Dolph Ziggler has, for some time now, been on the cusp of becoming a true main-eventer. The Money in the Bank briefcase, ever in his grasp, has served as a visual reminder to fans that Ziggler is “almost there.” At any moment, in fact, Dolph could opt to take his guaranteed World title shot and, in all likelihood, he would become champion. With the exception of a fluke loss by John Cena last year, everyone who has cashed in a MITB briefcase has struck gold. So, with the odds heavily weighted in Ziggler’s favor, what’s he waiting for?
It’s possible that, if he sits idle too much longer, Dolph may regret biding his time. Sure, Edge went almost nine months before cashing in the first-ever Money in the Bank briefcase, and it worked out splendidly for him. Edge, however, remained dominant while holding on to his contract, finally striking only when he was most ready to be a credible champion. This has, arguably, not been the case with Dolph. When Ziggler captured the MITB briefcase last July, he seemed poised to become the hottest commodity in WWE. In recent months, he’s underachieved, to say the least. We’re not suggesting that Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston aren’t great athletes, but a near-main-eventer like Dolph should be steamrolling over that kind of competition. Instead, his infrequent wins have come only through the assistance of Big E Langston and AJ Lee.
Say Dolph cashes in successfully at WrestleMania, capturing the World title from the winner of the Alberto Del Rio/Jack Swagger match. Will he be ready to rebuff attempts by Del Rio or Swagger to reclaim the strap? Assuming he makes it past those men, he’ll find the entire Smackdown roster standing in line. Randy Orton, Sheamus, Big Show, and other heavy hitters will all be gunning for the target around Ziggler’s waist. Given the way Dolph has been performing lately, we’re not convinced he'll be up to the task.
According to established Money in the Bank rules, any man who holds the briefcase has a full calendar year to cash in his championship opportunity. Dolph may not seem ready for the demands of a World title reign just yet, but, if he continues to wait, things might only be that much harder. Without a legitimate need to prove himself, Ziggler has faltered. As he spends more time putzing around the middle of the card, the “Show-Off” continues to become less effective at actually winning matches.
Maybe the pressure put upon main-event performers is exactly what Ziggler needs to flourish. After all, he has been labeled an underachiever in the past. In fact, it was his drive to succeed, to silence his critics, that propelled him to where he was last summer. It’s a gamble, of course, but abruptly taking the next step may be the only way for Ziggler to get back on his game.
So Dolph, if you’re reading this, you might want to consider cashing in that briefcase now. The longer you wait, the more difficult this is going to be.
Then again, maybe that’s exactly what the “Show-Off” wants …
PWI Contributing Writer