Interesting interview on IGN with Ziggler. **Possibly Spoilers About 1000th RAW Episode**
The most athletic in-ring performer in the WWE today, and almost a modern embodiment of Curt Hennig and Rick Rude, is Dolph Ziggler. But with only a short (one episode of Smackdown) reign as the World Heavyweight Champion under his belt, many fans are worried that Ziggler will, like Hennig and Rude, never get to win the "big one" due to the fact that, well...he just makes everyone else look so damn good in the ring!
But now Ziggler, after a hard fought ladder match at last Sunday's Pay-Per-View, has the Money in the Bank contract and can cash it in at any time on an unsuspecting wearer of the "Big Gold Belt." John Cena, the other Money in the Bank winner, has already figured out a way to use his contract; challenging CM Punk to a WWE Championship match this Monday at RAW's mega-hyped 1000th episode. I talked to Ziggler about RAW 1000, winning the MITB contract, hosting and writing WWE Download on WWE.com and more!
IGN: Last time I spoke to you, it was before your Royal Rumble WWE Championship match against CM Punk. You lost that match, but this time around you've got something big to brag about as a Money in the Bank match winner from last Sunday's Pay Per View. How does it feel?
Dolph Ziggler: To be honest, it's hard to explain. Everyone in that match, and in every Money in the Bank Ladder Match I've ever been in, has sacrificed their body purely to entertain the fans. And to get a shot at the World Heavyweight Title or the WWE Championship. I'm a little banged up for it and I'm happy with my performance. But I'm never satisfied. Having that contract now only drives me to come up with an awesome, show-stealing way to cash it in. And now I'm thinking ahead to being one of the greatest champions of all time. But I'm never satisfied and I'm lucky enough to have come out of that match with that contract.
IGN: How do you feel about the "Let's Go Dolph" chants that have cropped up over the past few months? Does it feel good?
Ziggler: I'm a little torn about it because on one hand that means I'm not doing my job and selling myself as a bad guy. But for some reason, the people at our arena shows and our live events and Pay-Per-Views are rooting for me, I would have to say, because I'm just really good at what I do. Whether I win or lose or whether I'm a good guy or a bad guy.
The only occasion where it's okay to scream while sitting on top of a ladder, holding a briefcase and wearing a speedo.
IGN: Is it the older male fans who are doing the chanting? They tend to look past that stuff and just appreciate in-ring talent.
Ziggler: I'm not really sure. I've never really thought about it that in-depth, but I just know it's there. I can hear it. And I while I've worked really hard to get myself over as a bad guy and get booed, I'm getting recognized for how hard I'm working during these matches. Just like all the Superstars do every night. I just pride myself on putting my body on the line.
IGN: Well, that perfectly blends into my next question, which actually comes from Twitter, but I think sums up a lot of people's feelings about your work. How are you still alive?
Ziggler: [laughs] You know, all I can say is that I've always seen myself as an entertainer. I've always wanted to be a Superstar and Sports Entertainer. And a lot of people ask me when I'm going to take it easy in the ring, now that I've been around for a while and gotten some fans behind me. Or now that I've won Money in the Bank and won the contract. The answer is never. I'm never satisfied. I'm never going to tone it down a notch or just "go through the motions." That would keep me up at night. And I already can't sleep at night. I go out there to do everything 100% every time. And when I put my body on the line, it's to entertain the fans. Because I have to. I have to be the best.
IGN: Are you someone who watches tapes of old matches?
Ziggler: Honestly, maybe for the first five or six years, I watched tapes. But now, that we're around wrestling and matches and RAWs and Smackdowns so much, when I get 24 or 32 hours at home, I just relax. But I'll also go back and watch me performance from last week's shows and see what I can tweak and what I can do better. And every once in a while, on a long plane ride, I'll pop in a DVD of some old matches from the '70s and '80s. Because you can always learn from all the past great Superstars. And I'll always do that because I'm also a long time fan of wrestling in general. But in this day of Sports Entertainment, I don't just watch wrestling for ideas. I can watch a movie and get ideas that I can apply to Sports Entertainment too. I'll watch and movie and go "I can totally use that and apply that in a match."
IGN: Speaking of being a long time fan of wrestling, it looks like you're about to enter a program with Chris Jericho. Are you excited?
Ziggler: I don't know where we're going to go with it right now. He came out on Monday and interrupted me and...you know, believe it or not, whenever I get to talk, I also just get to tell the truth. Mick Foley came out a few months ago and all I did was tell the truth about him. Jericho came out and interrupted me, which was a very Jericho thing to do, and it was supposed to be my big moment. I was just finally grabbing the mic for the third time in years. And I was a huge fan of his when I was growing up, but all I did was tell the truth and ask him "When's the last time you won something? Or did something important?" And now I would love to see what he has to say back to me on Monday. Because I left him speechless. I'm the first guy in forever to do that.
IGN: You brought up Monday, so let's talk about RAW 1000. What are you looking forward to on the show?
Ziggler: Oh, man. DX is reuniting, so Shawn Michaels will be there. The Rock will be there. Brock Lesnar will be back again. Mick Foley. And who knows how many other legends will be there as well? It all starts at eight o'clock. It's three-hours. And RAW will now be three-hours from here on out. And I'm really looking forward to watching Cena vs. Punk. Cena says he's cashing in the briefcase so I want to see what happens with him and his Money in the Bank case. And I would love to get in the ring with Cena or CM Punk. And of course, there's the AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding. And as we all know, weddings work out so well on Monday Night RAW. So I want to see how horribly wrong that can all go.
Again. How? Still? Alive?
IGN: You said you like to relax during your down time and watch TV and movies for ideas. What do you watch?
Ziggler: My favorite TV show is Archer. Hands down. We have similar personalities. Most of the time when I watch TV, I relax and watch some Adult Swim. Or cartoons on Cartoon Network. I'm a big fan of stand-up comedy. I just like finding all kinds of entertainment, from comedy to cartoons to movies. And I always try to figure out who I relate to the most and see where they've gone with that character.
IGN: You also host an internet clip show over at WWE.com - WWE Download. Has that been a gratifying experience for you since, like you said, you don't get handed the mic that often?
Ziggler: That show's been like a dream come true for me. I love this business and I've wanted to be in it since I was five years old because I love entertaining. And I give everything I can in the ring, but, like you said, I've only been on the mic three times in several years. And so I started writing down everything I can think of when I watched these garbage internet clips of people doing the stupidest things. And I would just write the first things that came to mind. And so I would write the show and then when we tape the show, I get to do a little bit of improv with the stuff too. So it's been a blast. I think it's a great show. And like Twitter, it's great for a guy like me who doesn't get to talk on the microphone all that much on RAW and Smackdown. I think it shows that I can talk, that I can host a show, that I can be in a movie or a TV show. Whatever it takes, I think it shows I can deliver.
IGN: So you actually write WWE Download?
Ziggler: They usually send me clips and they give me one or two points that they want me to hit on, and then I just started writing jokes for it. The way you'd write jokes for the Tonight Show or a Tosh.0 or something like that. And a couple times, when I've had a bad week at work, I just go and write a monologue where I pick on Alberto Del Rio and wonder why I'm not in his place and stuff like that. And I always try to find a way to make it entertaining.
IGN: Who in the locker room, or backstage, has been the most influential on your career? Has anyone been your mentor?
Ziggler: I wish he was around more, but now he's retired - Shawn Michaels. Because he went out there to steal the show every night too. He'll be there at RAW 1000, and the DX reunion is kicking off the show at 8 o'clock. And I'm really looking forward to getting a few minutes with him to thank him for everything he's done. But in the last couple years I was fortunate enough to travel with Tommy Dreamer, Kane, Christian and Edge. And those guys have been around for years. And they kind of took my under their wing because I respected the business and was a big fan. And they appreciated my work too. I got to travel with those guys for years and pick their brains and listen to their stories. And that's really something that I feel the WWE is missing sometimes. We don't have too many legends around on a regular basis so we don't get to pick their brain. And there are a lot of us who are really looking forward to the 1000th RAW on Monday just because more of them being around means there are more stories to listen to.