Dean Ambrose could be a main eventer in WWE one day—but only if people in management are willing to get behind him more.
There’s no question that the former United States champion is a once-in-a-generation performer. He’s got charisma in spades, can wrestle up a storm and, despite his relatively young age, is a master of ring psychology.
In the past, Jim Ross has flatteringly compared him to legendary wrestlers Brian Pillman and Roddy Piper on his blog.
Obviously, there’s the striking physical resemblance, but the comparison goes much deeper than that. Similar to The Loose Cannon in the ‘90s, Ambrose comes off as a genuinely unhinged human being. He’s a crazy, dangerous man rebelling in a rigid, tightly controlled corporation.
He vents angrily in promos against people whom he feels have betrayed him and goes wild in the ring—there’s no stopping this guy when he’s in one of his moods.
His casual, disheveled appearance—he appears to own nothing but ripped jeans and dirty-looking vests—helps the act too.
Honestly, I’d argue Ambrose’s act is just as fascinating now as when the charismatic Pillman was storming across our screens in the ‘90s.
This is mainly because the current PG era has created a rather safe and dull television product where few things feel truly spontaneous or edgy anymore. Ambrose’s work in recent times has been a wonderful antidote to all that.
Still, despite his unquestionable talent, you can’t help but wonder how truly behind him WWE is.
Oh, he’s not been booked into oblivion like Zack Ryder or Dolph Ziggler. But he has been hindered by some notable losses and made to look unnecessarily weak at points.
Was there any real reason he needed to lose so resoundingly to Randy Orton on television?
Likewise, did he really need to be on the receiving end of a brutal three-on-one backstage beating last week? (John Cena and Roman Reigns’ unwillingness to help him, despite standing in the ring and seeing the whole thing, was also unintentionally hilarious.)
He technically lost by forfeit to Seth Rollins at Sunday’s Battleground show. Then, on the following night’s Raw, he lost to Cesaro by DQ.
Compare this to how well protected Rollins and Reigns have been in recent months.
Perhaps one problem is that, post-Shield, Ambrose has found himself as the odd man out.
Reigns is clearly being positioned for big things as a monster babyface character. Rollins is getting a fairly major push as a sneaky, traitorous heel, and a run with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is possibly in his future.
But where does Ambrose fit in? It’s hard to tell. Obviously, the company likes him and has some faith in his new character—he has been getting a decent amount of airtime—but it feels like the writers have slotted him into a midcard spot for the foreseeable future.
And just ask guys like Cesaro or Wade Barrett how hard that is to escape.
If WWE truly wants to make the most of the former Dragon Gate USA wrestler, it has to recognize his immense potential and begin treating him better.
For example, while Rollins may very well win their current feud—he does have to be protected due to his Money in the Bank title shot, after all—that doesn’t mean the writers can’t make Ambrose look good. If the two end up clashing at SummerSlam next month, perhaps The Authority could get involved in the match and help Rollins win.
This not only protects him but also gives Ambrose a decent excuse for the loss and allows him to retain his credibility with the WWE Universe.
After this, he could engage in a long-term feud with Orton—a program he would ultimately win. (Honestly, it might be time for WWE to give up on The Viper anyway. He may have achieved all he can as a main eventer.)
I’m not saying the company should be making plans to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Ambrose right this instant or strongly consider putting him in next year’s WrestleMania main event. As good as his overall act is, he could probably use some more time to develop it.
There’s no real rush here. As noted, he is still young.
But frankly, it’s about time Vince McMahon and his team of writers realize just what they have in him—and book him accordingly.