Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.
Since his WWE debut ten years ago, Dolph Ziggler‘s image has gone through a few changes. Until recently the Showoff was known for his flashy, ’80s-inspired ring gear. Over the past few months, however, the former World Heavyweight Champion has adopted a look just as influenced by the ’80s, with more of a hair metal flair. These entrance outfits of leather, chains and studded denim jackets covered in rock band patches are created by Rick Michaels’ Global Wrestle Wear, maker of custom wrestling gear for several WWE talents.
“I love ’80s and ’90s rock and metal,” says Ziggler. “Mötley Crüe, Poison, everybody that was on my vest I love and he makes the craziest, most awesome gear. I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’ve got 12 hours. Can you make this thing for me?’ He gets it done and it’s amazing. This guy’s work is so well done, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to come up with next each month. He’s awesome and I love my gear. I model all my stuff after Vince Neil and Mötley Crüe in the ’80s.”
While image has always been almost as important to Ziggler as his in-ring accomplishments, an even more self-absorbed, selfie-loving NXT talent has made a name for himself on the main roster at Ziggler’s expense over the past few weeks. With his bleached blonde hair and flamboyant persona, Tyler Breeze could easily be mistaken for Ziggler’s younger brother. (Ziggler’s actual younger brother, former NXT competitor Briley Pierce, is now a Los Angeles improv and standup comedian.) Breeze, with Ziggler’s longtime female foe Summer Rae by his side, has gotten the better of Ziggler on a few occasions, jumping him from behind and even defeating Ziggler at Survivor Series.
“I get it,” says Ziggler. “He’s a young, up-and-coming kid who has blonde hair and I kind of used to look like him. Most importantly, once you get past all that, he’s a really good wrestler. Hopefully he gets a chance to show that and hopefully I get a chance to show him why I’m still here ten years later.”
Having gained a vengeful victory over Prince Pretty on the Nov. 30 Raw, there’s no way of knowing if Ziggler will cross paths with Breeze again in the near future. But with no opponent yet announced for TLC, Ziggler is ready to put Breeze, or any other rising star, in his place should he need to.
Photo courtesy of WWE, Inc.
“Every generation has had a different way of coming up, whether it was in the territories, whether it was in the old OVW, whether it was in the new OVW, which is where I came from, then FCW, then NXT becoming its own brand and this worldwide phenomenon,” he says. “In the old days you used to have vignettes to show people who you are. With NXT getting so big and being so fun and exciting for people to be part of, you don’t need those vignettes. People know you already and you just show up and walk in the door. That is a huge step in this business of just getting people knowing who you are. My first month, I walked around shaking hands saying, ‘Hi, I’m Dolph Ziggler,’ because we didn’t have a vehicle like that. All of those superstars-to-be have this awesome opportunity with NXT. They’re already getting their name out there and they’re already stars when they walk in the door. A lot of people on the main roster, myself included, love working with the guys. But I’m not ready to give up my spot just because Triple H is buddies with them. I’m happy for them, but I’m sure as hell not going to give up my spot without a fight.”