He may be the WWE’s Intercontinental Champion right now, but Dolph Ziggler’s start in WWE is one that he’d probably like to forget about.
Upon getting the call up to the main roster in 2005, Ziggler was cast as part of the Spirit Squad, a five-man male cheerleader faction gimmick. They became prominent on WWE television when they helped inspire the reunion of D-Generation X and feuded with Shawn Michaels and Triple H on RAW.
Just before getting called up to the main roster for the Spirit Squad gimmick, however, Ziggler was being pitched for a pretty exciting debut under now-WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle. In a recent interview with Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory, Ziggler revealed he was very nearly brought in as the protegee of the former Olympic gold medalist:
“A little before I got called up to do the Spirit Squad I was told by the in-between when you’re hearing you’re gonna get called up to WWE, the main roster. They were like, ‘hey they really like that you have an amateur wrestling background’ and I had my crew cut, my military haircut.
“They go, ‘it’s great that you have no tattoos, we’re kinda looking at you as Kurt Angle’s protegee or something.’ If Kurt Angle hadn’t won that gold medal and came to WWE I might not have even got a chance. But because he was so good and he did so well when he got here they’re like, ‘maybe we can give some smaller guys a try and because of him I got a chance to work here.
“And they go, hey maybe we consider you as his protegee and I go, ‘what? This is the craziest thing ever!’ Cut to four weeks later and I’m a cheerleader with four other guys, but still the thought was there that maybe that was gonna happen.”
H/T Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions