The WWE’s self-proclaimed ‘showoff’ Dolph Ziggler has his sights set on WrestleMania, an event that he has several fond memories of.
“Hulk Hogan versus Ultimate Warrior was really cool,” Ziggler said of the WrestleMania 6 bout. “I used to share an apartment with one of the other Spirit Squad guys, Mike Mondo, and watch old tapes all the time. We would go through all the ‘Manias and we would come to Warrior versus Hogan, and if you could look past it as a fan, you could think now that it was one of the coolest things that you saw as a kid.”
Ziggler is obviously excited about returning to his home state of Florida for this year’s WrestleMania. He recalls that his standout WrestleMania performance was at his first WrestleMania in Chicago, at WrestleMania 22. Even though he wasn’t booked in a match, he did participate with his fellow Spirit Squad teammates in a major angle involving Shawn Michaels and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
“Being out there was a really different experience. Just being part of it when you’re kind of new is really special and amazing,” Ziggler said. “And you’re extra nervous just going out there and kind of doing the thing you always do, but it’s a much bigger stage. It was really exciting and just fun stuff. I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. It was a great learning experience. We all (Spirit Squad) bonded for a year, and we had a good time.”
At last year’s WrestleMania 27, Ziggler found himself in a pressure cooker, as he not only had to worry about performing on wrestling’s biggest platform, but more eyes were watching his match than most others, due to the media coverage, because of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from Jersey Shore being involved in the match. Of course, it didn’t help ease his nerves, once Ziggler found out that his match was also following Triple H and The Undertaker.
“We didn’t know we would be following that match. Those guys were tearing each other apart and being carted off, and we’re like, ‘Holy cow! We’re going out there next?'” Ziggler said. “Luckily, we had a different style of match than they (fans) had just seen, but the crowd had just been through an entire roller coaster ride. We got to be part of it, but I’m happy I was there.”
Ziggler’s match received many positive reviews, as most were pleasantly surprised by Snooki’s performance. But it could have been much better, if not for time constraints. Having competed in a Money in the Bank match the previous year at WrestleMania 26, Ziggler is no stranger to multiple-person matches, and he had no problem at all, working with the amount of time that he was given.
“When it comes to WrestleMania and you’re not in the two or three high-profile matches on the card, you have to kind of know your place,” he said. “You’ve got to know, ‘I’m out here to do a certain task,’ and people can’t just do whatever they want. We have only four hours to get all these matches and all these things done, and it’s unfortunate when you don’t get a lot of time, but I’ve found a way, and I’ve been working on it for the last year. Like 30 seconds or 30 minutes, I find a way to stand out and let people remember my part of that show.”
One of the other major happenings of WrestleMania weekend is the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, which takes place the night before ‘Mania. Ziggler is also highly anticipating some of the fan interactive events as well.
“WrestleMania Axxess is huge. We have something like 393 appearances and it’s unreal. It’s kind of our week to give back to the fans, who watch us every week and come to our shows. We get five minutes to hang out and sign some autographs. Every chance we get to do that, I’m more than happy to give back to the people who keep us in business,” Ziggler said. “I’m excited about Edge and Arn Anderson actually going into the hall of fame. Arn is someone who still helps me out behind the scenes all the time; I was a huge fan of his. As for Edge, we’ve survived together for the last two years or so of his career.”
Being the ‘showoff’ that he is, Ziggler hopes to bring those skills to this year’s WrestleMania and create his own WrestleMania moment — though as of today, he is not in a match, but is a logical candidate to be a part of the 12-man tag team match announced today to establish once and for all one general manager for Raw and Smackdown.
“I’ve moved onto a showoff kind of thing, which is still the kind of person I have been for my whole life,” he said. “I want to out-do everybody. I want the spotlight on me. So it was more and more becoming the real-life fit for me. It’s much more natural and it’s what I do every day, except I get to go out there and do it to the fullest.”
In Canada, WrestleMania 28 will be available on Viewers Choice.