He’s not quite there yet, but Dolph Ziggler is about as close to being a full-time top superstar as you can get.
At just 31 years old, Ziggler’s has already put together a very impressive resume. He’s held the Intercontinental and United States Championships, is technically a former a World Champion and is current holding the coveted Money in the Bank briefcase.
When wrestling fans think about the success that Ziggler has already had and combine that with his unparalleled abilities as a bumper, seller and overall wrestler, they can be certain that Ziggler is going to be at the top of the WWE for a very long time.
What they’re less sure of, however, is exactly why Ziggler hasn’t really reached that elite level yet.
Ziggler is obviously known for having fantastic matches on a consistent basis, but there’s got to be a reason why that has yet to translate into a legitimate World title run, right?
Oddly enough, I think that what may be holding Ziggler back is actually what—or rather, who—has helped propel him to the current level he’s at.
That someone is Vickie Guerrero.
Vickie is arguably the WWE’s biggest heat magnet. All it takes is a simple “Excuse me!” or an introduction of Ziggler for the live crowd to boo her mercilessly.
That’s probably why the WWE has kept her paired up with Ziggler for the last few years now. Ziggler is such a phenomenal wrestler that, regardless of whether he’s a heel or not, the fans have begun to cheer him because of his talents in the ring. Perhaps the best example of this came at No Way Out when Ziggler faced Sheamus, and if you were a casual wrestling fan just randomly tuning into the show, you probably would have thought that Ziggler was the face.
It’s a testament to Ziggler’s nearly unmatched abilities in the ring, but despite the cheers, having Vickie by his side makes him able to get that big-time heat that technically makes him a heel. Using Vickie to keep the heat on Ziggler is fine and everything, until it becomes more of a detriment than a help.
While I’m not sure I’d call Vickie a “detriment” just yet, I would argue that it’s time for her and Ziggler to go their separate ways.
The duo has been together since 2010, and while their pairing has worked extremely well for the most part, I don’t think we’re ever going to truly see the emergence of Ziggler as a top star until he can do everything on his own. We already know he can wrestle, and we think he can talk. But he’s gotten far fewer opportunities to show that than he should have by now.
Many of the top stars in today’s WWE thrive partly because of what they can do on the mic—John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Byan, The Miz, etc.—and the ones that aren’t great on the schtick—Sheamus, Randy Orton, etc.—don’t necessarily have to because of their gimmicks.
But if Ziggler wants to truly solidify himself as a top guy (and stay there), then the only way I see that happening is if he drops Vickie and starts delivering promos on a consistent basis. Yeah, Vickie is a great heat magnet, but that’s always going to be viewed by some as a knock on Ziggler.
Is Vickie really that big of a heat magnet, or is Ziggler just not that great of a heel?
I think the former is true, but you know that there will be people out there who think that Ziggler, although he’s a great wrestler, won’t be viewed as a top star until he’s able to drop pipe bombs. As long as Vickie’s by his side, he’s not going to be able to that, though.
Ziggler may put on fantastic matches, he may cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the World Heavyweight Champion, and he may continue to steal the show.
But it’d be much sweeter if he did all that on his own.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!