Nic Nemeth Explains How He Got Involved With New Japan Pro Wrestling

Nic Nemeth (former WWE star Dolph Ziggler) recently appeared as a guest on Talk Is Jericho for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling. During the discussion, Nemeth commented on how he got into New Japan:

“I’m not close friends with a lot of people, but a long time ago when Shinsuke came up from NXT, at the time it was when I was doing the thing where everybody who shows up wrestles me and I was doing the thing, it was like nine years in a row, whatever, but I’m doing that thing and I didn’t really know him. I don’t watch Japanese wrestling. I don’t watch our wrestling. I famously don’t watch wrestling and I hate everything, but I love my job doing what I do.”

“So right after WrestleMania, Shinsuke comes up, does whatever he does, and we’re overseas doing that two weeks we used to do before COVID times. We bounced around in buses and things and him and I had to stay to do the dark match after TV and everyone else went on. So him and I are just in this car sitting next to each other. We put a couple of matches together, but I’m not really outspoken. We’re just sitting there looking at our phones. I had requested a big bottle of Jack Fire whiskey and we had that for the ride and it’s like, ‘Hey, you want a sip’ He’s like, ‘Yea’ and then we start talking. Then we had a couple of whiskies and we were buddies. It was so great because he’s the biggest sweetheart in the world and he’s like an ass kicker and like it’s so great. He’s so nice. We had a good bond and I really liked wrestling him.”

“It reminds me of his first pay-per-view match with us. I even offered, I go, ‘He’s a strong style guy’, like, I don’t know what the hell is going on. I go, ‘Should we have him like MMA style me up and we start having a wrestling match and he cracks me and hits me with a knee and I’m out cold and throw it out or something?’ They go ‘No, we don’t want that.’ Vince wanted a very WWE style match.’ All right, great. So we did that.”

“A long time ago I was like every time a contract comes up I’m like, alright, I’m gonna get out of here. I have nothing left to do. I was kind of just sitting on the bench. I go, ‘I’m gonna get out’ and he goes, ‘If you ever get out of here, I got some connections and I would like to help you out.’ I’m like, ‘Well, that’s so cool. I don’t know anybody or anything.’ So years and years go by and I sent an email to the boss, Vince. At the time we were not sure actually what’s going on, but I sent Vince an incredibly long email, 90% thankful, ‘Oh my God. You guys are so great. You’ve taught me to do all this stuff.’ 10%, ‘This is messed up. I gotta get the hell out of here. There is no purpose for me to be getting paid millions of dollars to sit on the bench or be in a three minute match like a local.’ I go, ‘Pay locals to do this. There’s no reason for me to be here.’ I didn’t hear anything back for two weeks and then I found out that I was released. I’m sorry. I sent that (letter) to a few different people. I don’t want to name names. but I sent it to very important people. Vince was the only one who wrote back instantly, and was like, ‘This is a lot to unpack. Let’s talk about it further.’ I said, ‘Sir, if you want me to fly to Stanford tomorrow, I will be on a flight’ and he said, ‘Thanks. We’ll think about it’, and then two weeks later, I was released or whatever. So a couple weeks later.”

“So the first thing I want to do is like man, I’ve never done independents. I haven’t gone out of the country, except for with WWE all those times, all these places. I go, well, I’m still friends with Shin. ‘Hey Shin. Do you think I’m so good at wrestling?’ and he laughed. I was like, ‘What do you think about Japan?’ and he’s like, ‘I got you.’ Then put a couple pieces together and get to Rocky Romero, who is the go between, and luckily for me, they were happy and excited to have me. That was one of the first things I did when I got released. The first week this goes back and forth. It’s set up and I’m not saying a word and no one’s going to know and everyone thinks I’m retired or doing comedy, but sure as hell not going to Japan. Nobody sees this coming and I go, ‘This is so great.’ So we kept it very secretive, got everything done back and forth, and then even snuck in there and snuck out and nobody knew and everyone was kind of blown away.

You can check out the complete podcast below:

(h/t to for the transcription)