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Wrestling: Dolph Ziggler
It's not showing off if you back it up.

Nicholas Theodore "Nick" Nemeth (born July 27, 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio), known by his ring name Dolph Ziggler, is a wrestler currently working for WWE. Known best for having a confident in-ring persona, and (to his chagrin) for being the guy that reminds a lot of longtime wrestling fans of a young Curt Hennig, Ric Flair, Billy Gunn, Shawn Michaels, and Edge.

Nick was signed to developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, lasting a year there before making his debut on Raw as the manager (specifically, the caddy) to Chavo Guerrero Jr, who was wrestling as Kerwin White at the time. After that gimmick abruptly ended, he became Nicky from the Spirit Squad, a five-man faction of male cheerleaders, which lasted the better part of 2006 until their feud with DeGeneration X came to an end in the fall.

In September of 2008, he re-introduced himself as Dolph Ziggler (literally - he spent the first few weeks in this persona introducing himself backstage). He's slowly but surely moved up the ranks, including notable feuds with The Great Khali, John Morrison, Zack Ryder and most famously Edge, a feud in which he managed to become World Heavyweight Champion for less than fifteen minutes. Long known for his association (and on-again, off-again romance) with Vickie Guerrero, he was then managed by AJ Lee up to July 2013, at which point he dumped her after she cost him his World Title match against Del Rio. After holding the blue Money in the Bank briefcase for nine months through 2012 into 2013 (and carrying it wherever he went) and with it an opportunity to cash it in for the World Heavyweight Title—which he successfully did the night after WrestleMania to become a two-time World Heavyweight Champion. He would ultimately drop the title back to Alberto Del Rio two months later, turning face for the first time in his career in the process.

Ziggler is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, one-time United States Champion, one-time WWE Tag Team Champion (as a member of the Spirit Squad), and three-time Intercontinental Champion. His third reign ended after 56 days when he lost the championship to Luke Harper on the November 17, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw.

#HEEL


It's too damn bad these tropes are too damn good:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Didn't invoke his rematch clause for the US title, as he the very next week became number one contender for the WWE Championship.
    • Also, his initial run in the WWE was aborted - by Eddie Guerrero's death, of all things. Chavo was wrestling as Kerwin White, with Nicky as his caddy. But because Eddie passed away, leaving Chavo as essentially the last Guerrero note , Chavo wanted to wrestle as himself to carry on the family name. Thus, the Kerwin White character was scrapped, and Nicky was sent back to FCW almost straightaway.
  • Always Someone Better: When you really think back to his days feuding for the IC Championship up to feuding with the likes of Orton, Sheamus, and Cena, this has been Ziggler's MO. Despite having an abundance of athleticism, mic skills, a varied moveset, cockiness, and youth on his side, he's always come up just a little short, whether it's because of his short temper (see his IC Title matches with John Morrison and Rey Mysterio Jr) or the fact that he just couldn't put an opponent away despite throwing his best stuff at him, like his recent cage match with John Cena. "I'm sick of being so damn sick" takes on a whole new understanding when you think about it.
  • Anti-Hero: Still the same uber-cocky Deadpan Snarker as before... his humor just comes at the expense of less sympathetic figures. And for what it's worth, he's portrayed as an underdog who keeps getting screwed out of his title chances by circumstances out of his control.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • He and Kofi Kingston have feuded over the mid card titles almost nonstop. He also feuded with Edge for a while.
    • Zack Ryder has infamously become this, first through several non-title victories over Ziggler spurring a consistent quest for the US Championship, then through use of Twitter and Ryder's Z! True Long Island Story YouTube show, where the heat is turned Up to Eleven between them through Ziggler's villainy.
    • Chris Jericho and John Cena has became this for him, the former for being past his prime and the latter for always being in the spotlight.
    • Alberto Del Rio ever since Dolph cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
  • Artifact Title: Still goes by @HEELZiggler on Twitter... despite having turned face.
  • Attention Whore: "I'm here to show the world!"
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The Zig Zag is a jumping reverse bulldog that looks kind of cool and has a quick, snappy motion to it a bit reminiscent of moves like the RKO. Unfortunately, if the opponent can find something sturdy to hold onto - like, say, a ring rope - Ziggler will lose his grip and usually land on the back of his skull.
    • Partially subverted since he recently modified it, so it resembles a more lariat-esque takedown and keeps him from falling directly on his head. Can still be countered by grabbing onto something, though.
  • Bad Ass Boast: From his t-shirt - "It's not showing off if you back it up."
  • Berserk Button: Inside the ring, he doesn't like failure and will tend to get frustrated. In Real Life...let's just say that he's getting a little bit fed up with the Mr. Perfect comparisons.
    • Zack Ryder's existence initially.
    • Relationship-wise it seems to be costing him a title match somehow. If you're his girlfriend and you do this, he'll want nothing more to do with you romantically.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil
  • Boring but Practical: His sleeper hold submission. Even as far as submissions go, it's one of the oldest and simplest in the book. But among its benefits is that it's easily executed and can be used on a wider range of opponents.
  • Breakup Breakout:
    • After his initial run was aborted, he redebuted in the Spirit Squad - the infamous male cheerleader stable. Reputedly, that stable was meant to push one guy (Kenny) in particular - but when the dust settled, not only is "Nicky" the only one to win any singles gold (including the World Heavyweight Title), he's the only former member of the Spirit Squad still employed by WWE at all. Additionally, none of the other members of the Spirit Squad have a page on TVTropes, nor is there a page for the stable itself.
    • Kenny (real name Ken Doane, briefly known as Kenny Dykstra) is in the indies and Mikey (Raymond Michael Brendli) is in Ring of Honor as Mike Mondo. Mitch (Nick Mitchell) retired in 2006, and Johnny (Jeter) seemed to have vanished at some point in 2008.
      • The irony of it all is that the gimmick was originally supposed to put over Kenny. However, that worked to his disadvantage and he became forever associated with the gimmick, mainly because he was the leader. Thus the audience never took him seriously. Nicky was repackaged completely as Dolph and for the most part is completely unrecognizable unless you look hard enough.
  • Butt Monkey:
  • Camp Straight: Played with. He certainly seems to be very vain, and he wears lots of pink and starts his entrance with a hip gyration that would make a lot of the Divas jealous.
  • Canon Discontinuity: You mean this guy used to be Chavo "Kerwin White" Guerrero's caddy? And they don't bring up his time in the Spirit Squad either - even though he technically won a title (WWE World Tag Team Championship) during that stint.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: One of the few active wrestlers to use 'insider' jargon in the context of his gimmick. If you look at a lot of his ring costumes nowadays, you'll notice the word Heel (usually accompanied by a Hashtag) printed somewhere. Hell, even his username on Twitter had "HEEL" (yes, in all caps like that) in it at one point - just in case you still didn't know what side of the fence he stood on.
  • The Cast Show Off: Well, duh. His Red Baron IS "The Show-Off."
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Hi, I'm Dolph Ziggler." (Lasted until he used "I Am Perfection" for the first time.)
    • "Hashtag, #HEEL!"
    • Not long after his return to RAW, he would yell "Follow that!" after winning a match. It didn't really stick, but recently revisited a bit for his showoff gimmick.
    • (Recently): "I'm not a showoff..."
      • Alternately: "Yes. I am a showoff."
    • "How damn good am I!?"
    • "...No offense."
    • "Later, marks!"
    • (Usually after a Badass Boast) "The only difference is, I back it up every night."
    • "Show… Off!"
    • (After ending his web show) "And wrestling is only the fifth best thing I do."
  • Chick Magnet/The Casanova: AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Vickie Guerrero in past years, and has recently managed to steal both Summer Rae and Layla from Fandango - all without much effort. He plays this up in character and on Twitter as much as possible, too.
  • Compressed Hair: Dolph Ziggler's hair at the beginning of matches and at the end of matches are two very different things.
  • Cool Mask: Disguised himself as Sin Cara, in order to attack Alberto Del Rio, due to Teddy Long had given him the night off, because Long didn't want any trouble after the firing of Vickie Guerrero.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • On NXT season 4. During challenges and matches he's not involved in (as an active wrestler at least), he has a tendency to grab a mic and mock whatever is going on.
    • Has this in spades on "WWE Download," the webshow he hosts. It is phenomenal the stuff he can say with a straight face.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Dolph's entire offense. Due to his athleticism and leaping ability, he can dish out huge amounts of impact, but if he misses or is countered, he is often left vulnerable or even hurts himself:, like his Famouser and the Zig Zag. This is especially true for his Steep-Angle Jumping DDT, as if he's countered (i.e. thrown off), he falls from a considerable height onto his face. This leaves him wide-open to the next move usually a quick finisher like the Bull Hammer, the Brogue Kick, and the RKO, which are the three opponents he has the most trouble with.
  • Determinator:
    • So, so much since his face turn. And Up to Eleven if he's holding a title belt. For being a small guy, he can sure take a crapload of punishment. Even as a heel he was prone to wrestling twice on certain pay-per-views, particularly during his simultaneous United States Championship run and tag team with Jack Swagger in 2011.
    • Up to Eleven at the 28th annual Survivor Series in 2014. Ziggler was a member of Team Cena, consisting of Cena himself, Ziggler, Ryback, Big Show, and Erick Rowan. They faced Team Authority— Kane, Rusev, Mark Henry, Luke Harper, and Seth Rollins. After Big Show turned heel on his team, Ziggler was left in a three-on-one contest, and had already been beaten up pretty badly. He kicked out of a ton of high impact moves, pinned Luke Harper and Kane, dodged at least one Curbstomp from Seth Rollins to stay in the match, and had the match won twice over, with Triple H assaulting the referee each time Dolph was on the verge of winning. When Rollins hit a clean Curbstomp, Ziggler kicked out after a third official came to the ring to make the count. He simply would not be beaten that night (at least not fairly), more on heart and resolve than physical durability, much like the man to whom he's often compared.
  • Discontinuity Nod: After he was Kayfabe fired in the 600th episode of ''SmackDown, Ziggler makes a hilarious Leaning on the Fourth Wall post on his Twitter account which, among other things, mentions how he "used to caddy around and actually went through a rigorous gymnastics and cheerleader training".
  • Expy:
    • Of Mr. Perfect, primarily due to his former theme song, the frizzy blond hair and the agile technician wrestling style. Oh, if only he could do the Perfect Plex.
    • Some say of Billy Gunn. He's got the hair, the moveset (i.e. a leg drop bulldog), and a somewhat flamboyant in-ring persona with a lot of pink and hip gyrations.
    • His slicked back bleach blond hair also makes him look a little like a younger Ric Flair.
      • Now he's added in doing the Flair Strut.
    • His showoff gimmick, "Follow that!" catchprase shout, and Mrs. Robinson manager contains shades of Shawn Michaels.
      • He also has used the Superkick and the kip-up on multiple occasions.
    • Although their wrestling styles are disparate, he seems to be flashing more and more Edge-like traits and events the longer he holds the briefcase.
      • Complete with cashing it in to a STANDING OVATION despite being a heel and with an on-screen girlfriend beside him to share in the celebration (due to Ziggler being an Ensemble Darkhorse and Edge winning the title off of a massively hated babyface). Of course the fact that AJ Lee is a massive Lita fan (and had heard the comparisons between the two couples before this event) only adds to this.
    • In many ways, both fortunate and unfortunate, his career is starting to mirror that of John Morrison. They're both young, Mr. Fanservice, charismatic performers with larger-than-life personas and above average athletic ability. Both also seemed to be ascending stars, right on the cusp of the main event before backstage politics ruined their pushes and got them fed to a largely disliked performer (Alberto Del Rio and The Miz).
  • Face Heel Double Turn: Based on the formula of their match at WWE Payback, with the "face" Alberto Del Rio focusing on the "heel" Ziggler's concussion, and the overall positive reactions to Ziggler fighting back and the negative to Del Rio winning and saying he "did it for the fans" rather insincerely...it seems WWE may be going this way in with the two.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: "I am perfection!"
  • Finishing Move:
    • The Zig Zag, which has nothing to do with tropes. It's a jumping reverse bulldog...lariat takedown...thing.
    • Alternatively, he'll go for a sleeper hold.
    • On a rare occasion, he will pull out a superkick. This was dropped eventually, likely because of how many other wrestlers have been using it lately (Alberto Del Rio, Rusev). It was brought back later though
  • Foreshadowing: His shirt "Stealing the show and your girlfriend", as he later beat down John Cena and won AJ Lee.
  • Fragile Speedster: Subverted. He does get thrown around quite a bit by virtue of being smaller than most guys, but it's his availability to tank absurd amounts of damage and still keep kicking out that keeps him from being this trope.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: The concussion he suffered during the May 10th, 2013 Smackdown tapings... and head injuries continue to be a sold as weak point for his character even to this day.
  • Genre Savvy/Genre Blindness: More like a 80-20 split in favor of the former; Dolph realized that since he already had the World Title MITB briefcase, he's already guaranteed a title shot whenever he likes and can skip the Elimination Chamber PPV entirely despite being a former Heavyweight Champion. Fridge Logic may occur to some fans who realize Dolph could potentially have two shots at the World Title at Wrestlemania if he wins, but the Fridge Brilliance kicks in once you realize that not only is it one of the most lethal, risky matches in WWE, Dolph would also be going up against five other world champions, two of whom he's had a notoriously bad track record against.
  • Handsome Lech: His Ask The Heel segments on Z! True Long Island Story, used the same logo as Brazzers. Brazzers is a porn site.
  • Hidden Depths: Fluent in American Sign Language.
  • Hot-Blooded:
    • Which really bites him in the ass in matches, his Fatal Flaw is the ease he gets frustrated by failure.
    • Holy crap, when his NXT Rookie Byron Saxton got eliminated, Dolph was channeling Ric Flair levels of hot blooded craziness.
  • Important Haircut:
    • Right after the start of his first run on Raw.
    • And again after his return to Raw.
  • Incoming Ham:
    • Especially since his last US Title run. His theme song started as an easily recognizable, cocky Villain Song. Now it's much louder and much more bombastic.
    • The fact that he spent a good chunk of his career being announced by the extremely shrill voice of Vickie Guerrero didn't help, either. invoked
  • Informed Ability: Every time he locks in his sleeper hold, Michael Cole will reference how so many Superstars have gone down to it. Nearly every time, the target's broken out of the hold, and he hasn't actually won a match with it in years - not even against a Jobber.
  • Large Ham: Has slowly but surely becoming one since his move to RAW.
  • Level Grinding: From Kerwin White's caddy to Spirit Squad tag team champion to giving Batista a half-decent challenge in his debut as Dolph Ziggler to facing down Rey Mysterio Jr and John Morrison for the Intercontinental Championship on several occasions to being a multi-time Intercontinental/United States champ and 15-minute awarded World Champion with stellar matches against the likes of Daniel Bryan and Edge under his belt to stealing the show every week, practically making a storyline with Zack Ryder halfway via the Internet, wrestling double duty on consecutive pay-per-views, pinning Randy Orton in the middle of the ring, having a feud with (and becoming the latest to retire) Chris Jericho, and of course, becoming Mr. Money in the Bank in 2012 and closing the final pay-per-view of the year by beating John Cena, and has now cashed said Money in the Bank to become the World Heavyweight Champion. Yeah, his career has basically been one big level grind.
  • Likes Older Women - Zigzagged. Mainly associated with Vickie Guerrero, but has also been seen (or rather, caught) with the young, beautiful Kaitlyn and AJ.
  • Multicolored Hair: He's known for his platinum blond hair, but as more of his hair grows in its natural dark brown, it's left uncolored, making it this trope.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Oh, yeah. When you're a clear categorical standout in the world of chiseled faces and washboard abs that is Professional Wrestling, that's saying a lot.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Occured on a Main Event episode in 2012. The normally confident Dolph was unusually timid and spent the majority of the match looking like he wanted to cry, a stark contrast from the cocky, confident show-off Dolph Ziggler is known for being.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: He's been out since early May 2013 due to a legit concussion sustained during a match with Jack Swagger. This may have led to the WWE's donation to former wrestler Christopher Nowinski's Sports Legacy Institute, which conducts research on sports-related injuries, especially concussions. It might also have led to a post-Extreme Rules concussion angle with Triple H, who a night after being knocked out with a sledghammer to the face, he collapses during a match due to post-concussion syndrome. It most certainly had an effect on Ziggler's storyline from WWE Payback on.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Has been sporting some pretty Bret Hart-esque attire as of late.
  • Rearrange the Song: Twice. The first time, right around when Ziggler won his most recent US Championship, the song was re-recorded by a favorite band of Jim Johnston's note  and made more aggressive. Recently, the song was rearranged again and the lyrics changed, ostensibly to fit Ziggler's "showoff" gimmick more, but there are some who believed that the "I Am Perfection" lyrics were at fault for drawing so many Mr. Perfect comparisons, and thus Johnston (and perhaps Ziggler himself) just wanted a song that didn't have the line as many times.
  • Running Gag: Because they look so much alike, it's commonly joked about by fans that Dolph is Billy Gunn's son. Though the resemblance really is uncanny, they're actually not related. (He does use a few of Billy's moves, including the Fameasser as one of his Five Moves of Doom.)
  • Screaming Warrior: Oh dear gods yes. He even lampshaded it on his twitter after a fan noted that he sounded really hoarse on Smackdown. Ziggler essentially told the fan that he'd blown his voice out screaming his head off on RAW the preceding Monday after his match. Because, you know, winning the World Heavyweight Title is kind of a big deal.
  • Ship Tease: At one point with Kaitlyn - while he was still Vickie's on-screen boyfriend. Ever since his and Vickie's "breakup", they've also had a couple of moments. For example, the match he had with Jack Swagger over Vickie's managerial services seemed to be set up as two men fighting over a woman in the classical sense - especially when Ziggler won the match and Vickie rewarded him with a Smooch of Victory.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In episode 56 of Z! True Long Island Story, Dolph does a segment while the song "#HEEL" (which was written in his honor) plays in the background.
    • Ziggler's in-ring style and persona seems to be an homage to a number of legends. It's almost as if a post-Rockers era HBK, "Mr. Ass" era Billy Gunn, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, and prime Ric Flair all spliced their DNA together to see what their hypothetical kid would look like, and then the result went back into the chamber and got more DNA added from "Rated-R Superstar" Edge.
    • Also, his ring name. "Dolph" is actually the name of Nick Nemeth's grandfather.
  • Signature Move:
    • A jumping high angle DDT. And by high, we mean improbably high.
    • The Famouser (AKA the Fame-Asser, made famous by Billy Gunn)
    • Stinger splash into a cornered opponent, followed by ridiculously fast ten-count punches.
    • Sitout facebuster.
    • Used to use several small elbow drops followed by theatrics and a big jumping elbow drop, but this was dropped with his Heel-Face Turn.
      • Recently re-introduced into his moveset; JBL often coins the combination as the "Heart Stopper."
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The name may not be all that small, but his ego is proportionally MASSIVE.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Aspires to be this in-character. In fact, his latest t-shirt bears the words "stealing the show", which has become a bit of a Catch Phrase for him.
  • Stealth Pun: His entrance starts with him turning around and doing a hip gyration, with the second half of his catchphrase in bold letters on his shirt. The phrase's second half on one particular shirt he wore in 2012? 'If you can back it up'. Many female fans don't mind.
  • A Taste of Power / Yank the Dog's Chain: Enjoyed an approximately fifteen-minute reign as the World Champion when Edge was stripped of the title and then "fired", then re-hired and put in a title match against Ziggler, where he won the title back. This reign is counted (as well as Edge winning it back counting as a separate title reign) and actually puts him in rare company as the WWE's 22nd Triple Crown Champion.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Wasn't very keen on having Jack Swagger around at first, seeming to think the latter would steal his thunder. But as Swagger has helped him win a couple of matches, he's warmed to him...a bit.
    • Then subverted. Ziggler started to believe Swagger was holding him back (some segments in the IWC would have agreed with him) and as a result Swagger was jettisoned.
  • Theatrics Of Pain: Maybe the best that WWE has at selling other wrestler's offense (some fans have joked that "Ziggler could sell drugs to CM Punk"), which some people think has been to his detriment. He's been mostly a jobber to the stars recently, and some think that he's kept in that role simply because he makes getting his ass kicked entertaining for anybody watching.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Delivered to Jericho. You can judge how effective Ziggler's diatribe is by Jericho's expressions; at first he seems stunned and bemused, but as Dolph goes on, he slowly becomes more and more ticked at the inherent truth of Ziggler's words. Even after he ends up eating a Codebreaker, we can see Dolph smirking because he knew he struck a nerve.
    • The one he delivered to AJ Lee on the 11/19/12 Raw. After AJ stormed into the men's dressing room to try to browbeat him for his attack on her recent affair/crush John Cena earlier in the night which resulted in Cena getting a torn meniscus, Dolph interrupted her before she could get started, calling her out on her Clingy Jealous Yandere tendencies as well as the fact that she's a dime a dozen kind of girl (which is somewhat rooted in truth, as she has been referred to as a "Girl Next Door" in the past and her current character is very reminiscent of crazy fangirls and their fanfiction Mary Sues). This resulted in AJ, unable to take the verbal heat as usual, going crazy on him until Cena got involved and took a beatdown from Ziggler for his trouble.
      • In retrospect, this is made even more awesome by AJ turning on Cena at TLC 2012 and getting with Dolph shortly thereafter. See Fridge Brilliance under the YMMV section for details.
  • Tranquil Fury: After AJ cost him his World Championship rematch at MITB, Ziggler made things quite clear the next night on Raw as far as their relationship went, as calmly as he could muster:
    Dolph: It's time for me to move on...from you.
  • Two Guys and a Girl:
    • Has ended up in this dynamic no less than twice - first with Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero, and then with Big E Langston and AJ Lee.
    • The latter also counts as a Token Trio, since Langston is black and AJ is part Puerto Rican.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He, Vickie, and Jack Swagger had...a strange relationship. More specifically, Vickie is technically Dolph's ex, while Swagger is something of a rival and the three all have very strong personalities, which should cause them to clash much more often than they did.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Is a smaller wrestler that relies a lot more on his speed and legit talent then throwing people around.
  • Wrestling Family: His younger brother Ryan wrestles and does interviews in NXT as Briley Pierce.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle:
    • Happened to Ziggler while he was holding the MITB briefcase. On the December 17, 2012 Raw, Sheamus had just beaten down the World Heavyweight Champion, Big Show, and Ziggler decided it was a good time to cash in. Just as the ref was ready to ring the bell and Ziggler was getting ready to pin Show, John Cena ran down and attacked Ziggler, stopping him from becoming the champion. Why? Because Ziggler had beaten Cena in a ladder match for that very briefcase the previous night, and Cena was still upset about it. The fact that he'd spent the month and a half beforehand sneak-attacking Cena and almost torn Cena's knee probably didn't help matters either.
    • Earlier that year he tries to cash it on Sheamus the champion at the time only to be randomly RKO'd.
    • He later lampshades this in an interview, as him trying to cash in and subsequently "getting [his] teeth kicked down [his] throat" (Ziggler's words) was starting to border on Running Gag territory.

Show… OFF!
Torrie WilsonTurnOfTheMillennium/Professional WrestlingBella Twins
KaitlynShip TeaseLay Cool
YokozunaProfessional Wrestling3MB

alternative title(s): Dolph Ziggler
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