Wednesday 29 October 2014

Swerve Return

By now you've probably seen the Hell in a Cell show. In which case you'll have seen Bray Wyatt return to attack Dean Ambrose, costing him his Cell match with Seth Rollins. It’s a move that has nicely set up a new programme between Ambrose and Wyatt and also allowed Rollins to head off into a presumed slow-burn programme with Randy Orton.

I’ve seen it said elsewhere that the finish was cheap and disappointing. I couldn’t disagree with this more. The ending reintroduced Wyatt after a TV absence that lasted over a month. The point of that absence was to provide the Wyatt character with a rejuvenation period so he could return with a new focus. Which is, of course, what we got when he assaulted Ambrose.

Best Hell in a Cell run-in since Kane's debut? Quite possibly.
The finish also got over the opportunist attribute of Rollins’s character. He doesn’t care if a victory is cheap, he’ll take it because a win ultimately makes him look good. By the same token it protected Ambrose: he lost after going through a table, taking weapons shots, various standards moves, and, finally, a beating from a completely fresh Bray Wyatt. The Uranage he was hammered with was particularly impactful.

The Rollins and Orton issue is something WWE have vaguely teased for a while but I get the feeling it’s not something they’d planned to go through with just yet. It’s possible that the light babyface side of the roster (caused by injuries, most notably to Daniel Bryan and Roman ‘Great Hope’ Reigns) is the sole cause for the move, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the recent spate of “Outta nowhere!” videos, seeing Orton edited into videos as if delivering RKOs to people falling on their faces, has sped things up too. They have made Orton more relevant than he’s been since at least June, and probably earlier.

It’s tough to judge how quickly the Rollins and Orton issue is going to develop. It could see them both remain members of The Authority for a while longer or ‘The Viper’ could cut ties with the group next week. I think the longer option is likelier. Survivor Series presents an ideal opportunity for Orton to be assaulted by his comrades, signalling his face turn.

Coming to a special event near you.
Both Rollins and Orton will presumably wrestle as part of Team Authority against Team Cena (and yes, that would mean another pay-per-view meeting for Cena and Orton). Orty could be pinned and then get duffed up by his teammates immediately afterwards or, more likely, on the following evening’s RAW. A more exciting way of doing things would be to have Orton RKO Rollins (outta nowhere!) during the match to get the young upstart eliminated, Orton’s reasoning being that he knows Seth’s after his spot. Sadly that jars with WWE’s formulaic approach to face and heels turns and so isn’t likely to happen.

As good as matches between Rollins and Orton could be I’m more interested in the Ambrose versus Wyatt. First of all Wyatt used a smoke hologram when he returned. If that’s not getting you interested in him I don’t know what will.

My more sensible reasoning is that Ambrose and Wyatt is a fresh singles match between two men WWE need to establish as headline acts. It’s exactly the sort of feud they should be doing and putting on towards the top of the card. With a Team Cena versus Team Authority match confirmed for Survivor Series it seems safe to assume Ambrose and Wyatt will take the semi-main event spot. That would help the standing of both men.

It’s also nice to see the storytelling in the company being changed up. Ambrose has been established as a man motivated by gaining retribution on those who wrong him. It proved the driving force of his feud with Rollins and provided a good starting point for his issue with Wyatt: ‘The Eater of Worlds’ stopped Ambrose delivering the final blow to his bitterest enemy and for that Wyatt has to pay. It’s nice to see some character consistency. It’s also an attribute that will generate some interesting scenarios for a heel Ambrose one day.

Could this be a career-defining feud for Ambrose and Rollins?
A resounding "maybe" from me!
Something that's important to note with these new and emerging rivalries is that the door has been left open for Ambrose and Rollins to resume their fight at some point. Which I'm sure they will. They're still less than two years into their (main roster) WWE careers but their rivalry already has the makings of being their generation's Orton versus Cena feud. Actually, that does the former Shield lads a disservice. It would be more flattering to say they could progress to an Austin v Rock scenario, feuding on and off across the years. They should certainly be aiming for Austin and Rock instead of Cena and Orton.

But that's for the future. For now we have Rollins versus Orton and Ambrose versus Wyatt. Fresh scenarios that should provide quality matches and (particularly in the case of the latter) quality promos. It’s looking as though WWE has finally committed to a new batch of headliners. Now all they have to do is legitimise them as main eventers.

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