The past year, it seems like WWE has been on a mission to cement Roman Reigns as the next face of the company. John Cena is 38 years old and while he still sells the most merchandise and is still a great performer, the WWE has to think about life post-Cena (frankly, they should have been thinking of it a lot sooner).
However when it comes to Reigns, the WWE has force fed him down the throats of the audience even though his body of work and charisma isn’t up to par with what you want in a top star, much less the face of your company. The hottest stars in the industry have always happened organically. Daniel Bryan got over organically, but his in-ring career is in severe jeopardy and even the biggest Bryan fans can no longer fault WWE if they’re now hesitant to push Bryan to the top if he returns. Other options have to be considered. One guy that has constantly drawn great reactions since the split of The Shield, whose work in the ring has been excellent all year and who has gotten over organically with the crowd is Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose has had an abundance of great matches with Seth Rollins and recently has finally gotten a chance to shine in their recent feud. Ambrose seemed to be forgotten by WWE’s brass since his initial feud with Rollins ended last fall. Ambrose went nearly a full year without a PPV win. Following The Shield’s split, Ambrose lost at 10 consecutive PPVs. His losing streak at PPVs ended with a victory over Luke Harper at Extreme Rules. This was followed by a loss in Payback’s Fatal 4 Way main event and a DQ win over Rollins at Elimination Chamber.
The WWE is guilty of overlooking some of their best talents and some who are actually over with the audience. Their booking of the 2015 Royal Rumble was a reflection of that. Besides the fact Daniel Bryan was eliminated too early, practically inciting a riot, the WWE could have saved themselves had they been paying attention to crowd reactions prior to the event. Towards the end of the event, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose would have been two guys fans would have loved to see pick up the win, but Ambrose was literally tossed aside (by Big Show and Kane). A consistent push of Ambrose over the past year could’ve helped fill the babyface void left by Daniel Bryan.
If the WWE wants to keep pushing forward with The Authority as the main antagonists of their programming, they need the perfect foil for them to make it work. Ambrose screams of a guy who is anti-Authority, being that he looks like a loose cannon, you can’t picture him following any rules and like the commentators were selling at Elimination Chamber “could you imagine Dean Ambrose as our world champion?” Ambrose’s on-screen character is the complete opposite of Rollins and that’s why their feud and their matches have always worked so well.
The fans have actually been excited for Ambrose’s matches and give him the reactions the WWE is looking for with top faces. Reigns simply isn’t there yet. If you don’t believe me, that’s fine. I’m just a fan. However, I would think Stone Cold Steve Austin’s opinion is one that should always be held in high regard and he sees the same thing. There is a way for Reigns to ascend to the top, but the current route is not the right one. Here is what Austin had to say on Reigns on his recent podcast, the Steve Austin Show.
“I stand by the fact that — no matter what they do with [Roman Reigns] — he’s going to have to be a heel first. But they’re trying to keep him babyface, because I think Vince [McMahon’s] thing is that he’s either going to work as a babyface, or he isn’t going to work at all.”
Austin’s bang on and Reigns actually finds himself with a great opportunity to pull off being a great heel. From there, he can either eventually make the jump back to babyface, or really flourish as a heel. The support for Reigns has gotten a little better since WrestleMania because he doesn’t feel as forced as he did prior to the big event. However, if Reigns surpasses Ambrose on WWE’s depth chart so to speak, with how over Ambrose is right now, the informed fans will resent him again.
Here’s the scenario I’m presenting to set up all three former members of The Shield in an ideal role. Money in the Bank is coming up and Ambrose has yet another shot at Seth Rollins’ WWE Championship. After so many defeats at the hands of Rollins in meaningful matches, i.e, Money in the Bank last year, championship matches, etc… Ambrose needs that big win. That could come at Money in the Bank with Ambrose capturing the championship.
Roman Reigns is in the actual MITB Ladder Match taking place earlier in the night. Reigns looks like a favorite to win that match, against the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Neville, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus and Kane. Have Reigns win that match and cash in the same night right after Ambrose defeats Rollins in a barn burner of a main event. From there, Reigns can build tremendous heat as a heel, in a way having just stolen the title from his friend. That in turn can start a feud between Reigns and Ambrose, and still have Seth Rollins lurking in the background. This could all finally come to a head at WrestleMania with the three Shield members having that long awaited triple threat match. This gives you time to let the audience decide who they like.
If you were to pick the top face of the company between Reigns and Ambrose, the time is right for Ambrose.
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