This column contains a tiny Smackdown spoiler from this week – so if you don’t wanna be spoiled, firstly stop lurking on wrestling news websites, and secondly avert your gaze from this scribe until Saturday.
The name (or more specifically, the person) “Nick Nemeth” has bounced around the wrestling industry for several years now. The wrestling potential has always been apparent it would seem – he even had the dubious honour of being ranked at number 100 in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 100 wrestlers in 2005.
Today, Nicholas Nemeth finds himself wrestling under the guise of Dolph Ziggler in the WWE. And you know what? He’s doing rather well. It seems the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy that I learned of in high school physics was true after all.
I happen to quite like the name “Dolph Ziggler”. I recall it causing quite a stir amidst the online wrestling communities when it was first unveiled due to its aura of naffness, but I’ve always dug it. Sure, it’s kind of goofy, but that’s the point. WWE would probably deny it in the PG era, but it’s an obvious homage to Boogie Nights porn-star Dirk Diggler – and anything associated with Boogie Nights sits cool with me. More often than not, a name will evolve through the association with a good gimmick – here it’s the other way around. The character evolved from the name. And that’s also fine.
I’m not always a fan of far out names though. Re-naming Curt Henning’s son with the rotten moniker of “Michael McGillicutty” on the new season of NXT was one of the most retarded booking decisions the WWE has made this year (and that’s saying something!). But hey, that’s a column for another day.
A lof of folk will always point to how well Dolph Ziggler has recovered from The Spirit Squad gimmick – a gimmick capable of killing any young career before it ever had a chance to soar. To those people I say this: Baloney! (Dang, this PG era is rubbing off of me)
Whilst The Spirit Squad likely sounded a terrible gimmick on paper – the five guys who formed the stable made it work, and lordy, they made it work well. They were hideous brats whose irritating behaviour and crappy dance routines went almost full circle to actually making them likeable. Does that make sense? It does to me.
And that wasn’t Mr Ziggler’s only stint in the WWE. Very few are likely to remember him taking the role of Chavo Guerrero’s caddy (whilst Chavo worked the terrible “Kerwin White” gimmick). So despite being perceived as somewhat of a newcomer to the WWE roster, Dolph is already rivalling Mick Foley for the number of personas they’ve played whilst under the employment of Mr McMahon.
Whilst I fully admit to being a fan of Dolph, I will also fully admit that he isn’t a stand out young performer in the way someone like, say, CM Punk or John Morrison is – but he’s still pretty damn solid inside the squared circle. He’s had decent outings in PPV bouts with the likes of Rey Mysterio, John Morrison and, er, The Great Khali and being on the Smackdown bound, for now, means he’s eligible to partake in lenghtier bouts, rather than the 2 minute spot-fests that we’re regularly fed on RAW. So he’s only gonna get better.
Not all is rosy though. Ziggler desperately needs a new finishing move. The sleeper hold was dull 20 years ago and thusly it certainly isn’t going to get him over with audiences in 2010. Just writing that makes me twitch with anger – a frikking sleeper hold?! What were the bookers thinking? And secondly, the Zig-Zag is a pretty lame finishing move in the fact that it has practically zero impact and looks about as devastating as accidentally tipping over whilst trying to pull a sock on. Why is the WWE trying to get the sleeper-hold over at the time that Daniel Bryan is fired for “choking” incidentally? There’s not really any major difference in the two acts… seems contradictory to me. Ho hum.
One thing I adore about Ziggler is his idiosyncrasies. You know that pose where he runs his fingers through his hair and flicks the sweat on to his opponent? That is pure pimping cool. And it’s things like this that help knit a connection with an audience. Why didn’t the likes of Mike Knox or Paul Birchill ever connect with the crowds despite having ample wrestling ability? Because they walked to the ring, had their match, and then walked out again. They had literally zero charisma. I’m not saying that running their fingers through their hair would have saved their WWE careers… but I’m not saying it wouldn’t have helped either.
I have similar length hair to Ziggler incidentally, and as Summer is upon us I too shall be flicking my hair sweat into dweebs as I parole the streets. Probably anyway. It depends how big the dweeb is I guess. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Today, Dolph Zigger finds himself partnered with Vickie Guerrero, and this of course will do no harm to the career of young stalwart. Her act may have become a little watered down in recent months, but she is still one of the most effective heels in the WWE right now. A jealousy/split storyline already seems to be in the works, but I hope it isn’t rushed as that wouldn’t benefit either performer. If they can play it out well, much like they did with Vickie and Edge, there can be plenty of chapters in their relationship. I have no beef with recycling storylines if the storylines were genuinely entertaining the first time around, you see.
News has just reached me that Ziggler has qualified for the upcoming Smackdown money in the bank ladder match and this is good news indeed. McIntyre will certainly be the favourite too claim the briefcase – but McIntyre was also a dead cert to claim the briefcase at Wrestlemania and he didn’t, so Dolph could well be a dark horse worth backing in the bout.
Ziggler is making slow and steady progress. Having been a WWE employee for over 6 years, he is earning his wrestling stripes the old-fashioned way (i.e. through hard work). Still being in his 20s, the assumption is that he has a long career in the wrestling business yet and I’m genuinely agog to see what happens next for the character.
At a time when the WWE is flooded with green talent that clearly isn’t even nearly ready for TV exposure (I’m looking at you Nexus), it’s refreshing to see an OVW graduate making waves who genuinely does possess natural charisma and wrestling ability.
Over and out.