Dolph Ziggler is ready for Hell in a Cell this Sunday, for many reasons.
He's ready to steal the show, despite not having an official match on the card. He's ready to dispose of his Money in the Bank briefcase. He's ready to become World Heavyweight Champion.
In fact, he is so confident that his time has come, he gave me an exclusive: his first comments as World Heavyweight champion ... before actually winning the title.
"I would like to say that I owe a lot of people and that hard work paid off, that nice guys eventually get their shot, but I'm not going to say any of that stuff," boasted Ziggler in a phone interview Thursday. "Everything I've earned, I've deserved and achieved on my own, and will continue to do [so] until I become the greatest superstar of all-time."
Whether or not Ziggler actually cashes in at Hell in a Cell, and whether or not he wins when he does eventually cash in, one thing is for sure -- the vast majority feel that the man born Nick Nemeth is ready for a major championship run in WWE.
The World Heavyweight championship is recognized by WWE as one of the two most important championships in the company -- however, Ziggler feels that even if that gold comes his way in the near future, there is still one big mountain to climb.
"With John Cena out there [on our programs], WWE and World Heavyweight champs are rarely in the main event unless he's involved. The fact that I have done what I've done to this point, with some smart people actually cheering me on, as a bad guy, I'm looking forward to the next step, of course, I want to be champion but that doesn't mean anything, all it does is it says, 'OK, we believe in you to get to that next level, can you get there?' and once you get there the responsibility becomes even bigger. John Cena is a guy I've looked up to, but hated for the past 5 years because he is the face, the franchise of WWE. There have been guys who have become WHC and WWE champ and have been second fiddle to him."
For the past 5 years, Ziggler has been developing a reputation as the guy who makes everybody else in the ring look good. His performance against Ryback on WWE Main Event on Ion TV this past Wednesday is a perfect example -- Ryback looks like a million dollars going into his WWE championship match against CM Punk after he dismantled Ziggler, who put forth an agonizingly good display.
The problem is, Ziggler has been pigeon-holed as a result, as the guy WWE can focus on later, because he is making others look good. Ziggler knows the time has come to become more selfish in the ring.
"I need to stop caring as much about stealing the show. And care more about winning. I've slowly been developing a habit. I've always had this chip on my shoulder that says when I do something I have to do it better than anyone else. One of these days I'm going to put my ego aside and win for myself and win to be in the big money matches," Ziggler said.
One ritual that Ziggler performs almost religiously is studying tapes. Not necessarily of others, but of himself. While that may seem egotistical, Ziggler feels that watching his recent performances helps him further improve his skills.
"[I watch my matches] at least once a week," admits Ziggler. "I have all the shows [recorded] at my house, but sometimes when it's a busy week, I have something like HULU plus I can watch a nice 90-minute action-packed chunk of most of the important things from RAW, and of course watch my YouTube shows to see if I make myself laugh for the tenth time."
WWE's new partnership with HULU plus allows subscribers to log on to WWEonHULU.com and watch WWE programming hours after it airs on TV. To the "Show off," fans have one Superstar to thank for WWE's partnership with HULU plus and YouTube -- Zack Ryder.
"You can't blame that kid for making something out of nothing," explains Ziggler. "He's the reason we have a partnership with YouTube. He's one of the main reasons we have all of these new social media interactions and WWE is so big on Twitter and we get so many things trending ... all because he tried something new and tried to get the fans and WWE to notice him and boy did it pay off."
Whatever comes next in Dolph Ziggler's career, the WWE superstar knows what people will eventually say about him.
"Instead of people going 'hey you had a great match that should have been in the main event,' people will be telling me 'hey that was a great match, there's a reason why you're in the main event with John Cena, because you do it better than anyone else.'"
Hell in a Cell is Sunday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View
Visit http://www.WWEonHULU.com for more information on how to subscribe.
WWE Main Event airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on ION TV.
Arda Ocal is also an on air personality with theScoreTV in Canada. Watch his video interviews and subscribe to his channel here.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun