Since the WWE Draft and brand extension, Dolph Ziggler has received a lot more television time, focus, and opportunity on SmackDown. He has done a lot with what he has been given, and he has produced good matches. The only problem is there is a pattern that has developed that isn't good for him in the long run at all. Simply put, WWE is booking him to be good enough to challenge for WWE titles, but not win them.
At WWE Summerslam, Ziggler challenged Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship only to fail to win the title. He's now tried twice to become the Intercontinental Champion again and end The Miz's title reign, but heel tactics have led to missed opportunities for The Show Off. Needless to say, he has two months of very good work and no rewards to show for his efforts. He's been that damn good, but not good enough.
WWE No Mercy is coming up in a few weeks. It's likely that Dolph will be getting his last chance to become the Intercontinental Championship. He could walk out of Sacramento the IC Champion, but it'll be a clear indication of his value to the WWE product, and it may be easier for him to walk away from WWE for good.
According to a new report, Dolph Ziggler's WWE contract could be expiring before the end of October. That is currently putting him and WWE officials in an interesting position heading into WWE No Mercy, because it could be the last the WWE Universe sees of him on WWE programming.
The latest news about WWE No Mercy is Miz will defend the IC title against Dolph Ziggler one more time, but it will be in a steel cage. The heel tactics and "hairspray" attacks that have cost Dolph recent matches on SmackDown can't be used inside a steel cage, which is why WWE has been booking the Miz vs. Ziggler the way they have been over the past few weeks. However, there is no news about Ziggler winning the IC title.
If Dolph Ziggler's WWE contract is expiring next month, the expectation is that he would not resign with WWE. Obviously, he wouldn't struggle to find a place to wrestle outside of WWE. Big promotions like Ring of Honor and TNA Wrestling would be dying to have him if he were available. Frankly, Ziggler may be better off using his remaining years seeking other opportunities outside of WWE.
The point is that if WWE wants to keep Dolph Ziggler, which they likely are trying to do right now. They are going to need to offer him something substantial to do on WWE programming going forward. An IC title reign could be a good start. There have been rumors of a heel turn for him, which could bring the fire back to his character.
Even more recently, his name came up in a new "Varsity Wrestling Club" stable that would involve him, Shelton Benjamin, and Jack Swagger that could be formed in early 2018. It's not clear how that stable would work currently, but it seems that they'd represent themselves as the "real wrestlers" of WWE. A lot of things have been rumored for Dolph Ziggler, but there is no substitute for the main event and title picture.
At this point in his wrestling career, it's main event or bust. Dolph Ziggler has the talent, experience, and rapport with the WWE fans to become a WWE Champion. However, the next month is going to be a make or break situation because if that's what Nick Nemeth is asking for and WWE is unwilling to give him what many people believe he deserves, he's talented enough where he will get what he deserves outside of WWE.
[Image via WWE.com]