Dean Ambrose’s time in WWE was full of missed opportunities. His potential was clear, and he has reached that potential following his exit from the promotion, becoming arguably one of the biggest stars in AEW today, in addition to dominating the independent scene and appearing in several different promotions as a huge draw. When it comes to his time in WWE, there were a few good moments, many poor moments, and a collection of others in between. Whilst his heel run in WWE wasn’t all that great, the turn itself is up there with the best moments of his entire career (as long as you ignore everything else around it).
Dean Ambrose Became The Third And Least Important Member Of The Shield
When The Shield debuted in WWE, Dean Ambrose looked to initially be the focal point of the trio. He seemed like the de facto leader at the start of their run, becoming the United States Champion whilst Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins became Tag Team Champions. Over time, Ambrose felt less like the main star, with Reigns emerging as the one who WWE wanted to back as the breakout name. By the time 2014 rolled around, The Shield was one of the most popular acts in the company – until Seth Rollins turned heel on the group, as he joined The Authority.
During the summer, Rollins and Ambrose feuded, although it was clear that Ambrose wasn’t a priority for creative. He became very much second fiddle from there, aside from a brief push as the WWE Champion in 2016. Most of the time, he was either in the midcard or the sidekick to either Reigns or Rollins (after the pair rekindled their friendship). Speaking of this rekindling, which took place in 2018, it seemed as though there was something different about Ambrose – a side of him that wasn’t necessarily on board with teaming up alongside Rollins.
Dean Ambrose’s Long-Awaited Heel Turn Was A Stunning Moment
Fans had been desperate for an Ambrose heel turn ever since The Shield turned babyface, due to his good guy runs not bringing him too much success over the years. WWE didn’t put much behind him in terms of content and feuds, with him feeling like an afterthought much of the time whilst other superstars surpassed him. It was high time for a change for Ambrose, with a heel desperately needed to reinvigorate his career.
On the October 22nd episode of Raw in 2018, it was an emotional night for the reunited Shield. The Universal Champion Roman Reigns revealed that he was once again fighting leukemia, delivering a heart-wrenching speech before being embraced by both Rollins and Ambrose on the stage. Later on in the night, Ambrose and Rollins challenged the team of Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler for the Raw Tag Team Titles, winning the belts in what felt like a great way to cap off a truly stirring night for the members of The Shield. And then, Ambrose turned heel.
Ambrose attacked Rollins, delivering a brutal and violent assault, taking advantage of the emotional atmosphere in the building by ripping the heart out of Rollins and the audience. It was a stunning moment and perhaps the most perfect way to make the most out of what was a terrible situation. Ambrose turning Rollins made complete sense too, due to Rollins doing it to him several years prior. Ambrose couldn’t overlook the changes that Rollins had made, carrying years of anger and a mind for revenge. Michael Cole’s only words during this were “not tonight, not on this night.” This was a powerful delivery before he went silent at what he was seeing.
WWE Ruined Dean Ambrose’s Heel Run
In a capsule, this moment was phenomenal. Ambrose’s conflict and anger etched upon his face made for a stellar performance as he fought with his demons but ultimately gave into them as he beat down his former brother on the same night as Reigns’ cancer announcement. It made for captivating television, and it should have been the genesis for one hell of a chapter in their story.
Unfortunately, Ambrose’s heel persona was completely ruined with him being made into a germaphobe, cutting promos in gas masks, and getting injections on air to rid him of the dirty diseases of whatever town they were in. The matches between Ambrose and Rollins had little intensity, with Ambrose having one foot out of the door due to persistent bad booking over the years, as he would leave the company in the first quarter of 2019. Whilst his heel character was terrible, the turn was incredible, and it is up there with his best singular moments in WWE, and maybe even throughout his entire career.