Before he was "The Show-Off," Dolph Ziggler was Nicky in the Spirit Squad, a group of male cheerleaders.
Originally, Zigger was under the impression that he was going to be in a group that seemingly combined the NWO with the Four Horsemen. Speaking to Corey Graves on WWE After The Bell, Ziggler recalled how he found out he was going to be part of the Spirit Squad.
"'Well, there's a group of guys, it's gonna be pretty cool. Kinda like a new Four Horsemen,'" Zigger said of the original pitch. "If I can remember the exact words, it was cooler than that. 'Think of like the Horsemen, but like controversial.' We're like, 'Woah, what.' That is where I got to meet Vince [McMahon]. He pulls me into a room and is like, 'We're gonna do something that's never been done before. It's going to be controversial. People are gonna be talking...' I'm like, 'Woah, this is the craziest thing.' I've never met Vince in my life to this point. And he goes...'MALE! CHEERLEADERS!' My heart sank into my stomach and I went, 'Oh..man. Whatever gets me on the show sounds good to me.'"
A group of male cheerleaders sounds like an immediate death wish on WWE television, but Ziggler was able to get the most out of the run, thanks to working with three WWE Hall of Famers each night.
"Looking back, it almost ended up being almost exactly one year. Maybe three months of that was just getting thrown off ladders and through tables," he said. "But about nine months of that was Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, D-X every three of four weekends at live events. Nothing could be better possible training or having the rub or being in the ring with the greatest of all-time. It would be Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Ric Flair. They rotated two of those three every weekend. We got to be in there with them full-time for serval months. If you can't learn from those guys on how to be the best and draw money and know what works, then you really do need to be done. They started to trust us in the ring, which is insane."
He ended by saying, "It's fun to make fun of the Spirit Squad, but I feel like I'm as good as I am today because of that."
The Spirit Squad were sent to OVW in 2006, ending their run as a group. Spirit Squad members Mike Mondo and Kenny Dykstra ended up returning to WWE in 2016 and worked for MLW in 2019.
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