Dolph Ziggler has had a long and storied career in WWE. However, his debut was as a much different character than you know today.
Before he was The Show Off, Dolph Ziggler debuted in WWE as Nicky, a member of the long-forgotten Spirit Squad faction.
The group featured five wrestlers portraying male cheerleaders, clad in matching green and white tracksuits.
They were relatively successful in their short run. They became World Tag Team Champions in 2006 by beating Kane and Big Show and were part of big feuds against Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
While they were all young and inexperienced, they had a unique look and wrestling style. They used cheerleading moves in the wrestling ring, including their fun but painful looking finisher.
Their run lasted less than a year before they were (literally) shipped back to developmental, but will be remembered for launching the career of future WWE Hall of Famer Dolph Ziggler in the WWE.
Dolph Ziggler WWE Debut
Dolph Ziggler made his debut in the WWE as part of the group The Spirit Squad in 2006. The group were a set of five male cheerleaders who were also wrestlers.
They were a heel group who aligned themselves with the McMahon family in their feud with Triple H and Shawn Michaels (D-Generation X).
The group appeared during a match between Jonathan Coachman and Jerry Lawler for the chance to appear in the 2006 Royal Rumble match. They had not been announced or even rumoured at this point, and were a huge shock for the crowd.
Mikey, Nicky, Johnny, Mitch and Kenny made a shock appearance on stage and put on the first of what would become their signature cheer. Dressed in green and white matching tracksuits, they looked like nothing seen before in the WWE on their debut.
This distracted Jerry Lawler. Especially so when they cartwheeled down the ramp and ran around the ring performing cheers.
This helped Jonathan Coachman, as he rolled up the distracted Lawler to win the match. He went on to appear in the 2006 Royal Rumble match for the first and only time, being eliminated immediately by The Big Show.
Dolph Ziggler’s first match in was a four-on-one handicap match against WWE legend Shawn Michaels, on the 20th February, 2006 episode of Raw.
He wrestled under the name Nicky, a version of his real name Nick Nemeth.
Mitch was injured during this time and could not compete, so the four men in the match were Nicky, Mikey, Kenny and Johnny.
Shawn Michaels won the match by disqualification, and it kicked off the legendary feud between The Spirit Squad and D-Generation X. This would also involve The McMahon’s, who had a bone to pick with DX since the Attitude Era.
He would re-debut as Dolph Ziggler on the September 15, 2008 episode of Raw. He appeared backstage, introducing himself to everyone with the phrase “Hi, I’m Dolph Ziggler”.
Dolph Ziggler’s first match in the WWE under his new name ended in defeat. He lost a match to Batista on the December 1, 2008 episode of Raw, although he avenged it with a win over R-Truth the following week.
He would go on to have an incredible career in the WWE. Dolph Ziggler is a two-time heavywweight champion and won the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2012.
Ziggler looks certain to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame when he retires, due to his 15 plus year career in the WWE.
What did you think of Dolph Ziggler’s debut in the WWE? Let us know what you thought about it down in the comment section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.