Monday 16 April 2012

War of Words

It’s possible you’re missing one of WWE’s liveliest feuds right now. Why? Because it’s not happening on TV.

It began at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami during WrestleMania weekend. Developmental wrestler Dean Ambrose confronted Mick Foley in the hotel’s lobby, telling him he should be held accountable for ruining a generation of wrestlers and branding him a criminal. Ambrose’s reasoning was that Foley had raised the metaphorical bar of stunt matches so high while earning his ‘Hardcore Legend’ moniker that the young wrestlers following in his footsteps had to ruin their bodies attempting to top his work.

Foley asked what Ambrose meant by accountable. He didn’t get an answer. Instead the former indy standout simply repeated his statement before leaving through the crowd. It was a well-executed beginning to the feud that fooled those that witnessed it. Both men played their parts well. Foley in particular was great, his reaction gave the confrontation the aura of credibility it needed. Had he not taken Ambrose as seriously as he did the entire thing would have looked laughable.

Will Dean Ambrose me the man to give Mick Foley the final iconic bump of his career?

The feud has continued on Twitter with Ambrose using the hashtag #thanksMick to highlight what he considers Foley’s reckless and irresponsible attitude. He started using the tag after mentioning that he’d watched Edge’s Hall of Fame induction speech before inferring that he’d had to retire so young because of injuries he’d sustained trying to top Foley’s antics. That’s a worryingly good point, sadly.

For the most part Foley has ignored Ambrose’s Twitter rants, only addressing the situation a few times to say that he was writing a blog detailing his views on the allegations made against him and the man making them. It’s the right approach: as the bigger star Foley doesn’t need to go off on crazy rants against a guy in FCW. If he did it would be grossly out of character and ruin the air of believability the two have built.

The latest development was Ambrose being sent home from last week’s live Super SmackDown. He (naturally) blamed Mick Foley for that, claiming that the former WWE champions has a vendetta against him and is scared to face him.

Dean Ambrose is a very talented wrestler who is capable of cutting white hot promos when given the opportunity. If allowed some creative freedom he would make a great foil for Mick Foley. With Mick saying he has one more iconic big bump left in him I think Ambrose is going to have a very memorable WWE debut.

It may not be a conventional way of having two feuding wrestlers interact with one another but this Twitter war has been effective so far. I hope it continues for a while longer before progressing onto WWE television. As good as it is if it doesn’t result in Ambrose being called up to TV it will have been a waste of time. That shouldn’t be an issue though as the current plan is apparently to have Ambrose and Foley to be a big rivalry and culminate in a pay-per-view match.

If this approach succeeds it could change the way WWE calls up stars and promotes rivalries between its wrestlers in the future. They have flirted with the method before, a notable example being Eve Torres tweeting in character after her heel turn on Zack Ryder in February. What’s happening now is far bigger as it’s completely separate from the TV product rather than enhancing what’s already been established (as was the case with Eve). It’s an important experiment for WWE and one they need to get right if they’re going to be using social media more in the future. 

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