Is Dolph Ziggler in Danger of Being Overshadowed by AJ Lee?

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

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The pairing of Dolph Ziggler, Big E. Langston and AJ Lee should spell the beginning of a main event run for Ziggler, the current Money in the Bank briefcase holder and self-proclaimed "Show Stealer."

In recent weeks, Ziggler has seen his profile within the company rise to a level it had not been in his nearly eight years of employment, undoubtedly thanks to a main event program with World Wrestling Entertainment’s resident golden boy, John Cena.

But is Ziggler’s place near the top of the card the result of his own hard work or is he simply a pawn in the continued exposure and development of the AJ Lee character?

It has become apparent in recent weeks that the AJ Lee-John Cena story has overshadowed Dolph Ziggler's rise up the card. The emphasis has repeatedly been put on the history between Cena and Lee, with the entire reasoning for the change in attitude of AJ being blamed on the 11-time WWE Champion’s supposed "toying" with her emotions.

Ziggler’s involvement seems to be secondary. On the New Year’s Eve broadcast of Raw, Cena even alluded to the fact that the future belonged to Dolph and AJ, "but mostly AJ."

It would be nice to believe that Dolph has the opportunity of a lifetime at this point, to believe that he can finally achieve the main event success so many believe he has deserved for, at least, the last year. It would be nice to believe that Dolph’s pairing with AJ and Langston was meant to add to his main event push, to give him that entourage that would finally put him over the top as a main event villain.

For now, that does not appear to be the case. For now, it appears as though the company has no qualms with using Ziggler as the in-ring representative for AJ in her personal vendetta against John Cena. As long as that is the direction the creative team takes with Ziggler, they will continue to find it very difficult to make fans accept him as that tippy-top level heel he has the potential to be.

There is still time to do some on-the-fly repair, as WWE creative has become so accustomed to in recent years. The pairing of a talented heel and their over, female companion has worked in the past. Edge found great success with the formula while paired with both Lita and Vickie Guerrero. It could be argued that his greatest runs in the main event scene occurred when he had a lovely lady by his side.

But Edge was never overshadowed by either of his co-stars. He was the clear-cut star of the pair, the focus was always on him, with the use of Vickie and Lita to help put him over as a sleazy villain.

Right now, Ziggler finds himself in the opposite role. He is playing second fiddle to his female co-star and that does nothing to help him at a time where he needs to be booked strong enough to be taken seriously at the spot on the card he is in. He is, essentially, AJ Lee’s boy toy. To truly succeed in the role, he needs to be the center of attention, with AJ being his girlfriend rather than his charge.

There is no reason to panic at this point. Ziggler is as over as he has ever been.

So why wait for things to get out of hand?

Fix the issue before it becomes a full-blown problem. There is money, potentially a lot of money, to be made from the Dolph-AJ relationship.

Why throw it away out of misguided stubbornness to get get one performer over at the expense of another?