Dolph Ziggler has been the subject of much speculation recently regarding his soon to expire contract with WWE. Regular readers will already know that Ziggler was reportedly unhappy with his status in the company and rumours were that TNA were ready to step in. Although it now looks like he is set to stay Ziggler has confirmed he is yet to sign a contract with the company and in a recent interview talked about making himself "a bigger star so I can advance more in WWE". I think leaving would be a catastrophic move for him, that he needs to accept his place on the card and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mid-carder.
Ziggler's situation is nothing new and he isn't the first superstar to complain that they should be getting a bigger push. CM Punk is another former World Heavyweight Champion who was still not happy with his position and felt he should be given more. There have been plenty of shoots where superstars have complained about how they were never given a big enough chance. I heard only this week that a certain current WWE star dislikes this website because someone dared to suggest that the mid-card was his limit. Recently there have been rumours of WWE mid-carders being unhappy with the amount of publicity being given to NXT stars and even NXT stars being unhappy with how quickly Kevin Owens has moved through the ranks.
It isn't just WWE superstars who are guilty of being constantly dissatisfied, the internet is awash with various opinions on who isn't being seen to be given a big enough push. You can find people who want Bray Wyatt in the main event, others Dean Ambrose, some think Neville should already be there and others Dolph Ziggler. There is currently a vacancy for someone to be "The main guy" with part-timer Brock Lesnar and John Cena the only legitimate mega-stars who wrestle outside of WrestleMania. But it can't be everyone, only one or two has that "It" factor and can rise to those heights.
The WWE roster is like a sports team, with different people performing different roles. No successful sports team is jam packed with superstars, being successful is all about having balance. You need people with charisma, people who are creative and flamboyant, but then you also need people who are all about getting the job done effectively and efficiently. The great Chicago Bulls team of 1996 didn't have 14 Michael Jordan's in the squad. Barcelona couldn't dominate European soccer with 11 Lionel Messi's. You can only have so many "main men" and you then need a brilliant supporting cast behind them.
I have no problem with wrestlers being ambitious and the aim for everyone should always be to go out and steal the show and that "brass ring". However there can only be one or two "main guys" for it to work, a Hulk Hogan, Warrior, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Steve Austin or a Rock. To have a great PPV you then need some fast high flyers, some technical experts, some entertaining characters, divas and tag teams. WrestleMania III didn't have Hulk body slamming Andre in 12 consecutive matches. You have ex-Stampede rivals Bulldogs against Harts, Harley Race against Junkyard Dog, Jake Roberts against Honky Tonk and of course Ricky Steamboat against Randy Savage. The "Attitude Era" wasn't great just because of Steve Austin and The Rock, there was a big and colourful supporting cast of people like DX, The Dudleyz, The APA, Mick Foley and Kane. The final result of blending all these ingredients was a great show from start to end.
A "perfect" example of a perennial mid-carder who is not thought of any less for being a mid-carder the majority of his WWE career is Hall Of Famer Curt "Mr Perfect" Hennig. It is accepted that Hennig is one of the all time greats in professional wrestling but never won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Mr Perfect had his role as a mid-carder elevating the likes of Hogan, Shawn and Bret and an important role it was. Other good examples "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, Jake "The Snake" Roberts (a Hall Of Famer who never won any title in WWE) and Owen Hart. Solid, reliable, entertaining mid-carders who knew their role and performed it well.
As I wrote back in February The Intercontinental Title used to be a prestigious title adorned by the person who was the "best wrestler". It wasn't necessarily seen as a "lesser" title, it headlined shows and is associated with some of the greatest superstars and matches in the companies history. United States Champion John Cena, although the cornerstone of WWE and usually a main event star, has recently shown that the mid-card can mean something special with his matches against Kevin Owens and Cesaro.
Dolph Ziggler and others in the mid-card, no matter how they feel about it, are in a privileged position. As a professional wrestler it gets no bigger, apart from possibly in Japan, than being a WWE superstar. Being a medium sized fish in a big pond with guaranteed work, pay and global stardom is not so bad when the alternative of being the big fish in a small pond could mean an uncertain future, less pay and if you look at TNA recently no guarantee that you will get paid at all. It is a massive achievement to have reached the mid-card, for some people it is exactly where they should be and that is something to be proud of, not resent. To Ziggler and others like him, take inspiration from the likes of Mr Perfect and embrace your role in the team as a vital supporting cast member.