Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler

Nick Nemeth, known as Dolph Ziggler in WWE, might just be the perfect Superstar, at least that's what he wants you to believe. Blessed with amazing athleticism and an unmatched arrogance, the Cleveland, Ohio native isn't afraid to show off his superiority in and out of the ring.

Nemeth made his much anticipated return to the WWE main roster on September 15, 2008 after spending nearly two years in the sports-entertainment organization's developmental program following the disbandment of the Spirit Squad on the November 27, 2006 episode of Raw. During his time in developmental, which included stints in Ohio Valley Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling, Ziggler competed in numerous non-televised matches for WWE. (Continue Reading ») | (Photo Gallery »)

Dolph Ziggler Emerges In WWE | People Also Search For: Ryback | John Cena | Sheamus | Seth Rollins | Randy Orton


In September 2008, under the guise of Dolph Ziggler, he began introducing himself to wrestlers in backstage segments on Raw. However, before he could wrestle a match on television, Ziggler was suspended for 30 days on October 10, 2008 as a result of his first violation of the company's drug testing policy.

Ziggler returned to Raw on November 17, 2008 in a backstage segment with Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels. After two and half months on the Raw roster, Nemeth made his wrestling debut under the Ziggler name in a match with Batista on December 1, 2008. While Ziggler lost the match, he managed to get in a great deal of offense on the four-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Ziggler picked up his first victory on Raw the following week via countout, against R-Truth. On December 15, 2009, he picked up his first televised pinfall victory as Ziggler, beating Charlie Haas.

In the 2009 WWE Supplemental Draft, the cocky Superstar found himself wearing a new blue hue as he was transferred to SmackDown. He took great steps toward solidifying his cocky claims when he defeated Kofi Kingston for the WWE Intercontinental Championship on the August 6, 2010 episode of WWE SmackDown. Over the course of the next five months, he turned back all comers, including Jack Swagger, Kaval and MVP.

In February 2011, Ziggler used his relationship with then-acting SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero to underhandedly back into a World Heavyweight Championship reign. But just minutes after Guerrero stripped Edge of the gold and awarded it to Ziggler, Theodore Long returned to his post atop SmackDown and demanded the new champ defend the gold against the "Rated-R Superstar." Edge speared his way to victory and Ziggler will forever have one of WWE history's shortest reigns on his resume.

Following the loss, Ziggler moved to Raw where he almost immediately regained his championship form by capturing the WWE United States Championship on June 19, 2011 at Capital Punishment. Ironically, the victory came over Kingston, the very same WWE Superstar he defeated for the WWE Intercontinental Championship one year prior.

Ziggler held the WWE United States Championship for six months, which included successful title defenses in a Fatal 4-Way Match at Night of Champions (besting Alex Riley, John Morrison and Jack Swagger) and against John Morrison at Survivor Series. After losing the strap to Zack Ryder on December 18, 2011 at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, the Ohio native teamed with Swagger for much of the first half of 2012. This time period included a feud with Brodus Clay that he would prefer not to think about.

Ziggler finally got his break on July 15, 2012 when he outlasted Christian, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, Tensai and Tyson Kidd at WWE Money in the Bank in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match to secure himself a guaranteed title opportunity at any point in the following year.

As the year came to a close, Ziggler ditched Guerrero for his new love interest, AJ Lee, who assisted him in defeating John Cena in an excruciating Ladder Match at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. The following night on Raw, the couple was assisted by the debuting Big E Langston, who brutally attacked The Cenation Commander-in-Chief. The 290-pounder continued his association with Ziggler and Lee, eventually partnering with "The Showoff" at WrestleMania 29 to unsuccessfully challenge Kane and Daniel Bryan for the WWE Tag Team Championship.

The night after "The Show of Shows," Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, capitalizing on a debilitated Alberto Del Rio to seize the World Heavyweight Championship. The brash grappler was scheduled to defend his title at Extreme Rules, but he sustained a serious concussion at the May 7, 2013 WWE SmackDown taping and was unable to wrestler. The following month at WWE Payback, Ziggler was battered with repeated blows to the head from a ruthless Del Rio and lost the belt. His reign concluded at 69 days.

Over the course of his WWE career, Ziggler has continuously proven that perfection is not just a catchphrase on a T-shirt. It's a way of life for the cocky WWE Superstar.

Dolph Ziggler Emerges In WWE

By the fall of 2008, the WWE conveyor belt of characters had stalled considerably. Looking at the card for SummerSlam, of only the sixteen wrestlers that competed that night, only Kofi Kingston had debuted on WWE programming the previous twelve months. The only other recent debutants were young Ted Dibiase (immediately wedged into a lukewarm WWE Tag Team Championship role with Cody Rhodes), Evan Bourne and a then red-headed Natalya.

Those performers aside, the parade of newcomers were a wretched lot in terms of impact. Anyone remember Bam Neely, the goateed bodyguard of Chavo Guerrero? How about scurvy-free Paul Burchill and sister Katie Lea? Vladimir Kozlov arrived with a less-heralded "evil comrade" shtick than the Rusev of today. Scotty Goldman (Colt Cabana), Ryan Braddock (Jay Bradley), Ricky Ortiz, Manu (Afa Anoaʻi Jr.), and Gavin Spears (Tye Dillinger) all came and went with the speed of a sneeze. "Wildcat" Chris Harris' run as lifeless Braden Walker was memorable for absurdly comical reasons.

To say the WWE's Superstar factory was churning out weak stock is putting it mildly.

The debut of Dolph Ziggler on September 15, 2008 did little to stem that tide, at least at first. Ziggler's introduction was literally that, a sudden hello to a regrettable Raw General Manager Mike Adamle, before disappearing off screen. It's instances like this where WWE's creative team earns its ridicule: Ziggler's entire character saw him introduce himself to random folk backstage, smugly and without sincerity, and then disappear into the void.

"The first couple of times were weird, but it became a running gag," Ziggler stated to WWE Magazine in an interview determining how different he is from the 2008 version of himself. "Your first matches are a little unnerving, then it just starts to become second nature and you start to embrace it and have a bit more fun with it."

The fact that it was Spirit Squad washout Nick in the role, now with longer locks and a wardrobe that made him look like a compact Billy Gunn, didn't bode well for yet another call-up-without-a-cause. So what was the most important thing on his mind at the time?

"Make sure when you do anything in this business, that no one can follow it," Ziggler stated to WWE Magazine. "This was my only chance with WWE, so I didn't want to leave anything. I was in the first or the second match, but never in the main event. So I dared the main event to follow what I just did."

Ziggler, of course, proved to be an exception to the dry spell. Throughout 2009, the chiselled star served as an athletic foil for the likes of John Morrison, MVP and Rey Mysterio on SmackDown. His Intercontinental Championship opener with Mysterio at SummerSlam is a forgotten modern classic, with the Los Angeles crowd living and dying on multiple near-falls down the match.

Somewhere between making a largely-futile prop mean something again, and stealing the first of many shows per his eventual nickname, Dolph Ziggler had arrived.

"When they started to release members of the [Spirit] Squad, and Ziggler got a chance to stand on his own, you could see a change begin," former WWE Superstar Trevor Murdoch stated to Fighting Spirit Magazine in a 2014 interview. "That change was a 'Don't take no for an answer change of attitude. It's the attitude you need to be 'someone' in WWE."

"It's my opinion that Dolph has not blossomed, but that he has been that good all along," opined former WWE Superstar Santino Marella in a 2014 interview with Fighting Spirit Magazine. "It all just depends how one is booked that allows you to show what you have in you."

Dolph Ziggler Talks Not Wrestling For The WWE Championship, Scripted Promos

Dolph Ziggler speaks out

In an interview with Ring Rust Radio, Dolph Ziggler discussed not wrestling for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, scripted promos, becoming Mr. WrestleMania and more. Highlights from the interview are as follows:

Brandon Galvin: You pride yourself on being the showoff, the wrestler nobody can outperform in the ring. Who is the consensus measuring stick in the WWE now, and all-time?

Oh wow, I don't know, my opinion all time would be Shawn Michaels. Measuring stick now? I mean, it depends, and do you have to be in the main event scene? Do you have to be one of the handpicked guys to talk every week, or can you be one of those guys that goes out every week whether it's for two seconds or two minutes or twenty minutes or thirty minutes, walks to the back, and says to all the producers and talent in the back "follow that". If that is the case then it's me.

Donald Wood: You are a two-time world heavyweight champion, but many fans believe you have the drawing power to return to the top of the mountain. I know you're fighting for the IC title at WrestleMania, and that's where your focus is now, but where does winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship sit on your priority list and do you believe you'll reach that level again?

I'd like to think so, but also it all depends. Obviously I have to set my sights on the Intercontinental title right now, as I do I focus on that going into WrestleMania. Even if I wasn't focused on that title, I would have to be because I am in no position on the card to say I am next in line for the World Heavyweight title. I am not dumb enough to think I am. Here's the deal though, I can be, I have been, and I will be again one way or another. Whether I get that chance, that is out of my hands. It is in the hands of the WWE Universe, the hands of Vince McMahon, the hands of the Authority, and however you want to view that it's in their hands. Can I pry it out of their hands? Yes. I've done it in the past when I wasn't supposed to. There's been a lot of guys who weren't supposed to be champs that actually were. I will have the drive like I have had every single day since day one to be there and be the best. If I have to prove myself without that title, I'll continue to do that until I get the chance to get that title.

Brandon Galvin: With WrestleMania coming up, obviously two names synonymous with the event are The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. What do you think it'll take for you, or any other performer, to become the next Mr. WrestleMania?

For me, I would have to get a singles match at some point. We're going on ten years of being under contract and five and a half of them being on television full time. To become Mr. WrestleMania, it doesn't have to be a premier match, you can just be a standout, but at some point you need to be in an important match whether you earned yourself or you got it handed to you, but you need to be in an important match, it needs to be a singles match. Stealing the show is one thing, everyone's going out to do that, but you need to stand out though and make your own WrestleMania moment. Everybody's is different, and I've got to find a way to stand out against 6 or 7 upcoming superstars that want to outperform each other. I have to do that and once that happens, then I have a chance to stand out as a Mr. WrestleMania.

Donald Wood: You are widely regarded as one of the best in-ring workers in the wrestling industry. How much pride do you take in your wrestling ability and how much do you focus on keeping your matches fresh when you're on television so much?

I will answer that if each of you can tell me one reason why I'm not wrestling for the championship.

RRR: I think its politics personally.

Take that part out. Any job you will have in your entire life, even when I was a janitor had politics. Think of something else. What do I have that is a weakness?

RRR: I can't think of anything conceivably.

Oh come on its not going to hurt my feelings.

RRR: You're too blonde?

I've actually switched it out to highlights so you're wrong. Most importantly honestly I can't think of anything either. The internet has a different point because they think for some reason I can't talk cause I say show off all the time, to be fair when I get a chance to talk candidly or however I want or how passionate I am about this business I deliver every single time. I can't think of anything either, so one of these days it's going to have to break through.

Mike Chiari: Aside from wrestling, it's well known that one of your passions is stand-up comedy. When you're cutting a promo with WWE how much does improvisation generally come into play for you, and also what's your preference in terms of getting a scripted promo or going completely off the cuff? What are you most comfortable with?

My favorite thing to do is to go on the WWE app. It's not a joke or a plug because you have freedom. It's like the 80's all over again. They say, "hey, you have a match against Luke Harper at the Sportatroium, on December 13th at 7:30 for the USWA title" and you go "got it". They bring you on and you got the bullet points in your head and you have the passion to put over the title, to put over your opponent, to put over how great this match is going to be, how it's going to steal the show, how you're going to walk out of there as the champion, the peoples champion with the title over your shoulder, that's what I love. On the fly, no one can top me. It comes down to a lot of improve. In the ring, obviously it's a television show with a script. Some of us are allowed to deviate from the script and some are not, I am not one of those.

Brandon Galvin: You strive for perfection in the ring and professionally and it's been documented that you're never satisfied with a performance. What would it take for you to be ultimately satisfied with a match or performance?

I honestly don't know that's a great question. Thinking of some of my favorite matches in my entire life, like my match against Edge at the Royal Rumble for the World Heavyweight title. I was a nobody who lost every single week. Going into that match I lost every week for six months. Edge is so good and he was a mentor of mine, and I held my own in that match where he took the lead. For the last twelve minutes of that twenty five, everybody was on the edge of their seats thinking the guy who loses every single night was going to become World Heavyweight champion and damn it I am proud of that. Whenever I see a clip of it, I always think I could have done this better, and being a perfectionist like myself, I may never be happy about it. Is that really a problem if my entire job is to outdo what I've already done? I'm ok with it.

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