WWE IC champ Champion Dolph Ziggler spoke to Phil Strum of the Poughkeepsie Journal in regards to his career. They covered a variety of topics. He talks topics that range from starting with the Spirit Squad, working with Vickie, Breaking in the business, and more.
Here are some of the highlights
Phil Strum: What do you think of the way your career has progressed in WWE to this point?
Dolph Ziggler: Actually, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. On my own personal schedule, I am a little behind schedule. I think I’ve dealt with things really well in my career and I’m on track.
PS: You went to Kent State University and were an accomplished amateur wrestler? When did you make the decision to turn to pro wrestling? I know sometimes WWE scouts the big amateur matches. Were they aware of you or did you make them aware?
DZ: That actually does happen sometimes, but I’ve been a fan since I was 5 years old. I went to my first show live when I was 14 or 15 years old. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a professional sports entertainer. I thought that the better I did in high school and college, the better I had a chance at getting a tryout and getting my foot in the door.
PS: Do you feel that participating in amateur wrestling gave you a leg up in breaking into pro wrestling because of your conditioning?
DZ: I went to the national tournament in college. Whenever I had a chance to mention WWE I did. I could see where it could help me. The two are similar in that there’s a lot of dedication involved, you never stop learning and you never stop trying to get better than everyone else. I’m sure my conditioning and my body shape helped me, but I feel confident in the ring and on the mat. I went through a lot of drudging practices. A lot of guys have been amateur wrestlers, but not all of them broke records like I did (Nemeth is second all-time in wins in Kent State history).
PS: You started part of your WWE career in Spirit Squad and then you were sent back to Ohio Valley Wrestling. You were working with some of the top guys in the business in Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Were you worried you might not come back? For some guys in the Spirit Squad, it was the end of their WWE careers.
DZ: Of course, it’s scary any time you’re coming off the main roster. But I was less than a year into the business at the time and I knew I just needed to work harder than everybody else. I had to go back and learn more of the business. I had two or three practices where I worked with some of the best guys. Working with Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Ric Flair really sped along my learning.
PS: Curt Hennig is someone you’ve always reminded me of in the ring, both in terms of look and in terms of your movements in the ring. Is he someone you’ve studied and emulated?
DZ: Of course I was a big fan of his. He was Mr. Perfect. He was great. He was a little bigger than me. A big strong guy, but he moved like a cat. He looked great, he moved great and he was a leader in the ring. Of course, as a huge fan, it’s an honor to be compared to him. That guy was one of the greats of all time. I don’t really model myself after one person though. I look at a lot of guys and give my own twist on them.
PS: I read somewhere that you do watch wrestling DVD? Who do you study? Who do you like to watch?
PS: What does holding the Intercontinental title mean to you. You had some close brushes with a while ago and some consider it a good stepping stone for the world title.
DZ: That title is really special to me. I’ve had several goals along the course of my entire career. I wanted to break records in college. I wanted to get my foot in the door in WWE and be the youngest guy and the quickest guy to make it to the main roster. I think I earned (the Intercontinental title) about a year after I thought I would get it. But it is a stepping stone to become even bigger like a lot of guys use it. It can help solidify my name as one of the greatest.
PS: What’s it been like working with Vickie Guerrero?
DZ: It’s been great. I think we make a good combination. Me and her work well together. No one gets booed more than Vickie Guerrero. People hate her and I love it. I like working with her. Hopefully, I can absorb some of that hatred. I know people don’t want to boo me because I look so good.
PS: What can fans expect this coming Friday on the season premiere of SmackDown on SyFy?
DZ: I’m really excited that SmackDown is going to SyFy. It’s on October 1 and we’re going live. It’s going to be a great show. I love working on SmackDown anyway. It’s a good show to get on TV and make a name for yourself. It’s going to be exciting. Who knows what I am going to do? It’s live, so maybe I can sneak something in without anyone knowing! The move is great for SmackDown and great for the WWE Universe.