Dean Ambrose was seemingly written off WWE TV a few weeks ago when Drew McIntyre brutally attacked him following their Falls Count Anywhere Monday Night Raw main event. McIntyre drove a pencil into Ambrose's eye socket and kicked his head off with his Claymore Kick finishing move.
It all seemed to jive with the rumor that has been swirling for months: Ambrose is done with WWE following Wrestlemania 35, having turned down a big money contract to stay on after his current contract expires. But, nothing has been confirmed yet, so fans still don't know quite what to make of Ambrose's status. Here are 10 things Dean Ambrose might do next.
10 SIGN A NEW CONTRACT AND STAY WITH WWE
For most fans of the 'Lunatic Fringe', Ambrose signing a new contract and staying in WWE would be the ideal outcome of this whole situation. He has become a permanent fixture of WWE's upper card programming over the last six and a half years, so it would be very strange to not have him around.
He has also amassed a very dedicated fanbase over the years; a fanbase who are desperate to see him stay and ascend to the main event again. Perhaps if WWE made certain promises about another run with the WWE Championship, he could be persuaded to stay?
9 BE IN ROMAN REIGNS' OR SETH ROLLINS' CORNER AT WRESTLEMANIA 35
Seth Rollins is facing Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship in one of Wrestlemania's premier matches and the recently-returned Roman Reigns was challenged to a Wrestlemania encounter on last night's Monday Night Raw by the 'Scottish Psychopath' Drew McIntyre.
That match is almost certain to go ahead. However, given the uncertainty about Ambrose's future, he has understandably not been booked for Mania. But if he did choose to stay, he could certainly appear at the 'Show of Shows' in the corner of either of his Shield brethren.
8 INSIST ON CREATIVE CHANGES FOR HIS CHARACTER
When it was first reported that Ambrose might be leaving WWE, the main reason seemed to be long term frustrations with the creative direction of his character. He reportedly hated the 'hokey' things he was forced to do on TV and couldn't stand doing scripted promos.
It's hard to argue with this, as Ambrose has often come across as a goof, rather than an unpredictable 'lunatic' in the last few years. If he was to stay, we'd be shocked if he didn't insist on having more creative control over his character, which would include his being free to make changes if he wasn't happy with what the writer's present him.
7 SIGN WITH AEW (ALL ELITE WRESTLING)
If Ambrose does indeed part ways with WWE, we'd be astounded if he wasn't offered a big money contract to work for All Elite Wrestling, the company recently formed with Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega as figureheads.
WWE are reportedly terrified of some of their unhappy talents signing with AEW, who could very well turn out to be viable competition to Vince McMahon's outfit. They've already signed Chris Jericho and Neville, two elite former WWE performers, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that Dean Ambrose will find his way there as well.
6 SIGN WITH NJPW (NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING)
There are some observers who believe that Ambrose should sign with New Japan Pro Wrestling, rather than AEW. They believe he might get lost in the shuffle in AEW, whereas he stands a better chance of being spotlighted in NJPW the way AJ Styles or Finn Balor were.
NJPW has already made great in-roads into the US market in the last few years, so the promotion is on the rise internationally. Another motivating factor is that Ambrose has never plied his trade in Japan (aside from being WWE champion during a tour in 2016), so it would be a new challenge for him.
5 SIGN WITH ROH (RING OF HONOR)
In recent years, Ring Of Honor Wrestling has usurped TNA/Impact Wrestling's position as the second largest promotion in the United States. They have their own streaming service, akin to the WWE Network, have forged international partnerships with the likes of NJPW and PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla), and their television show is broadcast throughout America by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
They might have the financial clout to secure Ambrose's signature and he would surely have more control over his character work and storylines in ROH, which features an edgier product than WWE.
4 HIT THE INDIES
Another option for Ambrose, if he wants to keep wrestling but doesn't want to tie himself down to any one company, is to make judicious use of the independent circuit. Indy wrestling is thriving everywhere and plenty of wrestlers are able to make their living traveling to different promotion's shows all over the world.
Ambrose has genuine name recognition and would be able to command a hefty fee due, thanks in no small part to his WWE success. He would also have complete freedom over which promoters he says 'yes' to.
3 TAKE SOME WELL-EARNED TIME OFF
Being a WWE superstar is exhausting. The constant travel, physical demands of wrestling night-in night-out and mental demands of being away from family and friends can easily take its toll.
Ambrose has been grinding consistently with WWE since he signed a developmental deal in 2011, so we wouldn't be surprised if he simply wants to take an extended period of time off to recharge and be with his wife Renee Young. His recent WWE Chronicle episode showed a man who longed to be at home, escaping to the desert to ponder life or enjoying mountain biking through the canyons of Las Vegas.
2 DO SOME MORE ACTING
This option seems fairly unlikely, but we'll mention it anyway. In 2015, Ambrose played the lead role in WWE Studios' 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown, the third installment of an action movie trilogy that previously starred John Cena and Randy Orton. The movie was, like most of WWE's films, pretty bad and distinctly direct-to-video.
But Ambrose's performance was strong, especially for someone who had never acted before. There have been no rumblings of him wanting to pursue it any further, to be fair, but perhaps he could find himself bitten by the acting bug in earnest if he left WWE?
1 TRY HIS HAND AT OTHER BUSINESS VENTURES
Lots of WWE talents have pursued other business ventures after leaving the company or even during their time there. Chris Jericho has his band Fozzy and also does some acting; Dolph Ziggler does stand-up comedy; and many current and former superstars host podcasts, including (but not limited to) Jericho, Steve Austin, Ryback, Jim Ross, Edge & Christian and Jerry Lawler.
Ambrose hasn't been public about any other business interests he has, and maybe it's because he genuinely doesn't have any. But it's certainly an option if he leaves WWE.