February 12, 2006
REAL NAME: Nick Nemeth
Attending St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, he set and still holds the school record for most pins in a career with 82. After graduating high school, Nemeth went to Kent State University, where he joined the school's wrestling team and became the winningest wrestler in the school's history.
After signing a developmental deal with WWE, Nemeth was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he clashed with Paul Burchill and even campaigned unsuccessfully for the OVW Television title, losing a title match against then-champion Ken Doane on August 12, 2005.
In September 2005, Nemeth appeared on WWE Television as the caddy for Chavo Guerrero Jr.'s new gimmick, Kerwin White. In addition to being in Guerrero's corner, Nemeth also teamed up with Guerrero against the Hearthrobs and the team of Shelton Benjamin and Matt Striker on Heat.
With the demise of the Kerwin White gimmick, Nick Nemeth was sent back to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Although he kept the caddy gimmick (or at least his outfit) for a match against Brent Albright, Nemeth was soon put into another gimmick: that of a male cheerleader.
Joining forces with Mike Mondo, Nemeth was part of the Spirit Squad in OVW. After a few matches in Ohio Valley, the Spirit Squad, which included Nemeth, Mondo, Ken Doane, Nick Mitchell and Johnny Jeter headed to WWE. On the January 26, 2006 edition of Raw, the Spirit Squad's initial appearance in WWE cost Jerry "The King" Lawler a match against the Coach. Since then, the Spirit Squad has made appearances at the Royal Rumble and subsequent episodes of Raw, including Mickey James' tribute to Trish Stratus.
A couple months later, the Squad shocked the world when members Kenny and Mickey defeated the Big Show and Kane to win the World Tag Team titles. All five member of the team were recognized as co-holders of the belts, and the team got a fairly significant push as they ganged up on established stars like Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels. Their attack on the latter led to the return of D-Generation X as Triple H reunited with his old partner to fend off the Spirit Squad.
But it wasn't long before reality struck and the cheerleaders dropped back down to terra firma rather suddenly and violently. DX beat all five members at Vengeance and Saturday Night's Main Event, and before long, retired legends were defeating them as well. They even lost the belts as Ric Flair and Roddy Piper bested Kenny and Mickey at Cyber Sunday. The final indignity came in late November on Raw when Triple H, Michaels and Flair beat the whole team and then stuffed them into a crate onto which they slapped an 'OVW' sticker.
Nemeth remained at OVW until the end of August 2007, and was then transferred to WWE's new development territory Florida Championship Wrestling. He stayed there for the remainder of the year, and in 2008, made sporadic appearances on RAW as "The Natural" Nick Nemeth and later "The Natural" Nick Metro. Naturally, all either persona did was lose. Even Sho Funaki got a win over one of them. Things started looking up in September when Nemeth was recalled to RAW and debuted as "Dolph Ziggler." But a month later, he was suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE's Wellness Program.
He came back, but didn't exactly set the wrestling world on fire. It wasn't until April 2009, when he was drafted to SmackDown, that his situation improved markedly. In Ziggler's first appearance there, he beat WWE United States Champion MVP in a non-title match. By May, he was immersed in a feud with the Great Khali. He managed a couple of cheap wins against the colossus, and at The Bash, he got the duke again, this time with the help of a steel chair and Kane.
Ziggler followed that up with wins over R-Truth, John Morrison, and Fit Finlay. His fortunes in the ring had definitely turned around, and the addition of Maria Kanellis as his valet didn't hurt either.
With all that momentum behind him, Ziggler challenged Rey Mysterio to a title match at Night of Champions for his Intercontinental title. But it wasn't Ziggler’s night, as a 619 and a springboard splash gave Mysterio the pinfall victory.