WWE Smackdown: Dolph Ziggler Appears To Quit, Is This The End Of His Wrestling Career?

Manish SwarupAP Images

Dolph Ziggler did something downright shocking on WWE Smackdown on Tuesday night – so shocking that many fans are wondering if the whole thing was even real. He dragged the fans for seemingly not appreciating him, laid down his title belt, and walked out of the ring – and wrestling in general – apparently for good.

As CBS News reports, rumors about the 37-year-old’s departure from the industry have been swirling for some time now, and Tuesday night seemed as good a night as any to address the rumors. His contract is nearing an end, and throughout his career, he’s never been promoted particularly hard, despite his lengthy list of accomplishments.

Dolph himself mentioned this in his farewell speech. Dressed in a suit, Ziggler held his belt across his shoulder while telling the crowd about all he’s accomplished in his career, including his first U.S. Title win back in 2011, five Intercontinental Title victories, and his World Heavyweight Championship cash-in, among others. Then, he screamed at the audience that they’re not worthy of his presence. The crowd booed and jeered while Dolph, seemingly fighting back tears, said, “You don’t deserve me.” He then laid down his belt and walked off the stage – apparently for good.

Of course, as every Wrestling fan knows, most of what happens in the industry is scripted, with just about everything that happens designed to advance a storyline. And that may very well be the case here, After all, at 37, Dolph’s a hair on the young side to be considering retirement. Fans may find, in the coming weeks or months, that Dolph’s “retirement” was just a ruse to create interest in his story.

Or maybe not; the WWE has created in-universe storylines to cover for stars’ real-life exits before, as with Dave Batista and Chris Jericho.

What’s Next For Dolph?

At this point in the development of the story, it’s almost impossible to tell. As mentioned before, the whole “retirement” could very well have been a ruse to advance a story. Or it could be that Dolph, like John Cena, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hulk Hogan, and many other wrestlers before him, is looking for opportunities elsewhere in the entertainment industry.

He could also look for opportunities in the wrestling industry outside of the WWE franchise. There’s always MMA, and there’s also money to be made in the independent leagues. Or he could even take a page from Jack Swagger and try to find opportunities in the Mexican Lucha leagues.