Dolph Ziggler on never being the top guy in WWE, why is Money in the Bank cash-in is the best ever, his run as NXT Champion, starting with Spirit Squad

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Dolph Ziggler
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via
Video available at Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube Page

On why his Money in the Bank cash-in is the best ever: “A bunch of people make other arguments, but here’s why mine’s different than if you want to say Seth’s [Rollins] at WrestleMania, or like the first ever one or whatever. I mean, the first one was pretty cool. I didn’t understand the idea, it was Edge, right? And Vince [McMahon] is there and like, it’s, whoa, you know. But here’s why mine is better, because of what I just said. I lost every single match. Vickie [Guerrero] talked for me, I got Vickie, and then we go on to AJ [Lee] and Big E. So I now have a group of three. And I’m losing every single match, except for the ladder match, which was so fun. There’s a great gif of Tensai throwing me into the chairs and I fly around on my head. I win, and I win that and I go how are we going to build on this? Because I can’t just lose 900 matches in a row when this one and then lose 900 in a row again, and the boss goes now you’re gonna lose even more, and not in a devious way, he goes because you have this briefcase, and when that contract gets cashed in, everything is erased. And I go, Okay, that’s a fair point.”

On never being the top guy in WWE: “So this will, I don’t know, maybe it’ll sound not bitter, whatever. The rest of the interview is bitter, we will take a little break. But I feel I was never in their conversation to be their guy. I understand that. But I go every day I can try and whittle them down and maybe in five years they’ll go hey, we got to let this guy go over. Or hey, in five years, this guy is ready. I know he’s not our top guy, but when this guy has knee surgery, he can slide right in there. And I go, that’ll be my chance, so just always be ready for that. And that happened a couple of times, I got put into, I just thought of something, I got put into a world title match against Sheamus. Man I want to say it is like in the northeast somewhere a long time ago. I’m basically wrestling on Superstars or getting beat by somebody in a couple minutes.

“Sheamus is World Heavyweight Champion and crushing everybody, and I don’t really talk on the show, anything. I get, who is it? [Alberto] Del Rio or [Great] Khali? Somebody gets taken out. And they go you’re gonna wrestle him and we get one week build and it’s like, I don’t even know what the goal is, just like I’ll see you, I don’t know. So I go this might be really bad, no one might care, I don’t know. If you check the footage, 19,000 People are chanting my name against the established World Heavyweight Champion. I’m a bad guy who doesn’t talk and loses every single match. And I go whoa! There’s a clip of [Jerry] Lawler he goes do you hear these fans saying let’s go Sheamus? I go, is that what they’re saying? But it was and it was like a fun match. Sheamus is fun, and we do crazy stuff anyway, so it’s like, that was really cool. But I was nervous that they weren’t gonna give one damn, because I don’t, I mean, I deserve to be there, but on a television show this character did not deserve to be fighting for the title.

“Story wise, it didn’t make sense. So I was very nervous. I go man, they’re gonna hate me. But let’s steal the show, we start, we kicked off the show. Let’s tear it down, make them follow us. I go. And then hopefully, maybe I won’t get booed on the building. I don’t know. But it was one of the hottest crowds other than like working [John] Cena in New York or something. But like, it was amazing. And we had fun and we beat the hell out of each other and we didn’t steal the show, but we kicked some ass and kicked it off, right? And I go man, maybe this will be the thing, and the next Monday, right back to business as usual. So that happens sometimes, I try and fight it, but I can only do so much. But I fight it screaming and yelling every single Monday, just so you know.”

On being in The Spirit Squad: “I mean, I love like, if we’re joking around, like, oh I’m somehow built to do this, meant to do this, love comedy, love theatre, love acting, love sports, fighting, athleticism, all these things, and it just perfectly worked out for me. But also that group was for Kenny [Dykstra] and it hurt, but it was like, I’m [new], I don’t know how to do anything. I’m six months, eight months in and I go, I don’t know what to do. I love being in this group, because Kenny is really good. And he’s like 19, it’s so funny. And he’s teaching me stuff that you wouldn’t learn behind the scenes for 10 years. And I go, man, this guy’s way ahead of me, he’s got it figured out. But then you get to a point where it’s like, you’re six months into the Spirit Squad and it’s like, everybody can get pinned except for Kenny and you’re like, I gotta get pinned again. And like this kind of [anger], and we’re kind of getting beat up, and then it’s a bummer. But those guys embraced it, loved it.

“I loved what we had, my math is probably a little bit off, I want to say it’s right around 12 months, like exactly a one year run. And we had tons of ups and downs. But man, we friggin’ [faced] Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes. Every weekend for five months a different version of DX on a live event match to where you can do 20-30 minutes. And so, say I’m coming from six months of training, and even me going in early on off days and coming out late. I got 20 years of experience in five months from some of the greatest of all time. It was Shawn, Hunter and Flair and they rotated like two of the three each weekend, and it was the coolest thing in the world. Like whether we were dorks and losers booed out of the building, like almost like how they booed Vickie Guerrero, just as they hated us.

“And then they have two of the greatest of all time still wrestling in tags. And we’re and we’re having a like, I’m scared to death. And I’m like, I don’t want to like mess up and like hurt Shawn Michaels while I’m doing a neckbreaker or something. But I’m scared to death, but we’re doing great. And we’re listening to what they say. And we get to a point where we’re like comfortable with them. But I got so much training from those three guys in a couple of months that it was all of us, not just me. But I don’t know there’s a school in the world. You can go to Shawn Michaels’ wrestling school and have him teach you, but it’s not Shawn Michaels Triple H and Ric Flair live in front of a crowd. So I don’t know what better training anybody could have. And I was just very lucky.”

On winning the NXT Championship: “That was really cool. One, because I thought it was going there to do what I do, help a young guy out. But also they go hey, you get a little more creative to just kind of do what you want, talking wise. And I go, that’s been a problem for me for 15 years. It’s like you have to say it like this and I go well, if I just do it, [they’re] like no. Okay. So some people get leeway, some people don’t. Once in a while I do but I wasn’t getting it on important ones and I was like man I really wish I could be more me. So they go in NXT like you got a little leeway with what you want to do. And I was like cool, I’ll be me. What I wish I had been doing 15 years ago is like just saying and being me, a jerk, not even turned up to 10, that’s just me right now. But I walked in there, and it was so fun because a lot of people didn’t know I was doing it. And I thought it was for like four weeks, work with Steiner [Bron Breakker], help him out and see if he’s ready for the main roster. Oh, okay, cool.”


Readers Comments (3)

  1. I don’t think Dolph is referring to AJ Styles in Paragraph 1. Should be AJ Lee.

  2. Does he address your fave entrance music, Jason?

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