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It should be noted that the WWE United States champion does not like fellow wrestler CM Punk. At all. Not even a little bit.

“I will never get tired of beating on CM Punk,” Dean Ambrose said. “I will never tire of seeing CM Punk in pain. I will never tire of hearing CM Punk groan in anguish. I will never get tired of feeling my knuckles colliding with CM Punk’s face.”

WWE Live

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax

Tickets: $15-$95, plus Ticketmaster service charges

For information: 703-993-3000; patriotcenter.com

Ambrose, considered one of the “bad guys” in World Wrestling Entertainment, partners with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to form The Shield — a group dedicated to fighting what they perceive as injustice within the WWE.

The Shield is set to take on CM Punk in a 3-on-1 handicap match on Sunday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.

“We feel like we’re the backbone of the company,” Ambrose said of The Shield. “We go out there every night and show off the work ethic that rubs off on everybody we work with. We go out there every night to have the best national show — whether it’s one or two matches, you got to work twice or whatever it is — we never take a night off.”

Ambrose began wrestling professionally in 2004 with the Heartland Wrestling Association and has worked his way up the ranks to the WWE. In May, Ambrose won the United States championship belt when he defeated Kofi Kingston. Ambrose, having defended the title on more than one occasion, said carrying the belt comes with a great deal of pride.

“The United States Championship goes back to greats like Harley Race and Ric Flair,” Ambrose said. “So to be able to call yourself that is, for me, almost too high an honor. It still seems strange to me. I take a lot of pride in it. … No matter how many nights we’ve been on the road or how many countries we’ve been in — we’ve been on four continents and more countries than I can count and more American cities than I can count — I really put my heart and soul and every ounce of effort, every drop of sweat I’ve got into it every single night.”

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who spent years as a wrestling commentator, recently compared Ambrose to another WWE hall of famer — Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper was known for his antics, quick temper and, although considered a “bad guy,” always was a fan favorite.

“I don’t see how you could not take that as a compliment,” Ambrose said. “He was a legend and a hall of famer. He was a guy who stirred the pot and drew a good amount of money. I feel like I haven’t really done anything yet. Not that I’m holding back — right now I’m just working as hard as I can in the role that I’m in. I still feel like I have a LOT of stuff in my back pocket that when the opportunity strikes … there’s a lot more to me than people have seen yet.”

Most wrestling fans see the events at home on TV — either during the week or during one of the WWE’s many pay-per-view events.

Although the televised matches still are important to watch, according to Ambrose, seeing the action live takes fans’ experiences to a new level.

“[Seeing it live] you’re close to the action and it’s a more intimate experience,” Ambrose said. “Especially a non-televised show because you don’t have to wait through all the commercials and there’s not as much talking. It’s just straight action. The whole show is directed to the audience in the building …

“There’s nothing quite like the energy and intensity of being there so close you can hear the contact and feel the physicality. … It’s not something you want to miss.”



wfranklin@gazette.net