Sunday 21 September 2014

Return of 'The Lunatic'

Fans of WWE Studios movies (and I’m sure there are loads of them) will know that Dean Ambrose has been away for the last five weeks filming Lockdown. Those of us more interested in WWE’s wrestling output will know this too, of course, because Ambrose has been absent from RAW and SmackDown, being written out of plots after supposedly having his head caved in by Seth Rollins. It was an absence that hurt WWE because he was arguably their most popular wrestler before he was written off TV.

Ambrose’s five week stint on a movie set may have halted his momentum but it’s also likely that his time away will have made people keen to see him again. As my old pal Jim Cornette would say, nobody can be missed if they don’t leave. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

Ambrose is listed amongst the superstars confirmed for tomorrow’s episode of Monday Night RAW. That means we can expect to see him on that show but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be returning there. He could just as easily show up at this evening’s Night of Champions to gain some unadvertised retribution on Seth Rollins.

In fact, a Night of Champions appearance seems likelier than a return on RAW after the news that Roman Reigns has been pulled from the pay-per-view due to injury and will be out of action for somewhere in the region of two months. It’s easy to imagine Rollins hitting the ring to have himself announced the winner of his match with Reigns via forfeit only for ‘The Lunatic Fringe’ to charge out and give him an impromptu battering. The crowd would eat that up, it would get the Rollins v Ambrose programme back on track, and keep Rollins on the pay-per-view. Three wins.

But is that the best course of action for WWE? Personally I’d like to see them take another route. Have a backstage segment in which The Authority gloat about Reigns being injured and tell Rollins that he’ll still be in action, but wrestling for the Intercontinental championship. Or have Rollins crash Christian’s pre-show Peep Show to make the announcement himself. At the start of the scheduled Miz versus Ziggler match Rollins could go to the ring only to sit at commentary, explaining that he’ll face the winner of the IC title match. ‘The Show Off’ could retain and then lose the title to Rollins immediately afterwards.

Then Ambrose could show up to give the new champ a kicking.

Give them the Intercontinental title. Both guys and the belt would benefit.
This would achieve a few things. It would keep up Rollins’ status as the spoilt chosen one of The Authority: he’d have been handed a championship match (which the commentary team could put over as unjust) and beaten a popular guy in unfair circumstances (unjust again, obvs) to win the gold. It would get the IC belt involved in the company’s hottest and longest running feud, potentially restoring some of its lustre. It would also set Ambrose up for a title win at some point in the future, further painting him as a man destined for the top and again giving the title’s status a boost.

Whether they involve the Intercontinental championship Ambrose v Rollins is the perfect match to get the Hell in a Cell treatment in October. The problem with attaching the gimmick to a pay-per-view is that it doesn’t always sync up with rivalries that are worthy of it. Hell in a Cell, as WWE’s (in theory) premiere feud-ender, is something that should be built up to over time and only used for the most serious of grudges. If there’s been any feud in WWE over the last year that deserves the Cell treatment it’s Ambrose versus Rollins.

I’m going to hope WWE see sense and book Ambrose and Rollins to close the Cell PPV inside the cage. Closing a major show would give both men a credibility boost (and the Intercontinental strap, were that involved), and Cena could always be slipped into the penultimate spot to combat concerns of there being a lack of established headliners at the top of the card. If WWE wants to get new stars over they need to break from their long-established patterns. Ambrose and Rollins closing Hell in a Cell would do that.

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