Monday on Raw, as John Cena continued trumpeting WWE's next generation, the iconic star pegged both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of the Shield as stars on the rise.
On a recent WWE Draft simulation, Grantland's David Shoemaker ranked Dean Ambrose lower than any other member of the Shield.
The Shield's unique booking has allowed each member to own a cycle as the alpha male. Needless to say, in addition to not being the current alpha male, Ambrose—ironically the only champion of the trio—has unofficially become the weak link.
Despite currently being the odd man out, Ambrose could easily rival his two cohorts as the most viable member of the Shield.
It was Ambrose who was originally deferred to as the de facto leader. His unique promo style was unlike anything in present day WWE, and embodied the rebel spirit of the stable.
His time on the independent circuit gives him internet currency with an increasingly volatile audience. Cesaro and Daniel Bryan are case studies as wrestlers who are wealthy when it comes to internet currency.
The Shield and Evolution's matchup at Extreme Rules will provide an opportunity for individuals, not the match itself, to steal the show. Don't be surprised if that distinction is shifted over toward Ambrose, currently booked as the Shield's forgotten man.
If WWE is attempting to send a subtle message through John Cena that it is not as high on Ambrose, this may benefit him more than anything.
The aforementioned Daniel Bryan, currently the WWE World Heavyweight champion, is living proof of wrestling fans' tendencies to stubbornly cheer for their favorites against the front office's will.
So much has been made of Roman Reigns as the future of WWE, Reality Era fans may reject him only to get behind an underdog.
Monday on Raw, Ambrose once again led off the Shield's backstage promo. After gracing fans with his grave delivery, he erratically retreated to the background as Reigns and Rollins added their two cents.
One couldn’t help but notice Ambrose's quirky antics as the promo continued. This could be a microcosm of how this Shield thing eventually plays out. Sure, the camera is on Rollins and Reigns as WWE tries to put its (perceived) best foot forward.
But it's impossible to ignore a talent the level of Dean Ambrose. He's too good.
Any time he spends on the back burner would only be temporary (in fact, he would return to the picture to perform the Shield's trademark fist bump).
If Dean Ambrose truly is the odd man out in the Shield, in the era of dueling Cena chants, that's as good as a head start.
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