Posts Tagged ‘hell in a cell’

WWE’s Dean Ambrose on Hell in a Cell: ‘I’m Looking to Raise the Bar a Little Bit’

October 22, 2014

WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose (WWE)

Vengeance has always been a prominent motivation in sports entertainment. Hulk Hogan spent his career battling turncoats like Paul Orndorff, Andre the Giant, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. The Undertaker squared off against his evil half-brother Kane on several occasions. And, Shawn Michaels went toe-to-toe with his former Dudes with Attitude partner Kevin Nash.

So, when Seth Rollins betrayed his Shield brothers, it was only natural for Dean Ambrose to want to get back at him.

The main difference? While Hogan, Taker, and Michaels used legdrops, chokeslams, and superkicks to gain a measure of revenge on their rivals, Ambrose has employed ketchup, mustard, and green slime.

To each his own.

I spoke with WWE’s “Lunatic Fringe” in the days before his Hell in a Cell brawl with Seth Rollins and had a chance to ask him about living up to the Cell’s legacy, his path to WWE stardom, and what it’s like to be cheered after growing up a bad guy…

Any questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes


Gordon Holmes: This Sunday you’re entering Hell in a Cell with Seth Rollins. This match has a legacy of amazing, brutal bouts. How are you going to stand out?
Dean Ambrose: Going into anything like this, you want to put your own stamp on it. You want to do something that’s never been done before. I hate a formula. I hate stepping in the footsteps of those that came before me.  And Seth has the same mindset. Even though we’re enemies and opponents, and are going to be trying to rip each other’s heads off in the Cell.
Holmes: You’ve got a straight-up comparison that night as John Cena and Randy Orton are going to be having their own Hell in a Cell match.
Ambrose: The kind of guys that we are and you go back to the competitive chips we have on our shoulder. You go back to the attitude that we came into this company with? We’re going to blow anything they put up out of the water. You know what I mean?
Holmes: I do, looking forward to it.
Ambrose: (Laughs) If you know anything about me, you know that I don’t have any trepidation. I’m not going to walk into there shaking in my boots. It’ll be my first time and Seth Rollins’ first time. I’m not afraid to take a risk. And Seth Rollins isn’t afraid to take a risk. I don’t see anything that Seth Rollins can do to me, or the Authority, or the Cell is anything worse than anything I’ve been through. I’m looking to raise the bar a little bit. And it’s hard because the Cell is a lot higher than it used to be.
Holmes: Yes, this isn’t the Cell Mick Foley was tossed off of.
Ambrose: I don’t think people realize. It’s like 20-foot higher! Well, I don’t know the exact height. It’s significantly higher than the one (Mick) Foley fell off of. I think that was done to prevent anybody from trying to jump off of it again. Now, it’s quite literally impossible to jump off of. It’s hard to do anything new inside that thing now. But fortunately I’ve got a big toolbox of ideas, man. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo even though it’s my first time in the Cell. I’ve got a nice cache of little ditties that I can bust out. I’m determined to do something that nobody has ever seen before in the Hell in a Cell.

Holmes: I was watching this Steve Austin special on the “Monday Night Wars” and I’m seeing some parallels between his rise to the top and your rise. He didn’t seem like the fan favorite type, but people started taking to him. An opportunity was opened for him when Triple H was punished for the Curtain Call and an opportunity has opened for you with Roman Reigns’ injury.
Ambrose: There’s no confusing me and Steve Austin. (Laughs) There will never be another Steve Austin. As far as taking an opportunity like that….the thing I like about Steve Austin is his tenacity, his work ethic, and his…”Screw you, you’re not taking food off of my plate” thing. I’ve starved and lived on the road. And I’m not letting anyone walk all over me. That intensity…a lot of people they get so caught up in the grind here, so it’s hard to bring that 100% intensity every night. Steve Austin, you watch his old stuff, he never took a breath. Working Steve Austin must’ve been exhausting.
Holmes: I believe the saying was, “You have to bring a lunch.”
Ambrose: I love that. We’re a little thin right now and somebody has to step up to the plate. I’ve never tried to be anybody’s hero or favorite. I don’t see myself as that kind of guy. I’m not trying to step into anyone else’s spot. I’m trying to create my own and be irreplaceable. But, that opportunity that launched Steve’s career, it took a while for everything to come together. That’s that work ethic, taking advantage of a tiny opportunity. They want to put me in two matches a night? Three matches a night? A triple-threat tag? Another promo? Another thing? Another backstage? And now a dark match? Now a street fight? I’m going to keep going as fast as I can. That’s what a guy like that would do. I’m never going to have anything handed to me, and if I stop for two seconds, it will go away quickly. And I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like to see it all go away quickly. And honestly, I haven’t done anything yet. I’ve just made a lot of posturing and pretended like I was going to do something. Let’s be real here.
Holmes: But Sunday’s your chance to do something. Do you guys know if you’re the main event?
Ambrose: If…we’re not the main event, then somebody’s making a mistake. They’re going to regret it.

Holmes:  Hell in a Cell tends to be a feud ender. What’s next for you after you finally put Rollins down?
Ambrose: I came to a realization not long ago; I’m very passionate about what I do. This is all I want to do. I obsess over little things and I look ten steps ahead. And if it was up to me things would be planned out long in advance. I’m constantly plotting ahead like that. The reality is the WWE is this crazy world that’s constantly changing. You can’t prepare for tomorrow. The Pay Per View match already changed on us. You’re wrestling John Cena at the Pay Per View. Then I walk in Monday and we’re wrestling tonight. Things change like the wind. You’ve just got to take it one day at a time. And I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Holmes: You mentioned that you’re not anybody’s favorite. But if you listen to the audience, it sounds like you’re becoming a lot of people’s favorite. Are you ready for Dean Ambrose: Mr. Popular?
Ambrose: If that happened? Cool, man. It’s cool when people dig what you’re doing. I’m the kind of guy that thrives on negativity. That’s the kind of thing that has fueled me for my entire career. From the basement, to the gutter, to where I am today it’s been like that. The hatred of everyone and everything just spewing out. I’m older now though, I’m a little bit of a grown up. In any case, I never had a vision of being liked by so many people in the WWE Universe…oh…I can’t believe I just said that.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Ambrose: (Laughs) It’s so big and it reaches so many people. You’re meeting people and they bought all your shirts and they say you’ve really made a positive change in their life. And I’m like, “What? I’m just wrestling, man.” But people use you for inspiration to get through sickness or to do whatever. To me, it’s really cool. It makes you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot more, which is a new thing for me to accept any kind of praise. It’s not bad to be so popular. It could go away at any moment.
Holmes: You could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Holmes: For the first time in a long time, there isn’t a defending WWE Champion who’s appearing at all of the major events. Does Brock Lesnar having the title upset people?
Ambrose: Every show, and we run a lot of them, doesn’t have to have a world championship match on it. Every “Monday Night Raw” shouldn’t have a world championship match. But, the champion not appearing at all? To me, it’s not nearly as big of a thing…I equate it back to the traveling world champions of the 70s or previous eras. You’re not going to see a world title match every week. I honestly think we give away too much stuff. We give away a lot of wrestling on TV and there’s so much time to fill. In a three-hour show, Brock Lesnar could really be used. I’m making up my answers as I go along here.
Holmes: As you’re supposed to.
Ambrose: You’re not going to see him much. He took the belt back to his castle and he locked it up in the attic. You’ve got to go a long way to get a championship match with him.

Holmes: We’re seeing a lot of new faces with the integration of the developmental program NXT. What’s the process like where you go from being a guy signed into company to making the big show as a WWE Superstar?
Ambrose: For me, it was much different than the guys today. I’m not familiar with the NXT process now. I was never on NXT television. I was an FCW guy. A Doctor Tom (Pritchard) era guy. It’s great now, they’ve got the Full Sail TV. NXT is like the most amazing opportunity. We were in this warehouse in Florida. We were locked away like the ugly stepchildren of WWE. It really pissed us off. It gave us this chip on our shoulders. We were like alright, “We can put on a better product than the main roster can. Screw them all.” We were putting on matches in developmental that were on par with anything that was on WWE television. For us, we were down there just sitting, chilling, training, making towns, learning. We were waiting. It can be a frustrating process. Just the wait. But, if you’re smart you take that time to learn, to ask questions. Nobody is perfect and you can always learn something.
Holmes: Who were you learning from?
Ambrose: Joey Mercury is like Yoda to me. He’s a guy who can really pick something apart and give you five ways to make it better in two seconds. He’ll always have good ideas. I always have crazy ideas. I’ll bounce them by Joey first and he’ll instantly call me out on something stupid. He’ll rein me in a little bit.

Holmes: What’s this I’m hearing about Dean Ambrose: Movie Star?
Ambrose: Yeah, they came to me and were like, “WWE Studios, we’ve got an opportunity for you.” And I said, “You want me to be in a movie? Get outta here! Yeah, I’ll do that!” I thought I’d just be a background bit player. I’d get to rest my body and be an extra in a movie. Then I found out I was the lead character. And my exact words to the studio guy was, “You realize I’m completely unqualified for this, right? I don’t know if somebody lied to you or what, but I’ve never acted before. I don’t know how a movie set works. I’ve never been on the set for a freaking Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.” It’s called “Lockdown” and it was a cool learning experience.

Holmes: So, say someone’s on the fence about ordering Hell in a Cell. Talk them into it.
Ambrose: You’re going to see one of the most outrageous spectacles of hatred and intensity when Dean Ambrose and Seth Ambrose finally get at each other. I promise you’re going to see something you’ve never seen before.

WWE’s Paul Heyman on Ryback: ‘Nobody Can Be Undefeated Forever’

October 25, 2012

Paul Heyman (THQ)

I don’t know if the Paul Heyman/CM Punk dynamic would work on screen. I don’t need a mouthpiece.” – CM Punk (August 17, 2012)

The Straight-Edge Superstar is right, he doesn’t need a mouthpiece. But he’s certainly benefiting from having a conniving advocate who lurks in the background.

I spoke with Paul Heyman, a man some consider to be the best creative writer in the wrestling business, in the days leading up to Punk’s big title defense at “Hell in a Cell.” During that chat we discussed how he’s enjoying his new on-air role, Brock Lesnar’s opinion of the wrestling business, and what’s best for Ryback’s career…

Order WWE: Hell in a Cell Today

Gordon Holmes: You’ve taken on a bit of a new role on TV in that you’re more of CM Punk’s advocate than his manager. Has that been challenging for you?
Paul Heyman: No, it’s just a different role to play. You know, with Brock Lesnar…Brock doesn’t like to speak so it’s natural for me to do the talking. And it’s very easy for me to advocate for Brock Lesnar because I’m a great believer in him. It’s not too much of a stretch to hype accolades about Brock Lesnar. With CM Punk, I don’t have to do a lot of talking for CM Punk. I would present the case that I’m more of a lobbyist for respect for CM Punk as being the best in the world. It’s a different role to play and  I love the challenge of it just because it’s not the same role I was playing with Brock. Like any other performer you don’t want to be pigeonholed everyday for the rest of your life.

Holmes: Speaking of Brock, I read his book that you collaborated on, “Death Clutch.” And it seems like his biggest problem with the wrestling industry is the travel. Now with the limited dates he’s working it doesn’t seem like that’s a big problem anymore. My question is; does he enjoy the business more? Because I really enjoy watching him wrestle. It seems like he was designed to do it. It’d be a shame if he wasn’t enjoying it.
Heyman: There’s an old expression in the professional wrestling industry; you spend 23 hours and 40 minutes of your day traveling and working out and eating properly and dealing with rental cars and hotel rooms and family situations and divorce lawyers. But, the 20 minutes a day you spend in the ring is not only the best part of the day but makes everything else worthwhile. I believe that is the case with Brock Lesnar. I believe that Brock loves to perform. And, I think Brock lives for the moments that he’s in the octagon or the ring. It’s getting to the octagon or the ring and all that it entails to get there and the time that he spends away from his family that he finds unbearable.

Holmes: CM Punk has a big title defense against Ryback this Sunday at Hell in the Cell. Anytime you have an undefeated character such as Ryback, it provides some unique storytelling challenges. If it was in your hands, how would you handle the Ryback character?
Heyman: I think Ryback is going to demonstrate to the audience on Monday exactly how he handles defeat. And, nobody can be undefeated forever, it doesn’t work that way in real life. And, it’s easy to look like the biggest tough guy in the world when you’re on such a winning streak. But, can you maintain that aura about you once you lose? Brock Lesnar did, and I don’t think that people look at Brock Lesnar today and think, “Oh yeah, I remember the night he lost to this guy.” I think Ryback will face the very same thing. Now, I know there are people out there who have presented the case that Ryback’s entire aura has been built on the fact that he’s undefeated. I think a stronger case can be made that once Ryback is defeated, he’ll be even a stronger character for WWE because you have gotten this out of the way.

Holmes: Probably my favorite thing you were involved with during your managing career was the Dangerous Alliance in WCW. You had Ravishing Rick Rude, some guy named Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa…just an amazing line-up. If you were to recreate that stable in WWE, with CM Punk of course being the centerpiece, who would you pick?
Heyman: Wow…I find the fact that CM Punk and I are together…that makes us a Dangerous Alliance. I’d obviously never suggest that I should represent anyone else on television without first mentioning the name Brock Lesnar. As for rounding out the rest of the roster. I’d say we have the choice of cherry picking anyone. I’d certainly add Randy Orton to that group. And I’d take a young, hot, hungry tag team that is having an uphill battle with the system, someone like the Usos. I’d give them the stardom they deserve. And when it comes to the females. Since AJ doesn’t have the taste to accept my marriage proposal, I would probably grab someone like Nattie Neidhart who could probably tie everyone into a pretzel and make them tap out in 30 seconds of a legitimate fight.

Holmes: I understand you did some writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game. What did that entail?
Heyman: It entailed putting together the storylines for the Universe mode and for the Attitude Era. I have a viral marketing company called the Looking 4 Larry Agency and we were doing the viral marketing for this game anyway. And then THQ came to me about writing the actual storylines because I have a bit of product knowledge for that.
Holmes: A bit.
Heyman: Yeah. And so we were off to the races.
Holmes: As a writer, I feel like every time I branch out into a new format or genre I learn something new. Did you learn anything writing for the game? It must be much different than writing for a television show.
Heyman: The big difference between writing for WWE television and writing for the “WWE ‘13” video game is that once I wrote a storyline Vince McMahon didn’t yell at me about it.
Holmes: The guys at THQ didn’t chew you out?
Heyman: Who’s going to yell at me from THQ? I’m the guy they turn to to be the creative rabbi. Vince McMahon? He loves to yell at me.

Watch WWE: Hell in a Cell, Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

The “WWE ‘13” Video Game will be available for XBox 360, PS3, and Nintendo Wii on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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