With James Ellsworth coming down with a bad case of Chinfluenza (my amusement at such puns grows daily), a new #1 contender was needed for AJ Styles’ Smackdown World Title. After a pretty long fatal fourway elimination match, Dolph Ziggler defeated Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper and the Miz to earn a title shot on the December 27 episode of SmackDown Live. So Ziggler is the new #1 contender and that means….egads it means more Ziggler. Today we’re going to look at why this decision had to be made and why it gives a lot of fans rather severe headaches.


I’m not even sure where to start here, even though it’s something we’ve seen so many times before. That’s probably my biggest issue here: Ziggler has been at this point multiple times and it’s really hard to get fired up over it again. So after all those times that Ziggler has come up short in the big match, THIS TIME FOR SURE? That’s their big hook? As opposed to earlier this year at SummerSlam when the big draw was THIS TIME FOR SURE?

Think about it: Ziggler won a multi-man match to earn the title shot, talked about how important it was for him to finally win the big match and then just had a regular match which could have main evented any given TV episode. The match was very underwhelming and that’s the impression that a lot of fans are going to have coming into this: Ziggler can talk the match up as well as almost anyone but it’s almost impossible to back it up in the ring. That’s not to say the match will be bad but it won’t live up to what Ziggler makes it out to be.


Now, that being said, the match will at least be good. That’s why Ziggler is so frustrating in these matches: I want to like him and cheer for him but I know he’s going to come up short despite having an entertaining match. Unfortunately I’m WAY past the point of buying Ziggler as someone who could actually pull this off because all the losses have crippled him.

That’s Ziggler in a nutshell: we’ve been here before and we know how things are going to go, even down to the promos to build up the match and the (likely) ending of the match. It’s not the worst formula in the world and others have pulled it off for years but Ziggler doesn’t seem to be one of those guys.

You can pretty much make a list of everything Ziggler will do during the match and, depending on your take, that could be a good or bad thing. Ziggler is very much like Cesaro: if you’ve seen one match of his, you’re pretty much seen them all. He’s going to get in the same batch of spots almost no matter what and it’s almost always the same story being told throughout the match.

That’s one of the things that gets tiresome with Ziggler. There’s only so much you’re going to get out of him but when he’s on his game and putting in the effort, he’s capable of putting on some of the most entertaining matches you’re going to see. Sure you’ve seen it all before but that doesn’t mean it’s something that doesn’t work all over again. Giving him someone like Styles to fly around the ring with is the best possible option and at least it’s a fairly fresh matchup.


At the end of the day though, it’s not a good sign when the general consensus of responses that I’ve seen have been “Again?” Ziggler isn’t someone who is going to drum up a lot of interest and the fact that he just lost a major feud to the Miz (who was in the match as well with Ziggler being thrown in for the sake of throwing him in) while being almost destined to lose doesn’t help.

So why Ziggler? As negative as I’ve sounded so far, I understand why they went with him as the pick despite the negative reaction for him. Above all else, the “Smackdown Live” roster isn’t exactly deep on the top. We’ve seen Ambrose vs. Styles more times than I want to imagine and really, who else is there as a top face?

John Cena is coming back on the same show but we’ve seen Styles vs. Cena twice already and if/when they do a third match, it’s going to be taking place on a much bigger stage than an episode of “Smackdown Live”. After that though…..who else is going to challenge Styles for the title without turning Styles face?

At the moment, Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are both busy, Ambrose has been done, Cena isn’t back yet, Baron Corbin is unproven, Kane would be a bigger mess than Ziggler and Harper was just a filler. That leaves the Miz, but I’d like to think SmackDown Live isn’t annoying enough to run another champion vs. champion story and take away a potential title match like their Monday counterparts.


So pretty much, we’re stuck with Ziggler for the sake of not having another major option. Honestly, this really isn’t the worst thing in the world as the match is going to be good and it’s only going to be a two week build. Ziggler will be fine with a short term story without the time to really hammer in the same tired story of needing to win the big one to prove himself because apparently winning two World Titles doesn’t mean he’s proven himself quite yet.

I’m sure Ziggler vs. Styles will be an entertaining match and that’s all it needs to be. If they’re given about twenty minutes with Ziggler getting in some hope spots, all that matters is putting on an entertaining match. This isn’t some big pay per view main event and the major draw of the show. It’s arguably not even the featured event on that night with Cena’s return announced for the same night.

Ziggler might not be the most inspiring pick for the #1 contendership but really, it’s not like there’s anyone else to put out there. Just let Ziggler go out, get close and come up short as always before dropping back down into the midcard picture. He’s been there for years and we’ve seen the same idea over and over, which is why this feels so stale.

That being said, it’s an idea that still works well enough because when given the chance, Ziggler can put on one heck of a performance. If he does that on December 27, everything will be totally fine. Not great or at the highest level because that would be very un-Ziggleresque, but totally fine.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com, follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book, KB’s Complete Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Volume V at Amazon for just $3.99 at:


And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:



  • KB’s Review: YES! He Should Be Champion

  • KB’s Review: We Get It Already

  • KB’s Review: Happy (and Sad) Holidays

  • KB’s Review: I’m Afraid You’re Just Too Darn Long

  • KB’s Review: “Smackdown” Turns 900

  • KB’s Review: Out Of Many, One

  • KB’s Review: In Other News – BOO Edition

  • KB’s Review: The Sword of Triple H Is Dangling Over Our Heads

  • KB’s Review: He’s Next

  • KB’s Review: Gimmicks Aren’t A Bad Thing