There’s a good chance that Dean Ambrose is at least in your Top Five of current damp wrestlers in WWE. Top 10, easy. He’s been a lot of fun on this season of Total Divas, and he’s even been remarkably candid about why he wrestles in a shirt. In fact, he’s pretty much remarkably candid all the time, and the latest thing he’s being candid about is how tough it is to wrestle every week of the year.
On this week’s episode of Top Turnbuckle podcast from SportsNet, Ambrose talked about the toll that WWE’s grueling schedule takes on his body, but for the past three years it’s been a badge of honor for him to have the most matches of anyone else on the roster. The double-edged nature of that work ethic means that he is never quite operating at 100 percent.
“People will never know how hard it is sometimes. I’ve been sick — I’ve had like a walking pneumonia for like months, where I don’t know, or nobody knew what it was, so I was just taking antibiotics. My adrenaline receptors are burnt out, probably, by this point. That’s part of a thing that people will never understand. They don’t see that [hurt] side of me, they just see that [side of the televised character].
“A lot of [not getting hurt] is just luck. I was trained very well, very old school, so I’m very good at taking care of myself in precarious situations in the ring … I do a shit-ton of yoga, I do a lot of stretching, meditation, stuff like that. As I’m getting older, I’m becoming sort of a super weird hippie … I’ve found a really good balance … I’ve been lucky to have never been injured, nothing catastrophic, but like … I’m <em>hurt</em> all the time. Every single day. I’ve been hurt for four years. Longer than that. I’m always hurt, but never injured.
“Some of this stuff, maybe I should have been like, ‘Hey, maybe I should take six months off to heal this,’ or whatever it is. Especially last year. But I’m just kind of hardwired to be like, ‘I’m not hurt, I’m not hurt, I’m not hurt.’ And I just kind of like work through it until it heals or whatever, you know what I mean? It’s just the way that I do it, which is not smart. Not that I’m walking around [like I’m] the walking dead, you know?”
It really can’t be said enough: the life of a wrestler is a hard ass life. It’s hard for the wrestlers on the indies, it’s hard for people wrestling overseas, and it’s perhaps especially hard on WWE wrestlers. There’s no offseason for wrestling anywhere, and the very nature of the business basically requires you to get at least a little hurt, pretty much all the time.
Ambrose noted that he’s been trained “old school,” and it’s clear that he still very much has an old school mentality of working through pain until it stops hurting, or just hurts less. We certainly hope he eventually feels at ease with taking a little time off at some point, because everyone deserves a break. Especially WWE Superstars.