Dean Ambrose in HWA

by Daniel Johnson

Jon Moxley vs. Cannonball Callihan

Last night’s WWE Payback featured plenty of great action from young stars and the announcement that Rob Van Dam was returning. This first point may be far more significant than the second because in years to come, WWE will have to rely more on it’s youth than nostalgia acts like RVD, who is already well past 40 believe it or not.

Taking WWE Payback as a standalone event how is WWE doing in pushing their young talent? It is a mixed bag at best. Sure, AJ Lee, Curtis Axel and The Shield all got important wins, but let’s break down these performers a little more.

Last night on AJ Lee’s Twitter she wrote, “Tonight was a dream that took 14 years of will power & hard work to realize. I did it my way. This is the proudest moment of my life.” As much as AJ would like fans to believe she spent 14 years working to earn the WWE Divas Championship, have you ever seen an AJ Lee match from 2000? Sure, I guess you could say Lee has been a fan that long and had some interest in being a WWE star one day. Heck, maybe young AJ even had the foresight to want a title that at the time didn’t even exist. However, if you count this as effort toward working toward a goal than David Arquette more than deserved his run as WCW World Heavyweight Champion based on decades of fandom.

Unlike AJ Lee, Curtis Axel has the blood of professional wrestling running in his veins. Unfortunately, the son of Mr. Perfect is getting up there in years and at 33 he barely if at all qualifies as a young talent. Hopefully, this run works out for him because with him having bumped around WWE developmental since 2007, it is getting a little late for him to go back to the drawing board yet again.

Finally, there is The Shield. Three guys who the WWE’s future will be made of. Initially, I thought WWE was going to bury them as some kind of meaner version of The Spirit Squad, but I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong. In particular Dean Ambrose deserves his WWE United States Championship (though perhaps he deserves better than last night’s countout victory against Kane).

Check out the clip above from 2006 when Ambrose was still wrestling as Jon Moxley. Before AJ Lee had begun wrestling school (despite at that point being a six year veteran by her count) or Axel even bothered to lace up his boots, Ambrose was honing his skills in the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). In fact, Ambrose was already the HWA Heavyweight Champion when this match took place and at the time the rich in history HWA was still a strong indie promotion. Sure, the match isn’t exactly a classic and consists of a lot of Ambrose just punching and kicking Cannonball aka Sami Callihan, but Ambrose does get to showcase his intensity here. Also, speaking of intensity, his furious promo before the match is the best part of this clip from HWA Adrenaline.

On another note, in case you were wondering about that fat kid Ambrose is wrestling against here, well today he is WWE bound. Oh yeah and he looks like this now.

Categories: Wrestling Clips

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3 replies


  1. WWE Survivor Series 2013 Write-Up | The Johnson Transcript
  2. Indie Flashback: WWE’s Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper Wrestle at EVOLVE 4-Danielson vs. Fish | The Johnson Transcript
  3. The 5 Worst WWE Title Reigns of 2013 | The Johnson Transcript

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