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I almost added a "Thus Far" to the title at the end but why cast doubt on the impeccable WWE creative staff, right?

Anyway, I sort of fell in love with this angle this past week watching Raw conclude. And here's why.

Not everything in wrestling can start small. When a legend like The Rock or The Undertaker or Steve Austin or Triple H returns, under any circumstances, it has to be treated like a big deal. Sometimes you have to grab the viewer by the throat with the very first shot of the film or first line of your book. The CM Punk June 27 promo and the Nexus faction debut slightly over a year earlier are just a couple examples out of literally hundreds for that template.

However, when it comes to a midcard program, particularly between two guys the audience has a fairly good understanding of in terms of history and respective backstory threads, I find that many of the better, more enduring storylines start out small.

The night after Summerslam, Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero sat out with the announcers to watch Alex Riley--with whom Ziggler was teasing a mini-feud of sorts following a couple of weeks during which Riley first called Ziggler out on being used by Vickie like he was by The Miz and then angering Vickie by openly insulting her the following week (we'll set aside the quality of those segments)--and Jack Swagger. Well, one Gutwrench Powerbomb after a couple dozen tries later, Swagger approaches Vickie backstage and compliments her while making her consider him as a new client to manage.

And the fallout since has been very well done. More storylines need to be told in this manner. Each week they have steadily built up the tension between the three characters very believably and most of all, with certain care for character development for all three. And they have taken their time; it says a lot that an angle not even a full month old yet feels like it's been progressing for a while in an equally confident and forbearing in not letting the spinning plate come crashing down just quite yet.

It all paid off handsomely in that eight-man elimination tag match this week. For once, WWE's Raw announcers hit just the right tone, with just enough lines to highlight the angle while seemingly behaving as though not every person who watches their program is a blithering idiot in need of constant reminding. The booking favored that approach, too. Suddenly, a midcard storyline that had traversed several consecutive Raw episodes, going about at its own agreeable pace, felt important and meaningful, as Ziggler and Swagger squared off against John Cena to close out Raw.

This is the kind of serialized storytelling WWE needs to tap into with greater regularity. Keep programming for kids, be my guest. But kids, even if a lot of them are there to see just one or two or even half a dozen guys, aren't, as a rule, completely dumb and unobservant. They can follow a pro wrestling storyline that is presented with any semblance of coherence and logic.

And you give them John Cena as one of the major plot points for it, and you probably have at least some of them hooked to see what happens between the two heels following their mutual defeat at the hands of Cena.

Just about all of us have been complaining about the midcard. It's needed direction for a while. Ziggler is a suitable anchor for it, but they needed to open things up and make these characters stand out. Perhaps it's largely down to Night of Champions being the next pay-per-view and WWE wanting to place the United States Championship in the middle of an unusually intriguing storyline in the build-up toward it, but no matter. For whatever reason, WWE's put together a fine little yarn in the heart of its Raw midcard and I'd like to say, bravo, and please give us more of this in the future.

What do you think of the storyline, and do you think they can land whatever destination they have--or haven't--planned for?
 

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I think that Dolph Ziggler can be a good face. He has a nice style. In the other hand, Swagger with his retarded smile, his ugly face and his annoying voice, is a natural heel. I can't like him.
 

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I agree. This storyline has made me become somewhat of a backer for Ziggler. This feud between Ziggler and Swagger is a good start off a potential US title feud in the near future. Vickie is also a great role for this as she is a heat magnet but at the same time can put over Swagger and/or Ziggler as a huge deal. I see Swagger and Ziggler pairing up in the Tag division for a while until Ziggler eventually explodes and destroys Swagger, in which the crowd can emotionally invest in Swagger getting his revenge.

This is what the midcard has been missing. A simple yet logical storyline that can carry itself to the viewing audience as a big deal but not big enough to foreshadow the other big feuds on the brand. Like DesoRow said, if this is what we are in store for in terms of midcard quality feuds and matches, I'm all in.
 

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Completely agree.

It's been odd to find the mid-card interesting and refereshing but they've done just that. Usually when they want a quick mid-card fix for a PPV like NOC they just pop up with a random promo between two guys to just set up an angle for the PPV. It's nice to see them taking time on this one, they haven't had that big promo between them and they are just gradually building the feud in a very interesting way.

It makes me feel hopeful that they are once again doing something with the mid-card title belt. I dont know why but it does seem like everytime Ziggler gets a hold of it, they give him time to do something with it unlike a lot of other people where the title feels more like a prop than anything else. Ziggler as a character is proud to be the champion and holds the title in high regard which is important. So I'm hopeful this programme does go somehwere, even past NOC. Maybe they could do a multi-man match at NOC to hold off on the one on one confrontation until Survivor Series or something just to give it a bit more of the great build we've been seeing.

I'm not sure who I would prefer as a face. Maybe Ziggler since I think he would make a great face champion and the fans could really rally behind him in ring. I look forward to seeing where it goes though.
 

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Let's face it, it takes a great deal of effort for more than one storyline to be going on at the same time these days! Love it though, bring it on sucka!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Interesting thoughts, Winning. Between Ziggler and Swagger, I have to say, I think Swagger is probably better suited as a face. Probably. Ziggler is just such a great seller as a heel, he makes the babyfaces look so strong while putting on a terrific show himself. He has the heel persona down in terms of ring work and his mic work this summer has improved from where it was only months earlier.

I don't know, Swagger seems like the one who actually needs a character refreshing. In one little way, he's not unlike Sheamus in that their respective forms of goofiness could be used to appeal to fans, rather than, in the case of Swagger, that is, actively employed to make fans jeer him.

NJ88, that is a valuable point with regards to Ziggler. WWE quite assuredly likes him in the midcard champion position, and when he is Intercontinental Champion on Smackdown or United States Champion on Raw, the belt he's carrying feels like it carries weight. He brings a naturalness to that role and I've often argued that it is one thing about him that could eventually hold him back, since he's so good in that role it's going to be an almost painful experience from WWE's side of things to elevate him beyond that one day, so should they in the future. Granted, they saw that he was weak in certain areas and needed a heat magnet to truly get anywhere, but they have certainly opened the door to him for more now, either through a face turn against Vickie, a new context for their partnership or even possibly being given a meaty feud with a strong fellow midcard rival in Swagger. It's good to be allowed to care about the midcard again, though, in any case, and WWE's writing of this storyline has been surprisingly stellar.
 

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Completely agreed. I am a huge Ziggler fan from day one, and wanted to know where will he end up in a future.

Right now this is rehash of a jealousy story line, which have not been mentioned in quite some time ( so its refreshing). I see a Ziggler face turn.

Vickie will never turn face, she will always be meant to be a heel, so i see Vickie cheating on Ziggler with Swagger. To make a Ziggler face turn and get the fans emotionally invested in Ziggler.

Ziggler has slowly progressed on the Mike ( And i hate the mic-work but know when some one is good at it ). His twitter acc. is phenomenal, and he has slowly found a way to be more natural in any role given.

I say Ziggler can be that lovable asshole type of face. So far im loving the storyline, and hope it ends on a really high note.
 

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Make Swagger into a no nonsense wrestler that doesn't really care about his opponent or his fans. He just wants to wrestle and show why he is great at what he does. Pure wrestling. Hell, since this is all fantasy, I'd give him Dean Malenko's WCW theme. Make me feel like Swagger can do legit damage to a wrestler with his ankle lock. Kind of like how he made Morrison and Riley tap on Monday. That's the sort of Swagger I would like to see more often. This All American American deal might have worked on ECW but the time has passed. Time for Swagger to change his gimmick and look to be more of a No Gimmick Needed guy who just loves to make people tap. A Bryan/Swagger feud if Swagger ever went to Smackdown next year would make some of the best matches WWE has done in a while on TV.
 

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I agree with everything you said & the Storyline is great and all but the problem is people(casuals) dont care about these two guys.

The Raw Ratings every week pretty much prove my point. The highest rated segments are the ones that involve big names HHH,Cena,Punk usual Main Eventers.

All these segments you talked about & the matches like Alex Riley vs Swagger are some of the lowest rated segments on the show.
So however good the Mid-card Angle/Storyline is , I think it really doesnt matter. People just dont care.

Its a shame but thats the way it is i guess and this is the reason I dont really complain whenever WWE drops the ball with the mid carders. They dont draw so whats the point in pushing them.

Awesome read btw just like all your posts :) you should work for WWE creative desorow (Y)
 

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It's by building midcard storylines like this you make people notice bit by bit the wrestlers concerned. Miz was nothing until they decided to project light on him when he was a midcard wrestler.

For me Ziggler has a great potential as an asshole face who could dirtsheet on every heel he faces, look at his NXT work where he was free to say what he wanted and he was awesome.
 

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Ziggler and Swagger were handled so well in that 4 on 4 match, which was shocking because when you see Cena, SHEAMUS, Morrison and Riley on the other team, you think, 'oh fuck' @ the heel team. (Thank fuck Orton wasn't there).

Now let's see if WWE continues this, or just drops it like they do with pretty much everything (Riley/Miz, Riley/Ziggler, heck, Riley/anything for recent examples) and hopefully it leads to either a DZ or JS face turn. WWE needs faces.
 

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It's refreshing that WWE actualy dedicated some time & actual effort to this storyline. Of course the fans aren't going to care or become emotionally invested in anything over the course of one week, and surprisingly WWE also realizes this, they have showcased some sort of patience with it. I'm optimistic they'd succeed in establishing all these guys involved in the end.

I kind of like Vickie pegged as being a key component. Vickie has all the motivation to lend some believability and credibility to the angle. Think about it. In her own mind, Ziggler is her creation. In her mind, she's his savior. Vickie could take credit for bringing him into the spotlight. She could take credit for all his title wins and opportunities.

Whereas Jack Swagger has brought the idea to be Vickie's new client. Swagger persuades Vickie to manage him, he wants to use her as a crutch. He wants to be on top of the mountain again with her assistance. We've watched Swagger starting to gain confidence as he defeated Riley, and he dominated like a beast last monday, and even though he's losing, he's still outclassing Ziggler in the process.

In Ziggler's mind, Swagger is unwanted guest. Intruder. Trespasser. Distraction.

In recent times, Ziggler has been slowly drifting downhill. He's been taking loss after loss. Heck, Vickie could go into detail about how much he's lost & screwed up in recent times. And then, in her mind, she'd try to rationalize it all by pinning the blame on Ziggler.

This way, at some point, fans would start to question whether Ziggler should be leaving Vickie and looks out for himself instead of settling his disagreement with Vickie, who shows her interest to manage Swagger.

By all intents and purposes, Swagger would probably be groomed to play the heel role as the time goes on. I think that's the role they'd given him. He's trying to hijack Vickie's service. For every rhyme or reason in my mind, Ziggler has every right to want to bust Swagger's face up real good.

The blowoff at the very end of this angle, I assume, would be Swagger versus Ziggler. By this point, Ziggler & Vickie would probably split in their allegiances. I think I'd rather see Ziggler play the babyface, and Swagger will simply remain heel associating himself with Vickie. Either way, I think WWE would stand as good a chance to make these guys look credible by the time this angle runs its course.
 

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I hope they're realising it's actually a great way to build someone to the main event too.

This way, by putting focus on the mid-card there is character build, the fans get to know the wrestler more, they get momentum etc so when they get a main event push it doesn't seem like it just came out of nowhere. For example, The Miz's push was gradual and the US Title was used to get him familiar with the audience, make him seem credible, involve him in some feuds before his main event run and it succeeded, as did he when he finally won the title. On the other side of things you have Swagger when he won the MITB briefcase out of the blue, cashed in a week later and was expected to be seen by the crowd as a main event player.

It didn't work as the crowd had been completely used to Swagger as a lower card comedy jobber up until that point. There was no familiarity between Swagger, great feuds, being credible, and the main event. Whereas with Miz, and hopefully it looks like with Ziggler there will be, so when their eventual main event run comes it succeeds.
 

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both guys i think can play heel or face. both are great in the ring. i agree swagger needs to lose the all american american gimmick. its geting old. people say swagger was a bad champion etc...it wasnt that he was a bad champion, he was just pushed too quickly and too strongly and booked piss poorly. if you're going to push someone that quickly, you have to make them look unstoppable, especially once they win the belt. but the wwe did a poor job with that. now he looks like a bitch. swagger is better than that. there is so much potential on the roster, the problem is they're all so young and havent been in the business that long, dont have the experience, they dont know how to put all their talents together into a nice little package. though, with these two guys, you're slowly starting to see it change. i think thats why they're going to try and make the tag division relevant again, to showcase all the talent that the wwe does actually have. its also why they're doing this diva war stuff. beth and natalya are obviously the two best divas they have. right now, their job needs to help make kelly, eve, and the bellas look good. once people buy the fact that those four can perform and can take them seriously in the ring, the entire division will get over. they're trying to draw attention and emotion into the storyline. once the fans invest their time, attention to it, the division has the potential to be bigger than it was when trish and lita were there. swagger and ziggler is just the beginning. i see it starting to happen all over the midcard and undercard part of the roster. HHH is doing something right
 

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^^^I'd go as far as to say Swagger carried himself excellently as champ... Not his fault the crowd didn't buy into it as he'd been all but booked like a jobber.


Swagger/Ziggler: I welcome with open arms any mid-card feud that actually gets a storyline. It's been good so far, but where does the prevailing champ go from their considering they've pretty much shipped the entire Raw mid/upper card to the tag division?

Who's left? ...Riley? :whimpers-like-a-wounded-dog:

I agree with everything you said & the Storyline is great and all but the problem is people(casuals) dont care about these two guys.
That may be so, but without giving the midcarders and lower card guys feuds, storylines and character development, the crowd will continue to not care about anybody outside of Cena, HHH et al.
 

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TheLadderMatch, I agree. Thank goodness Cena treated Ziggler and Swagger as a tandem as a threat. Based on Cena's kayfabe capabilities, it makes sense that he still won, but he made them look good in the process, and that is a difficult task when you're essentially winning a handicap match. Also, thankfully, the storyline came into play with dissension between them. They weren't on the same page and it helped Cena out enormously.

Prospekt's March, that's a good, thorough analysis of the subtleties to this angle and what is helping to make it come off so well. From Vickie's perspective, Ziggler can't quite surpass his current station, seemingly, though he's come very close before, like against Edge on Smackdown last winter and he gave Orton a run for his money, even if he ended up losing. It does sort of paint Ziggler in a sympathetic light, especially if Vickie were to turn on him, in a way.

And I agree with the others who say that the midcarders need substantial direction, fine characterization and entertaining storylines. In The Miz's case he did a lot of the work himself through mic ability in the midcard, standing out, but for others you need to find some other avenues while giving them storylines as he was at least regularly given throughout his midcard run on Raw.
 

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To me it's quite obvious where this is going. Vickie takes a liking to Swagger, Ziggler gets jealous, then Vickie breaks up with him and teams with Swagger, thus turning Ziggler face and keeping Swagger heel. I think they're gonna pair Vickie with Swagger just to get people to care about him. Then after a few months the same thing happens with someone else. Swagger leaves Vickie and turns face and then Vickie teams with someone else.
 
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