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After a prolific high school and collegiate career in amateur wrestling, where he established several school records for his alma mater Kent State University, Nemeth signed a development contract with WWE in 2004, and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he wrestled under his real name.
They also wrestled in the tag team division, and on April 3, on Raw, won the World Tag Team Championship when Kenny and Mikey, with outside help from the other three Squad members, defeated Big Show and Kane.
He was assigned to their developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), debuting as "Nick Nemeth".
He feuded with Paul Burchill and challenged unsuccessfully for the OVW Television Championship, losing a championship match against then-champion Ken Doane on August 12, 2005.
Ziggler competed in the 2009 Royal Rumble match, in which he was eliminated by Kane after 21 seconds.
On April 15, 2009, Ziggler was drafted to the Smack Down brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft.