Dolph Ziggler Speaks On His Background, Getting Into WWE

Matt Boone

The following is an excerpt from a new Dolph Ziggler interview from the Rio Rancho Observer:

WWE’s Dolph Ziggler once planned on law career

WWE fans know him as Dolph Ziggler, but back in Ohio, to many wrestling fans, he’s remembered as Nick Nemeth, the winningest wrestler ever at St. Edward’s High School and, after that, as a three-time Mid-American Conference champ at 165 pounds.

Ziggler, who’ll face MVP at the World Wrestling Entertainment SmackDown show at Santa Ana Star Center Sunday — the action begins at 5 p.m. — remembered a day long ago that ultimately led to his decision to become a pro wrestler.

He said he was 5 “when I went to my first WWE event at Richland Coliseum; since that day forward, I wanted to do what they did.”

Soon after, enrolled in a youth wrestling program, “I walked in and went, ‘Where are the ropes and the turnbuckles?’ I decided to become a professional wrestler at age 12.”

Hearing Rio Rancho is a hotbed for high school wrestling, and that the Star Center annually plays host for the state mat championships, Ziggler had some advice for youngsters who want to remain successful in the sport, or someday turn pro, like he did.

“Drive and determination, for anything you’re going to put your mind to, that’s a big part of it,” he said. “It’s a big pain. I wrestled for 20 years of my life, just to get a tryout. It takes all your time, (and) not just when you’re at work, when you’re at home. Now, I’m watching tapes, learning how to get better.”

Ziggler said he had three goals: “to get hired by WWE (check), then win a championship, then be the best wrestler ever.”

Back when he was Nick Nemeth, he wrestled for St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, where he holds the school record for most pins in a career (82). He stayed in Ohio and attended Kent State University (2000-03), joined the wrestling team and became the winningest wrestler in Kent State history, winning the MAC three times at 165 pounds (2000, ’02 and ’03). Although he’s now third on the all-time wins list, he’s still the last KSU matman to win three titles.

“Two times we were national champions — the program was amazing. Plus, going to their camps and practices, they made me strive to be the best,” he said of his prep career. “That was a huge stepping stone, with my drive and determination.”

Check out the full interview at

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!
monitoring_string = "851cc24eadecaa7a82287c82808f23d0"