The Wrestling Backfire: Why Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) is a Future Star and Why People Need To Get Over Wrestling Being Called Fake (John Cena, CM Punk, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart)
by Kyle Riot on May 4, 2012

When I started writing for this site again, I was only going to post a couple of columns when I felt like talking about something in wrestling. The first column I did in my re-debut to the site was all about whether the Royal Rumble match was losing merit or not. I then decided to do a few others, including why WWE should have more characters like Brodus Clay.

Thereafter, I wrote what I felt like was my most popular column yet and what solidified me  as a weekly writer on Pulse: Why It’s Easy to Like Chris Jericho. After that column, Matthew asked me when I wanted to write on the site. I was going to decline until someone who read the site told me I should post columns because they were enjoyable. I don’t know what drug he was on, but he inspired me to stick around.

After doing a couple of ‘Ten Thoughts’ and reviews that weren’t getting much exposure, I decided to try to do something different. I came up with a True and False type of column. Since Joe Violet was determined to write for the site again plus seemed like he’d be a good fit for it, I asked him to do it with me. The concept was more popular than I expected, but I still decided that we should only do it once a week, so the concept wouldn’t become stale. Instead of giving up a time slot, I am now going to do something like the Jericho column since it was popular. No matter how bitter I can be against wrestling, I try not to be over critical against any wrestler. I’d rather pay tribute to a wrestler who put in countless of hours of work to excel at his craft. So I am going to enjoy doing this column a lot.

But before I get into this column, I’d like to respond to someone who really didn’t like my profile blurb which states that wrestling is fake. His name is Reggie Tillar and he makes YouTube videos about wrestling. He also loves dancing, in hopes of becoming the next contestant on America Lacks Talent.

My response to him and those whom are offended by the word fake when describing wrestling:

In wrestling, the main goal is not to hurt the person you’re working with as you try to put on something entertaining. The wrestlers are working together. They’re not trying to injure each other. In wrestling school, you learn ways to make moves look like they hurt more than they do. When a wrestler throws a punch, it’s all about the snap of the punch and the reaction that makes it look like they’re popping each other in the face. Guys like Terry Funk love throwing potatoes, which are punches that fully connect to make the match look even more realistic.

Some wrestlers like Dory Funk would call the match in the ring, meaning the match wasn’t pre-planned. The purpose behind this is so things can be changed on the fly if something goes wrong and so they could figure out what the crowd was exactly looking for. Bret Hart did the total opposite. He would imagine how a match would come across and how the fans would respond to it. He had an ingenious imagination for mapping out successful matches.

Either wrestlers script out matches or they call spots on the fly. If you want to call that predetermined, pre-planning, or choreographing. Those are all words amounting to the same thing: pretending that something is real when it isn’t. A word that also describes that is fake. The pain is real. I know it hurts and know what it does to wrestlers. However, they are STILL pretending to fight; in other words, faking wrestling/fighting.

I know. It’s okay. We understand your pain. It’s still real to you dammit! Kayfabe lives forever!!!!!

Anyway, back to Dean Ambrose, Jon Moxley, or whatever you want to call him……………………….

From late 2006 to 2009, I was an off and on independent wrestling fan. The company that got me into the indie scene was Ring of Honor. If you were a fan who was tired of having things shoved down your throats, or the direction of a company, ROH was a nice alternative to that. Ring of Honor had distinguished itself from its in-ring work by allowing wrestlers to freelance the majority or their matches, in addition to giving them a lot of freedom with their gimmick.  Sometimes, this wasn’t the best idea because it exposed a wrestler for being green, but for the wrestlers that weren’t green and were instead great, e.g. CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, it was a terrific way for them to expose their craft in the ring barring limitations. Needless to say, I was a PWG fan later on, because the in-ring style didn’t become excessively unrealistic as the ROH style did once the genius behind it, Gabe Saposkly was let go.

I know I’m failing but I’m trying use this all to make the point that I wasn’t familiar with Jon Moxley’s work, because he never wrestled in any of the indie wrestling companies I followed. He mostly wrestled in companies that I wasn’t too fond of due to their obsessions with unnecessary violence that they did for the “sake of doing it”. Therefore, I wasn’t exposed to Moxley’s work until he came to Florida Championship Wrestling. In 3 promos and 2 matches, I was a fan and realized he’s something great.

Here are the reasons why Dean Ambrose Going to be a Star:

 Different Look From the “Generic Wrestler”:

As you can see, Ambrose has a different look to him compared to a “generic wrestler”. These days the generic wrestlers typically look like body-builders or on the next GQ cover. While Dean has some tone to him, he’s still on the skinny side. His hair cut is different from most wrestler as he kind of lets his hair naturally grow and doesn’t rep a real or fake tan. He is who he is, but that’s a great quality to have in wrestling because those who look like that are easier to buy into as a fan (see: Stone Cold Steve Austin).

Natural on the Mic:

Wrestlers aren’t know to be great actors, but Ambrose are one of the few breeds (especially these days) that doesn’t feel like they’re reading off a napkin with notes. He’s natural, believable, and most importantly makes you believe he’s no different in real life. Kayfabe still lives to this day if you do it right and so far Dean Ambrose has done it right.


A psychotic gimmick done poorly can be accidentally hilarious (see:Psycho Sid), but  a psychotic wrestler done properly is always an entertaining to watch  (see: Cactus Jack, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brian Pillman) . Ambrose’s demeanor, facial-expressions, and mannerisms  are so realistically done that it’s hard to believe he’s not psycho. Not to mention him laughing and being frustrated that Regal didn’t hit him harder when Regal mugged him. That’s just awesome.

Needless to say, Regal’s return promo reeked of awesomeness – it’s one of the best he’s done in his career. It’s a shame to think what a barbarous heel he could’ve been in WWE.

In Character While Wrestling/Excellent Wrestler

Something that’s difficult to execute while wrestling a match is staying in character, but Ambrose has no problem with doing that. Ambrose is always in character during the entire match; he even takes moves with a big smirk on his face. That is what you call great characterization.

This match is one of the best matches I saw in 2011 provided by the WWE. In fact, it may be the best in 2011. This match not only proves that there ready for the big stage, it proves that they’re better than the majority of the WWE roster now too. Either that or its a testament how much WWE homogenizes/waters down  its wrestlers. Either way, wrestlers putting on this caliber of a match should be wrestling in the limelight. These are the kind of matches that could elevate the US or IC titles’ importance to a level where it was at its apex.

Without any doubt, Ambrose has all the credentials that a superb wrestler should have. His psychology, storytelling, facial expressions, execution, transitions, timing and pacing are top-notch. His attributes in the ring and ability to talk on the mic lead me to believe that Dean Ambrose is going to be a major star in the future. Besides, a lot of wrestlers who became successful / top-tier wrestlers in the WWE established themselves learned their trade somewhere else and Moxley had already learned his craft before FCW. Now all he need is a power machine that can develop him into a household name called the WWE to get behind him.

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Kyle Fitta

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  • Leon

    I also wasn’t to familiar with Ambrose’s work, until he signed with the WWE. But just seeing his work in FCW and a promo here and there you can tell he should be something special. If that second video doesn’t do anything for you, I don’t know what will in wrestling. Every little thing about him, gets you to even more buy into his character. Only way WWE can screw it up is if they call him up and ask him to play a total clean cut babyface, but even than I think he’s got the talent to make whatever he’s given work.

  • Rhett Davis

    Interesting as I’d never seen any of Jon Moxley’s work. And I hope that this Foley argument actually comes to fruition as it seems to now have died off. It would be a great way to automatically make Moxley relevant for taking down Foley in a big way as Foley knows how to put people over.

    It’s STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT! The biggest key to this is you have to take it as a TV show, not a UFC battle. It’s entertainment. When you watch Dr. Who, Eureka, 24, LOST, etc, you don’t point out everything and say, ‘They’re using green screen! They’re not actually going through a time bending portal!’ You just quietly watch and enjoy. As Matt Harrack would say, sit back, watch, and enjoy wrestling for what it is.

  • Joe DeSandre

    Him and Regal had a pretty wonderful match too. I’m really looking forward to watching their story unfold and then getting that eventual rematch.

  • Kyle Fitta

    I get the comparison and fully get what you’re saying, but I don’t even like comparing wrestling to tv shows. People tend to believe the average actor is better than the average wrestler at actor, and judging by movies that involve like Edge and Triple H, I’d have to agree, but a wrestler doesn’t have different takes when they’re live. If they mess up, they mess up and everyone sees it. Wrestlers also don’t have stunt men to perform their own stunt and they hardly have days off.

    Point is: being a wrestler is harder than being an actor. But still–wrestling is what it is and that’s fake. The only reason why people get offended by the word fake is because people use it as an insult. For example, when you’re friend asks you how can you enjoy something that’s fake after he just was raving about how awesome Pulp Fiction was. It’s just a matter of people pointing out the truth but saying it as an insult, and that makes people who like it mad.

    But I’m not ashamed to be a wrestling fan nor do I get upset if someone doesn’t like it. I mean I don’t wear wrestling teeshirts out in public because I actually never bought one because they’re over-expensive, but if someone asked me if I was a wrestling fan, I would say yeah. I mean come on, whether you hate wrestling or not, you cannot deny that there isn’t a lot worse shit on TV these days. I’d be way more ashamed to admit I watches those reality TV shows that follow famous people’s lives or Jersey Shore.

  • Rhett Davis

    Exactly. That’s pretty much what I meant. It’s fake, but so is almost all of TV. The insulting inflection is what is different. My grandfather always comes over when we get the big shows and just dogs on it the entire time claiming ‘How can you watch this? This is fake!’ I’m not mad about it, I’m just saying it’s unfair for people to compare it to the NFL and to UFC. But anyways, great column! It almost convinced me to write one up.

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