Seven years ago, Nicky from the Spirit Squad was a male cheerleader sporting a track suit with matching green pom-poms, getting into trouble with DX, and as a result getting covered both with green slime and excrement on live television. In 2012, Nicky is Dolph Ziggler, #heel, the “show-off,” the innovator of “empty stomach cardio,” and most importantly, Mr. Money in the Bank.
Ziggler prides himself on stealing the show every night, and he’s not exaggerating. His segments are vastly entertaining, his mic skills some of the best in wrestling today, and his fluidity and finesse in the ring is something that should draw a crowd for a long, long time. He has been lauded by veteran wrestlers like Chris Jericho as one of his favorites and the future of the business. This may be why Ziggler’s SummerSlam opponent is none other than Jericho, who has taken offense with Ziggler’s accusations that Y2J has lost a step and just doesn’t have “it” anymore. I am expecting this match to be the best of the night, not only due to the charisma and technical skill of both competitors, but because Jericho will be taking another hiatus from wrestling after SummerSlam to focus on touring with his band, Fozzy, and will want his last match in awhile to be memorable. Look for many false finishes, mockery and moveset-stealing, maybe even the ref getting knocked out and a cameo appearance by the disgruntled Miz.
I don’t expect Ziggler to lose the match, and I don’t expect that we will only be seeing Ziggler once throughout the course of the night. SummerSlam is widely regarded by many as the biggest PPV of the year behind WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble, and the Show-Off will use this primetime stage to cash in his MITB briefcase on a prone, injury-plagued Sheamus.
Considering the SummerSlam build-up between Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, the match will be hard-hitting and raw, with Del Rio doling out most of the punishment. Sheamus will mount a comeback and get the pin, but his heroics will be instantly forgotten the minute Ziggler’s music hits. Dolph has likely not forgotten that Sheamus tried to steal a quick win at No Way Out by attempting the Brogue Kick at the very beginning of the match. Ziggler has not squandered his briefcase like John Cena but has waited until he could make the biggest impact, until he could be certain that when he does cash in his contract, that at the end of the night, the WWE Universe will be talking about Dolph Ziggler and no one else.
Whatever else may occur at SummerSlam 2012, it is Dolph Ziggler’s time to shine and he will be all over the show. He has come from a role that was primarily comic relief as Nicky, to one of the most compelling and entertaining Superstars to watch. The SummerSlam poster may depict Brock Lesnar’s face, but it will be Ziggler who will be true to his word and steal the spotlight and the World Championship.