Ready to show the world: Is Dolph Ziggler a future World Champion?

Christian, The Great Khali, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler fight for the right to face Sheamus at No Way Out.

Dolph Ziggler wants out. Or at least that’s what The Showoff seems to be getting at, since his tag team with Jack Swagger hasn’t yielded the type of success that will satisfy Ziggler’s vast aspirations. His faith in Vickie Guerrero might be on shaky ground since she has yet to find him a stable footing in singles contests as well. Vickie has been Ziggler’s manager for so long it’s tough to imagine him stepping out on his own, but The Showoff has made such a strong case for himself as an upper-echelon Superstar under Vickie’s guidance that it’s equally as tough to imagine he won’t seek his fortunes on his own.

Of course, no Superstar ever breaks off from the nest to just be “good,” though. Ziggler thinks himself on the level of a World Champion, and make no mistake: In separating from the security of Vickie and Swagger, that’s what he sees himself as. And there’s a strong chance he can pull it off, too. On Raw SuperShow this week, The Showout outlasted three former World Heavyweight Champions to claim the No. 1 contendership to Sheamus' title at No Way Out ( PREVIEW).

His success shouldn't be that surprising. Ziggler’s pedigree is better than the WWE Universe might realize ( POLL: IS ZIGGLER A FUTURE CHAMP?). True, he’s had to share the spotlight in the time he’s spent under Vickie’s umbrella, But on those rare occasions when Ziggler gets to show his stuff (and we don’t just mean locking in headlocks while standing on his head), he’s proven that he’s in possession of a rare skill set among the WWE Superstars.

The only question is will those talents be enough to take him to a World Title?

Dolph Ziggler is relentless

When it comes to titles, Ziggler’s only had a brief dalliance with one of the World Championships at this point (more on that in a bit), but The Showoff’s title history is suitably impressive for a man who describes himself as being “so damn sick of being so damn sick.” Dolph’s Intercontinental Title reign began in August 2010, when he defeated Kofi Kingston, and lasted six months. On the same night Ziggler lost the championship back to Kingston, he defeated Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes and Big Show in a Fatal 4-Way Match to became the No. 1 contender for Edge’s World Heavyweight Championship. Clearly, The Showoff doesn’t let a little speed bump in his master plan slow him down. Ziggler has always competed like a man who believes himself to be the best. That’s the mentality of a World Champion. Perhaps all that Dolph is missing is the opportunity to win it.

Dolph Ziggler is cleverer than you

Technicality, schmecnicality. Ziggler (and Vickie) worked hard to finagle the World Heavyweight Title from Edge’s clutches in 2011, and when push came to shove, that’s exactly what they did. The WWE Universe might not remember, but their plan to abscond with The Rated-R Superstar’s championship was actually much more intricate than a simple bait-and-switch. The plan was a little convoluted, suffice it to say it involved hospitalizing Teddy Long, putting SmackDown in Vickie’s control and robbing Edge of the World Title on a technicality, then framing him for the attack that put Teddy in the hospital in the first place.

To nobody’s surprise, Vickie awarded the World Heavyweight Championship to Ziggler, but she took the scheme further and fired Edge as the icing on the cake. Of course, the plan ended badly for Dolph – Long returned the same night, exposed Ziggler and Vickie as his true attackers, rehired Edge and fired Ziggler after The Rated-R Superstar beat him to win back the title – but there aren’t many competitors who can say they ever outsmarted The Ultimate Opportunist. That kind of ruthless cunning could serve Ziggler well as a successful WWE Champion.

Dolph Ziggler will get inside your head

Not every Superstar to become a World Champion achieved their dream because of physical attributes alone. Chris Jericho, Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin are among many Superstars who reached the top not as a result of brute strength, but by their ability to mentally unman any opposition that came their way. Ziggler is well-known among the WWE Universe as a maestro on the microphone; his pitter-patter rants on both WWE Download and Z! True Long Island Story ( WATCH: WWE DOWNLOAD | Z! TRUE LONG ISLAND STORY) and his arrogant pontifications on Raw and SmackDown demonstrate that he has the capability to verbally worm his way into a Superstar’s psyche leading up to a match.

As for those crunches and headstands he always does? The WWE Universe may get some laughs out of it, or think Ziggler’s just lost his mind, but we’re inclined to say it’s a more subtle form of intimidation. A WWE Champion, or a prospective one at that, must portray himself as an indomitable competitor, but not every Superstar can be Ryback and military press an opponent 20 feet into the sky. Ziggler’s preening is a more sophisticated form of psych-out, a warning to his opponents that they are about to be in the ring with a physical specimen unlike any other. It’s a way of letting them know he’s prepared to give a challenge they won’t know how to handle.

Dolph Ziggler can hang with a champion

World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus clashes with Dolph Ziggler on SmackDown.

To put it bluntly, Dolph Ziggler took World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus to the limit on SmackDown two weeks ago. Sheamus has a reputation for clobbering opponents into defeat, but Ziggler certainly made it difficult for The Great White to beat him, notching several near-falls over the Irish brawler and only truly losing the match after ill-advised interference on the part of Jack Swagger. The rematch on the following Raw SuperShow was equally competitive, and although The Celtic Warrior once again got the better of his challenger, it’s fair to say that Ziggler proved himself a more than worthy opponent.

Also, let’s not forget Ziggler’s last WWE Championship Match, against CM Punk at the Royal Rumble, was another closely contested bout. Ziggler gave Punk all he could handle in that match as well, managing a series of two-counts against The Second City Saint that put him, for all intents and purposes, one second away from becoming WWE Champion ( PHOTOS).

Naysayers might claim that this one opportunity was enough for Ziggler, but he’s grown in the eyes of the WWE Universe – and, evidently, himself – in the five months since. Logic maintains that if Ziggler can hang with a champion regularly, he’s worthy to challenge for the title. Given all his talents, should The Showoff decide to break away from Vickie and Swagger for good, we’re fairly confident the WWE Universe can put him on a shortlist of potential WWE Champion (or World Heavyweight Champion, for that matter). And if we don’t, we’re sure he’ll find a way to convince us otherwise.

Plus, come on: He does headlocks while standing on his head. Name another WWE Champion who did that.

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