The wrestling world is still buzzing with the news of Roman Reigns’ recent violation of WWE’s Wellness Policy. The former Shield strongman was the example of class and professionalism, and now that image has suffered a serious blow.
However, his critics could not be happier.
Roman’s haters were hoping for failure on his part, but even they could not have predicted a misstep of this magnitude. As he now fades into the background for Vince McMahon’s company, he does so to the delight of many that were more than sick of his presence.
But somewhere in the midst of all this is Dean Ambrose.
Roman’s former Shield teammate cashed in his briefcase on Seth Rollins of course, and now he’s the new WWE world heavyweight champion. Fans should be celebrating his win, and anxious to see how the company will handle him now.
Instead, Roman’s return is the new subject of this story, including his participation in the triple threat championship match at Battleground. It’s as if Dean’s win and imminent title reign have become an afterthought. But should it really be that way?
Perhaps Dean should remain right where he is. Maybe Roman becoming WWE world heavyweight champion once again is not best for business, and maybe Seth should continue to chase the title he never lost.
But it all starts with The Lunatic Fringe.
Dean has found his spot, and he should keep it. WWE has found the answer, at least in the short term, so it should keep him there. All signs point to Dean blowing up with the biggest run of his pro wrestling career, and there are five reasons why it’s a great idea.
#5 He’s over
This may seem like the simplest reason to give a talent the most important championship in the company. In fact, it may seem much too simple. After all, this is not just any title; this is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Should Dean be the guy wearing the title just because he’s over?
But the truth is it’s not just a matter of being over. This didn’t happen for Dean overnight. This came from all of his time in The Shield, when fans hated the gang warfare mentality that the group showed every week on TV.
This came when they became antiheroes, bucking Triple H and The Authority during a time when very few could do that and live to tell about it. This also came from the moment that Seth Rollins betrayed Dean, and left him lying in the middle of the ring.
Of course for fans that knew Ambrose before his WWE run, this came from everything he did before and since then. This is the culmination of a career’s worth of hard work, determination, and passion for the business.
When fans look into Dean’s eyes, they see a man that wants it more than anyone else.
This is what it means to be over. In order to claim that distinction, one must be able to maintain it as well. Ambrose has the ability to do just that, as his entire attitude has changed since winning the belt at Money in the Bank. He seems in full control of himself, his confidence is at an all-time high, and he just looks the part.
He’s over on all accounts, and that’s what matters.
#4 He can make it work
This is a major point of contention for anyone that’s watched Roman Reigns over the past year. That’s because despite how much criticism he’s received for his ring work, it’s hard to deny how far he’s come. The fact is he’s improved beyond what many likely believed he could ever do.
But he’s no Dean Ambrose.
Dean doesn’t have to improve with time. He doesn’t need a year’s worth of main event matches and spotlight to become the Superstar that WWE wants. He’s ready now. That means when he steps into the ring, he can work with anyone.
Paring him with a veteran is not an issue, and neither is matching him up with a five-star talent that can make him look like a million bucks in the ring. Dean can more than handle himself; this is what he was made to do.
Of course it’s not to suggest that he’s the best hand in the company. That is a very subjective opinion, and while many fans respect Dean, they may not see him as being better than Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, or AJ Styles.
But in terms of what’s needed to carry the most important belt in the industry, Dean is a great choice.
He has the right attitude, he has the right work ethic, and he can go with anyone in the ring at any time. He can do whatever’s needed to get a match over, and he’s more concerned with doing that, which is the sign of a true professional.
He can change sides whenever the situation calls for it, and his transition would be seamless. He can slow down in the ring, or go at 100mph. He will wear the championship like a man that’s meant to wear it, and he will do it all because of everyone WWE could’ve chosen for this spot, Dean is the man that can make it work.
#3 This sets up a Roman Reigns heel turn
Dean can indeed change his spots if that’s what needs to happen, and he can do it despite the cheers that he may still receive after making the turn. He’s so good at what he does, that he can surely make the crowd hate him as much as they love him right now.
But why do that? Why waste the hottest babyface in WWE just because Roman Reigns is coming back from suspension, and Vince McMahon wants him to get over? The fact is, Dean’s reign as WWE world heavyweight champion is the perfect catalyst for a Roman Reigns heel turn.
This is what WWE fans have been waiting on. Roman has it in him to do great things, but much of his forward progress just has not happened because fans will not accept him as a babyface. He’s a killer in disguise, and all he needs is the right motivation to flip the switch.
What better motivation than to come back to a WWE ruled by the man he called his brother? Ambrose has the perfect opportunity to get as much fan support, and as much respect, as he can before Roman’s return.
He needs to win every match, he needs to look tremendous every time out, and he needs to have a swagger like no one before him.
If he does all of that, then the stage will be set for Roman’s heel turn. On that night, he will destroy Dean and leave him for dead in the ring. Ambrose will get over ever more than ever before, and Roman will become the hottest heel that WWE has seen in years. It’s a win for both men.
#2 He has the CM Punk factor
On the night CM Punk dropped the pipe bomb back in 2011, he turned the wrestling world upside down. For the first time in recent memory, a WWE Superstar cut a promo on live TV, and seemingly broke kayfabe.
Not since The Attitude Era had fans witnessed such transparency, and felt so connected to a guy who seemed extremely genuine with his words. It could very well be that no one in WWE history has ever had such a meaningful impact on so many fans.
Is history repeating itself with Dean Ambrose?
Dean’s ride may not have begun with an incendiary promo, but he does seem to have the connection that Punk had with the WWE faithful. Much like Punk, Dean doesn’t seem to be working fans when he speaks to them. He’s genuine, he’s honest, and he’s very real.
He’s everything that Roman Reigns is not, and that fact is certainly not lost on fans that want something new.
Ambrose is the ordinary guy that worked hard to get where he is. He’s never taken a handout, he makes no excuses when he loses, and he’s always having fun because he loves what he does.
This is what Punk was to fans, and this is what Dean is now.
He may not be on a mission to improve WWE the way Punk was, and he may not be out to change things for fans that want more. But he doesn’t need to be. Ambrose is the end result of the work Punk did when he cut his infamous promo; he arguably never would’ve been given this opportunity had it not been for The Second City Saint.
The fact that he has this much in common with Punk is just a bonus to an already ideal situation.
#1 Roman Reigns is not the right guy
Had Roman Reigns not violated the Wellness Policy, he would likely have continued as WWE’s new top guy. He probably would have held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until SummerSlam, and possibly even afterward. He would have kept enjoying the spotlight as WWE’s top protagonist, though fans would likely hate him for it.
But none of that would have justified his place as WWE’s top guy. Despite how much he’s improved, and despite how much his supporters want to believe otherwise, Roman is just not the right guy. At least, he’s not right now.
So when Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B must be put into effect. That’s where Dean comes in. This may be the most unexpected turn of events fans have seen in quite some time, but WWE must look at the bigger picture now. Roman did the best he could with what he had, and he put forth an admirable effort.
But that effort did not help his cause. He had over a year’s worth of spotlight, promoting, and main event booking, to get him over. Yet, he couldn’t get there. Dean had the same amount of time, with half the work done by WWE, and in one night, he shot to the top.
He is the face that many likely believed would never main event in WWE’s top spot, but he’s doing it better than Roman did. Reigns may be capable of getting back on track when he returns, and perhaps he can get over if he turns heel.
But in the meantime, Dean Ambrose is the best choice to fill the void. And he may become so good at it that Roman won’t even get the chance to try again.
Published 24 Jun 2016, 20:31 IST
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here