WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair, is facing a serious health battle, and his manager has asked for prayers and positive energy. Longtime WWE superstar, Dolph Ziggler, is taking care of the “positive energy” part with this first-person story on what the Nature Boy has meant to him and the wrestling business throughout Flair’s illustrious career.
I was lucky to be in the ring with Ric for the first time 12 years ago and I was just as lucky to be in a room with him a few weeks ago. I know what he’s done for the wrestling world, I know what he’s done for the fans and I know what he’s done for me, personally.
Getting the approval of Ric Flair is the wrestling worlds version of Johnny Carson calling you over to the desk after you just crushed a standup set on The Tonight Show. He is royalty and if he likes your work. he lets you know. If you let him down, even once in 100 matches, he’ll let you know that, too, That’s Ric, I thank him for it every time and always will. He has been instrumental in making me the performer I am today.
The 16-time World Champion has done it all and trust me, that doesn’t just pertain to the ring! Ric lives as only Ric can live, looking only as Ric can look. Every time I see him at a wrestling show, a Cavs game, a hotel, an autograph signing, you name it; he is holding court, everyone is gathered around, hoping to get some advice from The Man, or hear some of the greatest road stories of all time. We will lock eyes, he’ll let out a “Wooo!,” and call me out by name and some other hilariously awesome things I wouldn’t dare repeat here, always making me feel like the king of the world and graciously treating me as his peer.
Ric is everything that embodies sports entertainment, and was so even before that phrase existed. He looks the part, he struts in a room, he steals the show and has gone toe-to-toe with the greatest of all time, and more often than not, some of the worst of all time (but watching him while growing up, I’d never have known that). A lot of people are successful in this business because of a catchphrase, or athletic ability or charisma or wrestling, Ric Flair is the personification of all of those things, much like his daughter Charlotte, as she is already a multiple-time champion after only a few years in the WWE.
Wy before I was ever a WWE Superstar, I was a WWE fan.
I mean, I still am. When I’m not performing in the ring, I spend a lot of time watching old matches. Part of it is to try to learn something new, and a bigger part of it is that wrestling is awesome and I like watching it. It all started for me when I was just five years old and my dad took me to my first WWE show in Cleveland. I remember we sat in the cheap seats, and the entire time I was completely mesmerized by the show. I don’t even think I fully understood what I was watching, but before I left, I turned to my dad and told him “This is what I want to do when I grow up.”
Fast forward a few years and I found myself wracking my brain trying to figure out what my finishing move could be. I was known for being athletic, even in this profession with so many talented athletes. So my challenge was trying to think of a move that was both athletic and hadn’t been done before. The problem is that there are about 100 years worth of finishing moves that have been invented, and a bunch of slight modifications to those moves. It’s difficult to come up with a good finisher that looks different.
I tested out just about every move imaginable before I was finally directed to what’s now become the Zig Zag. I knew that I was pretty good at shooting in on people, like a collegiate wrestler, and then wrapping my arms around them and hitting a Russian legsweep. At first I tried doing a smooth move into it, then I started mixing in a jump to sort of make it my own. After some tinkering, I tried out the Zig Zag and I knew that was the one. It had what I was looking in a finishing move. It looked impactful – like it actually hurt. And when I performed it, the crowd understood that the match was over. Those elements were really important to me, but to really make it great, I needed to give it time and repetition. You can do everything right technically but what makes a finishing move truly great is when there’s a story behind it. When a great finishing move is performed, it makes the crowd reflect on that Superstar’s body of work. A Superstar performing a finishing move for the first time will hardly bring the house down. But by the time they perform it for the 100th time, it’s become an indispensable part of this thing that we love. It basically becomes part of the performer’s identity in way.
While there have been a lot of amazing finishing moves performed throughout the years in WWE, these five in particular are my personal favorites. Continue reading
Dolph Ziggler will be inducted into Kent State University’s Varsity “K” Hall of Fame for his impressive amateur wrestling accomplishments while attending from 1999 through 2003.
“I had a very fun career there,” Ziggler told WWE.com. “We did a lot of cool things, we won a conference championship, [and] a lot of special bonds [were] made with friends who I still talk to to this day.”
Ziggler acquired many impressive distinctions while wrestling for the Golden Flashes, including graduating as the university’s career leader in victories, as well as being a three-time Mid-American Conference champion. He is also only the third wrestler in the history of the program to be a four-time NCAA qualifier.
“I started wrestling when I was five,” Ziggler said. “I lost my first match and cried in front of my dad, and I never wanted to do that again. I grew from that day on, and when I get up there I will have a couple of people to thank.”
WWE congratulates Ziggler on this distinct honor and we look forward to his induction on September 17.
Other than the body-slamming moves and that pseudonym thing, you just might have more in common with professional wrestlers Dolph Ziggler and Charlotte than you think when it comes to exercise and nutrition habits. They eat regular stuff — though perhaps in a more disciplined fashion. They work out at regular gyms — in addition to their on-the-job boomerangs into ring ropes. For the uninitiated, Dolph and Charlotte are among the World Wrestling Entertainment stars who’ll be in town for Sunday’s WrestleMania 32, the pro wrestling equivalent of the Super Bowl. Dolph’s real name is Nicholas Nemeth and Charlotte’s is Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr. We caught up with them by phone on the winding road of travel that brings them to downtown Dallas and Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. Here’s what they had to say about their nutrition and exercise regimens.
Height: 6 feet.
Weight: 208 pounds.
Quick background: From the time his father took him to a WWE event at age 5, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. He wrestled all through high school and college, which wasn’t, he learned early, quite like WWE.
“In college and high school, you didn’t show any pain,” he says. Now, “We try to make everything exciting and fun and interesting with WWE. You’re telling a story in the ring with athleticism.”
On his life at the moment: “I had a very late night,” he says from the treadmill at the hotel fitness center between his Philadelphia and Boston WWE bouts. “I got my four hours of sleep in. I’m a real bear if I don’t get my four. “I’m doing a 15 percent incline and a slow 15 mph so we can talk. I’m a real tough guy, so it evens out. A real tough guy.”
(In the next half-hour, his good looks also come up in conversation: “I’m not a gigantic guy, but I am handsome. That Wikipedia photo doesn’t do it justice.” Did we point out that the same Wikipedia page describes him as a wrestler, actor and stand-up comedian?) Continue reading