With WWE confirming Dean Ambrose's departure from the company this April, here's a look back at how much Dean Ambrose achieved in the company. Ambrose has performed almost every role and competed in every type of match for WWE. Dean was the first of the SHIELD to win a singles title after beating Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship.
Dean Ambrose wrestled the most matches of anyone in WWE in 2013, 2015, & 2016. He was the first WWE Champion when SmackDown Live re-launched with its own exclusive roster in 2016. Ambrose was WWE Champion for 84 days until losing (starting a SmackDown tradition by receiving a low blow into a finisher) to SmackDown's longest-tenured champion, AJ Styles. His promos, whether live or pre-taped have been some of the most compelling and unhinged since Mick Foley & Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
Dean Ambrose has shined in losses as much as he has in wins and this list reflects that. The following is a list of Dean's best matches in WWE, highlighting the variety of matches & feuds he's had, featuring honorable mentions.
1. Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, & Sami Zayn
Money In The Bank 2016
(Honorable Mention: Money In The Bank 2014 vs. Seth Rollins, RVD, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, & Jack Swagger)
After coming up short one year prior to his former SHIELD brother, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose entered the 2015 Money In The Bank match as the only SHIELD member who hadn't held the top title in WWE. Ambrose jumped off a ladder, he took a suplex on to a ladder, and took a splash from Kevin Owens off a ladder. He brawled with every man in the ring while employing his frenetic style as a genuine advantage in a chaotic match. The fans were thrilled with Ambrose's victory and subsequent cashing in of his Money In The Bank contract at the end of the show.
Ambrose finally got his revenge on Seth Rollins for his betrayal the year prior by cashing in on Rollins, who had just won the WWE Title from Roman Reigns after hitting two pedigrees. This win solidified Ambrose as WWE's top heroic alternative to Roman Reigns. He was drafted as the first pick of SmackDown Live and became the early face of a new brand and touring company in WWE.
AJ Styles is known as "The Face That Runs The Place" on SmackDown but before that, he was "the face that comes in second place" to Dean Ambrose. The feud between these two anchored the re-launch of SmackDown Live as its own brand with its own exclusive roster. The contrast between these two verbally, visually, and stylistically kicked off a golden age for SmackDown. To promote their matches, Ambrose appeared as a referee and as a commentator, he also cut fantastic promos in-ring and in pre-taped segments all targeted at AJ Styles. The match itself allowed AJ Styles to showcase his brawling ability and creativity outside of the ring.
Their feud also included notable enhancement talent, James Ellsworth, as Dean used him to psychologically toy with AJ Styles throughout their feud. This feud showed Dean Ambrose could be a top guy and carry a brand while giving AJ Styles his first WWE Championship win. Unfortunately, Ambrose would never get that chance at the top again after losing a spectacular rematch with Styles at TLC in 2016. This first bout between the two at Backlash 2016 is special because it's the first SmackDown exclusive PPV and it set the tone for what people could expect from the blue brand.
3. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Royal Rumble 2016
(Honorable Mention: Triple H at Roadblock 2016)
Dean Ambrose could be hot and cold when it came to chemistry with certain Superstars. Kevin Owens and Triple H are two men who made magic with Dean Ambrose. This match slightly edges out his stellar main event WWE Title match loss to Triple H at Roadblock. The crowd was wild for Ambrose in both matches, but his win over Owens at the opening match of the 2016 Royal Rumble was the greatest singles title defense of his career and kicked off the best year of his singles career in WWE.
Ambrose's brawling, frantic energy, and improvisational style is a perfect fit for matches like this one. Ambrose survived attacks with chairs, tables, stairs, and Kevin Owens' pop-up power bomb to put Owens through two tables, adding an exclamation point to this Intercontinental Title defense.
4. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler for the RAW Tag Team Championship
Hell In A Cell 2018
(Honorable Mention: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. The Bar at No Mercy 2017)
After an 8-month absence due to injury, Dean Ambrose returned to reunite with his SHIELD brother and tag team partner, Seth Rollins. Ambrose and Rollins had a fantastic feud with Cesaro and Sheamus in 2017, but Ambrose's injuries left us wanting more from this duo. The two challenged Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre in one of the best matches of 2018 in September at Hell In A Cell.
Dean Ambrose's hybrid style of brawling, British wrestling, and American power moves served as an excellent contrast to Rollins' style of lucha libre, Japanese wrestling, & American power moves. When faced with the power and agility of Drew McIntyre and the speed and wrestling ability of Dolph Ziggler, these men put on one of the best performances of their careers resulting in a loss. If only they could stop betraying one another.
5. The SHIELD vs. The Wyatt Family
RAW March 3, 2014
(Honorable Mention SHIELD vs Team Hell No & Ryback)
The SHIELD had notable feuds with multiple trios, their debut against Team Hell No & Ryback was a classic match at TLC in 2012. The SHIELD's ability to work together to isolate their opponents and pick them apart like wild dogs announced their presence in WWE with authority. The SHIELD also had great matches with Evolution in 2014, but the trio that had the most chemistry with the hounds of justice was most definitely The Wyatt Family.
The Wyatt Family came up in NXT at the same time as the members of the SHIELD and were called up to the main roster not long after Ambrose, Rollins, & Reigns. It's rare that an audience goes this crazy for a six-man tag match, but on the March 3rd, 2014 episode of RAW, The SHIELD and the Wyatt Family had the arena rocking as they faced each other for a second time. The groups managed to top their previous match at Elimination Chamber 2014, which was also fantastic.