WWE Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler was recently a guest on former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Chasing Glory. Here are some of the highlights:
On His first OVW tryout with Bobby Lashley and making it on the second tryout: “My first tryout was with Bobby Lashley. I didn’t know him at all, but he was also an amateur wrestler, a much better one than I am. We met at the rental car place and I go, “Hey, are you Bobby?” and he goes, “Yeah, are you Nick?” So we had a tryout together and it’s the damnedest thing, they decided to hire him and not me.
“The whole time I’m sitting there looking at him and I go, “I mean if we’re picking here, I’d pick to hire you also!” I just finished wrestling 165 at Kent State and he looks like he’s carved out of granite like an action figure! That second tryout, I wasn’t next to and being compared to a body builder the entire time. I was taking the drills and getting up first and picking up them much quicker.
“That’s where I can kind of focus when you’re a guy that’s barely 6 foot tall, barely 200 pounds, you go, “Okay, I can make up for every single aspect of this business.” So I was practicing promos, I was doing the drills, I wanted to look like I’ve been doing this for years.”
On the origin of his name Dolph Ziggler: “So I randomly got a call saying, “You’re going to TV to introduce something. We’re going into a meeting right now, we’re letting you know now your name is David Diggler, what do you think about that?” In my head, I’ve been fired twice, this is my last shot, I go, “I hate it, this is the Reality Era and I’m going to be David Diggler? Do I have any say in this?” They go, “Well, we’re going into a meeting right now, if you can have something in 15 minutes, but it’s got to be a “D” first name and a “D” last name.”
“I texted everyone I knew and I tried to think of things. I knew a great great grandfather who was Rudolph and Dolph Lundgren was from Rocky IV and I needed a “D” and I go, “Dolph?” and then I go, “Is there any way I can not do Diggler at the end?” So then I got to RAW and there was a little piece of paper that said, “Dolph Ziggler” on it. They didn’t really have long term plans for me which is fine, but I go, “Man, this might be my last chance.”
“I found Vince and I go, “Vince, its Reality Era, we’re doing the stuff, you can google my name, we can mix my name up and switch it a little bit. Dolph Ziggler sounds like a cartoon wrestling name!” And he goes, “It’s different. People are going to remember it. I love it!” And he walked off before he finished the sentence. I go, “Alright. I tried.”
On What being Intercontinental Champion 6 times means to him: “I used be like, “I don’t get these chances that other people get.” And after 12 years and 6 championships, Intercontinental champion, and plus a bunch of other stuff, you go, “I get the opportunity. I get them.” We don’t always follow up on them, but that’s part of the business and sometimes you’re not meant to be a long term person. Everytime you get something, I go, “Wow, I was just focusing on being a tag team wrestler, which I haven’t done in years and became champion.
“How can I make this the most memorable thing I’ve done in the last 10 years?” So I immediately went to work and I was focusing and I was watching different kinds of movies or studying different wrestlers from the 70s and 80s. I go, “How can I make this different?” Because Seth’s done an awesome job. We’re not really tight, we’re not really close, but I know that he’s awesome at his job also and it’s great to see what he’s done with that title.”
On Working with Drew McIntyre: “In the last couple years, I’ve been doing a lot of things with people who’ve been getting called up from NXT. I was teaching them on the weekends and making them better to shove them off to bigger greener pastures. In this way, he has the experience here, he has the experience out of here and he’s back and focused. So now I can fill him in on what we’ve been doing the last five years.
“He’s s focused, its awesome. Hopefully somewhere in a year, he punches me in the face and the arena erupts. Hopefully that will be the case, we’ll see. You never know around here. We’re not just a tag team with matching outfits, we’re just two dudes who want to be the champ and we’re watching each other’s back, so it’s a little bit of a nice twist on just tag teams.”
On Where his love for comedy originated: “When I was a young kid, Saturday Night Live I would watch and not know exactly what was going on, but also my Dad had this second shift job when I was 4 or 5 and I would wake up when he was going to work and watch Johnny Carson and not know what was going, but I was like, “Oh, people are laughing”. Like I said, my brother and I would screw with my mom.
“We would put on not a fake show, but we would do like a fake interview and do things like that. Someone who wants to be an entertainer fits into all these facets, it just worked out that I wanted to be a wrestler. My brother wrote books, he and I do videos all the time, he’s writing a movie, and we do improv shows and stand up comedy because that rush is the same as getting the applause out there.”
You can listen to Ziggler on Chasing Glory by clicking this link here.