Fans are rejoicing all over social media after the crowning of new WWE Universal champion Kevin Owens. Owens joins Dean Ambrose as new faces on the top of the cards but will sporadic booking and a lack of planning do Owens and Ambrose in before they get rolling?
Ambrose and Owens find themselves as beneficiaries to unfortunate situations for the company. Roman Reigns’ Wellness violation and Finn Balor’s injury necessitated quick fixes and Owens and Ambrose lucked out. If you followed the WWE strictly through social media, you’d think that the company had the two greatest champions since Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan. Yet reality may tell a different story.
Although Triple H will defend the company’s stance on “50-50 booking” anytime he is asked, this even booking has deeply hurt the company when they go to elevate stars. With the exception of Daniel Bryan (and to be honest, we don’t know how his title reign would have panned out), nobody has beaten the stigma of average once they are presented as the best. While Owens and Ambrose are arguably two of the most talented guys on the roster, perception is reality and the reality is that these guys are well…eh.
Starting with Dean Ambrose, the company had something with Dean after Rollins turned and the Shield disbanded. Ambrose was a hit immediately and was starting to evolve into a next era Stone Cold Steve Austin. But wait a second! The company couldn’t have that. They did everything in their power to diminish his returns to the point where Ambrose was relegated to open-low card matches. Say what you want about guys needing to grab the brass ring, but this guy did everything he could organically to get over and yet he was clearly positioned as anything but an A+ player.
Even when the company fell into situations where Ambrose would start to gain traction, he was cut off at the knees. The height of this brilliance came at WrestleMania 32 when he was sacrificed like a high-end 1980’s jobber to Brock Lesnar. When his time finally came and the needed someone two months later, he was dead on arrival. Don’t mistake anything about this blog. I am a Dean Ambrose fan. But the fact of the matter is that casual fans see him as a guy that isn’t really that good and while I am a huge Dolph Ziggler fan, putting him in “main-events” against a guy who was working openers with Baron Corbin will only reinforce the perception.
If you thought Ambrose had it bad, you probably haven’t watched Kevin Owens over the last year. Owens went from a guy that came in with a ton of momentum, beat John Cena, and looked like he was on his way to becoming the hottest thing in the business. Apparently that wasn’t the plan as the company then proceeded to systematically break this guy down to the point where he wasn’t even booked on some of the big shows. Yet the company decides now, after the guy has been booked in an opening card tag team for the last couple of months that they want to give him the “ball.” To make matters even worse, they back him into the title with an assist from Triple H. As much as I like Kevin Owens, this guy is D.O.A.
The point I am trying to make here is that this whole 50-50 style of booking and complete lack of preparation is killing any chance a WWE superstar gets when he is elevated to the top. Finn Balor was about the only one who had a shot of succeeding because he hadn’t been tainted yet. Unfortunately casual fans are expected to pay for cards headlined by a guy that got squashed by Brock Lesnar and lost to Zack Ryder at WrestleMania.
Hey, don’t be mad at me. I’m not booking this stuff.