Dolph Ziggler is clearly one of the WWE’s top stars.
Or is he?
At least on paper, the answer to that question is "yes." Ziggler is the World Heavyweight Champion, arguably the top in-ring performer in the company and among the best all-around talents on the roster, too.
But when you look below the surface, Ziggler’s status as a top star isn’t so cut-and-dry.
It’s not that Ziggler isn’t a great talent. Anyone who watches the WWE on a consistent basis can see that. It’s that the creative team shows absolutely no faith in him.
When a guy is a top star, and especially when he’s a World champion, he should be booked like one. He should win most of his matches, appear in the most important time slots on Raw and/or SmackDown, and be portrayed as a character who has virtually no equal.
Ziggler, for the most part, doesn’t do anything of those things—despite the fact that he just won the World Heavyweight Championship a month ago.
“The Showoff” lost a ton prior to winning the World title last month, and roughly four weeks into his title reign, things haven’t really changed at all. Ziggler is still losing, and it’s only reminding us that that’s just about all he’s done over the last several months.
A mere week after winning the World title, Ziggler lost a non-title match to Jack Swagger on Raw. Mind-blowing, huh? Probably not as mind-blowing as his next loss, though.
On last week’s SmackDown, Ziggler teamed up with Big E Langston to take on the duos of Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter as well as Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat tag team match. Guess who took the pin in that bout even though five other people, including three non-wrestlers, could have? Yep, Ziggler.
Fast forward to this week’s Raw, when Ziggler took on Del Rio in a non-title singles bout. The result of that much? Ziggler lost by disqualification.
Nobody should really be surprised by any of Ziggler’s losses anymore. But that doesn’t mean that anyone has to agree with them. In fact, a World champion should never be booked this way.
Of course, the WWE is head over heels in love with booking its faces strongly and its heels weakly. However, there should always be exceptions to that rule—like when your new heel World Heavyweight Champion desperately needs to win consistently to establish himself as a formidable champion.
Every time that Ziggler loses a match—no matter what that match is or how he loses it—the WWE is sending a very clear message: It has exactly zero faith in Ziggler.
Why can’t the creative team do for Ziggler in 2013 what it did for Sheamus in 2012? When “The Celtic Warrior” held the World title for seven months last year, he hardly ever lost. In fact, you could probably count his losses on one hand and still have at least a couple of fingers left.
Sheamus was booked incredibly strongly as the World Heavyweight Champion, and his title reign helped establish him as one of the WWE’s clear-cut top stars. Ziggler, however, is headed in the complete opposite direction.
“The Showoff” has lost three big matches in four weeks, which is about the same amount that Sheamus lost during his entire seven-month reign. Something is obviously wrong here, right?
No matter what, champions should be booked strongly. Otherwise, the champion looks bad, the belt he’s holding looks bad, and ultimately, the WWE as a whole looks bad.
The worse Ziggler looks, the worse the World Heavyweight Championship looks. Unfortunately, the WWE doesn’t seem to care.
The creative team has no faith in Ziggler as World champion, and until it does, the entire company will suffer.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!