One thing has been apparent over the last six months: Dean Ambrose will be WWE’s next main event star.
Indeed, his work in heel group The Shield has established the former Dragon Gate USA wrestler as one of WWE’s brightest young talents.
Sure, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are highly skilled too, but it’s been blatantly obvious since they debuted that Ambrose is the true attraction of the group.
He’s one of the most charismatic men in the company, for one thing. Blessed with a captivating on-screen presence, the wrestler is capable of instantly grabbing your attention whenever he appears on Raw and SmackDown.
He’s also arguably the only person in the company who really does feel like a dangerous loose cannon—someone that could go off script and do something crazy.
With Ambrose, WWE has a chance to create a true edgy top babyface, one who can counter John Cena’s cheesy nice-guy shtick. (CM Punk attempted to take on this role in 2012 but, despite his rabid fanbase, still found himself overshadowed by Cena.)
It also helps Ambrose that many in the business are high on him right now and recognize his potential.
Tom Prichard, when talking to Britain’s Fighting Spirit Magazine, compared the star to a young Terry Funk. WWE announcer Jim Ross has also noted on his blog that he sees shades of Brian Pillman and Roddy Piper in the young up-and-comer.
In early December one report (from WrestlingInc via F4Wonline) noted that management were particularly high on Ambrose and that he “is the guy WWE wants to build into a headliner once The Shield angle has run its course.”
This was reinforced by fact that Ambrose—not Reigns or Rollins—was the one chosen to be The Undertaker’s opponent for “The Deadman’s” first televised match in several years on SmackDown two weeks ago.
Who do you think the real star of The Shield is?
Ultimately the young star fell to The Undertaker. But the match itself was notable for how much offense the veteran allowed his challenger to get in. Ambrose didn’t win—that would have truly been a massive upset—but he still came out of the bout looking credible.
Of course, Ambrose’s act isn't totally perfect. A great deal of the time it feels like he’s desperately trying to act like The Joker from The Dark Knight. Which would be an interesting idea if, you know, a bunch of other people—including Sting in TNA—hadn’t done this already.
At this point, Ambrose might be best served by being himself, rather than trying to emulate anyone else.
Or if he has to go the Batman route, at least be mildly original and go with someone like The Riddler or Bane. (Probably best to avoid trying to be Mr. Freeze, though).