Dolph Ziggler recently spoke with Lilian Garcia on her podcast and among other things, revealed the awful name WWE wanted for him when he first debuted as a singles competitor.
While you’d think a name like Dolph Ziggler might mean the end of your WWE career before it really got started, Nick Nemeth (the man who plays the character of Ziggler) has defied the odds and become one of the most popular WWE Superstars in the last decade. He's done so despite not originally liking any of the ideas WWE had for his moniker.
During a recent interview on the latest episode of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia, Ziggler discussed how his current ring name came to be and the other ideas WWE had intended for him before he tried to put a stop to every one of them.
Debuting under his own name in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in 2004 and after a brief stint as Chavo Guererro's bodyguard, Nemeth was called up to the main roster as part of a faction known as The Spirit Squad. The faction lasted about a year before going back to developmental and Nemeth was assigned to debut as a singles performer in 2008 but needed a name.
The man now known as Dolph Ziggler explained:
"So I randomly got a call saying, 'You're going to TV to introduce something. We're going into a meeting right now, we're letting you know now your name is David Diggler, what do you think about that?' In my head, I've been fired twice, this is my last shot, I go, 'I hate it, this is the Reality Era and I'm going to be David Diggler? Do I have any say in this?' They go, 'Well, we're going into a meeting right now, if you can have something in 15 minutes, but it's got to be a 'D' first name and a 'D' last name."
Ziggler explained that he texted everyone he knew trying to come up with something that fit the WWE's criteria. He thought about his grandfather who was Rudolph and then the film Rocky IV popped into his head, as did the character played Dolph Lundgren. He tried to add the 'D' WWE needed and figured Dolph made sense. But he still wasn't sold. He asked WWE if there was any way he could avoid using Diggler at the end and when he got to Raw that evening saw a piece of paper with the words 'Dolph Ziggler' on it.
Ziggler found Vince McMahon and knowing it was his last shot to add his input said:
"Dolph Ziggler sounds like a cartoon wrestling name!' And he [Vince] goes, 'It's different. People are going to remember it. I love it!' And he walked off before he finished the sentence. I go, 'Alright. I tried.'"
It's hard to say if David Diggler was better than Dolph Ziggler but either way, Ziggler has gone on to have a 13-year career in WWE. He's currently the Intercontinental Champion and set for an Iron Man Match on Sunday at Extreme Rules versus Seth Rollins.