WWE would like you to believe that Dolph Ziggler has indeed left the company forever. But because this is professional wrestling, it's always worth asking what's real and what's fake. While Ziggler's exit is most certainly staged, WWE's plans for The Show Off once he returns are all too real.
Cagesideseats is reporting via WrestleVotes that the US Championship tournament will indeed crown a new titleholder. However, a la WrestleMania 10, Ziggler will return as the "true" US Champion and this dispute will lead to a ladder match involving both belts at WrestleMania. PopCulture's own Ryan Droste actually speculated about this two days before WrestleVotes posted the rumor as their own.
This comes as quite the rumor, mostly because its details are utterly tantalizing. WWE had to make Dolph's sudden departure look real, which they've already accomplished. However, considering Dolph is not injured, there is no way WWE would allow him to simply drop the US Championship. Even more, there's no way Dolph would elect to do so.
This is a work, a beautiful one at that, and one that may have been months in the making. Ziggler recently appeared on Edge and Christian's podcast and revealed that he was miserable with his role in WWE. As a mid-card gatekeeper, Ziggler was forced to lay down for up and coming WWE Superstars on a regular basis. While he's exceptional in the role, the 2-time World Champion believes he's capable of much more.
And he is.
While there's plenty of validity to Ziggler's depressing quotes, it's possible that this was all part of a long-term narrative because without it, his quitting the company wouldn't seem so legitimate.
Regardless of where this story began, it looks like it has a chance to be quite memorable. Ironically, Ziggler has taken heat over his career for shaping his character too closely to Shawn Michaels', yet in possibly the biggest (and last) match for his WWE career, Ziggler would emulate one of HBK's most classic matches. That's likely no accident.
We'll keep our eyes peeled and fingers crossed that this rumor does indeed come true. We'll keep you posted as this situation develops.