Times have drastically changed for members of The Shield over the last few years.
During their heyday, many an Internet fan was infatuated with Dean Ambrose, excited for the prospects of Seth Rollins, and felt indifferent about Roman Reigns. Then, naturally, times changed again. Rollins emerged as a stud, Ambrose’s character was a mix of Brian Pillman and an indie wrestler folks loved to adore, and Reigns became one of the least over faces this side of John Cena.
That was not too long ago. Rollins is now hurt. Nothing can be done about that. Say what you will about his title run, but he was incredibly gifted in the ring and was one of the few true-heels the WWE had. Reigns’ run has been incredible to witness. While we don’t know how his title reign will go, the last week has shown us that if booked right anything can happen with his character.
Finally, that brings us back to Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose is currently the Intercontinental Champion. And boy did he ever need to win it. The last year saw incredible ups and downs as far as how WWE has booked him. Every once in a blue moon creative would thrust him into the main event scene. Other than that, though, he has spent a large portion of his time playing the lunatic fringe, being Roman Reigns’ little buddy, and losing.
None of those things are all that concerning. If the WWE feels there is money in Dean Ambrose they will eventually book him better. The problem being for them to believe in him, however, is the fact that Ambrose’s character has grown somewhat stale.
Let me be crystal (lake) clear here: I am not saying Dean Ambrose is bad in the ring or does a poor job portraying his character. What I am saying is, the lunatic fringe gimmick always had severe limitations and those downfalls of playing a one-dimensional character are starting to show its warts.
We get it at this point, right? Ambrose is a wild man. So wild, in fact, that he hurled soda and popcorn into the mug of Kevin Owens after the former IC champion had a match. Thing is, that is a move usually reserved for a heel. Not to mention the fact that it isn’t all that appealing. Few people are going to talk about Raw the following morning after an incident like that and say, “You know what? That Ambrose fella is sure fun. He tossed a beverage and popcorn at a guy.”
(Also, personal aside: What is the deal with everyone eating popcorn and other foods and beverages on the picture-box all the time?)
It could be an issue where Ambrose has played the lunatic fringe character too well. He is so “crazy” and “unhinged” that there’s little meaning to if he wins or loses. Seriously, if a guy is that loony, what does winning or losing matches matter to him? Except we all know that they are meant to matter. It is one of those world famous WWE logic gaps were are supposed to ignore.
The fix, if there is truly a fix, is to reel in the character a bit. Provide nuance into how he portrays a guy who apparently only cares for Roman Reigns, something about chewing bubblegum, and that is about it.
Another issue he currently has, which is unlikely his fault as a performer, is that he is currently using less moves in the ring than Five Moves of Doom John Cena. He does his clothesline after catapulting himself off the ropes up to five times a match. That takes away the special from the move. Outside of that, his move set is the elbow drop and dropkick from the top-rope, the double-crossbody which appears in nearly every match, and a slew of rest-holds.
As unpopular as it is to say since Dean Ambrose is everyone’s boy, that isn’t all that appealing. It is the same stuff all the people who felt some bad feelings towards Reigns, you know, hated him for.
It brings me to a question that I think few would honestly answer: Do we only like wrestlers who aren’t being pushed to the main event level? Because as soon as they are pushed, unless they have to “work” to get there, we hate them. At this point in Ambrose’s character run, what is more appealing about it than Reigns’ character from just a little over a week ago?
I used to think, especially in the beginning of his run on the main roster, Ambrose was too clever to get over with the casual WWE crowd. The non-grownup-fans, if you will. He was more complicated during his run with The Shield and immediately after than simply being the insane person he is now. I ate it up like many of you. Yet, his character — while now more over with casual fans — isn’t as complex. He’s simplified. One can assume that WWE has done so for the casual fan, or Ambrose is resting on his laurels, or a plethora of other theories.
Regardless, something needs to shakeup the character. As many felt he would have been the best heel out of The Shield anyway, maybe a simple turn on Reigns — setting up a feud to set up a three-way when Rollins is healthy — is a solution. Who knows, though? Not me. Not creative, apparently, either. Because you’d be lying to me, and yourself, if you told anyone you were turning Raw on for some Dean Ambrose…
But it wasn’t always like that.