WWE superstar Dean Ambrose’s surge in popularity has led to numerous opportunities.
The fan favorite recently shared the screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger during a “WWE 2K16” video game commercial shoot. The iconic action star and former California governor is a playable character as the Terminator in the upcoming video game, out Oct. 27 nationally and Oct. 30 internationally.
Ambrose went face-to-face during a bar scene with the WWE Hall of Famer and lived to tell about it.
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“That was crazy,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about it until I got there that day. ‘Terminator’ is one of my favorite movies. To do a complete reenactment of one of my favorite parts in the movie, working with Arnold Schwarzenegger and he is giving me the Terminator eyes. It was so surreal. It was so trippy. The word I use to describe everything with the whole ‘WWE 2K16’ experience. So it was very cool. It’s one of those bonuses you get while living the life of a WWE superstar. The cool stuff you get to do.”
For Ambrose, 29, seeing himself in video game form is still a “trippy experience.” The evolution of his character in the WWE 2K franchise has correlated well with what the “Lunatic Fringe” looks like on TV.
“It’s all so surreal seeing yourself in a video game,” Ambrose said. “A couple of years ago I couldn’t wait to see what I looked like in the game. Now I’m used to it, but now it’s so realistic that it freaks me out. I think this is how movies like ‘Terminator’ started in the first place. They take your brain and put it directly in the game. The guys at 2K do such an amazing job. It’s such a realistic game you feel you are watching ‘Monday Night Raw,’ but you have control over everything that is happening. It’s trippy.”
The rule-bender, whose real name is ironically enough Jonathan Good, is among the tremendous success stories within WWE’s developmental system. Ambrose impressed officials on the independent scene working for promotions like Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA and Jersey All Pro Wrestling. He joined Florida Championship Wrestling and began his WWE career in 2011. It didn’t take long for the renegade to join the main roster with his fellow Shield brothers Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. He left FCW just as it was evolving into NXT.
“I kind of miss that whole NXT thing,” Ambrose said. “When I was there it was Florida Championship Wrestling with Seth Rollins and the other guys who were there. I wrestled on like local access Florida TV in front of 30 people. It was a tiny little situation. I felt like we were distanced from the rest of the company. We felt we were on an island that WWE didn’t even know we existed. That gave us the chip on our shoulder.
“That gave us the motivation when we got there and the attitude we needed to take over WWE when we did. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s great for those guys. Now they don’t have to worry about being on an island wondering if anyone knows them. They have their own TV show every week. They get to go on tour and travel. They get to be their own brand. It’s like a whole other brand of WWE. It’s just like a shoot-off of Raw or SmackDown.”
Ambrose as this unpredictable personality who regularly goes against the establishment has resonated with the audience. Comparisons have been made to “WWE 2K16” cover legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Terry Funk, as well as the late Brian Pillman and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Ambrose is grateful to share the ring with Piper, even for only a brief time.
“He was an original, one of the greatest of all-time,” Ambrose said. “What can I say about him that nobody hasn’t said? I got to know him a little bit. I got to be on Piper’s Pit and have that moment. What you see was what you got with Roddy. He never tried to put on an act or tried to be anything he was not. That is what I do. I just go out there and be me. I don’t think about it too much. That was Roddy. He says what he wants to say and does what he wants to do. Whether you loved him or hated him, I think people respected that.”
The WWE Universe also respects Ambrose, who always gives 100 percent and entertains the crowds on a consistent basis. The reason the tank top and jeans wearing superstar makes it look easy is because he isn’t trying to be anybody else. What you see is what you get.
“There is no creative process to come up with a character of Dean Ambrose,” he said. “Dean Amborse is collective experience of 29 years of life. It’s the good, the bad, the ugly, after 10 years plus of wrestling. Everybody goes through their own life experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly that has formed me, shaped me and created the person I am today. That is what you see on TV. I don’t try to get anybody to like me or hate me. I just do what I do. If you are good at what you do, good things follow. I just happen to be very, very good at what I do.”
FYI: “Lunatic Fringe” is also a Red Ryder song, featured in the 1985 movie “Vision Quest,” starring Matthew Modine, who plays Louden Swain, a high school wrestler in Spokane, Washington -- not Aberdeen.
- “WWE 2K16” is available Oct. 27 domestically and Oct. 30 internationally.
- Follow the video game updates at @WWEGames
- Follow Dean Ambrose on Twitter in the case he actually sends out a tweet at
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN
WWE Sunshine State Tour
Get your popcorn and your tickets.
WWE will be in Florida in late August and early September, and some events offer VIP meet-n-greet packages.
Here we go.
Just five days after SummerSlam, WWE visited the Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Pkwy., on Friday, Aug. 28 in Estero/Fort Myers.
WWE continued its Florida swing on Saturday, Aug. 29 for a house show at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St., #200, in Orlando.
WWE travels to the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St., at Florida State University on Sunday, Aug. 30 in Tallahassee. Bell time is 5 p.m.
WWE will also be at the Ocean Center, 101 N. Atlantic Ave., on Sunday, Aug. 30 in Daytona Beach. Bell time is 7 p.m.
WWE Raw is at the Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr., on Monday, Aug. 31 in Tampa. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. with the live television show beginning at 8 p.m. on USA Network.
WWE SmackDown is at the AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd, on Tuesday, Sept. 1 in Miami. Bell time is 7 p.m. The taped SmackDown will be broadcast 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 on Syfy.
- Pro Wrestling On the Web