The Good, the Bad and the Hokie: Dean Ambrose’s Run in the WWE
To the surprise of just about every wrestling fan in the world the WWE put out a press release stating Dean Ambrose, Jonathon Good, would not be renewing his contract once it expires after Wrestlemania. The dark horse star of the past six plus years is leaving the WWE. That or they’re all plotting a major story line. Either way, who’s to blame if he goes?
If someone asked you six years ago during The Shield’s descend into WWE royalty to predict which member of The Shield would leave the WWE first I would have guessed Seth Rollins. My early guess would have been based on Roman Reigns having the look the WWE can see a future in. Dean Ambrose is the talker of the group and as we all know, talking is a trait in wrestling that can’t really be taught. That left, indy darling, Rollins as the guy who probably goes back to Ring of Honor. Ambrose was the best talker during The Shield’s initial run, his charisma oozed through the lens. Ambrose appeared as the leader of a trio that undoubtedly was on track to become very rich, well positioned, WWE Hall of Famers. Rollins eventually turned on Reigns and Ambrose, so he could go authority it up with Triple H and Kane. Immediately, Rollins’ position in the company was laid out for the near future. Roman kept The Shield’s gear and music, signifying he was indeed the future and the big dog. Ambrose, the leader and arguably, most over guy of the three, didn’t win his first singles match until SIX MONTHS AFTER THE SHIELD SPLIT. The Shield was the hottest thing in pro wrestling for the better part of nineteen months and in a blink of an eye, Dean Ambrose became an afterthought in WWE booking.
On paper Dean’s WWE career accolades reads better than a lot of guys in the WWE hall of fame. But for every WWE Title reign there was losing to Bray Wyatt multiple times in a row. For every United States Title run there was way too much time spent doing nothing with James Ellsworth. Did WWE officials see the writing on the wall and continued to book Ambrose like a fifth year college student? Or did Dean ever truly buy into being a life time WWE superstar?
Ambrose was positioned multiple times to be the top guy in the WWE just to have the company go the other way. After finishing second in the 2016 Royal Rumble Dean was placed into two marquee matches with Triple H and Brock Lesnar. The WWE had a chance to greatly improve Ambrose’s status and show the world that Dean is just as good and important as Rollins and Reigns. Instead, there was a complete swing and miss. Ambrose lost to Triple H during the ‘let’s stream house shows’ era of the WWE Network. Then again, to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32. Before Brock was beating all of our favorite guys over the past few years Dean was put into a David against Goliath position; surely Ambrose was going to have to come unhinged to tame the beast. He wasn’t sent out there to be the unstable, crazy guy against Brock, he was sent out with hot dogs to pop the crowd. The WWE decided to get the band back together for a short run that included having Kurt Angle and Triple H make cameo appearances in The Shield. Ambrose tore his tricep and would miss the next nine months.
Upon his return, once again, the WWE had the chance to really showcase Ambrose after he turned on Seth Rollins following Reign’s leukemia announcement. Dean, once again, didn’t become this top level heel that so many people’s pipe dream envisioned he would become. In hindsight, Dean did come across as a very funny, light character from 2015-2017 and maybe all that hokie stuff did add up. Maybe just maybe, that’s the straw that broke this wrestlers back.
Until next time, leave a comment, tell a friend, listen to the HTC Wrestling Podcast available on out site, follow me on twitter @camdougharty and let’s talk wrestling!