He’s arguably the top face in the WWE. Fans love him, yet critics think he’s not ready to be champion. Well, last Sunday at Money in the Bank, Dean Ambrose’s moment has arrived when he not only won the MITB ladder match; he cashed it in later that evening to become WWE Champion. Good for him! He’s taken the scenic route to get to the top card level of the roster. What that night showed me was in summary, WWE management deciding to give Ambrose the title and see how it goes.
Whether or not the title change had anything to do with his 30 day suspension for violating the WWE wellness policy, Roman Reigns as a face champion hasn’t fared well since Wrestlemania this past April. Could this be one of those changes where the move has done because it makes sense to crown a face wrestler champion because the fans love him rather than force it down the fan’s throats resulting in lackluster results and ratings? I’m going with the former.
If it is the former, then this is a good thing, finally! Last Sunday’s pay per view reminded me of two periods of time years ago where the course of the WWE changed due to a popular face winning the WWE title. The first one I thought of was Hulk Hogan defeating the Iron Sheik in January 1984. The other one that came to mind was Diesel defeating Bob Backlund in late 1994. I remember vividly the crowd going nuts for these respective wrestlers. Granted, I’m not expecting the same exact thing to happen. The point I’m making is that the move was done because these superstars were popular faces. The crowd loved them. Ambrose is a good wrestler who gives it his all while having good mic skills.
Also historic on this night was the MITB winner cashing it in on the same night. Of all these years, this was the first time it’s happened? Crazy but true. So in turn, in a metaphoric sense, Ambrose didn’t have to carry any baggage holding the briefcase for months before cashing it in that we usually see. The journey had occurred in one night which also contributes to the freshness of the storylines.
Now the key here is how will Ambrose be able to handle the fact that he is the top man on the roster? He’s been the hunter for years and now he is the hunted. He did hold the United States title for just under a year with mixed results while with The Shield. He’s on him own now. How Ambrose handles the title reign is up to him. As for the bookers, let Ambrose do his thing. Keep a leash on Ambrose but it will be alright he goes impromptu on us whether on the mic in the middle of the ring, backstage, or on the Ambrose Asylum. Let him work with the crowd and his opponents. We saw how badly Seth Rollins was handled as champion under The Authority. When he broke away from that faction his did his own gimmick and the crowd ate it up.
Ambrose will have a lot of competition should he remain champion for a long time. The feud with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns should last for a while. After that, he may have the likes of A.J. Styles and Bray Wyatt to deal with.
What does this mean for Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins? Rollins seems set on his way with his character. I’m not worried about that. Roman Reigns will be interesting to monitor for the remainder of the year. He can remain a face but it may be best turning him heel. Turning heel may be a necessary reboot for Reigns. We know as wrestling fans that allegiance for wrestlers goes back and forth. Reigns is young and has a long career ahead of him that he can become a popular face in the future.
For now, it is Dean Ambrose’s turn to step into the WWE title spotlight. Let’s hope this will be a good reign for him.