The #1 contender to Dean Ambrose’s WWE World title, Dolph Ziggler, was Michael Cole’s guest on this week’s YouTube interview. And the Show-Off continues to shut up doubters like me as part of a really compelling build to his match against Ambrose at SummerSlam.
Ziggler tells Cole he understands why fans drifted away from him in the years since his “SmarkaMania” World Heavyweight Championship win over Alberto Del Rio back in 2013:
I wasn’t delivering, I wasn’t in those show-stealing matches that were calling out the main event and saying “I dare you to follow me”. I didn’t have it. I was just doing okay.
His response to the question of why that was the case is interesting. Initially, it sounds like the opposite of John Cena’s mantra, and the very picture of a “millenial” Vince McMahon disdains. But Dolph sells you on just how he got to that point and how he fought through it... with a shot at the Stone Cold’s of the world who encourage today’s Superstars to take risks:
At a certain point, you’re fighting against this system to be the best and you’re like “I’m gonna prove to everybody how good I am and that I deserve to be there” and at a point where you just go “I don’t think they see it in me... do I need to give them my best? Do I still need to keep pounding on this door even though I know no one’s gonna open it?” And I started to realize that, and the Universe started to realize that.
And, but, everyone has ups and downs, man. A garbage man or a billionaire will have a bad day or two, and you snap out of it and say “this was my dream since I was five years old. Am I really gonna away and say this was my career? I almost got there, but it was really hard so I said screw it?” I had to find my time, I had to wait, but I also had to keep grinding.
And that’s easy to say if you’re an Attitude Era guy on your podcast talking about how easy it is to just throw stuff at the wall it’ll work, or go tell the boss you demand to do this or just step out and do it on your own. And a couple times I went out and I thought I did what was right for the business and myself. And even if it was good - or great! - I was told that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.
He closes with a nice bit of babyface fire that also leaves the door open to other possibilities should he need to cut a corner or two to leave Brooklyn with the belt:
This is the biggest thing that’s ever come to me. And now it’s up to me to knock it out of the park and take that title with me... Everything I have ever done since five years old was to get to right now. And it’s going to happen at SummerSlam one way or another - whether I’m supposed to win or not supposed to win - I’m going to.
Never the biggest fan of either man, they’ve sucked me in. Is it working for you, Cagesiders?