Dean Ambrose is a better choice to be the 'Face of the WWE'
For a guy that grew up poor in the East End of Cincinnati, Dean Ambrose (aka Jon Moxley, real name Jon Good) is doing alright for himself. He travels the world, is on TV every week and PPV’s every month. He just finished filming his first movie and had article written about him in Rolling Stone. He’s becoming a household name and doing it against the odds. He wasn’t ever the typical WWE star and wasn’t supposed to be the breakout star from “The Shield”. Yet here he is, doing those things. What does the future hold for Dean Ambrose? WWE fans have spoken. They scream his name, bring signs to the arena to support him. They want the fresh, edgy and dangerous Ambrose over the established, tenured stars like John Cena and Randy Orton. WWE has a history of trying to tell the fans what they want (Batista) instead of giving them what fans want (Daniel Bryan) until the audience is so vocal that it can't be denied. Dean Ambrose is everything most WWE stars today aren’t. He’s unpredictable, he’s dangerous and you never know what to expect from him. In the day and age of cookie cutter, run of the mill talent that seem interchangeable, Ambrose sticks out. He has the attitude of a Stone Cold Steve Austin, the promo skills of a Jake The Snake Roberts and the insanity factor of a Rowdy Piper or Terry Funk. Ambrose has honed his skills all over the world – something most WWE stars today can’t say and he’s benefited from that. In terms of his in ring talent, character and mic skills, Ambrose has the total package and could be a top star in WWE for years to come, as long as they realize the gold mine they have in him. When The Shield split, we knew that a lot of heat would be on Seth Rollins and that Reigns would be shooting into the main event picture and getting over with the fans. What some of us may have not expected was the fact that Ambrose was the one who actually got the biggest reaction out of anybody at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. A lot of people may credit this to the fact that Ambrose is feuding with the man who turned on The Shield, creating an automatic craze. While this is a legitimate claim, it’s also due to the fact Ambrose has the rare ability engage a crowd with anything and everything he does. There are a fair amount of people in WWE who are great on the microphone, but Ambrose is so unique on the microphone that whenever he grabs it, he doesn’t just talk, but he communicates with his entire body. He can talk for three minutes or for three seconds, and the audience will always listen. Ambrose is a guy who doesn’t need catchphrases ecause he is so good on the fly with his words and his mannerisms that they are instantly captivating. Watch a Dean Ambrose match. Just watch it. When you do, look at all the small movements and mannerisms that he does in the ring. Not to downgrade Ambrose’s ring-work, but this is what makes him so great in the ring. He brings an originality and reality to his character inside the ring that constantly has the audience watching what he does. A few weeks ago, Ambrose was selling a shoulder injury inside of the ring. During the middle of the match, he would start ramming his shoulder into the mat, trying to pop the shoulder back into place. It brought this insane psychological side to wrestling that we rarely get to see anymore. What makes this so important? It tells a story inside the ring. The telling of a story inside the ring is the most important and forgotten art when it comes to professional wrestling. A lot of the little things that Ambrose does inside the squared circle have gone unnoticed because he has yet to have that big stage match. He has had plenty of strong singles matches, but he has yet to have a 20 minute match at a good pay-per-view. When Ambrose gets that opportunity, he will shine and could become an even bigger star than he is now. Doing the little things inside a match is what separates someone from a good wrestler to a great wrestler. It’s one of the main reasons as to why when a lot of people watched CM Punk when he first came to WWE and said “I don’t get it.” Punk never had a specific move that was mind-blowing. If you watch a 5-7 match minute with Punk, it’s just like any other match. WWE didn’t start realizing Punk’s ability to shine until he started getting those 15-25 minute matches. Punk and Ambrose have a lot in common, as far as their ring work goes. Punk was much more technical, but they both just have the psychological edge in the ring. They know how to react the right way when inside the ring to get the crowd involved. They both do small things out there that get you on your feet and thinking “I’m a part of something special, right now.” A great example of Ambrose adding these little nuances was shown at the 2014 Money in the Bank match. After the superplex that he hit on Rollins off of the ladder, he did two things that made it more than just any superplex. It was the flip on the ground and slowly dropping to the mat. This sold the intensity of the match and made the move look a lot more devastating than it actually was. This goes being “selling” because this is how he reacts to an offensive move, and not reacting to a hit. This is more than just selling well, it’s just a smart psychology.
Natural Heel and Babyface
Almost everyone who analyzes Ambrose says that he is a natural heel and can be the future heel of the company. Even Jim Ross praised Ambrose for this on his weekly podcast. What is unsung is his ability to play the antihero. Ambrose has been shining in this role as of late. Similar to Stone Cold Steve Austin during the Attitude Era, he has a character and a persona that fits the bill of a heel but the fans buy into the character because there is a strong intensity that lies within. WWE needs to make a careful, but tough decision on where to go with Ambrose after the Rollins feud is over. The natural idea would be to ride out a babyface run for a few months and then eventually turn him heel, because Ambrose’s intensity lends itself to a strong heel. However, they could have possible gold in their pocket with Ambrose as an antihero babyface. He isn’t going to be someone who can inspire kids like John Cena or be the clean and cool face of the company like The Rock. He does, however, have the potential to be a modern character that the entire fanbase enjoys watching. Ambrose has that great “bad boy” quality to him that makes hims attractive to the female fans, while still making him “cool” to all the male fans. If WWE can treat this persona correctly, he could be a massive star.
Can Entertain at any level
An underrated part of Ambrose’s game is his humor. He isn’t someone who has great punchlines or anything, but his delivery is often humorous. This is a massive positive for WWE. The reason is because if creative is ever lacking, Ambrose has an ability to add some flare when he is on-screen. He can also do this completely on the fly. There have been a number non-verbal moments from Ambrose that have generated laughs as well as segments on Backstage Pass (which are always done on the spot, with no script) that have shown his natural ability to entertain.
One of the other important parts of being a great wrestler and superstar is the ability to reinvent yourself and be original. No matter how great a superstar is, if he does the same thing for too long, he can become stale and the audience will stop caring. Ambrose always seems to do something new in his matches and in his promos that create interest. An important aspect of this is part of Ambrose’s backstory. He never really had a home while growing up in Cincinnati, so he attached himself to pro wrestling and it was all he ever really cared about. Because of this, he puts all of his thought into doing what is completely best for him to get over in this business. A lot of people want to compare Ambrose to Brian Pillman. While there are some similarities, Ambrose is his own entity. Oddly enough, they are both from Cincinnati, but in-ring styles are very different and Ambrose is a much better wrestler than Pillman was and is better at captivating an audience than Pillman was. You can’t compare Ambrose to anyone because he’s just someone brand new altogether.
A great Innovator
This biggest reason that Ambrose’s innovation in big matches is important for his rise is that it will make WWE shine. What always gets fans talking is when they see something that either came out of nowhere or if it is something they’ve never seen before. If they decide to put Ambrose in a high-profile match at a Wrestlemania or a Summerslam, he will churn out classics. Despite Ambrose having a very rough upbringing, he is someone who has never really gotten in trouble with the brass rings in WWE. While growing up in Cincinnati, Ambrose never had a real home and he lived in a lot of public housing on the east side of the city. He used professional wrestling as something to distract him from how rough his upbringing was. A lot of people who come from these environments bring trouble with them, but Ambrose has brought nothing but praise from everyone around him. He never lacked confidence and he himself has attested to that, saying “’Ive got confidence for miles and miles every day I wake up” in a recent interview with RVA magazine, adding “I get where I want to go whether anyone likes it or not. I’ve made a career and life out of proving people wrong and making people eat their words.” These words sound like they are coming from someone who is either arrogant or who has an attitude problem, but no bad words have risen about him. He has been able to balance the line between being confident and humble quite well. Jim Ross, who is arguably on of the best judges on wrestling talent, labeled Ambrose as a “blue chip talent.” Alongside with that, Mick Foley (who fought for WWE to sign CM Punk & Daniel Bryan) was on the verge of starting a feud with Ambrose, but it never developed because of health issues for Foley. This is big because for someone as old as Foley to want to start a feud usually happens because he sees strong potential in the other guy. Speaking of CM Punk, Punk was a mentor for Ambrose and often spoke on how he was one of the bright starts in development. Punk even went as far to have an impromptu match with Ambrose in FCW while at an autograph signing. With so many big names high on Ambrose and no bad words circling about him, it’s a good sign that the guy has a good head and can be a good person to lead the cause for the company. The big X factor for Ambrose’s future could be Hollywood. Ambrose has that bad boy charisma that makes him marketable. He’s already filmed one movie for WWE studios but if Rolling Stone magazine is paying attention to him already, how long until some Hollywood producer “discovers” Ambrose and hires him for a major motion picture? Could Dean Ambrose be the next Rock? Maybe he wouldn’t be the leading man in action movies but Ambrose could be a villain, street thug or dark and moody heart throb. There’s a million roles he could be playing on the big screen. WWE, take notice of what you have before its too late.