When Dean Ambrose saunters down the stands of U.S. Bank Arena on Tuesday evening for a taping of WWE SmackDown — WWE’s weekly program that airs Fridays on Syfy — he will do so under profoundly different circumstances from a decade back. As a trio of riot-gear-clad wrestling mercenaries collectively known as The Shield, the six-foot-four-inch, 225-pound Ambrose and partners Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are three of the most promising young names in wrestling today.
The Cincinnati-bred Ambrose (whose real name is Jonathan Good) began his trip to the WWE roster through profoundly unglamorous circumstances: Finding out about a wrestling show at the now-defunct Red Barn Flea Market in Batavia. The show was put on by the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA), a small, now 15-year-old Cincinnati-rooted independent wrestling company then overseen by ex-wrestler and industry vet Les Thatcher.
Catch Dean Ambrose and The Shield at WWE SmackDown 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 at U.S. Bank Area. $15-$95. Tickets: ticketmaster.com.