Dean Ambrose is a dangerous man.
The Cincinnati scrapper began his path to WWE with a fearless career on the independent scene, notable for his ability both to absorb and to distribute punishment in equal measure. Through his years toiling away in obscurity, Ambrose competed in some of the most vicious environments imaginable, sacrificing his body and blood in the pursuit of inflicting as much damage on his opponent as humanly possible. Victory was incidental. What mattered to Ambrose was always the message.
The trend would continue upon Ambrose’s arrival in WWE’s developmental territory. The young Superstar had barely set foot in the big leagues when he laid down a challenge at the feet of William Regal, ultimately competing with the Englishman in a brutal one-on-one match that left Regal scarred and Ambrose with a dislocated shoulder.
When asked for his motivation behind such incidents, Ambrose’s response was chilling. “Just to see what would happen, I get bored,” he said. “When there's a hornet's nest buzzing, I’ve got to poke it. I like violence. I like danger. I live life to feel alive."
Such was Ambrose’s unpredictability that he was not permitted to compete after NXT moved to Full Sail University. But true to form, he would not be held down from spreading his own personal brand of chaos to WWE. Along with NXT Champion Seth Rollins and the towering Roman Reigns, Ambrose made his most dangerous movement yet when the threesome attacked Ryback at Survivor Series 2012, driving the beast through a table and repeating the feat the next night on Raw. Ambrose led the charge, wildly hurling his body into Ryback and initiating the brutal beatdown perpetuated by his comrades.
The trio took up the name of “The Shield” — black-clad advocates of justice in a WWE they believed had lost its way — and announced themselves as the most impressive sports-entertainment trio since the days when The Fabulous Freebirds terrorized Dallas. In the months after they debuted as a united front, The Shield was literally unstoppable as a unit, taking out every Superstar that stood in their path, from John Cena to The Rock. Even The Undertaker was not safe from their wrath, and it wasn’t long before the three Superstars captured championship gold: Rollins & Reigns became WWE Tag Team Champions, and Ambrose the U.S. Champion, a title he would claim for nearly a year.
The Shield’s boom period continued during their alliance with Triple H’s corporate Authority in 2013, though tensions began to rise during the trio’s rivalry with CM Punk. Punk specifically preyed on Ambrose’s insecurity within his own ranks, and the champion’s frustrations mounted when he and Rollins were both eliminated by Reigns in the 2014 Royal Rumble Match; Reigns ultimately came in second to Batista. The next night, The Shield were prevented from earning their way into the Elimination Chamber Match and challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Title when The Wyatt Family interfered in their qualifying bout, handing the DQ victory to Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Sheamus. Ambrose & Co. put aside their mounting differences to demand a match with The Wyatts at Elimination Chamber, a request that WWE COO Triple H ultimately granted. After a couple weeks of circling each other (and as friction mounted between Ambrose and Reigns), the two factions finally came to blows at the end of the Feb. 17 Raw.
But at Elimination Chamber, The Hounds of Justice fell in a hard-fought battle to The Wyatt Family. In a rematch the next week on Raw, Rollins abandoned his teammates due to frustration at being forced to hold them together, and Reigns and Ambrose were defeated again by The Wyatts as a result.
The Shield rallied to earn an opportunity to become No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Titles, but Kane and The New Age Outlaws foiled their plans. From then on, The Hounds re-fortified their ranks and emerged as unstoppable as ever. Ambrose and his Shield comrades made quick work of their foes in one of the most dominant showings in WrestleMania history - one that saw an unbelievable double-Triple Powerbomb on the Outlaws.
At Extreme Rules, The Shield emerged victorious over Evolution – reformed by Triple H in the hopes of eradicating them – in an incredible battle between two of the most dominant factions in WWE history. However, The Authority did not let Ambrose savor the victory. ordering him to defend his United States Championship in a 20-Man Battle Royal the next night on Raw. Ambrose fought valiantly and made it to the final two before getting eliminated by Sheamus, losing his title after holding it for an astonishing 351 days.
Despite all this, The Hounds weren't done with Evoluton,
So persistent was The Shield’s resistance that The Game re-formed Evolution with Randy Orton & Batista to combat them, but at Extreme Rules, The Shield emerged victorious, thanks in no small part to a gravity-defying effort by Rollins. Even then, The Hounds weren't done with Evoluton, as Reigns, Rollins & Ambrose went on to shut out all three members of legendary faction in a brutal No Holds Barred Elimination Match at WWE Payback. Even though Batista quit WWE the next night, the evening still threw the future of The Shield into question, however, when Rollins attacked Reigns and Ambrose with a steel chair and seemingly allied himself with Evolution.
The next week, Ambrose & Reigns vowed revenge and showed their strength, teaming with John Cena to defeat The Wyatt Family in Raw's main event. While Reigns qualified for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match at Money in the Bank, Ambrose made it a point to target Rollins over the next several weeks, though his former brother-in-arms continued to antagonize him. After Ambrose demanded he be added to the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match, Rollins successfully convinced Triple H to allow Ambrose into the match along with The Game's other handpicked competitors so The Aerialist could better thwart his former teammate's plans against The Authority.
Unforunately for the Lunatic Fringe, Seth Rollins’ plan came to fruition at WWE Money in the Bank 2014 when Ambrose was taken out of the quation thanks to the help of Demon Kane and allowing Rollins to grab the briefcase for a guaranteed WWE World Heavyweight Championship opportunity. Ambrose vowed to keep Rollins from cashing in at every turn and has kept his promise thus far. Seth Rollins’ plan came to fruition at WWE Money in the Bank 2014 when, with the aid of the Demon Kane, took out his fellow Shield cohort and earned the right to be called “Mr. Money in the Bank.” Ambrose vowed to keep Rollins from cashing in at every turn and has kept his promise thus far. The two former teammates were scheduled to go head-to-head at WWE Battleground, but never had an actual match as Ambrose attacked Rollins backstage, again in the ring after being ejected from the building, and once more in the arena's parking lot by hiding in the trunk of Rollins' car.
In the midst of all-out bedlam in a Lumberjack Match at SummerSlam, Seth Rollins hit his former "business associate" Dean Ambrose with the Money in the Bank briefcase to overcome his unstable opponent. During their rematch the next night, Kane helped Rollins Curb Stomp Ambrose through a pile of cinder blocks in an attack that would have sent Ambrose to a local medical center, had he not thrown off his restraints, refused treatment and escaped from WWE officials altogether.
No one knew where Ambrose had gone for weeks. Then at Night of Champions 2014, Ambrose rolled into the Bridgestone Arena in a taxi to answer an open challenge issued by Rollins. It appeared Ambrose had no intention to have the actual match, however, as he assaulted his former Shield compatriot until WWE Security — under orders from Triple H — restrained him, tied his arms with zipties and escorted him out of the building. At Hell in a Cell, Ambrose and Rollins faced off in a brutal bout inside the unforgiving steel structure, which saw Rollins weasel away with the pinfall victory after shocking interference by the returning Bray Wyatt. Bray and Ambrose clashed at Survivor Series, but Dean lost via disqualification. After Ambrose nailed Bray with a steel chair, he further brutalized Wyatt, buried him underneath a pile of lumber and steel, and stood triumphant atop a ladder. The pair met again at WWE TLC, and at the conclusion of one of the most barbaric chaotic Tables, Ladders & Chairs Matches ever witnessed, Wyatt scored a victory with Sister Abigail when an exploding TV monitor temporarily blinded The Lunatic Fringe.
At the start of the new year, Ambrose competed in the 2015 Royal Rumble, where he fought to become one of the last five Superstars in the match. Most recently, Ambrose challenged Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship at the inaugural WWE Fastlane event, only to accidentally get himself disqualified, therefore losing the match.