Dolph Ziggler Looks Out of Place as a Babyface in WWE

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2013

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Dolph Ziggler will face Alberto Del Rio at WWE’s upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view on Sunday, July 14 for the World Heavyweight Championship.  The former champ finds himself on the other side this time as he appears to be leaving his heel roots behind him while Del Rio is already no longer a babyface Superstar.

And I for one think Ziggler looks very out of place in his new role.

The biggest issue with this particular rivalry is that it did not start off this way.  As we all know, Dolph was the cocky, arrogant champion who was overly confident in his ability and dared anyone to step up to the plate.

And Alberto was the smiling, proud challenger who wanted to regain his championship.  He was the honorable Superstar, the man who believed that he could take the title because of his heart and his hard work. 

WWE basically had a very black and white title match on its hands.  There was nothing unusual or different about this feud at all.

But then Del Rio turned in his pride for brutality when he repeatedly kicked a concussed Dolph Ziggler in the head at the Payback pay-per-view.  As the Chicago crowd began to voice its displeasure with what it was seeing, WWE creative was likely racing back to its laptops.

Time for plan B, which called for both Del Rio and Ziggler to make the turn, very reminiscent of the double turn we witnessed between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret Hart back at WrestleMania 13 in 1997.  Now WWE had to change it up.

Ziggler was now being portrayed as the sympathetic figure, a workhorse who was screwed out of the championship by a heel who was using any means necessary to win the match.  The World title was Ziggler’s belt, he had earned it, and now he was being cheated out of it.

Of course, common sense tells us that realistically speaking, a Superstar should do whatever it takes to win the World title.  And that same common sense reminds us that Ziggler took advantage of a downed Del Rio when he won the strap in the first place.

But not only did Del Rio’s character cross the line in the ring, he crossed it in promos after his victory. After all, it’s hard to support a guy when he’s considered by many fans to be a better heel anyway. Add to that the fact that he’s laughing over taking advantage of a guy who was legitimately hurt and you now have a Superstar in Del Rio who has essentially turned on the fans and has decided to go his own way.

I have to be honest; when it comes to Del Rio, this scenario does fit him very well.

I happen to be one of those fans who felt he made a much better heel in WWE.  His attitude, his arrogance, the entire Mexican aristocrat gimmick fit him perfectly.  Even though I did give his babyface character a chance, it just never felt right to me.

But now that he’s heel again, he is in his element.  He looks like he belongs where he is, doing what he’s doing.  Del Rio is back where he left off and is arguably stronger than before.

Dolph Ziggler, however, is not quite in the same sweet spot as his opponent.  

Dolph is a great heel.  The guy just fits the role so perfectly that in many ways it’s as if he were just meant to play that part.  His smug demeanor, his outspoken cynicism, there is just nothing morally or socially redeeming about Dolph’s personality or his attitude.

Though fans love his work ethic and what he brings to the table, he is so easy to hate.  Ziggler gets great heat and is very good at it.

But Ziggler as a babyface is the great unknown.  Will he be able to not only get over but sustain it? He’s popular against Del Rio but will he be against anyone else?  Does the WWE faithful care enough about Dolph to support him and truly want to see him as a fan favorite?  

Or will this unlikely burst of popularity fizzle out as soon as it began?  

Again, the real issue here is that the double turn could have been somewhat ill advised.  It has set the tone for the feud now.  Apart from Del Rio not accepting the championship due to how he won it or perhaps not exploiting Dolph’s concussion at all, I really do not see any other way the company could have handled it.

But what’s done is done.  Now, I, for one, am very curious to see how Dolph will be accepted and if WWE chooses to continue down this path.  After all, the decision could always be made to change gears once again and let Dolph’s ego get in the way of a true full fledged face turn.

Or this could actually turn into something good for Dolph; perhaps we could see him truly become a successful babyface Superstar. For me, however, it’s much too soon to know for sure.

Dolph Ziggler is currently on his way to becoming a babyface in WWE.  It is new territory for him and while it is not yet a fully committed turn, he does seem to be headed in that direction.  But thus far I think he looks out of place in his new role.  Only time will tell if WWE chooses to go this way with Ziggler’s character and if it eventually works with the fans.

Will the Showoff be able to show the world that he is capable of making it work?