WWE has an opportunity to pull off one of its best pieces of long-term storytelling in years right now. They’ve unintentionally put found themselves in a position where Seth Rollins is a babyface trying to redeem his past indiscretions, Dean Ambrose is a babyface who is frustrated and in need of a character shift and both men don’t really have anything to do right now.
Rollins’ heel turn in 2014 has become iconic and is among the greatest heel turns of all time. Since turning face, his redemption arc hasn’t quite reached great heights, but maybe that’s because he hasn’t redeemed himself with the man who is most deserving of an apology –Ambrose. Rollins and Ambrose had the best feud of 2014. The feud established both men as fantastic characters and gave them the momentum that has carried them through to where we are now.
With SummerSlam a month away, this is how I would book Ambrose rejecting Rollins’ attempts to redeem himself, leading to his heel turn.
It starts this week on RAW (even if this article goes up after RAW has aired). We know Rollins and Ambrose will be teaming up in a handicap match against the Miztourage. Early in the show, Dean is hanging out backstage when Curt Hawkins comes up to him, claiming to have footage of Seth entering The Miz’s change rooms and leaving with a briefcase in hand. Hawkins eventually talks Ambrose into looking at the footage and it does appear to show Rollins entering a room and leaving with a briefcase. The next backstage segment has Charly Caruso trying to interview a very distracted Seth Rollins, who leaves the interview after the first question to take a phone call.
Just before their match is set to begin, Dean catches up to Seth backstage and tells him to stay out of the fight. Ambrose doesn’t need him and he’ll fight the Miztourage three on one. Seth is confused and Ambrose tells him about the footage. Rollins is still confused and tries to explain that he’s had a few issues with his wrestling school business Black and Brave that he’s needed to sort out. Dean still doesn’t believe him and makes his way down to the ring.
The match gets underway and the two work together, but the tension is quite obvious. As Rollins is looking for your standard hot tag to Ambrose, Hawkins comes running down to the ring with his phone in hand. He tries to get Dean to look at it, but Ambrose shoves him off. After all, he’s in the middle of a match. Hawkins then tackles Dean and the two brawl, ending the match in disqualification. The Miz then uses this chance to attack Seth and the three of them lay Rollins out.
The next week, Kurt Angle announces that he’s made the rematch for tonight and urges Seth and Dean to cooperate. After another promo between the two of them, Rollins convinces him that he genuinely wants to put the past behind him and if anything can bring them together, it’s beating up The Miz. Ambrose agrees and the two of them convincingly defeat the Miztourage. After the match, Sheamus and Cesaro come out and talk some trash about Seth and Dean. Saying they’ll never amount to anything as a duo again. Even though the two actually don’t want to be a team ever again, they agree on going after Sheamus and Cesaro.
The next RAW, Ambrose and Rollins take on Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, with the winning team challenging Sheamus and Cesaro at SummerSlam. We get a backstage segment of Ambrose and Rollins chatting with Roman, just to whet the Shield reunion appetite, and Roman says that he’s excited that they’re all on the same page again and that when he’s done with his opponents at SummerSlam, maybe the three of them can work something out. Ambrose and Rollins defeat Gallows and Anderson and start to show the signs of becoming a cohesive unit again. Sheamus and Cesaro blindside them after the match and get the upper hand.
On the final RAW before SummerSlam, Rollins goes one-on-one with Cesaro. Rollins wins the match clean, but Sheamus attacks him after the match. Ambrose makes the save and the two isolate Sheamus and hit him with a double powerbomb. Ambrose’s music hits, but he rolls out of the ring and whispers something to the stage producer. The music stops… and The Shield music starts playing. Rollins and Ambrose stand tall heading into SummerSlam.
At the pay-per-view, we get a backstage segment with Renee Young interviewing Dean and Seth. At the end of it, she tells them that she’s really happy they’re friends again (Renee obviously the wife of Ambrose, but also the friend of Seth). She’s excited to hang out with the two of them together again like “the old days”.
The match gets underway and everything is going to plan. Sheamus and Cesaro have Rollins in your standard babyface-in-peril situation, but he fends them off, dives for the corner… and Ambrose jumps down. Dean jumps off the turnbuckle, hops the barricade and disappears into the crowd. Rollins turns around into a Brogue Kick and the champions retail their titles. After the match, Ambrose returns through the crowd with a chair and mercilessly beats on Rollins until referees pull him away.
The next night, Rollins is in hospital and Ambrose explains his actions. He explains why the whole elaborate scheme was necessary. When Seth turned on The Shield, it came the night after the team’s biggest victory. He never saw it coming. So he decided he would give Rollins a taste of his own medicine. He played along until it seemed like they were on the same page, and then he pulled the rug out from under him. Ambrose says that he never truly got his vengeance on Seth. Their initial feud ended with Bray Wyatt interfering and even cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on him felt hollow. He vows to put everything else on hold until he’s truly made Rollins’ life miserable.
From there, the feud writes itself and can hold up RAW for months. Involve Reigns, involve Renee and keep Ambrose isolated from other heels on the roster. This will finally get Seth over as a face and it will reignite Ambrose’s career. Rollins is the face of WWE2K18 and the cover boy needs a massive summer storyline.