Nic Nemeth Says Shinsuke Nakamura Helped Him Join NJPW

Nic Nemeth recently appeared as a guest on Talk Is Jericho for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling.

During the discussion, the former WWE Superstar known as Dolph Ziggler spoke about how he was getting sick of sitting on the bench in WWE and how it was Shinsuke Nakamura who helped get him in touch with people at New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview where he touches on these topics with his thoughts.

On how he and Shinsuke Nakamura became good friends: “A couple of years ago, I’m not close friends with a lot of people, but a long time ago when Shinsuke came up from NXT, at the time I was doing the thing where everybody who shows up wrestles me. I didn’t really know him, I didn’t really watch Japanese wrestling, I don’t watch our wrestling. I famously don’t watch wrestling, I hate everything because I was in a bad place, but I love my job and doing what I do. After WrestleMania, Shinsuke comes up (to the main roster), does whatever he does, and we’re overseas. Him and I had to stay and do the dark match after TV and everyone else went on. We’re sitting next to each other, we put a couple of matches together, I’m not really outspoken. I had requested a bottle of jackfire whiskey and we had that for the ride. ‘You want a sip?’ We just start talking, we had a couple of whiskeys, and we were buddies. It was so great because he’s the biggest sweetheart in the world. We had a good bond I liked wrestling with him.”

On how he was sick of sitting on the bench and reached out about leaving: “A long time ago, every time my contract comes up, I’m like, ‘I’m going to get out of here. I have nothing left to do, I’m kind of sitting on the bench.’ Break in case of emergency when someone is having a world title match or something. [Shinsuke] goes, ‘If you ever get out of here, I have some connections and I would like to help you out.’ ‘That’s so cool, I don’t know anybody.’ Years and years go by, and I sent an email to the boss. This is Vince [Vince McMahon]. At the time, we were not sure what was going on, but I sent Vince and incredibly long email, 90% thankful, ‘Oh my God, the years were so great, you taught me to do all this stuff.’ 10%, ‘This is messed up, I have to 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 to be a three minute match like a local. Pay locals to do this. There is no reason for me to be here.’ I didn’t hear anything back for two weeks and then I found out I was released.”

On how Nakamura put him in touch with his contacts at NJPW: “I sent that 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 that wrote back, instantly, and was like, ‘this is a lot to unpack, let’s talk about it further.’ ‘Sir, if you want me to fly to Stamford tomorrow, I’ll be on a flight.’ He said, ‘Thanks, we’ll think about it.’ Two weeks later, I was released. First thing I wanted to do was, I’ve never done independents. I’ve never gone around the country, except with WWE many times. I was like, ‘I’m still friends with Shin [Nakamura]. Hey Shin, do you think I’m still good at wrestling? What do you think about Japan?’ He’s like, ‘I got you.’ Put a couple of pieces together, get to Rocky Romero, who is the go between, and luckily for me, they were happy and excited. That was one of the first things I did when I got released. First week in.”

Check out the complete interview at H/T to for transcribing the above quotes.