Dolph Ziggler has accomplished darn near everything someone could want to as a member of the WWE Universe.
Sure, he never became a Grand Slam Champion, coming one Universal Championship win short of the prestigious honor, but when you consider his WWE career in totality, from his developmental days, to his Money in the Bank contract cash-in, his time with The Dirty Dawgs, and even his return NXT program against Bron Breakker, it's hard to look at someone with many boxes left unchecked on his WWE wishlist, especially now that he's free to go independent and wrestler wherever he wants for whoever he wants.
Discussing whether or not being World Champion is the most important goal of any professional wrestler on his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff ultimately fell on the side of no, as wrestling can be about a lot more than who is wearing what belt.
“I'm torn because I understand the motivation behind it. If you're not motivated to be the very best at what you do, then maybe you're not in the right position, and that applies to any profession, right? There are a lot of really, really, really super successful people that had an amazing time in the professional wrestling business for decades or more that were never World Champion,” Eric Bischoff noted via Fightful. “So it's not like your career is meaningless if you've never become World Champion, because you're contributing a lot. In many cases, your contribution is incredibly valuable. I don't know. I tend to disagree. I think a healthy perspective would be, ‘I want to do everything I can to become the World Champion. I want to improve my game. I want to work on whatever weaknesses I have, whether it's my interview skills, my physique, my work in the ring, or even the way I conduct myself backstage, I want to check every box I can to get that opportunity, but I'm not going to allow myself to be disappointed in myself for my career choice if that ever happens.'”
Using Ziggler as an example, Bischoff noted that, at this point in the game, the multi-time Intercontinental Champion is likely more interested in having a good time than trying to latch on with a promotion that immediately puts him on top.
“I don't think Dolph Ziggler right now is sitting at home lamenting the fact that he's not the World Champion, alright, because he probably has millions and millions of reasons sitting in a bank account somewhere to suggest otherwise,” Bischoff said. “I think he truly enjoys what he does. I get that impression. I don't talk to him, but I get the impression that he really enjoys what he does. So I understand it, I can relate to it to a certain extent, but I would be careful to instruct people, ‘Look, if you can't be World Heavyweight Champion, or if you don't have that desire, you shouldn't be in this business.' I don't necessarily agree with that, but I understand it.”
Is Bischoff on the money? Will Ziggler prioritize doing what he loves with the people he loves over the naked pursuit of championship gold? Well, if he shows up in AEW right around Christmas time, fans will have their answer.
Rob Van Dam is a huge fan of ‘cool dude' Dolph Ziggler.
Speaking of long-time WWE stalwarts who are continuing on with their storied careers after ending their affiliation with The Fed – not to mention ones with future AEW opportunities potentially on the books – Rob Van Dam weighed in on the release of Dolph Ziggler on his One Of A Kind podcast and put over the long-time Superstar for his longevity.
“He was really talented, super cool dude,” Rob Van Dam said via Wrestling Inc. “I always got along with him. I can't believe he was still there. I'm not going to say I can't believe they got rid of him, I can't believe he was still there, 20 years or something, that's a good run.”
Would it have been cool for WWE to keep Ziggler around through the remainder of his contract, getting a 20 year celebration like Rey Mysterio and John Cena before him? Most definitely, even if he was gone by mid-2024, Paul “Triple H” Levesque could have given him a little more shine and even played up his exit as an angle. But hey, these are the cards Ziggler was dealt, and like RVD, he has a chance to do something great on his own terms now that he's free to do as he pleases.