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.
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.
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.