In a recent interview on the Sunday Night's Main Event podcast with Jason Agnew, Dolph Ziggler discussed why he took time off from the WWE, his comeback feud with Kofi Kingston, and how he wanted to prove to himself, the other wrestlers in the locker room, and the fans why he deserved the opportunity to fight for the WWE Championship.
Ziggler discussed taking a break from WWE to focus on his other passion, stand-up comedy, and why he wasn't on any of the WWE weekly shows for three months.
"I asked for a specific time away to be off of television, because I thought my character had kind of done the same thing over and over, and maybe lost eight or nine and a half times out of 10, and we needed to get something fresh and different with it, so I asked for 90 days to go away," Ziggler said. "I can't sit at home. I'm a psychopath; I've been living out of a suitcase for 15 years.
"I also got to do some stand-up sets and do some other different things, and work with my brother on writing some other stuff, sketches, and improv stuff. I just needed to be away from television, character wise. I've been very lucky for 14 and a half years only missing a month, a month and a half off. The cool part was I have this other job where I can get better at that, while I'm refreshing my character."
With the three months off, Ziggler came back to the WWE, but this time to challenge Kingston for his title, which led to a new in-ring character for Ziggler. He discussed how much creative control he had over his character.
"It was something that came up," Ziggler said. "I was kind of given that backstage I would say. You need different wrinkles and different chunks of your character. I couldn't just leave for three months and come back saying 'hey I'm a plumber nor, or I'm a vampire.' You can't do that. There's been too much time affected character wise.
"That's why I still had to come back as me, but also with the connotation of being genuinely jealous in real life of Kofi Kingston going to WrestleMania and winning the WWE title. So to that extent, I got to say 'hey I hate this guy, and I want to take him down.' The germ of that idea was from me."
Since he's been with the company for nearly 15 years, Ziggler also mentioned how it can be frustrating to want to be the main champion, and having to wait in line like the other guys in the locker room for that chance. His new character wanted to prove that he wasn't going to make any progress sitting in the back. Instead, he wanted to go out and challenge Kingston and prove that he should have been in the running for the title.
"It's show business, of course it's going to be frustrating," Ziggler stated. "When you think you deserve to be champion, and you are not, and there's a locker room full of 60 people who all think they should be champion and they're not, it's frustrating to the 59 people who are not champion. That's life and you get used to it and you go here is where I can win my battles. I can go out there and show everyone how good I am, so if the right time happens, or the money has been put into the bank and needs to be withdrawn, I'm the guy for it."
Now that Ziggler is back, he mentions how he is now focused on working for the company again full time, as well as enjoying his time on the road to the point where he doesn't want to go home.
"I am full time, on the weekends, live events, TV, pay-per views, everything they ask me to do, I am there for it," Ziggler addressed. "You know what I really love doing? Is those weeks where I don't go home. It's a Saturday live event for WWE. Sunday live event for WWE. Monday live event for WWE. Tuesday SmackDown TV, and Wednesday when everyone goes home and I know everyone is going home, I love catching that early flight out, hitting a workout, and like what I'll be doing in Appleton, Wisconsin on July 10 and 11th Wednesday and Thursday two stand-up comedy shows. Friday I go home for half a day to go pack and wash my clothes and go right back out to a WWE live event.
"I live to constantly get those reps in wrestling wise and comedy wise to make myself better. As long as they're asking me to be here and I'm delivering 100 percent, especially in the main events with Kofi Kingston and we tear it down, that's the perfect life I'd like to have for the next 20 years."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Sunday Night's Main Event with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.