Dolph Ziggler has emerged as a frontrunner in the discussion regarding who wins the Royal Rumble next month in WWE’s first pay-per-view (or “special event” for us network subscribers) of the new year.
And going by the current momentum of the storytelling and the state of the WWE roster, giving Ziggler the nod could make a lot of sense.
The WWE was widely praised for how it booked Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series, a PPV that saw the debut of Sting. After John Cena was eliminated early due to a Big Show double-cross, Zig found himself in a three-against-one scenario.
He rallied and evened the odds to where it was just him and Seth Rollins. And then he proceeded to beat Rollins handily until Triple H got involved, necessitating the arrival of Sting.
It was great storytelling and the most exciting action that I’ve seen the WWE in years. It even overshadowed Sting’s arrival to a degree.
Creative has continued to book Dolph Ziggler strong in the aftermath, putting the IC strap back on him in a thrilling ladder match at TLC — one of the show’s only highlights, according to critics.
Continuing with this resurgence would make the most sense from a WrestleMania moment angle. It would make the most sense from Vince McMahon’s POV. And it would definitely give fans what they want.
Let’s break each of these down further.
From the WrestleMania moment perspective, as you know, the winner of the Royal Rumble gets a shot at the title at WrestleMania. Ziggler’s hot with fans right now, and WWE doesn’t like to do downer endings at their biggest show. They also want someone in the main event who is over with fans.
Ziggler winning the belt at WrestleMania would be that big uplifting moment the company shoots for, and it would be “safe” for Vince McMahon since Ziggler is obviously over right now, unlike Roman Reigns. Furthermore, he’s had a better build up than Dean Ambrose, who, while accepted by the fans, is still caught up in a feud with Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins that will need to be addressed before putting him in a WM main event situation.
Ziggler’s trajectory at this point makes more sense than Ambrose’s.
As for Vince McMahon’s POV, putting Ziggler over in the Royal Rumble and then at WrestleMania would send a message to young talent that if you work hard and continue showing up, it will eventually pay off. McMahon ruffled some feathers with his younger talent when he said they were not ambitious and needed to grab the “brass rings.”
Dolph Ziggler is a guy who has done that and giving him the nod would serve as a McMahon-approved template for the younger stars.
Finally, it’s what the fans want at this juncture, and WWE loves giving the fans what they want at WrestleMania.
The company may want Roman Reigns in the main event, but his lukewarm reception since The Shield broke up has proven he isn’t ready. Ziggler is seasoned and capable of running with the opportunity immediately.
What do you think, readers? Are all signs pointing to a Dolph Ziggler win at Royal Rumble, and if so, do you foresee a WrestleMania moment in his future?