The #1 contender for the WWE Championship, Dolph Ziggler, took some time out of his busy schedule to have a discussion with Metro.co.uk about the origins of his career. Ziggler believes that being booked as both a male cheerleader and golf caddie when he started with WWE were blessings in disguise at the time, because they allowed him a way to travel with the legends of the business.
"There's good and bad to me being a caddie and a cheerleader. For five years, I had a reputation of just being some loser no matter how good I was at wrestling," Dolph explained. "That didn't drive me to be better, because I just always wanted to be awesome at my job. I drove myself from five years old wanting to be better.
"Being in the ring with Chavo Guerrero, riding up and down the road with Chavo Guerrero, it was an awesome experience for me," he continued. "That really helped me out. And then being in the 'Spirit Squad', where some nights I'm in the ring with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, and some nights I'm in the ring with Roddy Piper and Ric Flair."
Ziggler noted that the beatings he would often take likely contributed to the fan's perceiving him as an unrealistic threat down the road. Nevertheless, Dolph knows that the lessons he gained during those embarrassing segments will stay with him always.
"All the ridicule that you take from that – being beaten up - you lose a lot of credibility from the fans watching. I was gaining so much knowledge that there's a reason I'm so good now," Ziggler said. "I had to fight for three or four years with people chanting 'Nicky' or 'caddie' while you're trying to advance your career. Some people behind the scenes see that and hear that, and go, 'Well they can't take them seriously'. And I go, 'Well that wasn't my fault! You brought me here like that.'"
Ziggler credits that time with the WWE legends as the reason he is so skilled in the ring to this day.
"It's good and bad, but those experiences – it's priceless," Dolph added. "It was like being in a ring with all those legends and getting a bit of knowledge from each and that's absolutely why I'm so good today."
As noted, Ziggler will be competing for the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre this Sunday at "The Horror Show At Extreme Rules" in a match with a stipulation of his choosing, which will be revealed at the pay-per-view event.