Getting text constantly by peers on WWE show days, Dolph Ziggler must be the most popular guy in the WWE locker-room.
Hosting one season of Swerved on WWE Network can do that to a person...well...not right away.
Swerved, directed by Jeff Tremaine (Jackass, Bad Grandpa) and hosted by Ziggler, is a half-hour series that combines the worlds of comedy and sports entertainment as WWE Superstars play hilarious pranks on each other and the WWE Universe.
“After just two weeks,” Ziggler recalls, “there were people who would come in on a Monday [for Raw], and they’d come up to me...someone like Big Show, a giant, grab me by my collar, push me up against the wall and tell me ‘Not today Dolph,’ and then just walk away.
“I didn’t know if we were filming anything that day. I had no idea, but me being the figure head, it put a lot of pressure on me. People wouldn’t sit by me when they were eating dinner. People would walk away from me. People would just text me, ‘Hey man, not today.’ I’d say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ which would make them so much more angry.”
It took some time.
“Eventually we got everybody and kind of turned them on our side,” the 35-year-old Ziggler said, “and now we’re out there having some fun with fans and putting a smile on their face afterward.”
Good thing because you don’t ever want a 7-0, 450-pound behemoth upset with you.
“One of the scariest ones for me was Big Show,” Ziggler said. “They were screwing with him in an interview room, and every time he went to do something a light would go out or a sound would happen or a fan would run in, and this went on for about an hour. He was supposed to be doing a 30-second, pre-taped promo for a little commercial, and he’s getting red, and there’s all this sweat falling down his face. [Ziggler chuckled]
“Finally, he’s just about to finish, and a fan busts into the room, takes a picture and runs away. They say, ‘Oh, we got to film all over,’ and he’s a second away from throwing cameras, pushing a door down. And they sent me in. They go, ‘Dolph, we went too far. Get in there.’ I said, ‘What?’ So I had to run in there and calm him down, and he was actually a really, really good sport about it.
“For all the stuff we did to people on their busy television day, they were all great sports, and it just goes to show how good the WWE superstars are interacting with fans and rolling with the punches.”
How did Ziggler get the gig?
He explained: “[WWE] came to me with this idea -- from all the great people at Jackass -- saying, ‘Here’s this idea. They want you to be the host, have some creative input.’ I said, ‘This sounds like a blast.’ A year earlier I had hosted WWE Download, before we had the network, on our YouTube channel. I got to write my own material, write a monologue, write the jokes. I got to do my kind of stuff, have input and host it.
“Vince [McMahon] says, ‘You’re the perfect fit for [Swerved]. Let’s take a look.’ So I got to sit down with them. We went through the whole creative process of going over the show and what they’ve done in the past and how we can make it 2015.
“With all these creative sessions brought out all these great ideas...that whole staff has been through so much over the entire Jackass [movie, TV series]. They are so good at everything. They know what works and what doesn’t. What a great time working with these guys, who also keep you on your seat, even if you’re on their team, because they’re always looking to stick it to you.”
Swerved Season 2 premiere
WWE’s original series, Swerved Season 2, will premiere all nine half hour long episodes on-demand on the award-winning WWE Network on June 6, immediately following WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network.
This is the first time WWE Network will do a binge release for a show on-demand.
“That’s the cool thing about WWE because this is the first time they’ve ever done anything like this,” said Ziggler, who is also a stand-up comedian. “Immediately after Raw, on WWE Network, all nine episodes, watch them all; go back and forth...it’s worth it.”
Descriptions of all nine Swerved Season 2 episodes are here:
Here’s a sneak peek YouTube link for one of Ziggler’s episodes with WWE Superstar Paige on Swerved Season 2 – Dolph Ziggler’s shocking blind date.
Ziggler also teamed with his Ohio brethren, The Miz, during Swerved Season 2.
“We have a great thing where we’re both fighting for a movie role,” Ziggler said, “and he comes in, and it’s Hollywood...like on his day off at home -- and it’s exactly what you think Miz on his day off is like -- and we started having so much fun that we went off script; we improvised; we did a bunch of crazy stuff, and it becomes some great television.”
Swerved Season 2 is different from Swerved Season 1.
“I got to get a couple of my best friends on a couple of different things [in Season 1],” Ziggler said. “Watching Zack Ryder fall for the same exact Swerve three times in a row and almost a fourth was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen in my entire life. People will send me GIFs online of my face purple from laughing at Ryder falling for the same thing three times in a row. It’s pretty funny.”
Swerved Season 1 trailer
“The best part, like any wrestling match, you have a game plan; you have it set where you feel like it’s gonna work,” Ziggler said, “and halfway though, something else catches that you didn’t plan on, and you run with it.”
Will there be a Swerved Season 3?
Ziggler answered: “I feel like once we get the reaction from [Season 2], and everyone goes, ‘Oh man, I can’t believe you did some of these things.’ They’re gonna be saying, ‘Hey, don’t tell anybody, but we’re working on a Season 3.’ I can’t possible say it for now. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it, and we’d have to somehow turn it back on a dime on some unsuspecting superstars I’m sure.
“If the fans want to see it, WWE’s gonna put it out there.”
5 More Minutes
Was Dolph Ziggler ever Swerved by anyone in WWE?
“Once,” he noted, “before we started filming any episodes, they tricked me into an interview on the very first day, and I sat down on that chair that buzzes people, and I jumped about six feet into the air, defying physics and logic. After that, I was like, ‘I don’t trust anyone ever here again with this.’”
Being from Cleveland, Ohio, Ziggler is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, attending playoff games, schedule permitting. The Cavs with LeBron James are currently in the NBA finals in a rematch against the champion Golden State Warriors. LeBron is a big WWE fan.
Would you like to swerve the Warriors Steph Curry?
“[Chuckle] I think LeBron is gonna do us all a favor and swerve Steph Curry with the Cavs,” Ziggler said. “It’d be fun [to have him on the show], but I think I'd rather have his daughter [Riley] on the show. She’s such a great sport, and everyone likes watching everything she does.”
How about WWE fan Ashton Kutcher? Revenge for Triple H
Kutcher hosts Punk’d, an American hidden camera-practical joke reality television series that first aired on MTV in 2003. During the show’s long run, Kutcher Punk’d Paul Triple H Levesque.
“Without a doubt it would be a blast to stick it to Ashton, just to have a good time about it,” Ziggler said. “It’s all about payback...and it makes for great television.”
Have you ever Swerved somebody in WWE prior to the show?
“Oh, no, no, no, no. I’m no prankster,” Ziggler said. “In the ring, it’s fun to have some fun. My tag partner a long time ago in FCW, before it was NXT, we had a little fun in the ring. He would become one half of the Colons. It’s hard to get into the details, but it’s all about having fun out there. It was a tag team title match. I can’t say who won or why, but it was a great time. It’s about having fun in this business, and we’ve had a lot of it.”
And that makes it fun for the WWE Universe.
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