BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #54 - WHAT IF? Nia Jax vs Dean Ambrose in 2019
I remember in 2019, there was a bit of a buzz of a match that was scheduled for a live event in Jonesboro, AR on February 22. It was billed as an “Intergender Special Attraction”, and there even was a commercial made for this match in local markets.
NIA JAX VS DEAN AMBROSE
However, the match never took place as scheduled. And the story faded away as quick.
But it always intrigued me.
This was an interesting time, not just for Nia Jax or Dean Ambrose, but wrestling in general. And with the Hot Take being the place to write about obscure topics, I’d figure to be the Dick Tracy of independent wrestling journalism and find out and, as us wrestling geeks tend to do, speculate.
WHAT IF? What if Nia Jax and Dean Ambrose faced off in Jonesboro, Arkansas on February 22, 2019 at a WWE Live Event?
At the Royal Rumble on January 27, 2019, Nia Jax made history, being the first female wrestler to participate in both the Women’s and Men’s Rumble matches on the same night.
In the Men’s match, she actually took out R-Truth, who was the original #30 entrant, and entered in his place. She then eliminated Mustafa Ali, before taking a Dolph Ziggler superkick, a Rey Mysterio 619, and a Randy Orton RKO in sequence before being eliminated.
Over six feet tall and built like a wrecking machine, Jax was a dominant force in the ring. Like her theme song stated; “I’m not like most girls.”
Personal note: I really enjoyed the cheesy nature of that last paragraph. Actually quite proud of it.
Regardless, with her Men’s Rumble appearance, there was now precedent for her to get more involved in matches with male wrestlers. The next night, we would get another taste of this possibility.
After his loss to Seth Rollins, the winner of Royal Rumble from the night before, Dean Ambrose, frustrated and disgusted, sat in the ring on a folding chair, microphone in hand, preparing to go into a long soliloquy about his career and return, when Nia Jax’s theme song hit. Out walked Nia and Tamina, her cousin, as they prepared to face Alexa Bliss and Mickie James in an Elimination Chamber qualifier for the right to fight for the brand new WWE Women’s Tag Team championships.
“The Lunatic Fringe”, absolutely bewildered, told the duo to vacate the ring just as they entered it. Over the next few moments, Jax and Ambrose went face-to-face, jaw jacking with one another. Just as Tamina moved to his side, Ambrose diverted his attention for a split second, and Jax forearmed him in the back, setting him to the arena floor. Both Jax and Ambrose continued to talk smack to one another as the referees came out and sent the former Intercontinental champion to the backstage area.
Obviously, feeling herself after the Royal Rumble, Nia Jax wasn’t afraid of anyone.
The next week, Jax tried to take over “A Moment of Bliss” with Alexa Bliss, who was trying to interview WWE’s newest addition, former TNA World Heavyweight champion EC3. Before EC3 could even introduce himself, Jax and Tamina interrupted him, insulting both him and Bliss, also gloating over her accomplishments. Then, Dean Ambrose made his way out. Again, Ambrose confronted Jax for her actions the week prior, and proceeded to ridicule EC3, who still hadn’t said a word. EC3 laid out Ambrose with a right hand, letting his actions speak louder.
Jax laughed at Ambrose, while EC3 walked to the ring for an impromptu match, which he won against “the Lunatic Fringe”.
A couple days later, a local commercial for a WWE Live Event at Jonesboro, AR on February 22, 2019 leaked onto the internet. Besides matches scheduled between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman, an interesting battle was advertised for the show.
According to the trailer, “For the first time ever in Jonesboro, an Intergender Special Attraction match as Nia Jax clashes with Dean Ambrose.”
This was quite the buzz online, as WWE very rarely attempted to book male vs female contests in the modern era.
WWE actually experimented with intergender wrestling a couple years prior with the Mixed Match Challenge, where a male and female competitor would team up in a tournament style series. However, it was distinctly stated that the men would wrestle each other, and once a tag happened, the females would wrestle. It was on very rare occasions that the men and women would interact physically in matches.
Nia Jax and Dean Ambrose would be very different. Both were the same height, and Jax was portrayed as the monster badass of the women’s division, so it wouldn’t be unrealistic or plausible that a true fight would happen.
Personally, I was very intrigued by this match. It was outside-the-box for WWE creative and, as a fan of both individuals, I honestly would have loved to see the encounter. It would have been a spectacle.
However, within days, WWE not only canceled the match for Jonesboro, but the feud was subsequently dropped from television.
Ambrose ultimately reunited with the Shield for one final run, with his last match taking place on the WWE Network on a live event called The Shield’s Final Chapter in Moline, IL on April 21, while Jax went onto the Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania 35 to fight for the Women’s Tag Team championships, also being forced out of action for several months after double knee surgery.
So what happened? Why was this match and feud scrapped?
There were multiple descriptions and reasons on why everything fell out.
According to Nia Jax during an interview with Inside the Ropes, she stated that ““Unfortunately my schedule was messed…they didn’t have the schedule right. And I have Total Divas work that I had to go to. So, it was more of like, the scheduling was off and we couldn’t make it work.”
She also joked and said, “He’s the one who asked for it to be scrapped, just kidding.”
Ambrose, during a Talk is Jericho podcast with Chris Jericho, stated that he had no clue. According to the recap from Sportskeeda, he said “he had been told by Vince McMahon that he would not be "buried" before he left, but he felt that is exactly what ended up happening after the Dean Ambrose character was booked to come out second-best in a confrontation with Nia Jax before losing in two minutes against EC3.”
Also, he said that “he had no problems being involved in a storyline with Jax, even though he knew WWE was trying to “bury” him, and he was unaware why the company suddenly dropped their angle just one week after it started.”
Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer had a different take on it. According to him, “I would’ve known if I hadn’t been told it, but I’ve also been told it: Nia Jax was there to bury him. The reason they pulled the plug on that was because there was a feeling that if they buried him with Nia Jax, it would reverse and he would become a martyr. I think that’s the reason that they didn’t bury him too much, because they didn’t want him to become a martyr that would make him super-hot when he came out. But, in fact, that ended up happening anyway.”
Whose side do you believe?
Regardless, I do have an opinion. I truly believe that Dean Ambrose and Nia Jax would have had a slow build to an Intergender match at WrestleMania 35, based on the storyline development that Jax had in the Royal Rumble, and would have led to a Nia Jax win. February 22, 2019 in Jonesboro would have been a test run for the pair to prepare for the Showcase of the Immortals.
However, with Ambrose and WWE announcing he was leaving the company at the end of January, and more money to be made off of one last Shield reunion, WWE and the creative team switched course, and the match and feud was pulled.
It’s interesting to think about what would have happened had this match taken place. I’m 100% sure that a fan would have recorded the encounter and placed it on YouTube or Reddit. I’d love to have seen the feedback and saw either the praise or the backlash behind it.
Maybe Nia Jax would have become this generation’s Chyna had this match and rivalry built to WrestleMania. Or maybe not.
There will always be that “WHAT IF?” regarding this matchup. The world may never know, but here in the Hot Take, this will always remain as a fun possibility to look at.