Another in the series of interviews Dean conducted last week during a group conference call, a large portion of this article is basically a transcript of the Top Turnbuckle Podcast, CatchNewz and Planeta Wrestling audio interviews but still makes for an interesting read, check out some highlights below. You can read the full original article HERE
Ambrose’s blue-collar approach has been gold for WWE
By JAN MURPHY
There’s nothing fancy about World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Dean Ambrose.
He doesn’t wear elaborate ring attire, opting instead for a tank top and jeans. He doesn’t toss around fancy catchphrases or cut long promos. He prefers to keep it simple. Yet the one thing that does stand out about the 31-year-old Cincinnati native is his work ethic, which is second to none. That work ethic has led to a lot of success in the WWE. So when asked during an international conference call ahead of WrestleMania 33 what fans can expect from Dean Ambrose in Florida on April 2, his answer was simple, yet telling.
“Expect the same thing at WrestleMania that you get from me every single night,” he said. “I go out there and let it all hang out, whether I’m wrestling one guy, two guys, four guys, whether a guy’s seven-foot tall or 400 pounds or whatever. I go out there and let it all hang out every night. I’m not happy unless, after turning in a 100 per cent effort, it’s always 100 miles an hour coming back to the locker room, sweating and bleeding and feeling good about it.”
Effort has always been a staple of Dean Ambrose’s career. After signing with WWE and working in its previous development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, he and fellow FCW standouts Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins debuted at the Survivor Series pay-per-view in 2012, something of a rarity for young talent.
“It was a different time,” Ambrose said of making the leap from developmental to debut at a major pay-per-view. “Now, younger superstars have got to get their experience on the big stage at NXT and they get to learn the ropes there on a bigger platform and just kind of transition over to WWE main shows. Back then, we were just nobodies who were training at a little warehouse in Florida, wrestling in front of 30 people, and nobody knew who we were. We were complete nobodies and we walked right into the main event scene.”
In fact, Ambrose said, their debut signified the end of an era as not long after, WWE turned its developmental system into the current NXT, which has TV, pay-per-views, live events and is a completely separate and popular brand for WWE.
“I don’t know if any other three guys could have handled that the same way we did,” he said. “Nobody will ever be thrown to the wolves again the way were, when we were brought up. We just got tossed right in, we just got tossed right into the deep end of the pool and it was sink or swim, and all of us have been swimming ever since.”
Indeed. Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose have been main event players in the WWE since, and all three have held the WWE world title.
Since breaking away from his cohorts in The Shield in 2014, Ambrose has emerged as one of the most popular and reliable performers in WWE, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, along with two reigns as Intercontinental champ and is a Money in the Bank winner. He’s also become one of the top stars on Smackdown Live, which became its own brand after a roster split in 2016.
Being part of the rise in popularity of Smackdown Live has been special, Ambrose admitted.
“I’ve never looked at it like, ‘Okay, I want to beat Raw. This is a competition thing.’ But you do have to take a certain pride in your work,” he said. “With Smackdown … we see the audience grow on these shows every week. It’s a live event. The crowd is really into the feuds and the rivalries, and they’re really into what they’re seeing on TV and the stories, and they’re really starting to sink their teeth into stuff. As a locker room, we might beat each other every night, but I think there’s been big swell of pride in the Smackdown locker room. It’s a really great crew of guys, it’s one of the best locker rooms that I’ve ever been a part of — maybe the best locker room that I’ve ever been a part of.”
Ambrose has had mixed results at WrestleMania so far, victories with The Shield at WrestleManias 29, 30, a loss in the Intercontinental title ladder match at WrestleMania 31 and a loss to Brock Lesnar in a no holds barred street fight at WrestleMania 32 last year. Fittingly, his memories from his four appearances to date are also mixed.
“My first one, especially, you’re so jacked up and you’ve got all this nervous energy and stuff. It’s hard to stop and let it all soak in,” he said. “The thing that always sticks out to me that I think of when you talk about WrestleMania is the first one I did, it was in New York/New Jersey, Giants Stadium, and we’re doing The Shield entrance thing but just walking out before anybody’s music started playing, we’re we just kind of walking out underneath the bleachers, getting staged to walk out. There was no music playing for a second and there was this giant, loud buzz that you can feel, you can feel it in your brain. All it was the murmur of 80,000 people just talking quietly among themselves in their seats. For that many people, it creates this big hum of energy.
“Now I’m in a routine where I can kind of lay back and enjoy it. What a great way to make a living.”
The ladder match, which saw a returning Daniel Bryan crowned IC champ, provided Ambrose with one of his more unusual memories, he said.
“I had a giant gash in the back of my head that I didn’t know (was there),” he said. “And I’m in this heap of metal and everything, with a giant gash in the back of my head. The doctor runs over and he’s like, ‘Oh my God. You’re cut really bad.’ He kind of thought that I was going to try to get up or whatever and go back into the ring, but I was just kind of chilling.”
The doctor told him at ringside he’d need to have the cut closed.
“He’s like, OK, we’re going to have to staple it.’ I was like, ‘Okay, cool, whatever.’ I didn’t know there was a cut there, let alone a giant gash. He’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going to have to staple it, here we go, three, two …’ Keeshoo! And that hurt a thousand times worse than getting powerbombed on a ladder because it was just so unexpected. Keeshoo! Keeshoo! Keeshoo! With no Novocaine, nothing. I was like, ‘Oww!’ … Then of course I had to get them taken back out and stapled again. That was the most painful part of the match, and nobody even saw it.”
For the first time in his career, barring an upset between now and April 2, Ambrose will go to WrestleMania with a title around his waist, the IC title he currently holds.
“I’ve never thought about that until you just said it,” he said, adding that the title has always been known as the “workhorse” title thanks to runs by the likes of Mr. Perfect, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart and others. “That’s how I’ve been able to make my spot in the company is just being a workhorse guy, and that’s sort of the reputation that I’ve earned for myself.”
He again alludes to the feelings he had following his bout with Lesnar last year. “(WrestleMania is) not a night to go out there and play grab-ass, it’s a night to go out there and work your ass off, because that’s what I do. I don’t know any other way.”
It’s hard not to respect Ambrose’s blue-collar style, a style that has served him well and one that not many others might be able to rival. Ambrose has avoided injuries and fatigue, impressive given his work ethic and fearless style in the ring.
“A lot of it is just luck,” he said when asked how he’s stayed healthy. “I was trained very well, very old-school, so I’m really good at taking care of myself in precarious situations in the ring. Whereas there’s the guys, the football players straight out the Performance Center that might not know, they might break their ankle when I might not experience it in the same situation. I somehow save myself.”
Ambrose also credits his lifestyle outside of the ring for contributing to his well-being.
“I do a ton of yoga, I do a lot of stretching, and meditation and stuff like that,” he said. “As I’m getting older, I’m becoming like a super-weird hippie, just keeping my brain right, and my body right. That’s really my own way of training. I found a really good balance. For me, it’s endurance that’s huge for me. So many guys get hurt because they get tired. I’ve been lucky to never have been injured, not catastrophic, but I’m hurt ALL the time, every single day. I’ve been hurt for four years, more than that. I’m always hurt, but I’m never injured.”