Maybe it’ll be in five years or maybe it’ll be six months from now, but the fact remains that WWE will need a replacement for John Cena as the face of the company.
At this point, contrary to what the powers that be at WWE were probably hoping for, that new face won’t be Roman Reigns. The newly-designated “Guy” could very well enjoy a long and wildly successful career as a McMahon family employee, but if the audience was going to embrace him the same way they once did Cena, that would’ve happened in 2014.
Luckily, the company isn’t short on other potential replacements. With the right booking, at a least a handful of current denizens of the WWE locker room could be destined for next level stardom. But without diminishing the potential of Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Sami Zayn, or Kevin Owens, none of them are the obvious or most likely next “sports entertainer” to reach pinnacles similar to those of the Cenas, Hogans, and Rocks of history. That "sports entertainer" would be Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose may be rough around the edges, but that's a good thing. Popular culture works in cycles. Just as the so-called “grunge” movement heralded by Nirvana swooped in to wipe the sparkly glam metal fad out of the public consciousness, so too could The Lunatic Fringe supplant the squeaky clean erstwhile Doctor of Thuganomics. A similar phenomena transpired when Stone Cold Steve Austin and the nWo replaced the red and yellow incarnation of Hulk Hogan.
But what makes Ambrose a potential new Nirvana of wrestling isn’t his character - it’s his pretext of authenticity. Nobody’s ever going to believe John Cena when he swears up and down that he’s never taken steroids, no matter how many drug tests he passes or how many steroids he does, in fact, not take. Nobody trusts a goody-two-shoes. But Ambrose has done and said many things in his past that could absolutely convince his public that he is a legitimate crazy person.
Hence, we present 12 undoubtedly NSFW moments in Dean Ambrose’s past - many of which from his years wrestling under the name “Jon Moxley” - that make him appear either seriously damaged and dangerous, or like a guy who’s really good at making people think he is.
13 The content is rather strong in this article, so viewer discretion is advised.
12 The One Hitter
When you’re inhabiting a “good role model” persona along the lines of Cena or Hogan, it’s generally frowned upon to reference or acknowledge drug intake of any kind. But Ambrose, like Rob Van Dam before him, hasn’t always shied away from his affinity for the glorious marijuana leaf. He even went so far as to title a patented brainbuster maneuver after the "one hitter," a device that allows the user to smoke weed quickly and discreetly in a public setting. To take things a step further, perhaps Ambrose could call his next finisher “razor blades on the mirror,” which actually has a nice ring to it.
11 Dean Ambrose Can Wear A Fanny Pack (And Get Away With It)
Readers don’t need us to explain why they shouldn’t wear a fanny pack. Those who tried have likely already been cast out of society to wallow in their own shame and humiliation. But as he illustrated during his reign as the CZW World Champion, Dean Ambrose transcends the thresholds of common fashion sense and acceptable logic. “You could never wear a fanny pack and get away with it,” he tells the camera. “Do you understand me? I am a god! I wear the fanny pack like it’s a thunderbolt from friggin’ Zeus or something! I don’t even know. I don’t have to make sense.” He certainly does not.
10 Dean Ambrose Said Some Pretty Homophobic Stuff On Camera Once
Here’s another old CZW clip, in which Ambrose and Eddie Kingston mock a third individual for supposed homosexual tendencies. “Put this picture in your head right now - your father sucking d!@#. That’s what your son’s going to have to deal with,” Ambrose says, shortly before an onlooker deploys a homophobic slur. It’s the sort of footage Ambrose might have to issue some sort of “I said some very stupid things when I was younger”-type apology for at some point, although in context, it’s not as blatantly hateful as the time Brock Lesnar told ESPN “I don’t like gays.” So even if Ambrose really is homophobic, at least he's not as homophobic as Brock Lesnar.
9 Dean Ambrose Claims To Be A Former Drug Kingpin
To illustrate his lack of fear going into an EVOLVE contest against former gang member Homicide, Ambrose told the story of “LeVon,” who once ruled the downtown Cincinnati drug scene with an iron fist. Ambrose claims he picked up where LeVon left off, with little regard for the repercussions should LeVon ever return wanting his block back. It’s good and likely Ambrose exaggerated - or flat out made up - this anecdote for dramatic effect, but nobody aiming to project a wholesome image tells people that he used to sell crack.
8 Dean Ambrose Uses The “F Word”
“Old school” wrestlers have a reputation for losing their friggin’ minds whenever anyone uses the word “fake” in their presence. Reporters have been straight-up assaulted for such an offense. But meanwhile, here’s a clip from a shoot interview in which Ambrose repeatedly drops the "f" bomb. He insists that during the 2009 CZW Tournament of Death, when it looked like Brain Damage (R.I.P.) slashed his face off with a skill saw, the incident was completely “fake” “Hollywood bullsh@#.” This explains why, after the match, Ambrose still had a face and not a gaping wound where his nose, mouth, and eyes used to be.
7 Dean Ambrose Uses The Other “F Word”
As we well know, wrestling fans tend to take the goings-on of the squared circle just a tad too seriously. And by “just a tad” I mean “entirely too.” Promoters and wrestlers themselves certainly fall into the same dire mindset from time to time.
Ambrose, on the other hand, keeps his profession in perspective, at least according to this shoot interview with Smart Mark Video. “We’re running around in our underwear making ugly faces. It’s f@#$ing stupid,” he says, just after denouncing excessively negative talk about “what’s wrong with the business” nowadays, and reminding us of that other “f” word - “Fun.”
6 Dean Ambrose Maybe Got Wasted And Sang “Sweet Caroline” At An Indie Show
Here’s a clip of Dean Ambrose heading to the ring at an indie show, apparently blasted off his rocker. Now, is he shoot messed up or kayfabe messed up? It’s pretty hard to tell! But one thing we know for certain - he is singing “Sweet Caroline” in public, which is only acceptable behavior if it’s at a karaoke bar at 1 a.m. or if you're at a Buffalo Bills game. An unstable individual might show up to work drunk, but only a true madman would announce his fondness for Neil Diamond in such a reckless manner without fearing retribution from music snobs.
5 Dean Ambrose Uses The Other, Other “F Word” And Bleeds Everywhere
In this accursed era of PG, the joy of hearing a WWE performer use a swear word nowadays isn’t that far removed from hearing Kermit the Frog or Fozzie Bear casually toss off a “C”-word. Watching a WWE favorite bleed like crazy could cause a bit more concern, but nevertheless, the fact remains that Dean Ambrose used to work with a much more violent, intense style. Dean Ambrose did not decide to pursue a WWE career after bombing out of the NFL and he didn’t dream of becoming a WWE superstar because that’s what his dad or granddad did for a living. Ambrose literally bled a whole bunch to get where he is. Also, he swore quite a bit.
4 Dean Ambrose Pretends to Assault Women
Here’s a nearly decade-old Ambrose promo from ICW that, particularly in today’s climate where viewers are rightfully sensitive toward violence against women, wouldn’t fly past WWE standards and practices, and might not even pass by cable television censors. Though obviously not a genuine indication that Ambrose thinks it’s okay to rough up pint-sized female announcers (otherwise, Renee Young presumably wouldn’t date him), it does show Ambrose is more willing to cross lines of good taste (at least with his character) than many of his contemporaries.
3 Dean Ambrose Is A “Lovely Man” According To His Girlfriend
While this factoid may not necessarily live up to the NSFW aspect of this list, perhaps it’s worth keeping in mind that just like the rest of us, Dean Ambrose’s loved ones think of him not as a depraved maniac bent on inflicting harm on others, but as a nice, respectable guy. Here, Renee Young admits what everybody already kind of figured and notes that Jon Good (his real name) maybe doesn’t behave the same way Dean Ambrose would while going about his usual daily routines.
2 Dean Ambrose Fights With Fluorescent Light Bulbs In A Warehouse
Let’s say you found yourself in a position where you were expected to partake in a weapons fight in an abandoned warehouse. What kind of an arsenal would you bring to combat your adversaries? Perhaps a stock of guns or a knives? Ninja throwing stars, maybe? Not so for Dean Ambrose. Like Drake Younger and the currently incarcerated Nick Gage, Ambrose thought it best to attack his adversaries with tube-shaped light bulbs. Turned out to be a bad plan - he lost the CZW World Title that night. The defeat could partly explain why although Dean Ambrose has continued to use foreign objects in his WWE career, he has yet to deploy a single light bulb.
1 Dean Ambrose Got His Face Cut Off With An Electric Saw (Even Though He Says He Didn’t)
In today’s world where internet rumors and dirt sheets frequently blur the lines between pro wrestling’s reality and fantasy, it’s hard to know what to take seriously, even when we hear it in a “shoot” interview. Earlier in this very list, we cited Ambrose going on the record to declare that he did not, in fact, have his face cut off during a CZW Tournament of Death. However, this footage tells a very different story.
Even though Brain Damage managed to cut Ambrose’s face off - or so it appears - Ambrose went on to claim victory in the encounter. How did he survive a forced face removal in 2009, but get KOed by a pedigree in 2016? Why does Dean Ambrose appear to still have a face, even though we can see it get cut off? The world may never know the truth. Be aware, the footage is quite graphic.