When The Shield was inexplicably split up the night after Payback, there was clearly a path laid out as to where each member of the group would go.
As we all know, the man with seemingly the brightest future was Roman Reigns. With Reigns having been immediately thrust into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, it's been confirmed that he was in line for a major babyface push all along.
But intriguingly, it's the man who so often faded into the background when it came to The Shield who has captured the imagination of WWE fans. Seth Rollins' heel turn has been smartly executed, but boy, it would have been much less of a success had it not been for Dean Ambrose.
In fact, Ambrose has gained such a level of unexpected momentum since The Shield split that he's now overtaken Reigns as the group's real breakout star. Make no mistake about it: Ambrose is all of a sudden the one people care about, not the powerhouse Reigns.
How has this happened, you may wonder?
There will be someone in WWE's Creative team who plotted Reigns' rise to the top and are now wondering what has made his push falter a touch. Sure, he hasn't exactly failed in his quest to become a main event star (far from it, in fact), but Ambrose has way more popularity than Reigns right now, and that's been the result of pure entertainment.
Perhaps you could argue that because Reigns was thrust into the spotlight straight away without having to work for it, the crowd has faded on him a little bit. And given how it's an indy darling in Ambrose that was shunted down the card to feud with Rollins, maybe the fans have done what they did with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan before and gone on a quest to get him to the top.
However, it's more likely that everyone sees that Ambrose is simply more interesting and more exciting than Reigns.
I'll hold my hands up; I never expected Ambrose to be a successful babyface. His character just didn't lend itself to being a good guy. But he's created a nice little gimmick as an unhinged lunatic who will stop at nothing to destroy The Authority.
Remember the last guy who threatened to take down The Authority after it screwed him over? He became the most popular WWE star on the entire roster in a matter of months. That's not to say that Bryan and Ambrose are comparable in many ways, but Ambrose is quickly ascending toward Bryan's level of popularity.
There are indeed a few similarities between the two, though. Their in-ring style is quite similar, no doubt born out of their days on the independent scene years back. But what Ambrose has is this bizarre promo that he can roll out on any given occasion, which entertains you yet freaks you out at the same time.
His "match" against Rollins at Battleground was arguably the highlight of the entire night, including that leap out of a car to once again assault his foe. It certainly overshadowed anything Reigns did that evening without doubt, and the fans are starting to see that Ambrose is the guy who matters.
The WWE is on to something special with Ambrose, and he's got a real opportunity to make a name for himself in the coming months. Let's just hope the fans remain interested, because there's a lot to be interested in.
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