Today’s subject of the WWE Network’s “Table for 3” review features former independent stars Dean Ambrose, Cesaro and Kevin Owens. This episode is titled “Brass Ring” presumably because these are three of the guys expected to rise to the very top of WWE in the near future. The trio sat down to share a meal in an empty restaurant and discussed their past and present days in the business.
Let’s start with a recap of their 23 minute conversation:
– The show opens with the three of them actually waking through the restaurant trying to figure out which table is theirs. Cesaro decided their table was the one with the shiny lamp and they all take a seat as Ambrose wondered where the women were.
– Ambrose, in a WrestleMania 31 t-shirt, says this isn’t his kind of place. He says he’ll dirty the white table cloths within five minutes. He said he didn’t realize there was a dress code, and someone from the restaurant asked if he had a button down shirt. The answer was “not at all”. Owens tells Dean that being able to wear a t-shirt at anytime is a sign of success.
– Within a minute their meal is served, the quickest I’ve seen a group get their food on this show. Cesaro notices Dean is the only one to get asparagus to which he replies, “Asparagus makes it burn when you pee, right?” Cesaro admits that is why he didn’t get any.
– The conversation immediately turns to Owens’ debut program with Cena. Ambrose says it has to be pretty surreal to jump right into it with the face of the company. He says it is for that reason plus his son is a huge Cena fan, who hasn’t quite decided who to root for. Ambrose says his son should be in the first row for when Owens finally fights him. Ambrose says, “Why are you beating up John Cena, daddy?” Big laughs around the table and also from myself.
– Cesaro recalls he and Owens met for the first time in CZW. Owens recalls Cesaro had long hair at the time. Cesaro says those were the days, when his long thin hair was hanging on by a thread. All three of them performed at CZW in Philadelphia (that’s right) and drove 8-10 hours to get there. Cesaro says they’ve come a long way from making no money to sitting down in front of five cameras for WWE. Ambrose comments that they are actually getting paid to eat and it’s not dry ramen noodles. They talk about how at CZW they would eat stale pretzels and homemade cookies from the fans. Cesaro says he was too afraid they were laced with something while Owens says chocolate chip cookies were worth rolling the gamble.
– Ambrose mentions how during his early years he learned to use his body as a bargaining tool. He would get paid a certain amount for barbed wire, more for barbed wire AND glass and even more for barbed wire, glass AND fire. Cesaro recalls that Dean had long blonde hair in those days and actually wore trunks. Ambrose said he was trying to look like a wrestler, but one day had an epiphany that looking like a wrestler made him look a jackass in real life.
– Owens and Cesaro ask Dean about his time in Puerto Rico. He says he got a call from Bushwhacker Luke to come down. He spent a year there and says he only went because it was a full-time job for him. He says he didn’t really know what he was doing yet, but the intensity and violence of the crowds actually inspired a lot of the aggression in his character today.
– They talk about crowds that throw things into the ring and Cesaro says he once got in trouble at Ring of Honor for throwing things back out into the crowd. Ambrose says there were crowds that used to pour cups of piss on the wrestlers. Owens was hit with an empty beer pitcher on the bridge of the nose (the spot where he was cut in his NXT debut) and he dove from the ring apron onto the culprit. Cesaro shares that he and Tyson Kidd had a match in London against Cena and Daniel Bryan and seven fans got into the ring, but they couldn’t do anything out of fear of getting sued. Ambrose said they should have gotten what they deserved and laments that we’re a society of cowards.
– Owens says his son would always ask why wasn’t he in WWE wrestling John Cena. He told him because going to WWE meant he would have to move to Florida. Cesaro says it’s crazy that they had a conversation about it less than a year ago and here he is wrestling Cena. Cesaro says you never know when things will take off and Owens has done it in record time. He also says it happened for Ambrose that The Shield took off and were off to the races. Ambrose said that once the train starts it doesn’t stop, it just takes a long time to get on the train sometimes.
– Ambrose talks about how cool it is that NXT has become its own thing. Owens says he came in at a great time. Ambrose and Cesaro compare NXT to the old territories and how Owens wasn’t treated like a rookie, just a new villain for the territory. Cesaro and Ambrose say how great the roster was when they were in FCW and Dusty used to say that if he was given two hours a week with that roster on TBS they could have taken Raw down.
– Cesaro brings up the fact that when they started out in developmental the guys from the indies were looked down upon. Ambrose said that it gave them a chip on their shoulder and helped them put on great shows even though no one got to see them. Cesaro talked about Ambrose and Rollins having a great feud back then, but you could only see it on YouTube and it had an underground feel.
– The conversation steers to “street team” which Owens says he heard about all the time. Cesaro and Ambrose talk about being out driving around all day hanging posters on telephone poles. Ambrose mentions that one day Sheamus was appearing on their show and he and Tyler Breeze hung so many Sheamus posters in the Florida heat that they hated him by the end of the day.
– Owens brings up how he used to travel with Sami Zayn. Cesaro gives him an apology for having to travel with Sami. They all go into hilarious impressions of Sami’s overly cheerful demeanor. Owens tells a story about how they were on the same flight leaving Los Angeles and Sami fell asleep at the gate. Owens woke him up when it was time to board, but he fell right back asleep and missed the flight. Sami was mad at him for not waking him up. Owens tells him he did, but Sami thought he was just going to get a Pepsi.
– Ambrose talks about the “Midwest Crew” from his CZW days. He says a car would leave from Chicago, pick a couple guys up in Indiana, pick him up in Cincinnati and then head to Philadelphia. He says Drake Wuertz of NXT fame was on this trip. In the middle of Amish country in Pennsylvania they ran out of gas on the turnpike. Dean and Drake walked to the next exit and were picked up and driven into town by a horse and buggy to get gas. Dean does one hell of a horse and buggy sound effect by the way.
– Cesaro brings up that right after The Shield broke up they couldn’t travel together anymore. Cesaro says he used to travel with them, but now he is traveling with Rollins while Ambrose and Roman recruited Bo Dallas to be their driver. The first night Bo was their driver they ran out of gas a mile from the arena. Cesaro says that’s when he realized Seth must really have been the architect. Ambrose says Bo was a terrible replacement architect, which had everyone laughing.
– Ambrose says that for a full year after being in WWE, himself, Seth and Roman realized they didn’t need to all share a hotel room on the road and alternate who would sleep on the floor. Cesaro says people don’t realize the sacrifices they make by working on the indies. Ambrose and Owens agree that the worst day for them now is still a great day. He also says they were touring Japan last year and he was seeing Cesaro, Seth, Sami and Neville and he realized it looked like an indy locker room from five years ago.
– Cesaro piggy backs into WrestleMania 31, how it was Seth cashing in and Ambrose in a ladder match getting stitches in his head and he’d been experiencing these things for the last 10 years. Ambrose talks about how great the medical team was, stapling his head at ringside. He said he didn’t even feel that he had a gash and that the staples hurt more than getting power bombed through the ladder. Owens says it was surreal to be there watching them that night. Cesaro says he’s been on the Mania pre show twice and it has him craving more. He then says that if you’re unhappy in WWE there is nowhere else to go so you make it work. He goes on to say that with the roster they have now they should be able to sell out every show and rock every house. Ambrose says there is no one lazy and that they all compete against each other to have the best matches.
– Owens says his main goal now is to keep things moving forward because he started out in a pretty good spot. Ambrose says that if he has a bad match, he’ll be miserable until he gets to have another match. He then says he takes it upon himself to entertain the locker room to keep up morale. He says he’ll do certain things in the ring to make the boys in the back laugh, but still try to look good in his match. Cesaro says that this is the art form they love and want to present and they’ve done it for no money for so long. Ambrose said the reward is like something Willie Nelson said, that whether record executives like your music, or if the radio plays your music, or if 20 people or 1,000 show up to watch you play, you get to enjoy playing music with your friends every night.
– Cesaro says that at the end of the day, they still get to sit down and have dinner together. The show closes with Cesaro suggesting he believes they are going out for coffee next.
This was arguably my favorite episode of the show so far. As someone who just loves the whole concept of the wrestling business, these three guys capture that spirit of what it’s all about. They have done it their whole lives, done it for the love of it and have succeeded and made it to the biggest stage.
Hearing them tell their stories on the road, how their paths have crossed over the years and their history together was really enjoyable. I remember back in the Attitude Era, guys like Triple H and The Rock, I felt they all wanted the top spot so bad that it led them to dislike each other in real life. With these guys having such a shared experience and passion for what they do, it seems they truly like and respect one another.
Another interesting aspect was that two of them worked through FCW and the early days of NXT, while the third came in at NXT’s peak. They had different developmental experiences, but it was cool to see Cesaro and Ambrose still have a certain reverence for NXT. It also shows that the future of the business is in pretty good hands with talents like this coming through the pipeline.
Probably the thing I enjoyed most about this episode was how Cesaro broke down what they do. That he said this is the art form that they want to present told me a lot. It told me that these guys take this seriously, that they respect what they do and they want to entertain us. The fact that Owens commented about how they did it for no money and Ambrose said he does it because he loves it just added to it.
I believe I’ve said this in every review so far, but it’s so true. This show really is amazing for wrestling fans. We get to see who these guys are, how they feel about what they do and how they relate to each other. It also shows you that if any of these guys don’t reach their potential, it isn’t for a lack of effort on their part. They will do the best they can with what they are given. We just have to hope some day they are given a little more.