WWE NXT Champion Dolph Ziggler recently spoke with Mike Johnson of PWInsider to promote Saturday’s NXT Stand & Deliver event, where he will defend in the main event against Bron Breakker.
Ziggler talked about his experiences with bigger events like WrestleMania or SummerSlam vs. this NXT show, and his experiences with the early days of WWE developmental vs. NXT 2.0. Below are a few highlights:
How do you compare the mental and physical preparation for a big WrestleMania or SummerSlam? How are you approaching this show compared to what we’ll see at WrestleMania 38 on Saturday and Sunday?
I prepare the same, and every week and all of our talent, whether they’re booked on WrestleMania or Stand and Deliver or not even on the card, we have so many appearances and so many things, we’re constantly doing press just to get the word out, a bunch of community outreach and anything you can think of, so it’s a very busy week. I’ve had weeks going into like a ladder match at WrestleMania where three of the days I didn’t even have a 45 minute window to get to the gym or to get food or something. We’re busy as hell but I’m going to take a page out of my stamina, it’s still from high school to college through now, so I can get to WrestleMania week and I can do more mental focus and just do a couple of light workouts. Skip the jump rope, get the heart rate up, get everything going because I have pushed it for 11 straight months, now you coast it down a little bit so those legs don’t give out, you constantly do the cardio, constantly do the stamina checks and I’ve been doing a lot of fasting and jump roping, just to get my body acclimated and ready to go just in case I’m so busy for those 5 days there that my body and mind are ready to go no matter what.
How do you compare the atmosphere and the contingent of talent that are in NXT 2.0 right now to your experiences cutting your teeth in OVW in the early days of your WWE career?
It’s wild – it’s night and day, and I think I missed out on the really wild west times by a couple of years, but it’s almost like the movie Major League where you have that plane with the duct tape on the wing and someone shaved their head, and some people follow the rules and some people aren’t showing up for practice, it was crazy wild west stuff and you still got the talent out of it, but now it’s like an Olympic training facility where you have the best of all coaches and teachers and minds, are all over you and constantly with their finger on the pulse of what’s going on – what’s hip, what’s cool, what works, what doesn’t, it’s a huge, huge night and day difference. I famously do not watch wrestling, but the few weeks I’ve been at NXT, I have followed and watched everybody and I go, “Man, I wonder if anybody here is going to be ready to go in 6 months or a year or who knows what, who’s got some fire in their eye,” and I sat down my first 2 weeks there and went, “This is a hell of a show.” Everyone is outdoing everyone, trying to get their name heard, their match seen, and I really appreciate that. It’s competition to see who can outdo who else and I go, “Man, I’ve been living my career like that.”
Stay tuned for more from Ziggler and WrestleMania Week.