A WWE Superstar who has been signed to the company for nearly 20 years thought that they wouldn’t make it past the 2 year mark.
Now one of the longest serving members of the roster, Dolph Ziggler has captured 15 championships in his WWE career, including winning the World heavyweight Championship on 2 occasions. The second of these title wins would take place in 2013, cashing in the Money in the Bank contract the day after WrestleMania 29.
Dolph Ziggler Didn’t Think WWE Career Would Last Following Repackaging
While many view the cash-in as one of the greatest ever, Ziggler himself felt that this would never happen, as he felt like he would be released after his re-debut match. Prior to being known as Dolph Ziggler in WWE, The Show-off was known as Nicky in The Spirit Squad.
In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Ziggler discussed his return matches in 2008 against R-Truth and Batista, where the former World Heavyweight Champion felt like the match against The Animal would be his last:
“So, a lot of people think that’s the debut but that’s when I come back. I wanna say I wrestle R-Truth as Dolph Ziggler, I think I have a double count out or I roll in and beat Truth… and then I’m not on TV for a month or month and a half and then I come back and it’s against Batista, and I go ‘Oh, this is my last day at work.’ If you were a new young guy, you don’t know what’s going on… I don’t have a legacy, I don’t have friends in the meeting, I don’t know what I’m doing. They gave me this weird name that I tried to fight them on and my debut was a count out win against R-Truth, who is beloved, especially by me.
Ziggler would continue, stating that the choice of opponent can indicate the future of a Superstar in the company. The former Intercontinental Champion also credits Batista for having a great match:
If you’re debuting and you’re fighting Triple H and winning, they’ve got plans for you. When you’re debuting against R-Truth, who wasn’t on TV at the time, and you’re barely scraping by and then you go away for a month and they tell me that it’s you and Batista and it’s one segment… Lucky for me, Batista is not just a sweetheart, he’s great and wanted to have a good match. So, I just saw that and I go ‘Oh, this is it.’ Instead, we have a really fun match. It was like eight or ten minutes but it was kind of a good match, but he’s going on to a pay-per-view in a world title match, so he definitively beats me, totally get that. But I don’t have to check the wanted ads next Monday.”
H/t to Fightful for the use of transcription.