Military, ROTC captured the attention of WWE’s Charlotte Flair, Dolph Ziggler


The father of WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler served in the U.S. Army as did the aunt of WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair. Ziggler entertained following in his father’s footsteps, and Flair was recruited for volleyball by one of the top military schools.

With the 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops in the books, two WWE Superstars revealed their brushes with military through family members and college opportunities.

WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler

Dolph  Ziggler’s father served in the U.S. Army.

“That was a long time ago. I was just born, and he was getting out a little bit after, and it all worked out,” Ziggler, 37, said. “The troops shows are special to us anyway, but anything for the troops is special to me because of that. Since he got back, I’ve always followed it closely, and any charitable donations I’ve made is to the troops whether it’s the U.S.O. or the Wounded Warriors Project.

“So it’s extra special to me, but all of us, we love doing this day with the troops. We look forward to it every year. It is an institution, and we look forward to putting on the most patriotic show of the year.”

Ziggler excelled in wrestling at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, bordering Cleveland. Did he consider the military?

“I actually very much did,” chuckled Ziggler. “Wow. No one’s ever asked me that before. That’s really funny.

“I was looking to go to Ohio State or Kent State [in Kent, Ohio] and join the ROTC program and possibly the Army. I was looking into it and hoping they would pay for law school afterward.

“Eventually, I was talked out of it.”

Ziggler still made it to Kent State on a wrestling scholarship. He starred at Kent State, where he graduated with a degree in political science with a pre-law minor.

“At Kent State, one of our ROTC kids, who was on the team with me, ended up going to Iraq to fight fires, and he really put his body on the line, a very proud moment for all of us.”

WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair

“My aunt Kathy, my mom’s baby sister, started out in the Army and then ended up in JAG [Judge Advocate General’s Corps],” she said. “She flew helicopters, before she wound up in JAG. She was in JAG, based in Kuwait, and now she’s back in Georgia.”

Charlotte, 31, excelled in several sports, growing up in Charlotte, N.C. While in high school, she noticed the ROTC program.

“The dedication it must take to be part of ROTC was always interesting to me,” she said. “Seeing what they were doing and what that entailed, I thought, ‘Wow.’ Their schedule and seeing them running around the school was unique.”

A highly touted athlete, she had many suitors for college volleyball.

She noted: “I was recruited by one of the [top military] schools up north, I want to say Annapolis [home base of the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland],” she said, “and I actually thought about going on a recruiting visit there for volleyball, but I didn’t.”

She did visit Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where she inked a full scholarship to play volleyball for the Mountaineers.

The 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops  

WWE showed its respect and support of the brave men and women of the U.S. military by visiting Naval Base San Diego to thank them personally…WWE style.

WWE staff and talent, like Charlotte Flair and Dolph Ziggler, look forward to participating in this annual event, meeting troops and their families, getting involved in community type activities, touring the facilities and conducting a show complete with solid wrestling action and musical guests.

This year the ring which was stationed outdoors on the base — amid a beautiful day with the USS Dewey (DDG 105) battleship destroyer overlooking the action — made it an even more memorable experience.

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USA Network broadcast the 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops as a two-hour special on Thursday, Dec. 14. The show was taped Tuesday, Dec. 5.