Credit to: Marc Middleton for the following recap of Dean Ambrose on last night's Steve Austin Podcast on the WWE Network.
We're live from backstage at RAW in Anaheim with WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin and guest WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. They start off with some talk about music and Austin asks about Ambrose growing up in Cincinnati. Ambrose talks about how his dad lived out of state, he lived with his sister and mom in an apartment and their mom worked all night. Ambrose says he and sister kind of figured out how to do things on their own, like make macaroni and cheese. He says they kind of wandered the streets, met people and did their own thing, they became really independent. Ambrose enjoyed that part of his upbringing and who it made him into. His dad lived out of state for a job and mentions that his mother somewhat recently quit her factory job and that's the greatest accomplishment of his career. Austin asks if Ambrose had a happy childhood and he says he did. Austin asks about growing up in public housing and Ambrose says that's true but he was happy. Ambrose talks about how he was good in school and how it came easy to him.
Austin keeps bringing up Ambrose's dad, sort of reaching and making for a few somewhat awkward moments. Ambrose mentions dropping out of school at an early age. Ambrose says he doesn't remember a time when wrestling wasn't his favorite thing. To him, it was this perfect, cool world where big guys fought bad guys, a world you wanted to be in when you sat in front of the TV. Ambrose missed the Hulkamania era and Bret Hart would've been on top when he started watching. Ambrose always loved Bret when he was a kid, because he was a cagey son of a bitch. His endurance and technical prowess was always impressive to Ambrose. Ambrose says he always had a feeling in the back of his mind that he could do this and be a pretty good pro wrestler if he ever had the opportunity. He became more obsessed with wrestling as he got older, not with just watching what was on TV but scouring stores for tapes. He admitted to shoplifting a bunch of tapes when he was younger. He would apologize to Blockbuster but but they're no longer around and can't come after him. He talks about getting Japanese tapes, learning about NWA and WCW, reading the magazines and everything else. Ambrose says he loved ECW and that hit him at the perfect time, around age 12 or 13. Austin sees Terry Funk in Ambrose at times. Ambrose says he loved the ECW version of Funk.
Austin asks who mentored Ambrose and he names Les Thatcher's school in Ohio, and Cody Hawk of their HWA promotion. He talks about sweeping floors and selling popcorn for two years until he was 18, old enough to train. Austin asks about Ambrose getting away from the business at one point and Ambrose asks if he's getting his information from the internet. There were rough times on the indies and he did question a future in the business. He ended up in Puerto Rico and that's where he learned to be vicious. He knew he might not become famous or rich but he decided he would put together a great body of work because he knew was a good wrestler and when he went with that attitude, that's when things took off. He says that was around 2008 and WWE was his ultimate goal from the start. He recalls watching RAW at times and thinking he was good enough to be right there wrestling John Cena. Ambrose told himself he would just go and be as good as the WWE guys, but over there, and he believes that's the attitude that brought him to WWE. He talks about Joey Mercury getting someone in WWE to take a look at something, presumably a tape. He was living on a friend's floor in Philadelphia, wrestling in the Northeast, when he got a phone call from a 203 area code. It was Ty Bailey, who is no longer with WWE. He thought it was a friend ribbing him at first and says he probably came off like an asshole. An hour later, Mercury called him and he realized that the earlier WWE call was legitimate. Austin brings up how Ambrose's response was so calm and asks what excites him. Ambrose jokes about this being an intense interview and Austin jokes about them putting butts in seats. Ambrose said he would go to Florida and be himself, and it worked out. Ambrose says he enjoyed his time in developmental. He says back then, it wasn't like WWE NXT is now as they felt like they were on an island somewhere, like the bastard children of WWE. He admits to becoming frustrated and having a chip on his shoulder. He enjoyed working on a wrestling program that was written by Dusty Rhodes. He had two programs in Florida with William Regal and Seth Rollins that he's very proud of and will put up against anything else.
Ambrose talks about promo classes in developmental and says it was very weird. Regarding scripted promos on the main roster, he always thought they were a myth because they did what they wanted in FCW. He didn't think they used actual scripts on the main roster and was surprised when he was first handed a script. They talk more about promos and Ambrose cuts a promo on Austin for an imaginary match between the two at the fairgrounds. Austin asks if Ambrose has a chip on his shoulder. He felt like he had one at times when The Shield first came up and when he first started in wrestling because he wanted to prove people wrong but nowadays, yes and no. Ambrose says he gets chips and knocks them off but right now he doesn't feel like he has one. Ambrose says he has a confidence. Austin asks if the business is real to Ambrose. Ambrose says there's nothing fake about what he did to get where he's at right now. Austin asks about The Shield and whose idea it was. Ambrose says it was all organic, never something they came up with in a meeting or whatever. That's what made it special. They talk more about The Shield and how they really had a "screw everybody" attitude when they came up. They had a super work ethic and wanted to just out-work everyone each night.
Austin asks if WWE broke The Shield up too fast and he says no, it was perfect. He feels they got as high as they could. They were crushing everyone and there wasn't really anyone else for them to go after. They dominated WWE and they were so hot that nobody expected it. He calls the Seth Rollins heel turn one of the greatest ever. Austin asks if Ambrose felt like he was designed to not get over, if it was him against the world and he says yes. Ambrose says he can't tell you what his character is, he just goes out and is himself. Ambrose talks about how you get to a role in WWE where you can help people or inspire people to get through tough times. You get a chance to be an inspiration to people and to meet them across the world, to do things like Make-A-Wish. He says it's an honor to be in that position. Ambrose says it's all about putting smiles on people's faces. Austin asks about WrestleMania 32 and the match against Brock Lesnar, and what he was thinking. Ambrose says he went to the ring pissed off that night. As he walked to the ring, he had no idea what was going to happen and walked out with not much of a plan. He was pissed off because he felt like he was pulling teeth to turn the match into something epic. Ambrose says to be perfectly honest, Lesnar didn't want to do anything for the match. He had a crazy idea for the match to make it huge but he was met with laziness. Ambrose says they went out, whacked each other with weapons and he got suplexed a few times. He calls it a helluva day. Austin asks what the WWE Title means to him on a personal level. Ambrose says it symbolizes that if you believe in yourself, nobody can screw with you. Don't take shit and don't take no, or people's negative vibes. Don't take any of that. It symbolizes a chance to help and inspire other people. He's been put into a position that he takes very seriously. Ambrose says he's a role model to children and that's weird but he takes it very seriously. Austin asks about his relationship with Vince McMahon and Ambrose says it's great, they're boys. He says a lot of people are intimidated by Vince or get the wrong idea of him but Ambrose finds him to be very easy to talk to. Ambrose recalls a conversation in the lobby of a hotel at 2am with Vince as Vince was headed to a workout. He says Vince is a trailer park street fighter at heart, he's one of the boys. Ambrose thinks Vince does understand who he is. Ambrose says he's Vince's favorite wrestler, he won't admit it but he knows.
Austin asks about the brand extension and Ambrose says he loves it. He talks about less overexposure and about how everyone gets an extra day at home, which is good for their health. He also enjoys being in the leadership role of SmackDown. He's not the leader like a John Cena would be, calling meetings and things like that, he prefers to be a leader by example. Austin asks if Ambrose is comfortable. He's comfortable in that he feels good where he's at but now it's really time to get to work. He says it took a lot of work to get to this point but now he can really start to build a legacy or a real championship run, building a body of work and stuff he's always wanted to do. Austin challenges Ambrose to raise the bar, push the envelope, go out on a limb, be edgier, take more chances and be more Dean Ambrose. Austin challenges Ambrose to amp up and amplify what he's got because the WWE Universe deserves it. Austin feels Ambrose is a bit comfortable and needs to find his edge again. Ambrose says he likes it but he tries to push the envelope every day and sometimes it doesn't matter what you suggest. Ambrose feels like Austin put him on blast a bit but he likes that. Austin signs off for the night and shakes hands with the WWE Champion to wrap things up.