Dolph Ziggler was desperate to ‘get the hell out’ of WWE before getting fired after 19 years
Posted by  badge Boss on Feb 22
Nic Nemeth was looking to move on before WWE released him (Picture: TNA Wrestling)

Nic Nemeth has admitted he was desperate to ‘get the hell out’ of before his shock release in September 2023.

The former World Heavyweight Champion, best known to fans as Dolph Ziggler after 19 years with the sports entertainment giant, returned in a big way at the beginning of 2024 and has already made waves with appearances for the likes of (NJPW), and more.

Reflecting on the last couple of years in WWE, Nemeth exclusively told ‘It was very maddening for me. I’ve happened to be, luckily, 20 years in, injury free, best shape of my life – and I’m sitting at home doing nothing.

‘So you know, I was champing at the bit to get the hell out of there and go do some things. But then also see now out of my comfort zone can I do these things as well, as I have talked trash about them for the last 20 years.

‘So getting a couple of matches in, a couple of reps in, has got me feeling much more confident than I was even a month ago.’

The 43-year-old star – who carried a legit background in amateur wrestling before – is thriving on having ‘stuff every couple of days to look forward to’, rather than the stop-start schedule over the past few years.

As Dolph Ziggler, he was a mainstay in WWE for much of the last two decades (Picture: WWE)

‘It’s more just I hated sitting at home. I hate it. It’d be different if I was 65 years old. I was like, I’m sitting at home, 35 to 42, just sitting around going, “Man, this is my prime, I should be doing something more worthwhile,”‘ he candidly admitted.

Now that he finally has his chance, the decorated star – whose and John Cena stunned – is ready to ‘hit the ground running’ with a new lease on life.

‘I keep saying 20 years, 10 years is gonna fly by,’ he beamed, before acknowledging the tough reality of a career in wrestling.

‘I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’ve been very fortunate. Everybody gets hurt at some point. And it’s going to happen,’ he added. ‘But as of now, I think I was unavailable for work three weeks, three TVs, out of 19 and a half years. No one will ever touch that.’

He struggled for momentum over the past couple of years (Picture: WWE)

Nemeth pointed out that he was constantly coming up with ideas for how he could be used in WWE, whether it was potential match-ups, storylines or parternships.

‘You get to a point where like, okay, they don’t want me here. But in case of emergency, break this class and throw me the world title match,’ he shrugged.

‘After a few you go, “All right, I’m frustrated”. And you take a few months to go, “I wrote a few ideas down, I’m done pitching screw these guys, they don’t want to use me, I’m done pitching this idea so they can use it for somebody else!’

Then, another month would go by and he’d be itching to get back to being in the middle of the ring, feeling the addictive thrill of a live crowd.

For every big moment, the company didn’t quite follow up (Picture: WWE)

For Nemeth, there has been an enduring self belief as well as an acknowledgement of how the wrestling business works, with only so many spots in the main event.

However, the difficulty came with mixed messages from bosses who would hail him as ‘the best thing we got’ most weeks, before suddenly snapping.

He recalled: ‘One week out of four, it’s, “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing. That’s why you’ll never make it”… Sometimes it’s old school motivating you. And I get that.

‘And sometimes it’s, “Hey, man, our emotions are all high. We’re going to live TV show, and we’re kind of mad at each other. Let’s take a minute watch it tomorrow back.” ‘

Scott D’Amore signed Nemeth to TNA but he’s since been let go (Picture: IMPACT)

Now, Nemeth is excited to have the world at his feet, even if the left him gutted after the company’s former president convinced him to sign on the dotted line.

‘I really hope we see Scott back at some point. He’s the reason I went to TNA is a reason a bunch of people were making that clear that they were there,’ he said.

‘I hope we as TNA as a team are going to continue kicking ass and just shooting up towards the top do even better, and the more people hear about it, the better – but for sure it is a weird, sombre thing.’

Looking to the future, Nemeth will continue to surprise people as he looks to add to his already Hall of Fame level legacy.

‘I cannot stress enough that I am so energised and healthy and champing at the bit to be out there. Doing the old 20, 30, 45 minute matches just to erase the last couple of years of two and three minute ones,’ he said.

‘I need to be able to prove that I can go. I know I can. But I want everyone to know I’m not strolling in here like I got this all figured out. I’m starting over brand new, this brand new world to me.

‘And I hope I knock it out of the park. I’m going to but you don’t know is coming.’