Kevin Owens recently turned babyface on an episode of SmackDown Live by attacking Dolph Ziggler. Since then, the pair have been at odds with each other and are set to compete against in a match on this week’s show. However, that rivalry wasn’t WWE’s original plan for Ziggler.
Citing a report by Sean Ross Sapp on Fightful Select, WrestleTalk reports that Ziggler was set to engage in an onscreen rivalry with the high-flying Ali, a babyface who’s been garnering steam and popularity since being promoted to SmackDown Live from the weekly Cruiserweight show 205 Live at the end of last year.
The proposed storyline between Ziggler and Ali is said to have been put on hold for now, with plans to reconsider it at a later date. There is no word on why WWE decided to roll with the program between Owens and Ziggler instead, but chances are it’s because they plan on pushing the former as a face and they need a credible heel opponent for him to go over in order to gain some momentum.
Once again, Ziggler’s role in the company appears to be that of an enhancement talent. Since returning to action full-time back in May to challenge WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, he’s been placed in some high profile matches, only to come up short when it really matters.
That said, this type of booking has been commonplace for Ziggler throughout his long WWE career. Despite having all the tools to be a leading star — as well as a strong fan base among the WWE Universe faithful — the company has resisted triggering a proper push for him time and time again.
Still, even as a mid-card performer, Ziggler is a versatile talent who consistently puts on great matches and makes his opponents look good. He’s also a compelling character whose promo ability can add some drama and flavor to storylines. Should WWE decide to bring back the planned SmackDown Live rivalry between him and Ali down the line, it should make for some entertaining television.
Speaking of Ali, he appears to be high in the company’s plans. WWE has been airing promo packages for the former 205 Live superstar in recent weeks, which have shown him promising to win the WWE Championship. This suggests that there’s a title push in the cards for him at some point. If that’s the case, Ziggler is an ideal opponent for him to overcome on the way to title glory.