World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) second biggest show of the year, SummerSlam, will emanate from Barclays Center this Sunday, and two of the company’s biggest stars are ready to steal the show.
Dolph Ziggler, 36, and Charlotte, 30, will both compete in championship matches as the 11-year WWE veteran Ziggler faces Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship while Charlotte looks to regain her WWE Women’s Championship from Sasha Banks.
However, three days before SummerSlam, Ziggler and Charlotte made an appearance at JCPenny in the Manhattan Mall to promote the newest line of the WWE sponsored apparel Tapout, which includes a new women’s line. Charlotte, who has been on WWE’s main roster for just over a year, and Ziggler, an established veteran, spoke to the Inquisitr before their big matches and covered everything from their roles as brand ambassadors to their love of the craft.
Mark Suleymanov: Charlotte, you have been on the main roster for just over a year now, what does it mean for you to be in an ambassador role [for Tapout] and have all this responsibility on your shoulders?
Charlotte: “It’s a huge opportunity, I’m usually in gym clothes when I’m not at work so being able to wear Tapout all the time and be an ambassador for it is a perfect fit.”
Dolph Ziggler: “It’s also a play on words… perfect fit… that was a great line I thought. We just kind of glossed over that but I thought that was a great line.”
Mark Suleymanov: Is that your plan for this Sunday? To Tapout Dean [Ambrose]?
Dolph Ziggler: “I might, through some guidance from some people behind-the-scenes, I have gone back to some old school, amateur roots where I used to win like 99 percent of the time…and that’s me being humble about it. So I think that’s something I need to get back to. It’s not that we lack it, there’s just not too many superstars who do that type of in-ring material so I’m really looking forward to it. And like Charlotte said, I’m in gym clothes all the time, I’m in sweatpants, shorts, sleeveless t-shirt one way or another. This stuff is squishy and stretchy, I love it.”
Mark Suleymanov: Speaking of tapping out, Charlotte, your dad Ric Flair recently said that you, Dolph, are one of the few that could take on Conor McGregor in a real fight after he bashed the WWE roster. What was your reaction to McGregor’s comments and Flair’s endorsement?
Dolph Ziggler: “First of all, McGregor’s comments were probably just trying to get more people to watch his pay-per-view [fight vs. Nate Diaz at UFC 202]. That’s great, that’s smart. Whether it’s a joke or not, you act serious, then we take it seriously. If I wanted to get people to watch SummerSlam, I wouldn’t badmouth somebody’s life choices for the last 10 years. Flair, I grew up watching him and all the hard work he put in and to kinda it a joke and say those guys aren’t tough? Those guys are some of the toughest guys I’ve met in my entire life and a lot of them are behind-the-scenes and I look up to a lot of them. I made a little joke back that said ‘yeah, I’m one of the smaller guys on the roster and if I lost 40 or 50 pounds, I’d still be bigger than him.’ So even if he’s really good at what he does – which I’m sure he is – I’m also really good at what I do, I just happen to do it and get punched in the face a lot less for real.”
Mark Suleymanov: Like I said at the top, you’re just over a year into the main roster and have taken on a lot of responsibility. But you are relatively new to the craft so how big is it in your life at the moment?
Charlotte: “It is my life. I’m on the road most of the time. It is my life and being able to travel with my dad this year was really special because a lot of people don’t understand what we do and I think it was hard for my dad, explaining to us why he was never at home. It was because he loved what he did so much and to be able to share that with him and understand what he dedicated his life to and then obviously try to carry on his legacy… it has been amazing.”
Mark Suleymanov: What has your dad’s reaction been to not being with you on the road?
Charlotte: “He’s in time out.”
Mark Suleymanov: How long will he remain in time out?
Charlotte: “I don’t know, I will figure out if I need him to help me win at SummerSlam. He’ll be okay. It’s tough love [laughs].”
Mark Suleymanov: Isn’t tough love usually parent-to-child?
Charlotte: “But sometimes the roles are reversed with my dad so sometimes I’m the parent.”
Mark Suleymanov: Dolph, the last few years you have been up and down as far as the card. You have been in the main event, you have been in the opening match. And as far as your SummerSlam history, you’ve had classics against Mysterio and Jericho and some mixed tag team matches. So what’s it like for you to have this prime spot on such a huge show?
Dolph Ziggler: “It’s great because, I mean, whether I’m fighting Miz for the Intercontinental title, opening the show, or one of my first ever pay-per-view’s against Rey Mysterio… it was a dream come true… that was probably eight or nine years ago. It means a lot to me because it’s great. Everybody asks ‘hey, what are you doing different, this is so great?’ I go, ‘I’m not doing anything different, I just have a different opportunity because of the brand split, because of someone going this way and someone going that way. I get to step and be myself, especially if you’ve watched SmackDown Live the last few weeks, I’ve gotten to be myself. The guy who doesn’t think anybody is better than him and is out to prove it every single day. Whether it’s in the ring, outside the ring, online, in interviews, anything you want… I’ve always been like ‘I dare somebody to outdo me.’ As soon as they do, I’ll step aside but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Mark Suleymanov: With the WWE Draft giving everybody more of an opportunity on both shows, Charlotte, what does it mean for you — with so many women taking over WWE — doing so well and be on your own show and make your impact even stronger since you’re confined to one show?
Charlotte: “Well, one, splitting up the women, I think, opens doors for people who haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to shine in the last year. But, you know, I wanna be the best and being on RAW without our group of women pushes me to work harder. With the brand split, obviously, RAW wants to be better than SmackDown. SmackDown wants to be better than RAW. So it just makes you up your game a little bit.”
Mark Suleymanov: It’s like competition within competition?
Charlotte: “Yeah, for sure. But we want to have the best matches, be the best female. The girls on SmackDown want to be the same. I think it’s good.”
Mark Suleymanov: Dolph, a lot of people say you’re underused but now with the WWE Draft, you have an opportunity to build yourself up on your own show. What is that like?
Dolph Ziggler: “The first part where you say people say I’m underused over whatever, that’s fine. People say that and whether it’s legends, or people online, or my mom, that’s fine.”
Mark Suleymanov: What does Mama Ziggler have to say about all of this?
Dolph Ziggler: “Oh man, I can’t repeat it. I can’t repeat the last couple years. The text messages are this long and she’s just learning how to text so it’s much worse… it’s all one sentence. But, most importantly, people can say that if they want and that’s the best thing about our sport, about or show is, people want to talk about it all the time, who’s the best and who should be doing more. When this brand expansion happens, [it’s] two different shows, competition or not. And we don’t hate each other on different shows, we just go ‘oh okay, RAW is the flagship and we’re not? We got this new chance on SmackDown with Shane [McMahon]? Let’s try something else out, let’s see if we can take them over, let’s see if we can go head-to-head and create our own Monday, Tuesday night wars.’ That is what breeds better things thrown at a wall and we take over and it’s such a great thing for the business, it’s a great thing for the fans, everybody wins. Particularity me, whether this is my shot right now and then this is it, I will make the most of it because any position I’m in, I’ve always done that. That’s why fans, for some reason, for the last 10 years, are behind me, whether I lose every single night or not.”
Mark Suleymanov: SummerSlam is this Sunday as Charlotte faces Sasha Banks for the Women’s championship and Dolph Ziggler faces Dean Ambrose for the WWE World championship. Any parting message for the fans as you prepare for the big show?
Dolph Ziggler: “I’m really looking forward to it, we’ve had a chance to take over New York. This is such a great time for us, Brooklyn is going to be fun, we’re giving back. I was at a children’s hospital yesterday, we have appearances all week. It’s all about giving back to the fans and on Sunday, that’s where we let it all hang out. That’s where everybody wants to be remembered as the best. And I’m sure Charlotte feels the same way.”
Charlotte: “Yup, I want to be a two-time champ.”