July 17, 2010
Dolph Ziggler aims to be the best
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Nick Nemeth wants to be known as the best wrestler of all-time. Better than guys he has idolized since he was a little boy.
And after stepping into his WWE character, Dolph Ziggler, the 29-year-old is taking the necessary steps to getting there, continuing to get better every day.
"I don't want it to be just a pipedream, I want to be the best," says Ziggler over the phone. "It's something that drives me. I don't want there to be a debate about who's the best, whether it's Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels or me. I want to make sure that they talk about Dolph Ziggler being the best wrestler ever."
Ziggler is throwing everything he has at being successful.
"Today is one of my two off days and I'm watching wrestling DVDs. And while I'm at the gym, I'm thinking about promos," he says.
The wrestling part came natural enough. He was a star amateur wrestler in high school and at Kent State University. And he started watching pro rasslin' at an early age.
"When I was four or five, I saw my first event. It was a double main event. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) vs. The British Bulldogs (The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) and Hulk Hogan vs. Harley Race. I was a big Hulk Hogan fan. Then I moved on to Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels."
His WWE break came as a member of The Spirit Squad. But he wasn't thrilled when WWE's Creative pitched him the idea.
"I was caught a little off guard, almost heartbroken," he says. "I had trained to be a bad-ass fighter and then they wanted me to be a cheerleader?
"But it gave us the experience, to be in the ring with the best wrestlers. When that was done, it was me going, 'OK, now I've had some time, give me something more along the lines of me being myself.
"The character is mostly me. It's actually me with the volume turned down a bit."
Ziggler will step into the ring at WWE's Money in the Bank pay-per-view on Sunday, knowing that there is a lot at stake, with the winner of his match, also featuring The Big Show, Drew McIntyre, Matt Hardy, Christian, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, and Kane, getting the briefcase which guarantees a title shot.
"Kane slammed me into a ladder at Wrestlemania and I can tell you, I've never felt such pain," he says.
In a wishlist of dream matches, Ziggler says he hoped to hop into the ring with Michaels again. And then, there's Triple H.
"He's the man around here. So you want to see how you hold up in the ring with him."
Ziggler's continuing to take the steps on the road to stardom. And wrestling immortality, he hopes.
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.email@example.com.