In the Royal Rumble, 30 wrestlers enter the ring, one every two minutes, until there is one left standing. Last year, Dean Ambrose was one of the last two before he was tossed out by Triple H. This year, however, everyone seems to be overlooking him.
In a phone interview, Ambrose discussed this Sunday's Royal Rumble along with his newfound role on the TV show "Total Divas."
Q. You almost won the Royal Rumble last year, but so far this year, all the hype has been about Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and The Undertaker. Are you feeling a little overlooked?
A: That's part of the reason for my success. You've got all these dinosaurs roaming the land, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, the Wyatts and all these guys and I kind of fly under the radar. That's what happened last year. All these top-heavy guys are tipping over the top rope and I'm just hanging on like a cockroach. Sometimes that's not a bad thing, you know? I might just play a game and tie myself to the bottom rope and try to be inconspicuous until it gets down to the last couple of guys.
Q. I know that some wrestlers in the past have said that when they became WWE champion, they didn't realize that put on them. You were champion for a while. Did you feel any extra pressure?
A. Not really. I've stepped up into a role where I have taken responsibility as the guy who has to do it. That's how it has been for me always. I'm more comfortable there than anywhere else. I like wrestling 30 minutes a night. I like, at the end of the night, to be walking back to the locker room limping and sweating, spitting blood out of my mouth. I've been doing this for a long time and it comes naturally.
Q. Do you ever see yourself retiring?
A. I do. I know a lot of guys say that when they are younger "I'm gonna get it, get my money and get out" and then end up wrestling until their 50. But that could end up being me too. I can tell you I want to get out early and end up eating my own words. All of a sudden I'm 50 and I'm still walking out there. At this point I see myself retiring and disappearing into the ether way before anyone would expect. And when I am done, I will be gone.
Q. Well, not too soon, right?
A. I could totally see myself limping down the aisle when I'm 60, jumping off the top rope and breaking my hip. I could be a hilarious geriatric wrestler.
Q. When you are in the Rumble and there are nine or 10 other guys in the ring, it looks like a situation ripe for injury because you can't possibly watch everything. What is it like?
A. You have to have your head on a swivel, eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head kind of thing. It is very easy to get hurt in a match like the Royal Rumble. It seems very run of the mill, but it's always the stupid stuff where you get hurt. You're backing up and someone else is backing up too and you step on their ankle and your ankle gets broken and you are out for six months. Catch an errant elbow in the back of the head and you get a concussion. And there's all these big dinosaurs in there, I'm like the tiny animal running between their legs. In a situation like the Rumble, I'm looking around constantly and keeping my back against a rope as much as possible so I can see what's going on.
Q. My wife is a huge fan of "Total Divas" and loves your appearances on the show. What's it like being on a show most wouldn't associate with you?
A. It's a lot of fun. Hey, if they want to pay me to hang out with my girlfriend, act like a goofball and drink margaritas, I'd be an idiot to say no to that.