A caveat before we get started: emphasis is placed on the word “primetime” in the title. Dolph Ziggler is my favorite active wrestler. He is, in my very humble opinion, the best wrestler in WWE. Is he the best in the world? Probably not. But for the sake of this article, Ziggler is the best wrestler on cable television. Obviously, everyone has their own opinion on this matter and even more obvious is the fact that I am not referring to anything from Japan or Ring of Honor or any other of the dozens of other smalltime organizations. The two main television promotions currently are WWE and TNA (although TNA is on life support), and as far as I’m concerned, Dolph Ziggler is the man.
Dolph Ziggler vs Roman Reigns – The differences here are vast. Roman Reigns is bigger and stronger than Ziggler. Reigns looks like John Cena meets The Rock. He’s a star and will be rising to the top quickly. The bonus points go to Ziggler for sheer wrestling ability. Ziggler is better in the ring. Dolph has the ability to wrestle any size, shape, or opponent style and still sell a great match. Reigns is big and clunky and if he starts grappling with a smaller, quicker guy, the match becomes a little bit disappointing. Ziggler also gets the slight edge on mic work, as Roman Reigns is about as electrifying as rubbing a balloon on your head. Ziggler’s merchandise and ring attire also win because since Reigns returned from injury, he now looks like an extra on the set of a Mortal Kombat movie. While both wrestler’s looks would benefit greatly in the Attitude Era, Reigns on the mic is best suited for the water-downed PG era. Reigns will probably be champion long before Ziggler, but when comparing the two, the Showoff gets the win.
Dolph Ziggler vs Daniel Bryan – It’s hard to make any argument for Daniel Bryan. YES!, he had a monumentous night at WrestleMania 30. And YES!, he won the dual titles after beating overwhelming odds. However, he has been absent more than Brock Lesnar in the second half of the year. Although he still gets a huge pop, he may never wrestle again. (See Stone Cold Steve Austin and Edge) That being said, both wrestlers are in-ring tacticians. If Ziggler, Bryan and CM Punk formed a stable in Ring of Honor, it could quite possibly be the most amazing group of all time. Ziggler gets the slight edge in this battle just because he has “the look” of a superstar wrestler, where Daniel Bryan looks like he should be an 8-bit character in the Oregon Trail game. It seems strange to say that just eight short months ago Bryan was on top of the world. Now, he’s a guest star on Total Divas at best. In fact, taking him off this list entirely wouldn’t be much of a stretch. The YES! Movement was a powerful thing, something we haven’t seen much of in the post-Attitude Era. However, if Bryan never returns to action his time with WWE is but a small section, a great time to be sure, but just a tiny blimp on the radar. And his YES! Chant has certainly been hi-jacked by his wife, Brie Bella, and the fans; and has also been mocked by The Authority for months rendering it almost no longer property of Daniel Bryan. After April of this year, Dolph Ziggler wins by a landslide.
Dolph Ziggler vs Seth Rollins – This is by far the two best guys in the WWE right now. Seth Rollins has called himself the future of the company, and that doesn’t sound like a work. Triple H and WWE have made it clear with their actions over the past year that they have big plans for Mr Money in the Bank. That being said, Dolph did it first. When he cashed in the briefcase the Monday Night Raw following WrestleMania 29, the crowd exploded. Ziggler has been riding a burning, white-hot streak for more than two years. He was over in 2013 and he’s even more over going into 2015. The crowd wants him, the signs beg WWE to push him, and as of late he has been getting some major airtime for the company. In fact, one might argue that Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns going out with injury might have been the best possible thing that could have happened for Ziggler’s career. Seth Rollins is the better wrestler by a narrow margin. However, he still has to prove whether he can stand on his own without The Authority and J&J Security. Until then, he’s not the best in the business, but is certainly best FOR business. Ultimately, it comes down to heel vs face. Ziggler wins because he is the most over while Rollins gets booed. Granted, Rollins is supposed to get booed, but still. Also, Ziggler pinned Rollins at Survivor Series for the victory. That factors in bigtime.
Dolph Ziggler vs Randy Orton – The Viper will always be a top guy. He’s the man; has been for quite some time. But…Orton spent the early part of 2014 being a whiny bitch, begging and pleading The Authority for handouts. He’s currently off filming a movie and hasn’t had a decent storyline in a few months. Appearance-wise, Randy Orton is the epitome of a professional wrestler. He fits the part perfectly. And if WWE ever had an NBA-like logo, it would be of Orton’s silouhetee doing his pose, arms extended at a slight angle, from the top rope. Both men have great finishers. Both men can carry a match. And both men can take on any size or style. Orton gets the edge for mic work. Ziggler has the better merchandise. The only reason Dolph comes out on top is because Orton has been to the mountaintop several times and has carried the company for the better part of a decade. It’s Ziggler’s time to shine and he should get a push over the Apex Predator.
Dolph Ziggler vs John Cena – There’s one major difference between these two that puts Ziggler lightyears ahead of Hogan 2.0: Ziggler will put anybody over and do it so well that you think he died after the match. Cena, for his part, put Brock Lesnar over at SummerSlam in such a convicing fashion that even I had to give him props. But, he has a history of blacklisting guys in the locker room and getting people shoved down the card or fired from the company. He protects himself in the ring and doesn’t have a great reputation for putting people over. He put Daniel Bryan over cleanly, however he did so only because he was forced to leave due to injury. Ziggler steals the show. Day in and day out. No matter who he wrestles or where he is on the card, he gives you his best and tries to entertain the viewing audience. Cena dials it back at times depending on who he is facing and occasionally phones-in his mic work, and for that, he doesn’t edge out the Showoff.
There are many fantastic wrestlers on the active roster for WWE and NXT. However, nobody except Dean Ambrose is as over as Dolph Ziggler. He had one of the best Intercontinental Championship matches ever at TLC and has continued to get better and better. Now that Alberto Del Rio is no longer with the company, Ziggler’s risk of another concussion has fallen below ten percent. The NXT guys are great, especially Sami Zayn. But until they (and he) are brought up to the main roster and not buried by bad booking, they remain untested. Lesnar is probably going to be the champion through WrestleMania 31. And then there will probably be a huge battle between the three former Shield brothers for the title. 2015 might be a make or break situation for WWE. Their profits are down, their viwership is down, and Kevin Dunn continually sucks the life out of all of their programming. The regime is changing. The status quo is about to be turned on its head. A time will come in the near future where guys like Randy Orton and John Cena aren’t the top draws anymore. And when that time comes, Dolph Ziggler will be seasoned, hardened, and baptized by fire. He will be ready to slide into the top spot and the rest will be history.
Dolph Ziggler is the current (and four-time) Intercontinental Champion. He has won every other active title in the WWE, except the newly formed unified title that Brock Lesnar has. He has won Money in the Bank, and successfully cashed it in. He is a Slammy Award winner. He was named Wrestler of the Year by Rolling Stone. Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him #9 on their top 500 Singles Wrestlers list. The guy is grade A quality, a wrestler for all ages. He can sell, he can work, he can shoot and with just a little push, he can be one of the greatest superstars of the last fifteen years.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker