Other than a brief interview segment with his fellow Dirty Dawg Robert Roode and a blink-and-you'd-miss-it appearance in the Last Chance Money in the Bank Qualifying Battle Royal, Dolph Ziggler has largely been absent from WWE‘s RAW in 2022, instead spending most of his time in NXT feuding with the likes of Bron Breakker and don't-call-him-Tommaso-on-RAW Champa in pursuit of the NXT Championship.
Though the idea of a 41-year-old with multiple WWE championship reigns on his resume going back down to NXT to wrestle for and eventually win the brand's championship belt sort of flies in the face of it being a “developmental territory,” the run ultimately proved successful, as it made Breakker look better, made Ziggler look no worse, and the fully transitioned Champa onto the main roster – which might not be a good thing considering how he's been booked, but I digress.
So naturally, when Ziggler's music hit in the middle of the main event of RAW, a tag team bout between Theory/Seth Rollins and Riddle/Bobby Lashley, it let many a fan both in San Antonio and watching from home rather confused.
Why, they surely wondered, was Ziggler coming to the ring for this particular match, and why was he dressed up in such a fancy suit?
— WWE (@WWE) July 12, 2022
Ziggler's return is bad news for Theory in the WWE.
Before July of 2022, Theory and Ziggler had shared the ring exactly one time, during the 2022 edition of the Royal Rumble, where the duo didn't interact. They were never in a solo match, a tag team match, or even a multi-man match, and as far as fans know, the duo hadn't exchanged blows even once.
But then, on July 9th and 10th, a funny thing happened; the duo wrestled both on WWE Saturday Night's Main Event and at Sunday Night Stunner, with Ziggler earning the win on both occasions.
Huh, what gives? Isn't Theory feuding with Bobby Lashley, Brock Lesnar, and Roman Reigns? Why is he wrestling what amounts to practice matches against Nick Nemeth's brother?
Well, on Monday Night RAW, fans finally got the first crumb of an answer to that question, as Ziggler thwarted a heelish pinning opportunity by Theory that involved using ropes to support a rollup, and after the match ended with a Riddle hitting the RKO and securing the 1-2-3. From there, Ziggler hit the ring and hit the wounded heel with a ‘too sweet' superkick before posing for the crowd as his music played.
— WWE (@WWE) July 12, 2022
What gives? Is Ziggler, now dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, looking like a member of Mr. White's squad from Reservoir Dogs, suddenly some sort of angel of justice looking to make sure everything is handled fair and square? Or has he finally returned to the light side and is set to go on another prolific babyface run?
Either way, if Ziggler's sights are firmly set on Theory, he's going to be a babyface whether WWE likes it or not.
Dolph Ziggler has one of the more unique careers of any wrestler in the WWE today. He's held seven different titles in the company, tagged with multiple other superstars, and has gone from mid-card stalwart to catering mainstay to legit main eventer without a Drew McIntyre-esque glow-up or any real rhyme or reason. But hey, after 18 years in the same company, one has to assume the Zig man is just enjoying the ride.