Proverbially thrown down to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the side at his conception, Jonathan Good was born and raised in a grim life in Cincinnati, Ohio. Essentially raising himself at an early age in a life that no person could truly envy, Jon found solitude in wrestling immediately upon discovering it. Renting old wrestling videos from companies such as the WWF and WCW, Jon was immediately captivated by the battling companies; one of which would soon expand and grow into the one that hired him.
Jon made a strong note in his documentary, saying: “There was nothing else. There was the crappy real world, and the awesome world of wrestling which was so much better.” Any person knowing the ultra-violent, independent sensation that he would soon become would get many questions answered by one confession. With an immediate fondness for ECW, Jon felt he immediately connected with the realism; everyone was angry, everyone wanted to hurt each other, and only looked out for themselves. Discovering the company while watching television with his friend and his dad, Jon’s dedication to the company brought him out onto the fire escape as he duct taped his television to the edge to get reception.
With no other options in his mind, Jon knew what his future profession would be. Finding a flyer for Heartland Wrestling Association, the now-sensation began the first steps of his astounding career. Attending his first independent wrestling show up close and personal to see men such as Brian Kendrick, Jamie Noble and B.J. Whitmer, Jon immediately pictured himself in the ring. Finding out information about Les Thatcher’s wrestling camp on a program given at the show, Jon wrote a letter to show his interest, asking questions to Les. Les’s advice was to go to college, and undergo weight training; a route that Jon quickly threw to the side knowing that there was nothing else he wanted to do.
At sixteen, Jon simply showed up at the school and looked in on one of Matt Stryker and Cody Hawk’s training classes – stating he was eighteen as the two men talked, overlooking the men undergoing a basic session. With his first taste of the “behind-the-scenes,” Jon’s desire to become of the men he grew up watching enhanced. Eventually exposing his true age, Jon was turned away and was told to come back at the age of eighteen.
Furious, Jon challenged Les to no avail. Feeling as if wrestling was being taken away from him, Jon refused his denial and ultimately returned the same night he was turned away. Cody Hawk would then extend an invitation for Jon to become a member of staff until he grew older. Emerging himself in the sport, Jon would sit and watch the three-hour practices before he was officially allowed inside of the ring.
With Les Thatcher leaving the company, Jon was allowed to start his official training at the age of seventeen under Cody Hawk full time. Training three days a week for three hours at a time, he ultimately adopted the style of his trainer; a man known for being one of the smartest men in the game.
A year after he began training, Jon made his debut in June 2004 in HWA under the name of Jon Moxley. Quickly into his career, Jon would team up with Jimmy Turner to create the team of Necessary Roughness. Wrestling against teams such as Extreme Desire, Southern Breeze and the duo of wrestling legend, Nigel McGuinness and TJ Dalton. Almost a year into his company, Jon got his first taste of gold with his partner after they defeated Extreme Desire on May 11, 2005 to win the HWA Tag Team Championships. Two months later, the duo lost the tag team titles to Foreign Intelligence, ending the dominant team of Necessary Roughness.
Finding a new partner in Ric Byrne to create the Heartland Foundation, the two men would defeat Foreign Intelligence on August 19, 2005. Immediately stripped of the titles by then majority owner of the HWA, Brock Guffman, Jon’s remarkably short second tag team title run caused him to shy away from the division.
As Jon made his way throughout HWA, he began his expansion and wrestled his first match on the main stage. On January 15, 2006, Jon teamed up with Brad Taylor to take on the then WWE Tag Team Champions, MNM on Velocity. Returning back to HWA to then focus on his singles career, Jon began to build his way up towards the HWA Heavyweight Championship. All the while still focusing on expanding, Jon would once again return to the WWE stage to team up with his former roommate, Dick Rick, to take on the monstrous Big Show on Heat’s May 1, 2006 episode.
With a 0-2 mark in the WWE record books, Jon would soon make up for it – merely eight days later – as he captured the HWA Heavyweight Championship. Defeating longtime HWA superstar Pepper Parks, Jon held the title for four strong months before dropping it to Chad Collyer on September 12, 2006.
During his reign in HWA, Jon also branched out to the renowned company of CHIKARA, involving himself in four shows such as the prestigious Young Lions Cup. During his brief stint, Jon took on the likes of Delirious, Arik Cannon, Hydra, and several prominent independent wrestling sensations. After the The Crushing Weight Of Mainstream Ignorance event, Jon’s career in the company came to an end right before he packed up for his stint in Puerto Rico.
After hearing of Chet Jablonski’s career skyrocketing after his tenure in Puerto Rico, Jon sent a tape to obtain an opportunity. Months after sending it out, Jon would get the call from Bushwhacker Luke of WWF fame, who extended an offer for Jon to become apart of a tag team in IWA Puerto Rico. Coming down immediately, Jon was slotted into a team with Hade Vansen to create The British Militia.
Obtaining the IWA Puerto Rico Tag Team Titles on their third night together, successfully defeating Chicano & Slash Venom. Going from 150 people in Cincinnati at HWA, Jon quickly learned how to anger the rabid crowds of 1000 in Puerto Rico alongside his tag team partner. During his tenure, Jon’s wrestling style would change; the angry side of his character rearing its ugly head.
Falling into hard times in his personal life, Jon took advantage of the freedom in a lifestyle that ultimately began a brutal decline. However, he continued on with his wrestling career – remaining a part of the British Militia and holding the tag team gold until November 11, 2006. Upon losing the belts, the two men then went their separate ways. Changing his name from Jon Moxley – as it had been through all of his independent wrestling career – it was momentarily changed to Jonathan Moxley as he fought for both the Intercontinental and Cruiserweight Championships, but to no avail. Nearing the end of his tenure, Jon would then become Moxley Moxx until he was sent back home to Cincinnati for Christmas.
Returning to the states thirty pounds lighter after a personal battle, Jon was never invited back to the company. Refusing to allow it to end his career, Jon continued on strong, returning to HWA to quickly regain the HWA Heavyweight Championship from Pepper Parks on December 30, 2006. Unfortunately, Jon would then lose the title three days later on January 2, 2007 to the “Buffalo Bad Boy” Brian Jennings.
In the same month, Jon would once again return to work for the WWE, this time in a singles match against Val Venis on the January 15, 2007 episode of Heat. Coming in for a dark match against the well-known WWE superstar, Jon was going through with a tryout after being contacted by the head of talent relations during his time in Puerto Rico. Contacting the office after his impressive match, Jon’s dramatic weight loss became an issue, setting him back as he was told to gain twenty to thirty pounds.
While battling to put on the pounds, Jon’s career continued onward as he debuted for companies such as IPW, PWR, ROH, and EWF while continuing his tenure at HWA. In his home turf, Jon would return to the tag team division to stand alongside his trainer, Cody Hawk, to soon grab the HWA Tag Team Championships on June 12, 2007. With Jon’s third run with the titles, it showed similar to his second one; ending fast as they dropped the belts four days later to the the GP Code.
During the same time, Jon had begun to climb the totem pole over in IPW, quickly standing across from the Mid-American Champion, Billy Roc. Losing in his first attempt, Jon would come back three months later in another title match; winning his first piece of IPW gold on July 6 at the Heatstroke 2007 event. Successfully defending the Mid-America Championship against its former holder twice, Jon would then lose it on their third bout in a 30-Minute Iron Man Falls Count Anywhere match at Shocktoberfest 2007 on October 6.
Eventually gaining the weight, Jon would soon be informed of the WWE’s interest from the talent relations office. With yet another stroke of bad luck, the very man who looked to sign Jon was caught in the major 2007 illegal steroid bust four days later, causing him to lose his job. With Jon’s ties to the company cut off, he was once again set back.
In a sick twist of fate, HWA also essentially closed it’s doors. With all he’d known taken away from him, Jon’s career came to a halt causing him to take a break from mid-2007 to mid-2008; only wrestling at a local Cincinnati wrestling company on weekends. Using this time to mellow him out and confront his personal demons, Jon began to sort out his personal life.
His love for wrestling ultimately drew him back into the game. Coming back to companies such as IPW and doing the sparse events for HWA, Jon hit his new stride by showing a more callous side to himself. Relying on his anger and truly only caring about his own personal gain in the business, Jon’s darker side became more prominent leading him to paths that few men had ever dared to walk upon. Becoming involved in an uncivilized feud with Drake Younger in IPW, Jon would soon enough gain the World Title from him after a barbaric Dog Collar match at Hardcore Holiday 2009 on January 3.
Back at his home turf of HWA, Jon also showed his brutal tendencies in a heated feud with Deja Vu. With a gaining interest in CZW, Jon immediately debuted at the 10th Anniversary Show in February of 2009 to assist his tag team partner, Sami Callihan. Wrestling around the midwest for the next several months, all the while continuing his heated feud with Drake Younger in IPW and holding the World Title proudly, Jon’s name expanded further as he began to become a household name for the ultra-violent company of CZW.
Making an impact on the company along Sami Callihan (his partner in the well-known Switchblade Conspiracy), Jon began his climb of the company that would prove to be his perfect fit. On June 6, 2009, Jon participated in his first ever Tournament of Death match at TOD VIII. In the first round, Jon defeated hardcore legend Brain Damage in a Dining Death match, but ultimately lost to Nick Gage in a triple threat fans bring the weapons match, also including Scotty Vortekz, in the semi-finals. In the finals of the tournament, Nick Gage severed an artery in his arm which brought the bout to a pause. Jon would come out from the back to take on Thumbtack Jack as they tended to Gage before the roster cleared from the back to end the tournament in a battle royal.
Earning an enormous amount of credit from the hardcore audience after his barbarous bouts, Jon hit his stride in the company. Though he continued to rule IPW and remained a prominent face in HWA, Jon’s fanbase drastically grew with the now-wider audience. While his name expanded, however, Jon’s impressive IPW World Title run came to an end by the hands of Scotty Vortekz at Breakdown on June 27, 2009.
Just after he momentarily dipped his toe into a new pond at IWA-Mid South in their Battle of the Future Stars – in which he ultimately lost in the final round to independent sensation, Ricochet, Jon and Sami reunited the Switchblades with Joe Gacy to once again return to CZW – now becoming prominent additions to the roster.
Jon’s career would continue with consistent bookings in late 2009, working for CZW, HWA, IPW, IWA Mid-South, IWC, and several more promotions as his name began to blow up. Becoming a member of two prominent tag teams, Jon would grasp onto two pieces of championship gold for each respective team. Debuting in wXw at True Colors 2009, Jon quickly snatched the World Tag Team Titles with Sami Callihan after defeating The Kartel. Merely twelve days later, Jon would return to HWA to align with his former foe who had recently undergone a personality change. Now calling himself King Vu, Vu assisted Jon in once again grasping the HWA Tag Team Championships as Royal Violence.
Only growing more popular with the ultra-violent audience, Jon’s credit from the fans grew even larger on October 25, 2009 when he participated in the CZW Tournament of Death: Rewind. Losing in the first round against Thumbtack Jack in a Four Corners of Fun Dog Collar match, Jon’s name soon became one that all fans were speaking of, this time with pure hatred after quitting in the bout.
Continuing on with expanding his now-scarred wings, Jon worked for companies such as FIP and the expanding DGUSA. Losing the HWA Tag Titles to the Irish Airborne on November 11, 2009, the two men remained united to gain it once more a month later on December 19. As the two former foes dominated the HWA’s tag team scene, Jon also made an impact at CZW’s Cage of Death XI on December 12, 2009. Defeating B-Boy, Eddie Kingston and Egotistico Fantastico in a Number One Contendership Four Way for the CZW World Heavyweight Championship, Jon’s stance in the company grew stronger than ever.
With his success growing, Jon added another HWA championship run to his resume, once again grasping the HWA Heavyweight Championship from Aaron Williams. King Vu’s desire for more ultimately caused the tag team to crumble, costing the duo the match as he turned his back to his partner. Vu and Jon would then work against each other once more, Vu ultimately questing for the greatest gold HWA had to offer.
After fighting in numerous notable singles hardcore matches with men such as xOMGx, Scotty Vortekz, Brain Damage, Thumbtack Jack, and Nick Gage, Jon settled himself on the level of the company’s main event level. Exactly one year after his debut at the 10th Anniversary Show (in which he interrupted the match to assist Sami Callihan), Jon won the CZW World Heavyweight Title from B-Boy on February 13, 2010 at the 11th Anniversary Show in a shocking change.
At the current time, Jon successfully held the HWA Heavyweight Title, the CZW World Heavyweight Title and the wXw World Tag Team Titles with Sami Callihan. With his career at an all-time high, Jon would soon add another after defeating Scotty Vortekz for the IPW World Title in a Title vs. Title matchup.
Despite toting around four championship belts, Jon placed his own safety on the backburner to prove himself further as he defended his CZW title against hardcore legend, Nick “F’N” Gage at Walking On Pins and Needles on March 13, 2010. While his name grew larger in CZW, Jon worked several dark matches with DGUSA before he soon began to work on the main card. Almost coming full circle from his childhood, Jon would stand across Tommy Dreamer to soon defeat him in a Hardcore match at Mercury Rising 2010.
Continuing to prove his dominance throughout the independent circuit, Jon would continue to defend his titles before gaining yet another. Successfully defeating Roderick Strong for the vacant FIP World Heavyweight Championship at Southern Stampede 2010 on April 17, Jon added his fifth title to his 2010 Collection.
Debuting at EVOLVE 3 in the same summer in a losing effort, Jon’s name continued to only grow larger. Involving himself in a showstopping feud with Jimmy Jacobs in DGUSA, he also continued to rule CZW and HWA with an iron fist. Jon successfully defended his HWA Heavyweight Title consistently throughout his tenure to then lose it to Gerome Phillips on July 14, 2010. In a bad stroke of luck, Jon would then lose his CZW World Heavyweight Title a little under a month later at Southern Violence on August 7, 2010.
Though Jon was kept away from the HWA Heavyweight Title, he almost immediately regained the CZW gold, defeating Nick Gage and Egotistico Fantastico at A Tangled Web 3 on August 14, merely a week later.
While his feud with Jimmy Jacobs only grew more violent and branching out to IPW, Jon continued to consistently wrestle into the fall of 2010. Defending his CZW Title successfully against the winner of the most recent Tournament of Death champion, Scotty Vortekz, Jon once again proved himself to the attending CZW audience.
Keeping up with his hardcore tendencies, Jon would then stand toe-to-toe with Jimmy Jacobs in a street fight at DGUSA’s Untouchable 2010 event on September 25. In DGUSA’s weekend double-header, Jon would then go on to wrestle the then WWE United States Champion, Bryan Danielson, in a losing effort one day later at Way of the Ronin despite his confident claims in the match’s hype.
Defending his title two more times – against Robert Anthony at It’s Always Bloody in Philadelphia and Nick Gage at Deja Vu 5 – Jon prepared himself for the company’s tour of Germany. Before leaving the country, however, Jon once more went for the blood of Jimmy Jacobs in an I Quit Match at Bushido: Code of the Warrior on October 29, 2010. To complete another DGUSA weekend double header, Jon would then team with Akira Tozawa to take on the DGUSA Open the Freedom Gate champion, BxB Hulk and Homicide in his second losing effort during the weekend.
Going overseas to wrestle for both wXw and CZW from November 5 to 7, Jon would walk away 3-0 after successfully defeating Danny Havoc and Devon Moore to defend his CZW World Heavyweight Title while Rico Bushido in wXw. When he returned, Jon would defend his CZW Title at Night of Infamy 9: Betrayal against Drake Younger on November 13. With three title defenses in less than a week in the bag, Jon’s focus would then shift.
His building feud with Homicide kicked up dramatically as the two men locked horns at EVOLVE 6 in a Relaxed Rules match on November 20, 2010. Jon ultimately walked away with the victory as the referee ended the match for the safety of Homicide due to his shoulder injuries. Infuriated, Homicide jumped Jon after the action while leaving the fans hanging by a string, wondering what would come next.
The two men would meet up once more six days later at ICW Final Impact 2010, where Homicide managed to get the edge. Momentarily the two men got a break from each other as Jon focused upon FIP, aiming to win the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup. Getting to the final round, Jon would then lose to tag team partner in the Switchblade Conspiracy, Sami Callihan.
With that loss on his shoulders, Jon would once again head into battle with Homicide – this time at CZW’s Cage of Death XII on December 11, 2010. Successfully defending his title, Jon placed the men at 2-2. However, after the match up Jon would then be assaulted by the powerhouse, Brodie Lee, who made it known his new quest was for the CZW gold.
Despite Brodie’s assault, Jon wasn’t thrown off and would successfully defend his title against him nearly a month later at From Small Beginnings…Comes Great Things on January 7, 2011. Jon’s focus then quickly focused on Homicide once more. Mouthing the New York native whenever he could, Jon insulted the very foundation of New York – even at the United event that took place in New York City.
Jon strode into the city with confidence, mocking Homicide’s absence while insulting his home state. After standing alongside Akira Tozawa as he faced off against Sami Callihan, Jon would then continue to insult the city before being confronted by ring girl, Reby Sky, who wouldn’t stand for his running mouth. Annoyed after a slap to the face, Jon went to assault the young woman before the save was made by Jigsaw. Jon walked away with the victory before the show continued and he was later on assaulted by one of Homicide’s associates. Rolling onto United: Philly one day later, Jon would lose to BxB Hulk before once again meeting another one of Homicide’s associates – his running mouth catching up to him.
At United: Finale in Philadelphia, the match was set. Jon would take on Homicide in a No Rules match up. Earlier in the show, Jon accompanied Akira Tozawa to the ring for his match with BxB Hulk. Soon tempted by Reby Sky who wholeheartedly apologized for her earlier actions, Jon then brought her to the back to leave his stablemate on his own. Appearing later on to offer YAMATO’s services to Jimmy Jacobs and Austin Aries in their tag match later in the show, Jon – who was accompanied by Reby Sky – was then attacked by the bloodthirsty Homicide.
The two men would fight throughout the arena until the match worked in Jon’s favor, who then brought it to the ring only to get slapped by fate. Proving she had been working alongside Homicide, Reby would strike Jon downstairs before slapping him viciously to get the match in Homicide’s favor. The two men would continue to fight until Homicide curiously placed Jon on him for the decisive pinfall victory. As Homicide went to leave, however, his curious quest turned even more confusing as he went back onto the assault; going to cut off the tongue of Jon until Akira made the save.
Then returning to CZW, Jon would shake off the cobwebs as he headed into Twelve: Anniversary on February 12, 2011 to defend his title against Robert Anthony. In a shocking turn of events, Jon lost the title, but with no sour mood. The two men would then become associates after Jon stated he saw himself in his fellow star. Almost one month after dropping his title to Robert, Jon would then referee Robert’s first title defense at Status Update: FANTASTIC on March 12, 2011.
Around this time, rumors had begun to surface about Jon’s signing with the WWE. With his lips sealed tight, Jon would then turn around to head into a triple-shot weekend event with DGUSA as all the company’s stables fought for bragging rights. With his form of an annoying mosquito in the form of Reby Sky, Dean would head into Open the Southern Gate on April 1, 2011 with a warning for the woman to stay away. Facing off in a singles bout against Blood Warriors’ Naruki Doi, Jon would first be assaulted by Brodie Lee to then lose after a hard-fought battle. Appearing later to confront his mosquito, stating the young woman was in love with him and couldn’t control her feelings, he then set his “lady of the night” on her, earning a threat from the New York native.
Unfazed, Jon headed into Mercury Rising on the following day. Walking to the ring with Trina Michaels and Valerie Malone, Jon ultimately gained the victory after a distraction from Malone allowed him time to kick Arik low, rolling him up for the pin. With the crowd livid, Reby Sky came to show light to the referee before confronting her biggest foe. After Reby laid Valerie out after a brief catfight, Trina took the advantage to give Jon something to celebrate before they headed to the back. Later on, Jon would speak for YAMATO to warn Austin Aries of his imminent failure. However, as Jon went to accompany YAMATO to the ring, he was ultimately sent to the back, not appearing until the weekend’s final show.
At Open the Ultimate Gate, Jon would then accompany YAMATO to the ring alongside Trina Michaels for his match against Akira Tozawa. Extending an offer to his former stablemate, Jon told Tozawa if he defeated him in No Disqualification match, his bout with YAMATO would be for the Open the Freedom Gate championship that YAMATO had won two days prior. Tozawa accepted to then get the victory after a German Suplex into a mess of chairs, before hitting another for the pin; making the YAMATO vs. Tozawa for the title in the main event. Jon and Trina went to continue their assault on Tozawa before Reby Sky once again got involved, causing Trina to send Jon out of the ring after a blow to the face.
One day after the event, it was announced. Independent sensation Jon Moxley had signed a developmental deal with the WWE and was granted his release from DGUSA. Finishing up his independent dates and performing his final match against Austin Aries at EVOLVE 7 on April 19, 2011, Jon Moxley then headed down to Florida.
Given the new name of Dean Ambrose, the internet quickly exploded with the sight of the new star in WWE’s developmental territory of FCW. Immediately upon his debut, Dean set his goals high to extend a challenge to Seth Rollins on FCW TV #144 (airing July 3, 2011). Dean’s actions would be put into question by Byron Saxton before he was held in high opinion by William Regal, the other member of the commentary team.
Soon, Dean received his wish as he underwent a series of matches with Seth Rollins for the Florida 15 Championship. Their first bout went to the 15 Minute Time Limit with no successful pinfalls on episode 150 (aired August 14). Two weeks later, the two men met up once more where both fought to earn bragging rights on episode 152 (aired August 28). With five more minutes to the bout added, once again the men battled until the clock hit zero with zero pinfalls scored. With no man with the real edge, their battles would continue on to episode 155 (aired September 18). The clock hit zero for the third time, leaving everyone exasperated.
The match would then be continued into sudden death rules that allowed Rollins to gain the edge with the 3:2 victory. Not attending FCW the following week, Dean would return on episode 157 (October 2) to finally gain the edge over Seth Rollins in a non-title match in the first round of the Super Eight Tournament to crown the new FCW Heavyweight Champion. On episode 158 (October 9), Leo Kruger would go on to defeat Damien Sandow and Dean Ambrose and Husky Harris.
With his eyes still on the grandest prize, Dean would wrestle in a losing effort the follow week on episode 159 (October 16) in a triple threat number one contendership bout against Husky Harris (the imminent winner) and Damien Sandow. Disappearing for a week, Dean would then make his presence known during the bout between Seth Rollins and Damien Sandow on episode 161 (October 30). Settling down at ringside with a beverage and popcorn, Dean would then be sent to the back before returning to attack Damien Sandow – ultimately giving him the Florida 15 Championship to screw his foe, Seth Rollins, out of his gold.
In more peculiar actions, however, Dean would appear once more in episode 161. With the roster busy separating a fight, Dean would eye William Regal as he tended to the fallen general manager, Maxine. Assaulting the self-professed Villain, Dean then lit the match that started one of wrestling’s most intense feuds.
Wasting no time, the men locked horns on episode 162 (November 6) in an unforgettable matchup. In a battle between one of wrestling’s most prominent villains versus one of the newest, the two men fought with plenty to prove. Dislocating Dean’s shoulder in the match up, William made it his ultimate target all throughout the match up; putting Dean through excruciating pain in whatever ways possible. Ultimately, William walked away with his head held high after a Knee Trembler for the victory. From that point on, Dean grew an obsession with his formidable opponent.
Two weeks later, Dean would return to action on episode 164 (November 20) to ultimately win a six person tag match with a Knee Trembler to Johnny Curtis. Focusing on Regal numerous times throughout the match, Dean made it clear what his ultimate intentions were. Two weeks later on episode 166 (December 4), Dean would then apparently set his sights back on the Florida 15 – challenging the champion, Damien Sandow.
Not afraid to be a fighting champion, Damien accepted the match for episode 167 (December 11). In an almost shocking turn of events, Damien walked away with a 3:0 victory. Earning one pinfall cleanly after his finishing move, Damien gained the other two as Dean grew belligerent. Throwing Damien into an exposed turnbuckle with 35 seconds left, Dean then amuses himself with another throw of the champion into the turnbuckle to give him another fall upon the grounds of a disqualification.
When the clock hit :00, Ambrose’s assault didn’t relent. Attacking Sandow and sending him into the exposed turnbuckle repeatedly, Dean then kneeled over Sandow before snatching the Florida 15 title to place it around Sandow’s neck. Once again, Dean put his attention upon William Regal as he locked the suffering champion into the Regal Stretch before officials tried to end the assault.
The following week, Dean extended a roster-wide challenge on episode 168 (December 18) before once again turning his attention to Regal, who wasn’t in attendance. On the following week, Dean teamed up with Antonio Cesaro to take on Abraham Washington and FCW foe, Seth Rollins. Going for the Regal Stretch in the match to once again gain Regal’s attention, Dean and Antonio ultimately walked away on the losing team after a sudden roll up on Cesaro.
During the busy month of December, Dean then began to go on tour with the WWE – working at several live events against former foe from the independent scene, Daniel Bryan. Also returning to his career in WWE dark matches, Dean fell victim to prominent WWE star, Ted DiBiase.
With the new year underway, Dean’s obsession didn’t waver. Constantly stealing a move from the book of William Regal in FCW territory, Dean demanded for the attention of the WWE veteran. All the while working both FCW and WWE events, Dean’s persistence to gain the attention of the one person to not cave to his demands found its way into his dark show matches. Successfully putting away numerous opponents with the Knee Trembler and Regal Stretch, Dean would then confront Regal once more on episode 179 of FCW TV (March 4).
Remaining relatively silent for the next several weeks, Dean would make an unexpected appearance during Wrestlemania weekend. Wrestling in several bouts at the Axxess event in Miami, Dean’s name grew larger, but through a different outlet. Appearing in a video alongside hardcore legend, Mick Foley, Dean began to ramble about the horrific things that Mick had inadvertently caused; thanking him for the death and severe injury of many fans. Saying Foley needed to be held accountable for leading a generation astray, Dean continued his assault through Twitter and ultimately got sent back to Florida to keep the two men apart before a Smackdown event.
Refusing to be ignored, Dean fought for a word from Regal – who once again denied him the right. With rare appearances in FCW television, Dean would appear a month later on episode 184 (April 8) to simply stalk William Regal in the backstage area. Desiring the attention of Regal, Dean would go onto episode 184 (April 15) to quickly put away with James Bronson in the first ever Tap Out match with the Regal Stretch.
Regal quickly removed himself from ringside to then be stalked to the back where Dean would cut a highly regarded promo. Speaking of his broken heart, Dean ended the edition of FCW TV on a painful note. Appearing one week later, Dean would ultimately be assaulted by a bitter James Bronson in the backstage area on episode 185 (April 29). Not allowing that to take him out, Dean would make the save later on in the night after William Regal assaulted James Bronson, to then be attacked by Garrett Dylan. The two foes locked in simultaneous Regal Stretches in the center of the ring, making eye contact before William once again left the scene.
Removing himself from FCW television, Dean became a recurring character in WWE dark matches. Going over men such as Alex Riley, Zack Ryder, Ezekiel Jackson, and a sparse collection of “jobbers,” Dean’s name began to expand further over the WWE audience. With his demand high, Dean would then return to FCW Television (only appearing for sparse FCW live events).
On episode 191 (June 3), Dean was confronted by Seth Rollins who made a note of Dean’s obsession with William Regal. Knowing how hungry Dean once was, Seth tells him to regain his focus. Later on in the show, Dean would confront the Florida Heavyweight Champion, telling him “the rematch” is in two weeks.
On the WWE wavelength, Mick Foley stated that him and the young Dean Ambrose had finally cleared the air; realizing that they will never “exchange Christmas cards,” before going on with his way as Dean continued on strong in Florida.
As promised on episode 194 (June 24 after an airing mishap), the two men locked up for the final time on FCW TV. Wrestling for the Florida Heavyweight Title, the two men fought from pillar to post as Dean showed his toughness upon dislocating his shoulder; showing vulnerability to his hawk of an opponent. Fighting with essentially one arm, Dean made use of the Knee Trembler throughout the match, but ultimately fell victim after two Blackout’s and a Regal Stretch.
Not appearing after the bout on FCW TV for nearly a month, Dean continued to work dark matches for the WWE against opponents such as Tyson Kidd, Luke Hawkins and even Seth Rollins. However, Dean’s dream ultimately came true. On the final episode of FCW television (#197, July 15), Dean Ambrose and William Regal finally met in the ring once more; a year after their initial bout. Dean aimed to injure Regal in a way that no other person had, and evidently succeeded.
The match would end after fifteen minutes in a No Contest by the call of the referee. Bleeding profusely after Dean repeatedly bashed the side of his head into an exposed turnbuckle, Regal fell and hard. Though Dean’s shoulder once again was located, he managed to get the ultimate advantage, not wanting to stop even when the referee’s demanded it. Chaos would ensue at the end of the final episode, William Regal down for the count after welcoming another Knee Trembler before the roster cleared out to drag Dean to the backstage area; ending an era off with Dean’s personal touch of violence.
The WWE would note Dean’s disappearance after this was due to his unpredictability, sparsely wrestling for NXT live events and dark matches, but never truly cementing himself back in front of the camera. Months would pass after the event before the very foundation of the WWE was shaken, a trio of NXT wrestlers rushing onto the main event stage to create the group known as the Shield: Serving to fix the injustices within the WWE.
Debuting at Survivor Series (11/18/2012) – a stage that welcomed some of wrestling’s finest stars – Dean Ambrose stood alongside Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to rush the ring during the main event of Ryback vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena. The three men – dressed as security guards – laid Ryback to waste by powerbombing him through a table, and allowing the WWE champion, CM Punk, to defend his title. Outrage and numerous questions would follow, fingers wildly pointing in any and all directions.
Who were these three men, and WHAT did they want? Rather than answering questions, the men would appear the very next night on Raw (11/19/2012) to once more do a service for CM Punk. As Ryback attempted to crash the party celebrating the 365 day celebration of Punk as champ, the Shield rushed the ring to ward Ryback off, once more leaving Ryback through a broken announcer’s table. The men refused to stop, attacking Santino Marella and Tyson Kidd on the following night at tapings (11/20/2012).
With the questions wildly firing through the air, the trio then accepted an offer to sit down to speak to Michael Cole on the next Raw (11/26/2012). Clarifying their actions, the Shield let it be known that they watched the main roster with disgust from down below in NXT. Their goal to right the injustices in the WWE in which true talents were overlooked by the popular vote was made clear later in the night: Kane earning the right to face the CM Punk over Daniel Bryan. Not far too long into the match, the Shield once more attacked.
Issuing a brutal beat down on Kane, the Shield then turned their attention to the oncoming Daniel Bryan – silent brilliance sparking between three independent stars who had crossed paths before – until Ryback looked for his revenge. Once Ryback managed to get a small advantage, CM Punk involved himself to allow the monster to fall victim to the numbers game.
The Shield would continue to make their presence known at WWE house shows, attacking Ryback at any given opportunity until the following Raw (12/03/2012). Overlooking a tag match with Team Hell No involved, the Shield slowly crept their way down to the ring with precision; leaving anticipation in the air with every step. The numbers game once more allowed Dean and co. to gain the edge, leaving Kane and Daniel Bryan laid out in the center of the ring before they exited through the fans.
However, another injustice would come on the following night: Brad Maddox unfairly being pitted against Randy Orton, causing the Viper to be brutally assaulted by the Shield after the match was complete. As the show prepared to come to an end, CM Punk sat with sweat on his brow; The Miz questioning his alliances to the Shield and Brad Maddox on a lie detector Almost as expected, however, the Shield ran in to tear apart the scene. Assaulting the Miz, the Shield was then confronted by Team Hell No. The three-on-two odds still allowed the NXT trio to gain the edge over Hell No, with the Miz incapacitated.
Ryback once more made his presence known to the trio, managing to neutralize them and to finally give Punk a spot of revenge. Unfortunately as Punk was slammed through a table, the champion proved to be injured; receiving knee surgery the very next day. With the champion out, a new match was set for TLC at the following Smackdown (12/07/2012): The Shield facing off against Ryback and Team Hell No in a TLC match that could only be determined by pinfall or submission.
With Dean’s experience in a hardcore background, the fan response was strong; the result clear. Despite the serious match hanging in the air, the Shield showed no fear and swung back down to their home turf for NXT tapings. Assaulting two relatively unknown men towards the beginning of the first set of tapings (airing 01/02/2013), Ambrose then made it clear that the three men saw the blatant injustices even in their own home.
Threats were placed in the air of what would happen if the men attacked any other stars, but the trio proved to be careless. Attacking Corey Graves during his NXT Title match with Seth Rollins, ending the match in disqualification, the Shield allowed Rollins to retain the title. The locker room spilled out to stop the Shield, but were consistently tossed to the side until Dusty Rhodes pulled out his secret weapon: Big E. Langston.
The following taping (airing 01/09/2013), the Shield went directly to Dusty Rhodes to express themselves, and soon found themselves drawing the short end of the stick as Dean and Roman couldn’t help Seth defend his title against Big E. Langston later on in the night.
That didn’t stop them getting involved however and with business taken care of down in NXT, The Shield returned to RAW and Smackdown to continue their tear through the main rosters. Heading in to TLC (16/12/2012) they were an unknown entity to many, but they made the biggest impact of the night as they ripped through Team Hell No and Daniel Bryan and secured their first main roster win in style. A trend that would continue in to the new year and throughout 2013.
2013 would be Dean and The Shields year as they hit milestone after milestone in easy stride. Competing at their first ever Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 29 saw the trio open the show and take on the team of Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show. Three of the biggest names in the business. They would continue their winning streak and despite naysayers predicting they didn’t stand a chance, it was Ambrose that secured the win, pinning Randy Orton and cementing The Shield as a force to be reckoned with. They quickly followed this with a trip to Europe during which they made one of the most memorable entrances in RAW history, arriving in a helicopter! (22/04/2013) they would go on to defeat the formidable team of Daniel Bryan, Kane and The Undertaker in front of the London crowd the same night. The following Smackdown (26/04/2013) Dean would get one of his dream matches as he took on The Undertaker one on one. With his Shield brothers at ringside he fearlessly faced down the Phenom and despite coming out on the losing end of the bout, it was ultimately he, Rollins and Reigns that triumphed that night as they Triple Powerbombed The Undertaker through the announce desk, banishing him from WWE programming for a full year.
Returning from a successful European tour they set their sights on gold and at Extreme Rules (19/05/2013) all three were successful in doing so. Dean winning the United States Championship from Kofi Kingston in a one on one bout and Rollins and Reigns picking up the Tag Team Championships from Team Hell No. Covered in Gold, they continued to be unstoppable through the year until hitting their very first shocking lost on the June 14th episode of Smackdown. Seth Rollins was made to tap out by Daniel Bryan while Kane and Randy Orton dispatched Ambrose and Reigns on the outside. Many thought this would derail the trio and would be the end of them but to the contrary it seemed to make the team stronger.
In August The Shield began an alliance with Triple H and the ‘Authority’ during which time they acted as enforcers and bodyguards for the group. However tensions would begin to rise as the three members began to feel they were being used more than they were gaining. On October 14th Rollins and Reigns would lose the tag titles to Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a bout that angered The Authority and caused the first splinters in The Shield. With Ambrose the only one holding gold and growing increasingly cocky about it, while taking a series of pinfalls in matches costing the group wins, the cracks grew wider. They returned to TLC with high expectations on December 15th, a three on one handicap match against CM Punk that seemed like they couldn’t possibly lose. After their huge debut match at last years TLC, they had something to prove. However it wasn’t to be and thanks to a blinded Reigns, Ambrose was speared and Punk was able to pick up the pin and the shocking win.
Forging onwards in to 2014, all three members of The Shield were cost a shot at going in to the Elimination Chamber by the Wyatt Family – this set up a stellar match between the two hot factions for the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View. But the cracks continued to inch wider as tensions between Ambrose and Reigns rose. Dean barely keeping hold of his United States Championship in a match against Mark Henry, Reigns began to name Ambrose the weak link of The Shield. Still, the three were able to pull together and take on The Wyatts in what would end up being a losing bout on February 23rd, 2014. As Dean and Wyatt battled out through the crowd, Reigns was left alone, eventually at the mercy of all three Wyatt family members with Rollins taken out on the outside, Dean was nowhere to be seen and Reigns ate the loss.
The following RAW, Reigns confronted Dean about where he was and he refused to answer. Telling his brothers if they didn’t trust him then he didn’t need this. On the March 3rd episode of RAW the tensions came to a head as a rematch between The Shield and The Wyatts saw Rollins walk out on his team mates, leaving Ambrose alone and at their mercy. Another loss. On Smackdown The Shield held a summit to confront one another and air their grievances, it ended with Rollins punching Ambrose and Ambrose punching him right back! Reigns splitting the two of them up he asked if they’d gotten it out of their systems and apparently – they had! After this teased breakup, The Shield went on stronger than ever. All three seemingly back on the same page.
Their turnabout from bad guys to good guys got well underway as they began to stand against The Authority in a feud with Kane, and align with the explosively popular Daniel Bryan. The Authority began to make their lives as difficult as possible and they walked in to a match against The New Age Outlaws and Kane at Wrestlemania 30. Possibly one of The Shields most impressive outings to date as they defeated their opponents in a handful of minutes, one of the most dominant displays in months. Reunited and in good spirits they finally defeated The Wyatt Family on April 8th’s episode of Main Event. Furious, The Authority put them in to ridiculous handicap matches and stacked the odds repeatedly, but The Shield continued to prevail until the reformation of Evolution on April 14th, The Shield suffering their most brutal beatdown to date.
The feud between The Shield and Evolution burned to Extreme Rules (04/05/2014) where The Shield picked up one of their biggest victories, defeating Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in spectacular style. In punishment for this Ambrose was thrown in to a 20 Man Battle Royal for his United States Championship the following night on RAW (05/05/2014) and despite surviving to the final two, Sheamus eliminated him and he lost his title at a recording breaking 351 Days – another stamp in the history books.
The Authority and Evolution continued to break them down through to a no holds barred elimination match at Payback (01/06/2014) – a match again nobody thought they could win, but they did. The Shield eliminating all three members of Evolution without suffering a single loss to their numbers. They were truly on top of the world, where else can you go from there? The following night on RAW, we’d find out as the ‘Chair shot heard around the world’ stunned the WWE Universe. Seth Rollins turning on Ambrose and Reigns in spectacular style and aligning with Evolution. The Shield were officially no more.
As Reigns moved on to chasing Randy Orton and the gold, Dean had only one thing on his mind. Bloody revenge. Chasing after Rollins relentlessly and naming him a marked man. They didn’t get a singles match together immediately, instead they chased in to Money in the Bank for a chance to fight for a contract and definite shot at the WWE Championship. Rollins and Kane would cost Dean the win in the ladder match and Rollins would become the Money in the Bank holder. Further enraging Ambrose. Dean truly became his own entity as he ditched his Shield gear for something a little more ‘him’ and got himself his own entrance music (‘Retaliation’ by CFO$).
At Battleground (20/07/2014) Dean was scheduled to face Rollins in a one on one match at last but early in the show Dean attacked Rollins backstage and was ejected from the building, the match seemingly called off much to everyones disappointment. However, Dean wasn’t going to let that stand and he infiltrated the building and again assaulted Rollins, the pair of them being torn apart from one another by officials, Rollins made an escape. But the attack continued out in the parking lot as Dean jumped him from the back of a car. Rollins having to make an eventual high speed escape from the mad man.
Dean upped the stakes and tormented Rollins mercilessly, costing him a chance to pick the stipulations for a scheduled match at Summerslam by wrecking his briefcase with popcorn and soda, Dean would choose a lumberjack match for their Summerslam bout. Surrounding the ring with people they’d wronged over the past year seemed like a perfect way to ensure Rollins got the beating of a lifetime. Tensions were high as Summerslam rolled around on August 17th, 2014. The match of the night by a mile, it was fast and furious from the outset, however as things broke down, Dean would eat a briefcase to the face and Rollins would pick up the win. Not content with this, Ambrose continued his chase and the next night on RAW the two were put in to a Falls count Anywhere match.
August 18th, 2014 is a date that will remain in fans memories forever as Rollins and Kane assaulted Dean at ringside and drove his head through a pile of cinder blocks. Dean was stretchered out of the arena and wasn’t to be seen or heard from on WWE programming for a month. While written off of TV, Jon headed to Vancouver Canada to film his very first movie, taking the headline role in WWE Studios ‘Lockdown’. The movie set for release in Spring, 2015.
Dean made his triumphant return to TV on September 21st, 2014 at Night of Champions when he answered the challenge of Seth Rollins. Arriving in a cab he bolted to the ring and beat the snot out of his former friend and ally. The feud re-igniting in spectacular fashion. Dean went from strength to strength from that night onward and as they head toward Hell In A Cell, Dean now faces one of the top names in the company. John Cena also gunning for Rollins who cost him a World Title match against Brock Lesnar. At Hell in a Cell Dean and Cena will go one on one for a chance to face Rollins inside a Cell later on in the night. Theres no way Dean’s letting this opportunity slip through his fingers.