier this month he was in the World Cup tournament and should have won it, but Shane McMahon foiled those plans. Still he picked up wins against hall of famer Kurt Angle and Seth Rollins in the same night.
I feel like Ziggler is entering a cool down phase of his career very soon. It will be within the next few months that he and McIntyre are split. I would be ok to see Ziggler do one more face run before he calls it a day in wrestling. I think he could incorporate his comedy into his character and be a huge fan favorite again.
I will always be a fan of Ziggler the wrestler. But he is growing on me as a comedian too. I love that he is an Ohio guy and that he in some fashion pays homage to his hometown of Cleveland. Here’s hoping we get several more years of Ziggler in the WWE.
I hope you have enjoyed the favorite wrestler series. All seven wrestlers on this list have impacted me in some way. Thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com and be sure to check us out on Wednesday for the weekly top ten.