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Fightin' Fanboys: Dolph Ziggler

The Show Off of WWE talks about his affinity for Tony Stark, how he steals the show and his feud with Wolverine!

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Photos courtesy of WWE

By Arune Singh

He’s cocky, he’s got an attitude, he’s at the top of his field and even those who think he’s obnoxious have to admit he’s damn good.

If this were the Marvel Universe we’d be referring to Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, but in the world of WWE, Dolph Ziggler fits this bill. Known as “The Show Off,” this former United States Champion has been stealing the spotlight from his peers and earning rave reviews for his stunning in-ring performances.

With WWE’s Over the Limit pay-per-view coming this Sunday at 8 PM, Marvel.com spoke with Ziggler about his love of Iron Man, the inspiration for his own character, and why Wolverine better watch his back!

Iron Man

Marvel.com: What was your first experience with Marvel?

Dolph Ziggler: A few years ago a friend told me I had to take a chance and check out this movie about Iron Man. He says, “You’ll totally relate to this guy. He gets chicks, he’s hilarious and he does everything great, but you’ll get him.” I don’t mind that you guys kind of took the rights to my life but I do appreciate that it was a heck of a movie [Laughs]. I liked it.

Marvel.com: Did you go see “Marvel’s The Avengers” yet?

Dolph Ziggler: I haven’t seen it yet. This is literally my first day—well, half a day—home since the movie has been out. I’ve tweeted about it a few times just because it’s been killing at the box office and I haven’t heard one bad review from anyone on the streets to anyone that I know at work or anything so it sounds good.

Marvel.com: That’s a perfect transition to my question about social media. Marvel’s huge in that space and you’re quite popular on Twitter at @HEELZiggler. What made you take up tweeting?

Dolph Ziggler: Honestly, I’ve been a big fan of Joey Styles since the ECW days—I was a big ECW fan growing up—and he was our in-between guy as they were revolutionizing WWE.com and making their way into social media. Then there’s Zack Ryder, who’s a huge social media guy, and is usually giving seminars in the locker room to each of us showing us what to do and how to do it. Eventually I figured that I don’t really get to talk on TV too often so people need to see more of this character that I portray. This character is pretty entertaining and pretty funny; it’s one I’ve been doing it my whole life, so it’s time I get my character out there. Twitter has been a great way for me to do that. Every single day I challenge myself when I’m on the treadmill to see something on CNN and give myself a minute to make a joke about it. Then I send it out there.

Dolph Ziggler courtesy of WWE

Marvel.com: Your hash tag #HEEL is pretty popular here at the Marvel offices—a lot of us like to use it in our e-mails. Not only do you use it online, but so do your fans and WWE has produced “Heel” t-shirts. Where did the idea for this come from?

Dolph Ziggler: Honestly before I was in the business, I was huge Chevy Chase fan because I am a comedy fan no matter what. One of my favorite movies of all time is “Fletch” and in the movie, during one of those times you can tell he was ad-libbing, he’s saying things under his breath like “I’m such a heel” to this lady. I always thought that was a great line and that I’m going to use that. It turns out in the lingo of professional wrestling and sports entertainment that “heel” also equates to being a bad guy, which I think do better than anyone else, so I thought it fit perfectly.

Marvel.com: Comic fans love a good villain and it seems the same way in the WWE Universe. Why do you think you connect so well?

Dolph Ziggler: I think in this day and age you’re not looking for beer-bellied guys with a black single strap that yell at a kid or something. Some people are cockier than others and a lot of people are just being themselves as their character. For the most part I get to be myself—day in and day out I try to show off in everything I do. I’ve loved being the bad guy since I was five years old, and in college I had calls changed and crowds rooting against me [as an amateur wrestler]. I love it and I live for it because I actually back it up, just like my t-shirt says. I love being the bad guy who actually backs it up in the ring. I love competition, I love outdoing everybody in the ring, but I love the fact that I can cheat when I want, do what I want and be cocky about it. The people give you respect for being great at your job and they also hate you for doing what you do.

Dolph Ziggler courtesy of WWE

Marvel.com: Speaking of your job, the Over the Limit pay-per-view is this Sunday and you’re challenging Kofi Kingston & R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team titles. What should fans expect from you and tag team partner Jack Swagger?

Dolph Ziggler: The match is going to be great and the reason why, without even going into Over Limit or us being in their heads for being so great at what we do, is the fact that Kofi and I have been in that ring one-on-one several hundred times. Every single time, whether I win or lose, we’ve torn it down in there. Then the fact that Truth and Swagger have done the same thing [as] counterparts with each other, it’s going to be a hell of a match. We’ve had similar matches with different opponents before but in this case, we all know each other really well. When Swagger and I get going and we have time to show our abilities, we love talking about the old college wrestling times and getting in the ring to try and outdo each other just like we did in high school and in college. It’s going to be explosive; it’s going to be awesome. Kofi and Truth are high-flying guys and I love being out there in the ring with them. I love keeping them grounded and really ticking off the fans and not letting them see what they can do. That’s going to be the key for us to win that championship.

Marvel.com: You’ve become quite the show-stealer at WWE pay-per-views this year, whether it be one on one matches or tag team matches. How do you keep the matches fresh when you’re wrestling nearly every day of the year?

Dolph Ziggler courtesy of WWE

Dolph Ziggler: We are out there weekends, every day and a lot of people, even my relatives, used to be like “Yeah, you travel too much. Don’t you just work on Mondays?” I said, “No, actually, we do Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, other days of the week, sometimes we’re overseas a couple of weeks.” The thing is when I’m home, whether I’m watching a movie or reading a book, I’m constantly finding ways to adapt to the future. I’m finding ways to fix up my character and make it seem more relevant. To switch things in matches, to do things outside the box that we’ve seen day-to-day so many times on Monday Night RAW even. We’re approaching 1,000 episodes of Monday Night RAW, a week-to-week episodic television show, which blows my mind but with all those great superstars that have been in there and all the matches we’ve had in there, it still comes down to two or four guys in the ring and you have to be able to revolutionize the business whenever you can. I’m constantly thinking outside of the box trying to find a way to make someone come out of their seats no matter who they’re cheering for.

Marvel.com: You’re clearly a pro at this because you keep predicting everything I’m going to ask you about.

Dolph Ziggler: The crazy thing is I was just reading a book about paranormal things and being psychic. It’s freaking me out right now.

Marvel.com: So for the 1000th episode of WWE Monday Night RAW, do you have a game plan?

Dolph Ziggler: In WWE and on Monday Night RAW you never know what happens next. That’s what’s really cool and keeps people tuning in every Monday; it’s why I tuned in as a fan all the time not knowing what was going to happen. No matter what, and I’m not making this up, every single time I’ve had a five second window or a 20 minute window I find a way to steal the show and don’t think I’m not thinking about it right now. I will be thinking about it, I will find a way. I may have 30 seconds on RAW, I may have 30 minutes. I will find a way to do it because that’s what I do better than anyone else.

Wolverine

Marvel.com: Now you’ve got me excited! I know you know something about the Marvel characters from the movies, like Wolverine--

Dolph Ziggler: Wolverine punched me in the face. [EDITOR’S NOTE: When actor Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in the X-Men films, appeared as a guest host on Monday Night RAW, he attacked Ziggler and cost him a match]

That’s true! [Laughs] If you could have any of their powers or any of their abilities, whose would you want?

Dolph Ziggler: I’ve always been pro-Iron Man. He has technology on his side which is not really my go-to unless you count Twitter. Captain America seems like a good guy but I don’t want to get cheered. I’m going to stay with Iron Man and emulate his best attributes. That means just being snarky to everyone at ringside, stealing the show, doing it better than everyone else and then going to have a drink afterwards.

Marvel.com: So we have a comic book event right now called Avengers Vs. X-Men—whose side are you on?

Dolph Ziggler: No doubt for me—even though as a kid I was more of an X-Men fan—I side with the Avengers. I side with Iron Man. Purely on the money they’re making [Laughs]. There’s the million dollar gates they’ve had for a couple of weeks and the fact that Wolverine comes from the X-Men side—that guy punched me as hard as he could in my jaw, when my hands were down, and it caused me to lose to Zack Ryder, who is a joke. I can’t believe that happened but the fact that he got to be on TV with me must be cool for him.

Iron Man

Marvel.com: I smell a rematch. Any final shoutouts?

Dolph Ziggler: Kofi Kingston is a huge fan. Every time I see that guy somewhere he’s reading a comic book. His gear is kind of designed to be some kind of cool tie-in with you guys. That’s pretty neat. I’m looking forward to seeing “Marvel’s The Avengers” when I get a day off at home. Let’s see, you know what? No shout outs. No, I don’t want to shout out to anybody. I talked all about Iron Man enough and myself. Shout out to Hugh Jackman if he wants to step back into the ring with me. I’ll keep my hands up and we’ll see how long it goes this time.

You can catch Dolph Ziggler weekly on Raw SuperShow and his YouTube series WWE Download. Tune in this Sunday at 8 PM EST for Over the Limit and watch the pre-show beginning at 7:30 EST. For more information, visit WWE.com.

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