Much to the chagrin of Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, and just about all of WWE’s roster, Chris Jericho is now World Heavyweight Champion. Seth Rollins won the title back from Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank 2016 in June, but that victory did not last long, as Dean Ambrose ran in, cashed in his contract, and stole the belt for himself. The Lunatic Fringe now has the keys to the kingdom.
Ambrose’s character is essentially that of a complete mad man who managed to work his way into the WWE somehow. We never have any idea what he’s going to do next, and his insane reaction faces are some of the most gif-worthy of any WWE performer. The 30-year-old from Ohio is 6’11 and weighs in at 225, and though his wrestling persona at the moment is Dean Ambrose, his real name is actually Jonathan Good.
Here’s everything you need to know about Jonathan Good, a.k.a. Dean Ambrose, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
1. He Grew Up in Cincinnati Public Housing
Ambrose was born on December 7th, 1985 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and he had something of a difficult childhood. In an interview with Slam Sports, Ambrose said that he grew up in public housing in a neighborhood occupied mainly by torn up apartment buildings. He says that every day was a struggle for him back then, and that meant he had to learn how to take care of himself.
“For instance, there were times that I would have to cave in and do something like sell somebody’s drugs, just so I wouldn’t get beaten half to death,” Ambrose said. “But then there were other times where dudes would catch me walking by and try to push me around, and I had to draw a line, even if I was gonna get pulverized. I ended up earning respect that way — not that I cared, I just wanted out.”
Ambrose found an escape from his life in wrestling, particularly drawing inspiration from Bret Hart and Paul Heyman. He says he used to watch ECW on an old TV on his fire escape, which was the only place he was able to get reception. Eventually, he decided to drop out of high school to pursue wrestling.
2. He Started Wrestling in June 2004
Ambrose was quite eager to get involved in wrestling from a young age. He began working at Heartland Wrestling Association when he was a teenager, where he helped prepare for matches and sell popcorn since he was not old enough to perform yet. Ambrose recalls that he was incredibly angry that Les Thatcher, who runs Cincinnati’s Elite Pro Wrestling Training, wouldn’t let him train before he was 18.
“He charged something like three grand but he said I could come back and watch practice later,” Ambrose said. “I left fuming and was this close to slashing his tires, then I calmed down and came back later and met Cody Hawk. He was cool and sort of took me under his wing, and let me be on the ring crew and sell concessions.”
Ambrose made his debut in June 2004, wrestling under the name Jon Moxley for the Heartland Wrestling Association. Over the next few years, he worked with Insanity Pro Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, and he finally signed to the WWE in April 2011.
Before he joined the WWE, Ambrose was known for some incredibly violent matches, including one for Combat Zone Wrestling where it’s made to appear his head is being cut with a saw.
3. He Makes $1.1 Million Per Year
Considering Ambrose is now essentially the face of the WWE, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he brings in a hefty paycheck every year.
Ahead of Ambrose on Forbes’ list was John Cena, who made $9.5 million last year. Ambrose is also beaten by his former Shield partner Seth Rollins, who makes $2.4 million.
4. He Really Hates Twitter
WWE has been really pushing social media over the past few years, having every one of their performers join the platform and plugging their profiles during every entrance. Most wrestlers use it to interact with fans and promote WWE content, but not Ambrose. His Twitter account consists of absolutely nothing but a single retweet from four years ago. His bio reads, “They made me get a twitter…..Fine….Enjoy.” That’s it.
In a 2014 interview, Ambrose explained that he just doesn’t understand the obsession with needing to connect with other people all the time.
“As far as social media and all that, I understand connecting with fans on a different level, but I don’t feel the need to open myself up to the opinion of everybody in the world with a phone or computer,” he said. “I just don’t get that; being connected to everybody on such a superficial level like that. It’s not really for me.”
He also said that he likes the idea that staying off social media and not doing too many interviews creates an aura of mystery around him, so fans really only know what they are seeing on screen.
5. His Girlfriend Is Sports Broadcaster Renee Young
Like so many wrestlers, Dean Ambrose is currently in a relationship with another employee of the WWE. His girlfriend is Renee Young, who hosts the interview show Unfiltered with Renee Young on the WWE Network. She also hosted the sixth season of the WWE reality competition show Tough Enough.
“I wouldn’t be with anything less than the optimal, most beautiful, most tremendous girl in the world,” Ambrose said of his relationship with Young. “The bottom line is, she’s far too good for me. But it’s far too late and I’ve got my claws stuck into her now, she can’t go anywhere now.”
Young confirmed the romance with Ambrose in 2015, but she said she does not like to discuss it much because they both prefer to be private people.
“We don’t need people knowing about it or caring what we’re doing – I’m not going to post pictures of us on the internet…but people berate me no matter what I post on the internet,” she said.