Posts Tagged ‘dolph ziggler’

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler on WrestleMania: “This Could Be the Defining Match in my Career”

March 25, 2015

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

When the WWE World Championship was dominated by big, bruising brawlers like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Sgt. Slaughter, it was the Intercontinental Championship that often boasted the more exciting, fast-paced matches.

So, who better to help return the Intercontinental Title to its previous show-stealing prowess than the “Show Off” himself, Dolph Ziggler?

I spoke with the former host of “WWE Download” (man, I loved that show) in the days leading up to WrestleMania and asked him about his upcoming ladder match, Sting’s return, and Roman Reigns’ arrival…

Contact Gordon Holmes on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Gordon Holmes: The term “WrestleMania Moment” gets thrown around a lot. This ladder match seems like a golden opportunity to make one of those happen.
Dolph Ziggler: I’m really good at talking about how great I am, but let’s talk about everyone else in that match. It’s jam-packed…I have a reputation for stealing shows when I’m not supposed to. Going above and beyond to make myself stand out. And every single person in this match is a person who gives everything he can possibly give. We have these Superstars, some are up and coming, some have been around a while, they have to find a way to define themselves and have a WrestleMania moment. I don’t think I’ve had a WrestleMania moment. And so this could be it. This could be the defining match in my career that sends me to that upper echelon level, and there are a bunch of other guys that feel that way. That’s what’s so great about it. If this match doesn’t steal the show, then we didn’t do our jobs. We’re going to pull out all the stops.
Holmes: Looking at this list of guys; yourself, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett, Stardust, R Truth, and Luke Harper…in my notes I just wrote “Guys with a grudge.”
Ziggler: (Laughs)
Holmes: And by that I mean, in the past few years WrestleMania has featured top matches with a lot of part-time performers.
Ziggler: Sometimes other people come in for a couple of weeks and get the giant matches. But if I had a career like that, I wouldn’t want this as much as I do now. I know I have to take it. And that’s what everyone in this match feels like.

Holmes: You mentioned elevating the Intercontinental Championship. When I was a kid, that was the belt that the quicker, more technically sound wrestlers held. Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Curt Hennig…and now it doesn’t seem to have that same prestige. Is this the first step toward returning that title to prominence?
Ziggler: The first step was a couple of months ago when I became champ and defended it not only with the Authority trying to take it off of me, but it almost felt like an old Saturday Night’s Main Event with it constantly being on the line and you thought this was the time I was going to lose it. This Smackdown I was going to lose it, this Raw I was going to lose it. I defended it twenty something times in thirty days or something like that. And I loved it because I knew every day I was making it mean a little more. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been this prestigious title. It’s been on the backburner a lot of the time with other storylines. But when I get an inch, I try to take it a mile. When I say, “I dare someone to try and pry this out of my hands,” I mean it. And now, all the sudden people are talking about the title. And that’s real. People are talking, and that’s the start.

Holmes: Were you a WCW fan back in the day?
Ziggler: Yeah, but I always felt a little disloyal because in my head since I was five I was WWE.  But I was such a wrestling fan that it didn’t matter. And luckily for me I didn’t sleep a lot. So, WCW would rerun right afterward so I could watch Raw, then when it was over I could turn to WCW.
Holmes: Was there ever an instance where a young Dolph Ziggler was running around in white and black face paint?
Ziggler: No, there never was. I wasn’t a face paint guy. I was a Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Billy Gunn…well, I did enjoy watching Ric Flair vs. Sting ten thousand times. That was awesome. And I mean that in the most positive way. I was a big Goldberg fan. I’d watch him beat someone in ninety seconds then flip back to Raw.
Holmes: I was more of a surfer Sting kind of guy.
Ziggler: Oh yeah, I loved 80s Sting. I wasn’t one of the young teens who loved the Crow Sting. But, obviously he’s an icon and I loved Flair so much that I had love for both of those guys.
Holmes: So, the hot pink, Sgt. Pepper’s jacket…the Bart Simpson haircut…
Ziggler: Yeah! (Laughs) Big fan! I didn’t even mind the rat tail.
Holmes: Must’ve been nice to get to be a part of his WWE debut.
Ziggler: It’s unreal. As a fan, it blew my mind that his first-ever appearance helped me win a match. That blew my mind. Period. Survivor Series down three to one, scratching and clawing, Triple H trying every chance he could to knock me out. And then Sting’s first-ever appearance…it was goosebumps down my back as he threw me on top of Seth Rollins. I couldn’t believe it. As bitter and with a chip on my shoulder and grunting every day to get an inch in the WWE, there’s a small part of me that is a huge wrestling fan who lives for moments like that. And it doesn’t matter how that match goes, it’s gonna be great because Sting and Triple H are in it. It doesn’t matter how it goes. The spectacle will be unreal.
Holmes: That had to kill you that for his big appearance you were knocked out.
Ziggler: (Laughs) Yeah, luckily when I woke up he was in the back for about thirty more seconds and I said, “Hey kid, thanks for everything.”

Holmes: Our main event is going to be Roman Reigns taking on Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I was in Philly for the Rumble, and the crowd wasn’t too kind to him.
Ziggler: Roman had a hell of a match with Daniel Bryan, so let’s give this guy a chance. He’s done nothing wrong but take advantage of every position he’s been in. I can’t be down on that for one second. And last year, I was one of the guys cheering for him to get rid of Batista out of the ring. Now they’re booing him because it’s cool to do. He has every possible ounce of respect from me. I want to see if he can prove himself because proving yourself at WrestleMania is one thing, doing it against Brock Lesnar? Nobody has been able to do that for the last two or three years now. My career has been built on being flashy, but I was the all-time winningest wrestler at Kent State. I can be a hard-nosed wrestler if I need to be. But nobody can do what Brock does.
Holmes: Seeing Lesnar in person is something else. It’s like if you were to create a perfect wrestler in a lab, it would be Brock Lesnar.
Ziggler: You can hit him with an object and I don’t know if he’d know it happened. There’s nobody like him. I saw him do that moonsault against Kurt Angle where anyone else’s neck would snap in half. He just kind of shook it off. They’re going to beat the hell out of each other and it’s going to be cool.
Holmes: It’s a shame that ladder match is going to steal the show.
Ziggler: It is absolutely not a shame. It’s exactly how it should be. Certain matches get the build, they get the time, they get the story, they get the creativity, you get everything. And then certain matches go out there with a chip on their shoulder and go, “This is the one we’re all talking about tomorrow.”

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler on Concussion Costing Him the Title: ‘It Kills Me’

August 12, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Everyone’s always talking about “Wrestlemania Moments.” Dolph Ziggler did something a little bit different; he created one of the few “Night-After-Wrestlemania Moments.” In front of a raucous Monday Night Raw audience he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and took the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. The crowd reaction was awesome. The moment was unforgettable.

The glory was sadly short-lived.

In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ziggler received a concussion in the days after his victory. His reign was put on hold and then promptly ended once he was able to return. From there he lost both his girlfriend AJ Lee and his muscle Big E. Langston. For someone who has been on the verge of super stardom for quite a while, it had to be deflating.

I spoke with the self-proclaimed “Show Off” at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and had a chance to ask him about his rough couple of months, the upcoming SummerSlam card, and his potential second career as a stand-up comedian…

Gordon Holmes (@gordonholmes): Alright, first thing’s first. What’s AJ’s deal?
Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler): You’re telling me. I thought we were pretty tight, but it turns out that…I don’t know what her deal is. I thought I’d taken someone who was kinda cool, kinda into wrestling, kinda had my back and turns out you can’t take the crazy out of a chick no matter how long she can put it off for. And that’s happened to me many times in the past.
Holmes: That’s rough, because the crazy ones tend to be the most fun.
Ziggler: Exactly, you have to take the good with the bad.

Holmes: You cashed in your Money in the Bank briefcase the night after Wrestlemania and it looked like we were headed into this new era of Ziggler. Now here we are two months later, the title’s gone, AJ’s gone, Team Big-E and Zig-E is no more…
Ziggler: Again with that?
Holmes: Sorry. But to go from the heights of your title win, to so much change that seemed to be spurred by a freak occurrence like your concussion, it’s had to be like a rollercoaster.
Ziggler: It literally has. I’ve never heard a reaction in my entire life for anything like that cash in the Monday night after Wrestlemania. It blew my mind. And watching it back days and weeks later it put chills up my back. What a great crowd and what a perfect night to do it. And very soon after that I got kicked in the brain and taken out for a month and a half. It was actually a very scary time because after a couple of weeks I was starting to wonder if I’d ever come back. Luckily I passed all my tests, the headaches went away, and I came back into the title scene. But, thanks to my old teammates I am now out of the title scene.
Holmes: It seemed like you were being set up for a good long run. Have you come to terms with how quickly that was taken away?
Ziggler: No. I have not come to terms with that. I know the business and I love what I do. I go out there every night to not just steal the show but tell the best possible story I can, whether it’s in two minutes or twenty minutes. Sometimes I put it behind me that I once again had another title with absolutely zero defenses.  But, it kills me. And I know everybody works hard, all the Superstars want to be the best. And to be given these opportunities and to have some scenario play out…it’s part of the reason I don’t sleep at night, but it’s part of the reason that drives me to go out there.

Holmes: Now that you’re a fan favorite, for lack of a better term, will there be any tweaks to your act at all?
Ziggler: Honestly, you’ve got to be yourself, and you just tweak it a little. You change some psychological aspects of your character, but you’re still you. You still go out, you can still be cocky and have everybody cheer you because it’s a gray line these days. It’s reality based. I’m trying to be a version of myself out there. If I totally change and start smiling out there, and doing weird things that I normally wouldn’t do, the fans are going to see right through that.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam?
Ziggler: I hate Daniel Bryan and I hate John Cena.
Holmes: Equally?
Ziggler: Yes.
Holmes: Wow.
Ziggler: Well, I hate Cena more, but Daniel is just a genuinely nice guy and I hate that so much. But, in different ways as a student of a game and a fan, I see what John Cena brings and I see what Daniel Bryan brings. I’m curious to see if on the microphone if Daniel Bryan can hang with John Cena and if John Cena can roll around with Daniel Bryan. I’m actually really looking forward to the match even though I don’t like either of those guys.
Holmes: Who’s your winner?
Ziggler: Cena always wins, it seems. But in this case it might be such an emotional outcry from the fans that they could turn the tide. I’d like to see Daniel Bryan come out on top.

Holmes: What are your thoughts on CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar?
Ziggler: I’ve got to root for the smaller guy because that’s usually me. And we’ve seen Lesnar kill everybody, so I’ve got to say I want to see Punk beat him.

Holmes: You’re a funny guy. We talked about your old YouTube show, you said you were working on some stand-up material and were trying to do a few open mics. Any luck there?
Ziggler: Yeah, I got on two comedy shows in the last month and a half or so. Luckily enough, they went well. But they also made me focus on being VERY funny. It’s like wrestling, you have a match and whether everyone is applauding or not, you know what you have to do better next time. That’s what makes you better. I had very positive feedback. I love doing it. It was such a thrill going out there and I can’t wait to go back and rewrite and find the spots…it’s like telling a story in a promo or a match, you find the ups and downs, you find where to get them, and then you leave on a high note. You leave them wanting more.
Holmes: How many people were there?
Ziggler: The first one 60 or 70, the second one maybe 30-40.
Holmes: Now what’s scarier, wrestling in front of 80,000 or telling jokes in front of 80?
Ziggler: Depends on your timing. If you’re talking about this Wrestlemania it was the easiest thing, I had a blast. It was so fun feeding off of them. And my first stand-up in front of 70 people…I was shaking before going out there. (Laughs) Once I got out there and Andy Kindler was on the show there and I was midjoke and I saw him laughing and in my head I thought, “He’s laughing at something I just said, this is unreal!” I was very fortunate to have that start and I can’t wait to do more.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar The Miz Breaks Down SummerSlam’s Big Main Events

August 2, 2013

The Miz (WWE)

For the first time ever, WWE’s SummerSlam will have a host. And that host is…awesooooooome!

I spoke with the Miz at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. While there we discussed Summerslam’s two huge main events, we were interrupted by a WWE Hall of Famer, and we did our best to annoy Dolph Ziggler…

The Miz: (While holding a Miz Rumbler figure that was made especially for San Diego Comic Con) Look at this guy. Only ten thousand made. A limited edition.
Gordon Holmes: Uncanny. Is this your first Comic Con?
The Miz: No, I’ve been to Comic Con quite a bit. My favorite story from Comic Con is I was doing an autograph signing a couple of years ago and Transformers was huge that year. Everyone was dressed as Transformers. And I see this guy and I point him out to a kid and I say, “Oh look! It’s Optimus Prime!” And the kids says, “That’s not Optimus Prime, you idiot! That’s Voltron.” So, I was schooled by a five-year old.

Holmes: Comic Con is known for its extravagant cosplayers. Is there any particular character you’re hoping to see? Perhaps of the female persuasion?
The Miz: Oh man, I always liked Jessica Rabbit. I was a huge Roger Rabbit fan as a kid, and then growing up into a man I realized how lucky Roger Rabbit really was. I think a lot of people like Ariel as well.
Holmes: A bit of a Harley Quinn man myself.
Mick Foley: May I interject?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley:  This is Mick Foley, WWE Hall of Famer. Miz, I concur.
The Miz: Thank you!
Foley: After three rides of the Roger Rabbit ride at Disneyland I found that I had a very real crush on Jessica Rabbit. It happens.
The Miz: If only she was real.

Holmes: Speaking of life-like representations, we’re here at the Mattel booth, what’s it like the first time someone hands you an action figure that looks just like you?
The Miz: As a kid I had all the WWE action figures. You name it, I had it. I had a wrestling ring that I would fling them out of. And now that I have these amazing action figures that are so detailed and so great, it’s surreal. I have like 50 action figures, and I have each one of them. I show them off to my friends when they come to my house. Whenever they say something to me and I don’t have a comeback I say, “Do you have an action figure?”

Holmes: SummerSlam is shaping up to be a good one.
The Miz: SummerSlam is the biggest event of the summer. One thing’s for sure is people are going to be talking about the Miz. You’ve got Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. That’s going to be something to remember.
Holmes: Who do you like in the Cena/Bryan match?
The Miz: I’ve been in the ring with both of them. I have trained Daniel Bryan, basically, to be the superstar he is today. If you watched NXT he was my rookie. I take full credit for all of his success. And John Cena I defeated at Wrestlemania 27 in the main event. One of my most memorable matches. I know that Cena doesn’t quit, he doesn’t tap out. One of Bryan’s main moves is a tap-out move. I’ve never seen Cena tap out of anything. So, I’ve got to lean toward the WWE Champion.
Holmes: That’s interesting as I’ve noticed you’ve made the switch to a tap-out hold in the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: All the superstars want to use that, but I’m the only one that can actually tap people out with it.

Note: At this point in the interview Dolph Ziggler wanders over to where we are speaking.

Holmes: I heard a rumor that Dolph Ziggler was interested in that hold.
The Miz: He wished that he could put on the figure-four leglock as good as I can and as fast as I can. It just so happens that nobody can. It’s just one of those things.
Foley: Miz, can I interject again?
The Miz: Absolutely.
Foley: This is 2013 WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley again, I believe I only tapped twice in my career, but if I could go back in time, I would’ve tapped almost instantly to Miz’s version of the figure-four leglock.
The Miz: Thank you very much, Mick! Not Dolph Ziggler, right? The Miz!
Foley: And without any shame whatsoever. There’s no shame in tapping to Miz’s figure four.
Holmes: Dolph Ziggler’s is like a scalpel. Yours is more like a chainsaw.
The Miz: Exactly! His is like a thumbnail and mine is like an axe.

Note: Having had enough of our antics, Dolph Ziggler stood and walked away.

Holmes: Who are you picking in the CM Punk/Lesnar match?
The Miz: I know how Punk is and Punk finds a way to win no matter how big a person is. He finds a way. He calls himself “The Best in the World.” Granted, every WWE Superstar will say that, but he believes that. Brock has something coming to him, but man, Brock is a beast. I’ve been in the ring with him and this guy has power like I’ve never seen before. He has been defeated before, so there’s a way. I think Punk can find that way.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Watch “WWE: Summerslam,” Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 8 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler Breaks Down Wrestlemania’s Top Matches

April 4, 2013

Dolph Ziggler (WWE)

Quick Note: Wrestlemania season is heating up and XFINITY has you covered! We’re going to have interviews and insights from top WWE Superstars, on-location tidbits from Wrestlemania weekend, and more. Order Wrestlemania here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute details.

There isn’t a physical “Road to Wrestlemania.” But if there was, the next sign would read “This Exit: MetLife Stadium.”

With the industry’s biggest show just a few short days away, I had a chance to chat with Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, to get his thoughts on the evening’s top matches…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, let’s start this off with the most important match; Zig-E and Big E vs. Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Titles…
Dolph Ziggler: You’re really trying to get that to catch on. (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m still trying to make “fetch” happen. Now, whenever I see one of my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends, they tend to be smarter and better looking than me and I get depressed. Is it weird to face off against two of AJ’s exes in Kane and Daniel Bryan?
Ziggler: It’s only weird if you make it weird. But me, realizing that I’m pretty much the trophy that I am compared to a little garden gnome guy and a deranged monster, either way I think I have the upper hand here. Those guys are really good performers, but I’m known for being one of the best. And when it comes down to that Wrestlemania match, I won’t be thinking if it’s uncomfortable, I’m going to be thinking about doing whatever I can to steal the show and show off to AJ that she made the right choice.
Holmes: Have you had any conversations with Big E about the difference between Wrestlemania and smaller events? Any concerns about nerves?
Ziggler: Of course there is, and honestly even for me, I’ve been around and been at Wrestlemanias and been in front of 70,000 people, it’s not something you can prepare for. The last couple of weekends I’ve been sitting him down and having some good talks with him. This is a big deal just to be on this card. There are a lot of deserving Superstars who aren’t going to be on this Wrestlemania. I feel like I should always be in the main event, but I am excited and happy to be in a match. Just to be there is a big step. Now I have to get it into his head that you don’t want to freeze up, you don’t want to freak out. It all comes down to having me as a mentor for him, and he’s been listening.  I think he’s going to be great out there.

Holmes: What is your take on The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship?
Ziggler: I hope all the fans boo them out of the freaking building.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Ziggler: I don’t want the cheers and the boos. I hope it’s 90% boos letting them know that this “Once in a Lifetime” match is happening again and that I or someone else should be the main event. But, that’s the great thing about the WWE Universe. They get to voice their opinions, they get to show their signs. And whether they like something or hate it, you’re going to hear about it. I’m excited to hear it.
Holmes: So when the “We want Ziggler” chant breaks out, it’s not going to break your heart.
Ziggler: No, I’m used to it. Especially in New York.
Holmes: What’s your take on the new championship belt design?
Ziggler: I think it’s pretty cool. For a long time people wanted to get rid of that Cena-recognized belt. As a championship I think it looks pretty cool. Like I try to do myself, I think it mixes a little bit of old school with a little bit of shiny bling. It gives you the best of both worlds.
Holmes: Have you had any interactions with The Rock since he’s been back?
Ziggler: We’ve had a couple of quick talks here and there. He’s usually pretty busy just like all of us when he gets here. He’s been pretty cool about everything. And it was pretty neat, he told me he liked my work which is a pretty cool deal because you know he’s watching the shows when he’s traveling. Like I said, having him back, it makes me a little mad. But, I love the business sense of it, having him come back and getting the crowd behind him. When he’s promoting movies, we’re holding down the fort, waiting for him to come back.

Holmes: Triple H is putting his career on the line against Brock Lesnar in a career-ending match. Who do you like there?
Ziggler: I don’t know. Brock is a legitimate UFC guy who has beaten the crap out of some pretty tough fighters and I think Triple H was lucky to get out of it alive last time. But, Triple H is obviously motivated, his career is on the line and that’s a huge deal. But, he’s also an office guy, so he always has that as a backup. I don’t know if Brock has any other plans but to go out there and destroy opponents. I’m assuming Brock will come out on top of this one.

Holmes: Undertaker vs. CM Punk…does the streak continue or does Punk prove he’s the “best in the world”?
Ziggler: You know what? That streak is one of the biggest, majestic pieces of what makes Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania. Every year you start to question it, and as we get closer to the match you think maybe this new guy, this young kid, is he angry enough, is he going to be the one to break the streak? And you never know if it’s going to go to 30-0 or end at 20-1. That’s the awesome intrigue and that’s one of the matches I’m looking forward to watching. If CM Punk were to win, that’s bigger history than anything else that happens on that entire card.
Holmes: Is that how it’s viewed now? The streak is more important than the championships?
Ziggler: Yeah. Honestly, it’s such a staple of the Wrestlemania Pay Per View. It’s such a big deal that I wonder if you were to ask someone like me, “Do you want to face Cena for the title or take a crack at the streak?” I might lean toward the streak because Cena’s been champ a bunch of times, Punk held it for over a year, but that’s twenty one years there. It’s such a big deal that it’s bigger than the championship in some sense. To me it would be.

Holmes: This match might have your attention; Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Ziggler: I could care less, I hope they beat the crap out of each other and whoever is left gets laid out by the other one. I’ll be walking down the aisle and stealing the show with my cash in.
Holmes: I thought that was going to be a big secret, I was going to try to get you to confess that that was your plan. They knock each other cold, then cue Ziggler’s music.
Ziggler: You know, I’ve seen it before where it wasn’t exactly quite how I wanted it yet, so I can’t guarantee that’s going to happen. Cause when I cash this in, I’m not cashing it in to maybe win. It’s going to happen. So, somebody has to be out pretty cold for me to get back in there.
Holmes: Clearly you’re leaving Wrestlemania with two belts. And some guys will wear one around their waist and have the other over their shoulder, or both over their shoulders. Have you given much thought as to how you’re going to do it?
Ziggler: I honestly haven’t. Sometimes I’m old-school tradition. I like when the champion wears the title around his waist, so maybe both around the waist. But, I’d really hate to cover up these abs for all the girls that watch the show for me.
Holmes: I don’t have that problem, so I never would’ve thought of that. What if you snapped them behind your neck and wore them draped over your shoulders like a boxer would?
Ziggler: Oh…that’s very interesting. How about one facing the front, one facing back, I do my entrance facing out. That might work too.
Holmes: The clock is ticking, you need to figure this out and fast.
Ziggler: It’s not on the top of my list, but I’ll give it some consideration.
Holmes: I don’t mean to stress you out.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Don’t miss WWE Wrestlemania, Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler Intends to Steal Wrestlemania from The Rock

March 29, 2013

Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee (WWE)

Quick Note: Wrestlemania season is heating up and XFINITY has you covered! We’re going to have interviews and insights from top WWE Superstars, on-location tidbits from Wrestlemania weekend, and more. Order Wrestlemania here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute details.

It isn’t hard to figure out who the next breakout WWE Superstar is going to be. It’s usually whoever is carrying a bashed up Money in the Bank briefcase.

Right now, the man with the severely damaged luggage is the same guy who is consistently having the best matches on the show. His name is Dolph Ziggler…

Gordon Holmes: I have a theory about you.
Dolph Ziggler: (Laughs) OK.
Holmes: I’ve always heard that nobody had to teach Beethoven or Mozart how to play a piano, they just looked at it and it made sense. Now, I look at an announce table and I think, “Oh, there’s a place to put a computer, and this chair looks comfy.”
Ziggler: (Laughs) Right.
Holmes: When you look at it do you think, “I could bounce off that table and land in that chair on my head”?
Ziggler: No actually, not at all. Sometimes things just work out that way. (Laughs) I have no idea what’s going to happen. They work out that way and I’m happy and lucky to be safe after doing it.
Holmes: You get tossed and then gravity does its business.
Ziggler: Yes. The important part is at the end of the night it’s entertainment for the fans and any way that I can possibly do that…that’s my way of doing it.

 

Holmes: Right now you are Mr. Money in the Bank. I have never seen a piece of luggage go through such wear and tear. Does that thing still open?
Ziggler: There’s one at TV and one that I take with me at all times. And they’re both so smashed that the locks don’t even stay locked anymore. The one at TV, I don’t even know if I could open it if I had the jaws of life with me.
Holmes: I feel like that’s some kind of loophole. Say tonight you cash in on Alberto Del Rio, if you can’t get that contract out, how is that legally valid?
Ziggler: If you want to get into the legal aspects of it, the briefcase is an actual contract. So, even though there’s paperwork inside, I don’t need it. I just hand over the briefcase.
Holmes: It has to be in the mysterious WWE rulebook.
Ziggler: But don’t worry. If it can happen, it’s going to happen.

Holmes:There’s some confusion about your actual finisher. You’ve used the Zig Zag, you’ve used a super kick. Is there one you’re hoping to cement as your go-to finisher?
Ziggler: I’ve been using the Zig Zag for a long time. The super kick is great and I think I do it really well and it adds to my repertoire. It’s just not always readily available for me to use. Once it is…if it ever becomes fully available for just me to use, I would take it in a heartbeat.
Holmes: So it isn’t available yet. Is there a concern that you don’t have a clever name for it yet?
Ziggler: No, the announcers usually make up the moves. I just do the moves well, that’s my part.

Holmes: Which Superstars did you idolize when you were younger?
Ziggler: I was a big fan at a really young age of Ric Flair. I had an uncle who used to show me beta tapes. And even though kids my age mostly liked Hulk Hogan, I thought this guy was cool. But as I got older I realized that this guy was so good and he could be out there with anyone. That’s been my goal since day one.
Holmes: Does it bother you that he’s rubbing shoulders with the Miz?
Ziggler: I think it bothers everyone in the entire world that he’s rubbing shoulders with the Miz. I even had a match at old-school Raw with him in the Miz’s corner and I was taunting him saying, “You backed the wrong guy. It should be me with you in my corner.” I feel like he’s so good at what he does that we’d make a hell of a team. But apparently Miz needed him more. And I think when they were training (Flair) forgot to show him how to finish the figure four.
Holmes: Well, there are a couple steps to that move. But I think he has it down now.
Ziggler: Yeah…that’s good. Only took him a couple of months. That’s good.

Holmes: XFINITY Watchathon Week is going on until March 31st and we have roughly a jillion shows from HBO, Showtime and everywhere else that are free with XFINITY On Demand.
Ziggler: Wow.
Holmes: Right? If your schedule allowed for a week on the couch watching TV, which shows would you binge watch?
Ziggler: I’m a huge fan of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “Curb” would be first. I’ve heard “Dexter” is awesome. A serial killer guy out there having fun? That sounds right up my alley.

Holmes: I really enjoyed your “WWE Download” show on YouTube and I noticed that you’d do a different kind of speech pattern on the show. It was lightning quick, it was hilarious, have you ever thought of bringing that onto the TV show?
Ziggler: Yeah, lots of different times. Backstage bosses and agents have complimented it. But when it comes to TV, I haven’t had the chance to do it. On that show, I was so comfortable, I got to write my own material, do my own jokes. And that’s not exactly the same leeway as you have on live TV.
Holmes: You were very funny on that show. Is there any worry that doing it on TV might make you more likable?
Ziggler: The thing was…if you listen to the crowd I think I’m a little popular anyways. So, as much as we can keep it so they still remember that I’m a bad guy, we’ve got to keep it that way. It’s a grey area, there’s not just bad guys and good guys. You get to pick who you like, who you don’t like. A bad guy doesn’t have to be bad at wrestling. Sometimes bad guys have to win the match and be better than the good guy. In some areas, in the Northeast, I’m cheered more than my opponents are.
Holmes: It’s a crime “Download” isn’t on anymore
Ziggler: Honestly, I loved the “Download” show. I loved writing the jokes for it. I loved performing it. And one of these days I’ll get to be myself and be that person that is me backstage in the ring.
Holmes: Oh, so we got a peek at the real you.
Ziggler: Well…keep it PG…borderline…make people think. I write jokes and material on my days off. It was so fun, I used to look forward to just writing the jokes for the show. And a lot of the lines I’d write that morning or while we were setting up the cameras. Other ones I’d just improv as we were doing the show. Something would pop in my head and I’d just throw it out there.
Holmes: Now that it’s over, do you have a different outlet for your comedy? Have you ever considered stand-up?
Ziggler: Absolutely, I’ve been writing for a little over a year now. I have a couple of minutes now that I’ll be sneaking into some open mics in the next two to three months.
Holmes: Live mics as in WWE shows or…
Ziggler: Absolutely not. As in LA at a small bar or twenty people in a coffee shop. Just because I’ve been writing for so long, friends of mine in comedy have given me a lot of compliments and said there’s some good stuff in there. I’ll give it a try.
Holmes: One of the good things about being a wrestler is if the audience doesn’t like those jokes, they’re less likely to heckle you.
Ziggler: Right. They can laugh or not, but if they heckle just let them know that I’ve been wrestling for twenty five years.

Holmes: You guys have a world of really talented guys backstage to help you out. You’ve got Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat…is there anyone in particular who helps you out?
Ziggler: Yeah, the first one you mentioned is pretty accurate. Arn Anderson is kind of an unsung hero in the business. He was one of the Horsemen, one of the best working wrestlers of all time. And backstage he’s such a helpful tool for all of us. And for some reason, even though we’re not the same kind of animal, he’s been very helpful, very influential. Him and Pat Patterson have been huge helps for me. Those guys didn’t settle for being good, they wanted to be the best, and I think they see that in my eyes. I try to do that every night and I get frustrated if I didn’t literally steal the show and have the best performance. Those guys appreciate that.

Holmes: Now you’ve got AJ on your arm and Big E. Langston has your back. Has there been a bit of an adjustment period having those two along?
Ziggler: Yeah, it’s been very interesting. I had Vickie by my side and I’ve been by myself. In a weird way I’m becoming one of the veterans of this locker room. Which is crazy.
Holmes: That doesn’t sound right.
Ziggler: I’m 32 years old. I’ve been here eight and a half years.
Holmes: Wow.
Ziggler: As the roster is changing and we have less guys from the late 90s, unless they’re on a light schedule, I’m good enough to be giving back to young up and comers. And it’s really cool to have someone like an AJ and a Big E. I really appreciate that they want the best, they want to know what’s going on, they want to know why I did things in a match. It helps that they were childhood fans. AJ’s dream as a child was to be a WWE Superstar. I was five-years-old and I wanted to be a Superstar. We have that bond. It makes it that much more rewarding. And we’re just getting started.  Once Wrestlemania comes and goes we’ll have more time to settle in and I think you’ll see a nice trio of great talent that could be the future of the business.
Holmes: Has anyone pitched the name Zig-E and Big E?
Ziggler: I’ve heard that, but we’ll figure it out when we need to.
Holmes: Oh man, I thought I came up with that myself.
Ziggler: (Laughs) Congratulations.
Holmes: Just lie and tell people it was me.

Holmes: You mentioned the people on the lighter schedules. We’re approaching a Wrestlemania where four of the six main eventers don’t wrestle that often. Does that annoy you, does it inspire you?
Ziggler: It’s both. It really pisses me off. But, it also is good business. Every year a part timer comes back, but there’s a reason that they’re back. Whether it’s the fans want to see them, if they’re a draw, if they’re a movie star, there’s a reason that they’re back. They’re not back just to do it. There’s business to be had. And it pisses me off and it motivates me a hundred percent. It makes me want to be that guy that they’re begging to come back. I appreciate it, it’s just good business. When people come to Wrestlemania to see the Rock and the Undertaker and they leave that Wrestlemania thinking, “Wow, that Dolph Ziggler stole the show. I can’t wait to tune in to ‘Raw’ to see what he does next.” That’s how I’ve lived my entire career.

Don’t miss WWE Wrestlemania, Sunday April 7, 2013 at 7 pm ET on Pay Per View.

WWE’s Zack Ryder: Kane and Eve ‘Basically Killed My Career’

July 17, 2012

Zack Ryder (WWE)

It was the feel-good story of 2011. In a last-ditch effort to save his job, Zack Ryder, the long-forgotten, fist-pumping bro from Long Island had turned his tiny YouTube show into an Internet sensation. He rode that wave of popularity to a thunderous ovation at the Survivor Series and a United States Title victory over Dolph Ziggler at TLC.

Then he was destroyed by Kane and dumped by Eve Torres.

Wave hits wall…feel-good story turns bad.

But things are looking up for the self-professed “Long Island Iced Z.” At the Great American Bash a few weeks ago he made Eve look foolish and ousted Kane to win a battle royal.

I recently had a chance to sit down with the Internet’s favorite Broski at San Diego Comic Con to find out what he plans to do next, the fate of his Internet Championship, and more…

Gordon Holmes: At the Great American Bash you were finally able to get revenge on both Eve and Kane. Was it nice to finally get some closure on those issues?
Zack Ryder: I needed that redemption big time. I was on such a roll at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and the whole Kane and Eve thing killed my momentum. Basically killed my career. So, to turn that around and get revenge on them was something I needed. Hopefully it’ll get the Ryder Revolution back on track.
Holmes: What’s next for you now that that’s behind you?
Ryder: The United States Title, I had that for a hot minute. I’d love to get that back. In 2011 I think I proved to people that I’m not a joke, I can be taken seriously in the ring. And hopefully by the end of this year I’ll have a major championship.
Holmes: A lot of guys when they make the step to the next level, they feel the need to shed some of the…I don’t want to say goofy…but some of the more fan-pleasing parts of their personas. I’m thinking of The Hurricane dropping his superhero ways and Rikishi dropping the dancing…
Ryder: Right.
Holmes: Is that a concern for you? Is that a direction you’ll head into?
Ryder: I think maybe in time, I can’t be the same old guy forever. But that doesn’t mean I’ll have to drop all of the parts of my character to get to the top. I think eventually I’ll evolve. If you’ve followed my career I was a Major Brother, then an Edge Head, now I’m Zack Ryder, I’m sure in three years I’ll be completely different.

Holmes: In coming up with these questions I thought of a merchandise idea for you.
Ryder: Sweet, let’s hear it.
Holmes: Remember the foam Steve Austin “What” voice bubbles?
Ryder: Yeah.
Holmes: We need some “Woo Woo Woo” bubbles.
Ryder: That’d be sweet! I’d take it.

Holmes: Your story is kind of amazing. You weren’t getting any attention, so you took matters into your own hands and figured out how to make social media work for you. Do they ever come to you for advice on how to make social media work for other guys?
Ryder: No. It’s funny though, now they have meetings about how to use hash tags or whatever. And I’m like, “Are you serious, bro?” All this stuff that I’ve been doing for years, not saying that I originated it, but I’ve been doing it best. It’s cool though, I’m glad WWE is finally embracing social media.

Holmes: You’re obviously a huge fan of toys and pop culture, what with all the references you make on your YouTube show, so what was it like the first time you saw a Mattel Zack Ryder action figure?
Ryder: It was great. I’ve been a wrestling fan all my life and I’ve collected wrestling figures my whole life. So, of course a dream of mine was to be in the WWE and to have my own figure. When I got my first Mattel action figure I was ecstatic. I’d always check on the Internet and try to see the new lineups. When I saw the prototype image, it was one of the best moments of my life.
Holmes: I had intended to ask you if they were ever going to make an Internet Championship for your figure, but they just announced one is on its way.
Ryder: Yeah!
Holmes: You created that. That came out of your brain.
Ryder: What’s crazy is the Internet Championship is something I created for my YouTube show and I’m not allowed to bring it out on WWE TV. Yet, it’s on this WWE t-shirt I’m wearing here. And now it’s on the action figure. So, someone’s telling you no, but you still get to do it. It’s ridiculous. I love it.
Holmes: What is the reasoning behind not allowing you to wear the title on television?
Ryder: I don’t know. As soon as I got it made I showed it to some people and they were like, “Absolutely not.” I’m not going to put up a fight about it, if they don’t want to use it, they don’t have to use it.
Holmes: Cause I’m an old-school fan, and I know for a fact that Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Title was never a sanctioned WWE championship and it was on TV all the time.
Ryder: That was my argument! It’s just like the Million Dollar Title, it’s a gimmick. Obviously I wouldn’t be defending it. Unless of course Wrestlemania 29, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Zack Ryder against Dolph Ziggler for the Internet Title.

Holmes: The next big thing from Mattel is their Brawlin’ Buddies plush dolls. Now, when I was a kid there were Wrestling Buddies…
Ryder: Yes, Wrestling Buddies, I had those too.
Holmes: Is that the next step?  A Zack Ryder Brawlin’ Buddy?
Ryder: I don’t know if this is a spoiler…
Holmes: Oh, you’re going to get us in trouble.
Ryder: (Laughs) I recorded sayings for the Buddies so I’m hoping I’m in the next lineup. You know, the “Argh!” and “Errr!”

Holmes: Are you going to get a chance to see any of the sights here at San Diego Comic Con?
Ryder: Yeah, I definitely want to get out and see the Star Wars stuff and the Ghostbusters stuff. I’ve always wanted to come here as a kid.

Holmes: Edge had some heartfelt words for you and your former partner Curt Hawkins during his Hall of Fame speech. What did it mean for him to take the time to address you during his big moment?
Ryder: Edge, whether he knows it or not, saved my career, saved Curt Hawkins career. We were the Major Brothers at the time, doing nothing on Smackdown. And we’d pitched this idea to be Edge’s cronies. He didn’t have to say yes. But he put the green light on it and along the way we learned so much from him. And for him to retire and to talk about us and give us words of encouragement, it was very humbling. It was great.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


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