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Sounds like Dolph Ziggler knew it was time to leave WWE well before his release

After staying relatively quiet for a few months after his WWE release in September of last year, Nic Nemeth — the former Dolph Ziggler — is hitting the scene in a big way in the new year.

After a surprise New Japan Pro-Wrestling debut in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 18 last week, Nemeth will head to Puerto Rico later this month before making indie appearances in the States next month. He also stopped by Busted Open today (Jan. 8) for his first interview since being cut by WWE last fall.

In discussing his release, the former WWE World champ says he was thinking about leaving for the last few of his almost 20 years with the company:

“It’s weird, because I was preparing for the last six, eight, 10 months going, ‘At some point, they have to make a change here.’

“So, as you get ready to go and you see that you don’t have a chance to be in a pay-per-view match and steal the show. You don’t have a chance to have a six-minute match and steal the show. You have a match where at this point, it’s three minutes and you don’t get an entrance on the show and everybody knows who’s winning the match on the show. Can I find a way to have that work? And then once that started happening, you know, a couple of a years ago when [Robert] Roode and I were tagging, we’d have three, four or five minute matches so, I was starting to think about, ‘Hey man, at some point I need to be back ready to go. Will my shape and stamina still be there?’

“So, I’ve been preparing for this so long and getting things ready to go that I wasn’t like, ‘What!? What did I do now!? I’m free!’ Or whatever. It was, I was planning this for the half of this entire last contract with WWE going, ‘I know at some point, I am being paid way too much money to sit at home. So I’m gonna have to get out of here.’

“So, I just always wanted to be ready to go, just in case they said, hey, by the way, I know you’ve been doing 90-second matches. Can you do 35 minutes on TV with The Undertaker? You damn right I can. So I was ready to go anyway. I just wanted to have every option available and so, it wasn’t out of the blue and I sent a few emails to the boss for the last six months, definitively saying, ‘I have to move on somewhere else. Can you let me do this?’

“And eventually, without exact back and forth, that’s how it worked out so, it wasn’t weird, because it was those six-to-eight, 10 months in place for me going, ‘Here it comes, here it comes. Okay, great.’ Now I have 90 days of sitting around which is gonna break my heart but I gotta do it and I’ll just take up the extra workouts and everything like that.”

Regarding his night in the Tokyo Dome, Nemeth said people like Jon Moxley have been telling him for a while that he should experience the New Japan locker room. He admitted to some doubt about whether he could fit in and success there considering WWE is the only wrestling company he’s ever worked for, but he saw the potential to do something special while he and his brother Ryan were sitting in the seats.

It’s part of the overall challenge the “Wanted Man” is excited about:

“I don’t care what people other say, but I’m really looking forward to going — the things I do behind the scenes or in the ring that I have the last 20 years in WWE, bringing that to several different places and maybe even as a hired gun, bouncing around and just saying, here’s what I pitched to WWE 20 years ago: For me to be a modern-day Ric Flair who shows up in a territory and makes something happen and steals the show with their champ without even knowing who the hell he is and then moves on to the next town. So hopefully something like that which I’ve been really looking forward to for a long time.”

Let us know where you want to see Nic show up next. And listen to Nemeth’s entire conversation with Dave LeGreca, Bully Ray, Mark Henry & Mickie James here.

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