Evolution of a #Heel – Part 1

Often wrestling promotions have been defined by their over-achieving and hard working midcard talents. Bret Hart, Mr Perfect, Triple H, all guys who killed in the midcard position, held the Intercontinental title for long stretches of time, and were enthralling to watch.

In keeping with that tradition, Dolph Ziggler is tear-assing his way up the WWE talent ladder, currently holding a Money in the Bank Contract for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. From his consistent activity on Twitter, as well as consistent appearances either hosting or appearing on WWE YouTube shows (and more recently Tout), have made him an easily accessible crowd favorite; all the while being a man you love to hate. But where did the #Heel come from?

It is a good bet that the average WWE fan has no idea of the numerous accomplishments of Dolph Ziggler before he became the self-proclaimed Showoff. How many can actually say they would know who Nicky from the Spirit Squad was?

In this multi-part focus on Dolph Ziggler’s amazing career, we will take a look at all the accomplishments that have helped to shape an ego as big as the WWE Universe itself (and well deserved so). Because after all, it’s not showing off if you back it up!

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Nicholas Theodore Nemeth’s wrestling career got an early start. He knew at the age of five he wanted to be a wrestler.

“He said he was 5 ‘when I went to my first WWE event at Richland Coliseum; since that day forward, I wanted to do what they did.’ Soon after, he enrolled in a youth wrestling program, ‘I walked in and went, ‘Where are the ropes and the turnbuckles?’ I decided to become a professional wrestler at age 12.'”

Later in his childhood he would attend St. Edward High School. The school boasts a powerhouse wrestling program, earning 10 consecutive state championships between 1978 and 1987, and a total of 27 Team State Champions and 100 Individual State Champions in the program’s 53 year history. Not only was Nemeth a part of two National Team Championships, he holds the school’s record for most pins in a high school career with 82. This alone would be enough to fill a young man’s head with an ego as big as his accolades. But there’s more!

Nick Nemeth wrestling for Kent State

Image Credit: KentWired.com

Nemeth attended Kent State University, where his list of achievements continued to grow. The three-time Mid-American Conference champion once again set a school record for careers wins at 121, putting his name at the top of a list with only 3 others at that time  who had managed to score over 100 wins. Nemeth’s record now sits fourth on the list of most career wins and he is 1 of just 10 students to join the 100-wins club.

Image Credit: MAC Wrestling Newsletter, Release No. 7 – Jan 14, 2003

After phenomenal careers in both high school and college, a young Nemeth decided to pursue his childhood dreams of one day entertaining millions. In 2004, his dreams began to become reality as he signed a developmental deal with the WWE and was assigned to the Ohio Valley Wrestling territory. A developmental wrestling promotion based in Louisville, Kentucky, OVW served as primary developmental territory for WWE from 2000 until 2008.

Debuting under the name “Nick Nemeth,” he began to turn head’s as he partnered up with Steve Lewington and feuded with the likes of M-N-M, The Heartbreakers (later to be known as The Heart-throbs)  and Ken Doane. A lot of tv time for this young talent, but no wins to show for it.

Ziggler - Ohio Valley Wrestling

In the beginning of March, 2005, he would get his chance to break out. After almost five months of competing in tag matches and only one pin to show for it, Nemeth would compete in his first singles match, taking on the character Blueprint, otherwise known as Matt Morgan. Nemeth was man-handled through the ring, and even though he lost the match, he managed to get quite a pop from the small audience. His next singles match was much more successful, landing him a pinfall versus Mike Mondo, a major win of his OVW professional career.

Nick Nemeth - Ohio Valley Wrestling

Nemeth would tangle with the likes of Aaron “The Idol” Stevens (accompanied to the ring by one Beth Pheonix), The Blonde Bombers, and Paul Birchall just to name a few. All this helped Nemeth gain momentum, both with the fans and in the industry. In September of 2005 this momentum resulted in a championship match against Johhny Jeter for the OVW Heavyweight Title. Although he lost the match, Nemeth was on to bigger and better things. His next appearance in the squared circle would occur on WWE Heat.

In just 10 short years, Nicholas Nemeth went from high school student joining the wrestling team to debuting in front of a national audience for the first time in his professional career. And if you think this was an amazing ride, think again, as this was only the beginning!

There is so much more greatness to come from the man in pink! Here is a quick glimpse at what will be included during Part 2 of Evolution of a #Heel!!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: