Photo from WWE.com
20 January 2017

Do you ever feel like breaking down? / Do you ever feel out of place?

Like somehow you just don't belong / And no one understands you?

Unless you were born perfect, you probably know what this feels like. It’s when you can’t do anything right, or when nothing just seems to go your way. You think you’ve hit rock bottom and the only way to go is up, but you get another curveball and you land further down than you thought you could. It’s not a nice feeling.

Do you ever wanna run away? / Do you lock yourself in your room?

With the radio on turned up so loud / That no one hears you're screaming?

It’s like all the rage is bottled up inside and you just want to let it out. You want to find something to hit, to smash, to break. Lunch doesn’t taste good at all. You can’t even muster a fake smile. That frown feels like it’s sown onto your face. 

No, you don't know what it's like / When nothing feels all right

You don't know what it's like / To be like me

To be hurt / To feel lost / To be left out in the dark

To be kicked when you're down / To feel like you've been pushed around

To be on the edge of breaking down / And no one's there to save you

No, you don't know what it's like / Welcome to my life

This is Dolph Ziggler right now. 

He’s an angry teenager trapped in a 36-year-old body. He’s come up short in virtually every big moment he’s had at his job. He put his career on the line and finally made it back to the top, only to fail again. He’s irritable, is willing to lash out at anyone who gets in his way, and gives no F’s at all. 

And honestly, that’s what makes him relatable through his heel turn.

We’ve all been where Ziggler’s at. You just can’t get a lucky break. No matter how hard you try, it always feels like you’re running into a brick wall. Every effort feels meaningless because it’s not going to improve your lot in life. So you think to yourself, screw being nice. What has that ever done for me?

You want people to leave you alone, but the more that you act standoffish, the more that they get in your business and try to help you out. Or they’ll ask you what the problem is. You refuse to talk, so they keep yapping, and yapping, and yapping, until they say something that just triggers you and you go off on them. It’s not your fault you’re having a bad day. It’s the world’s. And if this person is going to be on the receiving end of your lashing-out, then it’s their fault for poking the bear. They should not have poked the bear.

The way Ziggler’s character has evolved to this point makes sense. After all, it takes an insane amount of confidence and optimism to remain positive after having come up short time after time. It’s so easy to say, “when you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.” But when you’re actually there, it’s not like you’re at the bottom of a test tube and you can only really go up. It feels more like a vast wasteland where you can attempt to go forward and still end up going nowhere.

So is Dolph Ziggler justified in how he’s been behaving since he’s snapped? Absolutely not. He’s still a villain through all of this. When someone’s being a sore loser, they don’t endear themselves to you at all. When you try to help your friend who’s going through a rough time and he starts lashing out at you, your natural instinct is to call him a d-bag, among other things. When you see a guy kick an older dude who’s had a heart attack in the chest, you’d think to yourself that your kids shouldn’t copy that behavior.

What makes Ziggler stand out as a heel is how human he seems through all of this because the way he’s acting is so relatable. Everyone knows how annoying it is to see someone as cocky and arrogant as AJ Styles and Baron Corbin, but not everybody can empathize with what their characters are going through. We see how dastardly the Wyatt Family can be, but we’ve got no idea what it’s like to be a supernatural cult leader. The Miz can get heel heat like nobody else can in this day and age, but we can’t relate to actually being a multi-platform personality with a smoking hot wife.

In Ziggler’s villainy, we see ourselves—or at least the angsty, emotional teenage sides of it. And we realize how while we may have felt justified in acting that way then, watching someone else go through it can make him look so repulsive. This version of Dolph Ziggler doesn’t deserve a participation trophy. At the end of the day, all he’s being is a pathetic brat.

Photos from WWE