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The Trio of Ziggler, Lee & Langston Are Cashing In
Author: John Canton
April 26th 2013 - |
Chemistry. It's more than just a subject you might take in school. In the wrestling business it's one of the most important qualities any group can have.
When we talk about the most important groups in wrestling history they all had great chemistry. The dynamic between groups like the Four Horsemen, the New World Order, Degeneration X and Evolution among others.
In today's WWE there are two three person groups that are making a lot of headlines. The Shield is one of them, but in this column the focus is on the trio of Dolph Ziggler, Big E Langston & AJ Lee. Sorry 3MB, you don't count. The Ziggler, Langston & Lee trio doesn't have an official name at this point. That doesn't matter. What matters is where they are right now and where they are headed in the near future.
Dolph Ziggler Comes of Age
The leader of the group is Dolph Ziggler, who two weeks ago became the new World Heavyweight Champion when he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on April 8. The response he got was so huge that you could argue that it was the best Money in the Bank cash-in there's ever been. Those are the kind of moments we remember forever. They help define careers. For Ziggler it was the biggest moment of his career, but my opinion is there are other big ones ahead of him.
He's the perfect example of a guy that has worked for everything he has. Nothing was handed him. He signed with WWE out of college, worked hard in Ohio Valley Wrestling, started out as a caddy, then he was cheerleader and then he emerged as a singles star that evolved into one of the best in-ring performers in WWE. It's pretty amazing how far he's come from that silly "my name is Dolph Ziggler" he was doing several years ago.
Ziggler's had great matches with so many people over the years. However, if you've paid close attention to him in the last year he has really emerged as a talker as well. Now that he's no longer paired with his manager Vickie Guerrero, Ziggler has been given more opportunity to speak his mind and he's done a great job of it.
To be an elite performer you need to be more than somebody that has excellent matches. You need to do everything. Ziggler is now at that level in the prime of his career. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in his future because I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.
AJ Lee Continues to Grow as a Performer
Last year AJ Lee was a superstar that broke out as much as anybody in WWE. She went from being just another diva to emerging as a talent involved in major storylines as the General Manager of Raw and also as the "girlfriend" of several different superstars. At December's TLC event she was paired up with Dolph Ziggler. It was only a matter of time until she went after the Divas Title.
I thought AJ's performance on Raw this past week was excellent. The five woman battle royal was not a great match, but AJ did an awesome job of shocking Tamina Snuka by jumping in her arms. It fit her character perfectly because she's so good at getting that "what is she doing?" type of reaction. Then she took a Tamina superkick that laid her out for the majority of the match. In the end, she outsmarted Layla to win the battle royal. It was an excellent example of what she is: crazy. It works.
Is AJ Lee a future Divas Champion? Absolutely. I think Kaitlyn works hard, but she doesn't draw the attention that AJ does. It will be in WWE's best interests to put the Divas Title on AJ, who could help raise the status of the Divas Title as a more important title than it currently is.
Big E Langston has a Bright Future
The NFL draft is underway and if you watched the broadcast on Thursday you would have heard the announcers talking about the "potential" of the collegiate athletes getting drafted. If you did a draft of young WWE superstars then somebody like Langston would be right near the top of the list.
Langston has the kind of look that makes him stand out from the pack. Standing at a modest 5'11" he's not tall by any means, but he has an incredible presence thanks to his 285 lb physique that allows him to stand out from the pack. It could be argued that he's the strongest performer in WWE these days. How about a future feud with Mark Henry? It would be a lot of fun to see that confrontation with a veteran trying to fend off a young upstart.
I've been impressed by Langston on WWE's NXT program (on The Score TV here in Canada & Hulu Plus in the US) where he has thrived as a good guy that the fans could get behind. His "five count" routine reminds me of King Kong Bundy's act in the 1980s WWE although it's done in a way where the crowd is on Langston's side. It shows that he's more than just a guy with big muscles. He has charisma too.
When he's on Raw or Smackdown, Langston rarely speaks. On the odd occasion that he does he shows that he has a strong personality. If you follow him on Twitter (@BigELangston) you can tell he's got a great sense of humor. I have a feeling that once he's given more opportunities to speak he's going to thrive in that role. I think fans should be patient because you can't expect everybody to get a chance to talk a lot on the microphone. There's only so much time on television. His time will come.
What's the Future of this Group?
I hope this trio is together for the rest of the year at least. That may be a stretch to some, but as I said earlier the best groups in wrestling last for a year or more before they can really make an impact. Evolution wouldn't have been a tool to create future stars like Randy Orton & Batista without the friendship they formed with Triple H & Ric Flair. You have to plant the seeds before the talents can really grow.
This is WWE and we know that all good things must come to an end because egos always get in the way. A guy like Langston may grow tired of being "the heavy" of the group as Michael Cole likes to call him. I think there could be a scenario where Ziggler and Lee grow tired of their muscular friend, which could lead to some issues down the road. I hope they don't rush it, though.
How about a scenario where Langston wins one of the Money in the Bank briefcases while Ziggler is the World Champion? That could create a lot of tension in the group. It would also make their matches even more "must see" (sorry Miz) than they already are because there could be situation where Ziggler is attacked by a rival, Langston chooses not to save his friend and then Langston uses the opportunity to cash in his briefcase. We've never seen anything like that in WWE before. It would be interesting to see who the fans would get behind in a situation like that.
You can't fake chemistry. You either have it or you don't. Ziggler is the perfect character to have a crazy girlfriend and a friend that acts like his bodyguard. The fans hate them for it, but they also respect Ziggler as a performer too. Langston will improve because he's working with a talent like Ziggler too. AJ Lee gets bigger reactions than any woman in the company. They look the part and they continue to impress in every way.
This trio is special. Call them what you want. I call them a success.