Dolph Ziggler made an appearance on WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves to discuss a wide range of topics.
During it, the difference of what he sees in NXT compared to when he broke in WWE with OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) several years ago:
“This facility, ridiculous. It is an Olympic training facility for up and coming developmental talent. It’s unreal. The chance that you have Shawn Michaels walking around backstage helping you figure out how to wrestle. Are you kidding me? I’m hanging out with Luciano Pavarotti talking about singing. It’s ridiculous, and there’s 75 others that are here that have done everything that you can imagine in the business, and they’re just walking around. Fit Finlay is here, Norman Smiley is here, and I want to ask them so many questions. That part is amazing, unstoppable, and unreal. That blows my mind.”
“I appreciate the kind of upbringing that I had to where it was, you’re on your own. I wasn’t in independent wrestling. I didn’t know many independent wrestlers. I went to Cleveland All Pro shows and watched them, but I wasn’t friends with anybody. I didn’t know anyone in the business.”
Ziggler noted that he didn’t work on the independents, but rather was from college wrestling when he started in OVW.
“When I got here, I came not from the Independents and not from having a cool tryout. I was from college wrestling. I wrestled my whole life and I was a fan. I had a tryout with Lashley right after I wrestled 165 for Kent State. I’m standing next to Bobby Lashley. Who do you think WWE will pick to be their guy? So I was like, man, this sucks.”
“But I had another chance to come back. When I made it, I still knew Lashley. I had his number from our tryout. That’s it. I didn’t know anybody. I came in. I didn’t know you were supposed to shake everyone’s hand. I didn’t know people who are giving you advice, a lot of it is to screw with you so they can have your spot and you’re like, whoa, okay, no one told me that, I wouldn’t know. I was just there to learn. There’s just so many aspects of that. But it also made me DTA. Don’t trust anybody, watch your back, be ready for anything, and just know that you probably won’t have a friend backstage or someone in a meeting rooting for you or trying to help you. You’re on your own.”
“So in that aspect, I was very much like this lone wolf for seven, eight years, because I didn’t know who to trust. I didn’t know what to do. I just knew that if we had practice three or four days a week, I was going to go twice a day and try and get two years of experience in three months non stop just so I could catch up because I didn’t know any of the ins and outs, let alone trying to fall down when someone punches you in the face and not breaking your own neck and stuff.”
H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription