[Interview] Dolph Ziggler: The Epitome Of Wrestling Perfection (Part One)
In the last few years, WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler has supplanted himself as one of the most respected athletes in the world of Professional Wrestling. Through his chiseled looks and overwhelming charisma, Ziggler has gone from the grips of the ‘Spirit Squad’ to being one of the more well-respected ‘workers’ in the game today.
With the WWE approaching its historical, record-making 1000th episode of its flagship program, “Monday Night Raw” this Monday, who better to talk to, than the company’s favorite resident #Heel? Couple Monday’s historic show with Ziggler having won the prestigious ‘Money in the Bank’ honor at last Sunday’s PPV, and you’re in for a read. Guest interviewer Ryan McKinnell sits down with Ziggler for a two part interview that can only be described as, well, perfection. In part one, Ziggler talks about WWE Raw’s 1000th episode and why he hates John Cena so much.
Ryan McKinnell (The Well Versed): Alright, Dolph. Well, I guess we can get to one of the main reasons we are here today; this Monday and the 1000th Monday Night Raw. Now, much like you, I’m a mid-west kid, 28-years-old, and I went to Ball State. Growing up, wrestling was everything. Raw was everything. It was all you watched on Monday night, and all you talked about at school the day after. I know you’ve been getting this question a lot lately, but what are some of your favorite moments. Or, maybe, a favorite particular match from Raw?
Ziggler: Well, I’ve been a fan since I was five-years-old, ever since I went to my first house show. When Raw came on the air in 1993, it was everything. I was just as jacked as anyone else, and all of my friends couldn’t wait. Just to get to a 1000 shows, by the way, is unreal. Like, we play this off like it’s no big deal, but the fact is, no one has been able to do this in television history. That’s amazing. And we kind of go, ‘oh yeah, it’s happening, that’s amazing, yadda, yadda, yadda,’ but it really is amazing. And in an age when people have an attention span of 10 seconds and say, ‘ok, I don’t want to watch this anymore,’ we constantly manage to reinvent this show and entertain all these fans for all these years is just awesome; and it’s really amazing to be a part of it all.
A lot of people have been asking for different RAW moments, and I’ve been trying to give them different answers, and this one just popped in my head; Triple H vs. Chris Jericho, and they just started the show. It ended up that everyone started getting behind Jericho and hoping he would beat Triple H for the WWE Championship. Right off the bat, they just started off RAW; it was few years back when I was still watching as a fan. He [Jericho] ended up beating him in the opening segment of the show, and the place just went nuts. I mean, I jumped out of my seat and it was a really, really cool moment. It ended up, later, that they reversed the decision because the ref counted too fast, or something like that. But to make a long story short; when you can do something like that, where we sit back and can say, ‘I work here,’ or I jump out of my seat and say, ‘Yeah!’—just the fact that can happen on any single night, and fans around the world can see that, and see our dedication to bringing them this entertainment, is really great.
TWV: You know, that’s a great point. And I liken it back to Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV and you selling that Tensai bump over the table, or something like last summer’s CM Punk promo in Las Vegas that sent ripples through the Pro Wrestling world. Especially being 27 and being kind of cynical about the business, if you will—it was great to see something that could still surprise me. And the 1000 shows really is a great point. I think people forget about all those random shows before it; Shotgun Saturday Night, WCW Thunder, or whatever, and RAW is still here just running ridiculously strong.
Ziggler: Yeah, and you’re right, I see your point as far as being in the same age group and stuff. You do kind of get de-sensitized, like, ‘Okay, we get it. Cena’s gonna come out and do his thing’ and that’s fine, or whatever. But when he finds a way to stop people and have them think, ‘Oh, wait, he has something important to say. Wow, he really doesn’t like The Rock, this is great!’ And that’s just him. And then you start to see people’s reactions and how much they enjoy it, and you never know who’s coming out. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve had this guy, Heath Slater–a guy who was wrestling on Superstars–and he’s become known for having a WWE legend come out every week and beat him up after he grabs the mic and starts insulting wrestlers from the past. The guy is getting a fan base, solely based on the fact that he’s getting beat up. What I mean, is that every wrestler has a chance to find their own niche, and that’s really great.
You know, we don’t have that many 20-year vets in that locker room as there used to be. When you have guys like me, who have only been around for 6 or 7 years, and are considered to be a veteran on some level; it’s not the same as having some of those legends around, giving back, but we try.
TWV: You brought up a few things I want to touch on. John Cena. Now I don’t want to discredit Cena. He’s a great worker when paired with the right partner and he does more out of the ring, for the fans, than arguably any Superstar in the company’s history. But I do want to talk about the direction of the company. You have yourself, Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk, and a lot of fans and media have likened this as a new ‘era’ of pro wrestling–maybe, where wrestling is being pushed a bit more, instead of crazy storylines. And to a point, I think maybe, the PG rating has something to do with that. Meaning, with the PG rating, you can’t do all these elaborate stories that just get confounded and drag on too long. Meaning, it’s kind of the classic Good vs. Evil paradigm, now. Would you agree with that?
Ziggler: Yeah, well, it depends. Like I said earlier, with people’s attention spans, you constantly have to entertain. You can’t coast by. Look, it’s hard for me….look, I hate John Cena as much as anyone else my age. I hate him.
Ziggler: I do. I also know that when he goes out there, eyes are on him, because he’s been built into this franchise player and that’s what he is, and that’s what he deserves. He does all this awesome stuff on the outside. He’s not known as this technical wizard in the ring. He doesn’t have to be because he has the ‘it’ factor, and I’m not talking about hype this time.
TWV: No, I understand.
Ziggler: He’s charismatic and goes out there and has all eyes on him. Whether it’s been built that way or burned into our brain, he’s the guy. He’s the guy when I go out there, I don’t want to be the champ, I don’t want to be the 10-time champ. I want to be the Cena. I want to be the guy that we need at all times that we need as our franchise guy to build around me. The fact that guys my age hate him? Cool. Eight-year-old kids are buying 10,000 t-shirts every night and that’s a fact. The fact that all eyes are on him? Great. Get me in the ring with him and let me beat him up and make those kids cry.
Stay tuned for part 2…