Recently, WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler was interviewed by Matt de Groot on NovaFM.com and discussed a number of topics. Topics included; why he's waited so long to be WWE champion, stealing the show, three hour Raws, The Rock coming back, two main championship belts and more. Here are some of the highlights:
On why it's taken so long to put the belt on him for any serious time: "You're asking the wrong guy. [Laughs.] My career goals were to be champion two years ago and -- obviously/hopefully -- things happen for a reason. And it's not that I haven't delivered at any point, I've constantly outdone myself when it comes to stealing the show or putting on great matches or just having great feuds with other superstars.
"The intrigue is there, the build is a long time coming and people that have been fans of mine will be quite relieved when it finally takes place. The hard work is in place and now it's just about timing."
On whether or not his ability to sell a move or a loss is holding back his career: "It is a little bit of a curse that I'm so good at my job. I don't know anyone else's job where it's like, 'Hey, you're so good that we're not going to promote you.' You know what I mean?
"So, it is a little disheartening to have that happen. But, in this day and age, I don't know anyone else that can do what I can do and still have the believability and the credibility of becoming champion with losig 60% of the time -- or more. I bet it's way more.
"So, with having that unique quality, I serve a purpose for the WWE. But it's not my only purpose. One way or another, scratching and clawing for years, every time it's down and up but it's one inch higher. So, now it's so close to becoming my time. To say that I haven't earned it would just be ridiculous."
On whether or not selling for someone like John Cena only to lose quickly bothers him: "Aboslutely, it does. Knowing the fact that I am the guy who's in the situation to be in there with a John Cena. To where, you're not just, 'Oh, here comes John Cena, we're going to see his usual things.' You see something totally different with him, you see a great match with him.
"It's not just because of me. We have this cool chemistry where we kind of hate each other but we both want to put on a great show. It does make me so angry that I can hit him with everything I can think of and he still kicks out. But, it's because he has earned his spot at the top. Ten years strong and he is the franchise of the WWE.
"The fact that I am this close to beating him, it gives me a little bit of confidence to say, 'OK, one of these times, I'm going to be the one to beat him.' Then, it's going to be my time. So, the longer that goes on, the more the intrigue is there to say when is the time I'm going to win the big match."
On whether WWE's new-found belief in keeping titles on guys for longer periods of time make it harder to get a shot: "Absolutely. For a while, it seemed like titles were changing hands all the time. Now, it's back to a more traditional -- this is our superstar, this is our guy. He's the champ and we're going to prove it. [Sheamus and C.M. Punk] held on to titles for a really long time, especially Punk with 400-something days.
"But, in this day and age, it does mean more when you actually do de-thrown a champion. So, it's hundreds of days later and it becomes your time and the targets on your back. If you lose it in a couple of weeks, how embarrassing would that be. So, it's a blessing and a curse not to have gotten it at this point, but I've also never been in a better place in my career and more prepared than right now."
On how his larger-than-life character developed: "First, I wanted to do something that would stand out and grab attention right away. In this day and age where there isn't giant monsters being created, it is a realistic athlete. So, I wanted to be someone that could be in there with a Big Show, an Undertaker, a Hornswoggle, a Khali -- anybody, a be able to adapt and put on a great show.
"In this day and age where the bad guy aren't just a big beer-belly guy who stands around and punches someone in the face, you've got to be great at this. We have a whole roster of superstars who are amazing at what they do. They are just clawing and fighting for 30 seconds of TV time.
"So, when you get a chance -- someone like me who is getting more and more time -- you want to be the best that you can be to represent those guys. In this day and age, it is a renaissance man kind of superstar where you can talk, you can move, you can jump, you can be athletic, you can be powerful and you have to be all of that wrapped into one."
On whether WWE still has room for bigger characters/names and more growth with the fans as was the case leading into the Attitude Era: "There's always room for improvement and that's what the WWE has done for years. It cycles in different talent, different types of talent, different characters.
"In the 90's, we had a bunch of drunk college kids cheering and being rowdy. Now, we are catering towards kids and families and having fun and it's actually expanding the message of WWE. That's smart business, it's a good move. Families and kids want to enjoy these shows. So, we have a slightly different market that we're catering to, but we're also teaching them that this is the way. It's fun for the fmaily, it's PG entertainment. You can bring anybody.
"That's just smart for WWE to adapt to. So, as we can keep bringing in more and more fans, we'll just continue to expand globally."
On whether being compared to the Attitude Era annoys him: "That is annoying because no matter what happens, in ten years, people will be like, 'Oh, I wish I had the PG era back because it was so great then. Everything sucks now.' That's just what people do. "I was a fan then. I was a fan during the 80's when it was fun characters. I was a fan during the 90's when it was an Attitude Era and I'm a fan now.
"I actually appreciate it from someone that has seen all those. And in a day and age where you can be lost in your iPhone and you have 1,000 channels ot choose from, that we can still keep an audience entertained...I appreciate it that we don't have naked girls running around and we're not swearing on TV and it's that much harder to not work blue and actually get the crowd. I like that as a challenge to myself and we put on a quality show and I'm happy to be apart of it."
On whether or not shoot-style promos can be dangerous to some extents: "You never know. That's the beauty of WWE where we do toe that line of suspending reality. You go watch a movie, you get enthralled and you believe what's going on. We want to put on a great show, we want to be entertaining, but we also want people to go, 'Oh. Where are they going with this?'
"That's just the out-of-the-box thinking that, in the 90's, was getting more and more viewers. That's what got it hot to begin with. So, now that we're constantly flirting with that line, it's great for the fans, young and old, to go, 'Oh, OK. I think I know what they're talking about.'
"With something like the internet constantly having something out there -- like, I just found out who my opponent is for WrestleMania via the internet. So, that's how reliable it is and you have that out there. There are so many opinions and different things. To be able to still get through to people and have a good show, at the end of the day, that's a pat on the back."
On why three hour Raws are a good idea: "...[W]e have so many superstars who aren't even on TV every week or at all. There are so many great, great guys that we have that are fighting for 30 seconds on TV or to be in a backstage shot for a couple of seconds.
"I think with three hours, it's going to be that mmuch better to start establishing new superstars. Slowly but surely, getting a couple of extra segments so we can get in some guys and start introducing them to the public. I think in the long run, that's a much better idea for WWE so you can start having kids relate to different characters."
On whether or not having a World championship and a WWE championship dilutes both: "I don't think it dilutes them at all. Maybe in a different time when there was 20 superstars, it made sense to have one championship. Now, we have 70 and 100 in developmental and people waiting backstage.
"We have too much talent and so many television shows with WWE almost every day of the week that I think we almost need to have two separate World and WWE championships. Also, it gives something else to shot for for other WWE Superstars.
"It's not like, 'Oh, Punk's in the middle of day 400 and I'm at the bottom of the ladder here. How am I ever going to get here?' You always have a option. You have two different champions, I think that's just fine in this day and age.
"...I think it helps (the Royal Rumble), because you don't just go, 'Oh, the winner. He's facing this guy.' It's, 'Oh, cool. That guy won, I think that would be a really cool match with Punk or Rock or Del Rio.' That's a cool other aspect of the Rumble, waiting to see who they choose. I think that's a cool story line."
On whether The Rock coming back hurts the development of other superstars: "You can see it both ways and not be wrong. I used to, a year or two ago, say, 'Ah! The Rock's back for a month, take all the good spots. Right?' No.
"He's back to bring more eyes to the WWE that maybe wouldn't have been on them. 'Wow, I really enjoyed Rock in that movie, let's see what he's doing at WrestleMania.' That's the whole thing, to get a new audience to cross over and enjoy our show.
"In the long run, him being in that spot, coming back and giving back to the WWE will bring -- hopefully -- lots of eyes that normally wouldn't see it. They'll go, 'Man, I'm going to watch WrestleMania for The Rock. Oh, Dolph Ziggler stole the show. I'm going to watch next Monday with The Rock's not around."
You can check out the entire interview by clicking here.
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