Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose was one of the top matches advertised for last weekend’s Battleground pay-per-view.
When it didn’t happen for storyline reasons, fans were none too pleased:
#WWEBattleground like seriously? No Dean ambrose vs Seth Rollins?— Rizwan Ahamed (@CMRunk) July 21, 2014
According to a recent poll on WWE.com (h/t WrestlingInc), 86 percent of fans voted in favor of Ambrose wrestling at Battleground as opposed to being thrown out of the building for attacking Rollins backstage (in the storyline).
Just as WWE can be criticized for allegedly pulling the rug from under fans for not delivering an advertised match, the fan backlash just as easily translates as a vote of confidence for the efforts of Rollins and Ambrose.
Hopefully, this is WWE pacing itself. The promotion realizes the Ambrose-Rollins feud is a long-term storyline that can also serve as a vehicle for the two wrestlers' rise to the main event.
Besides, a middling pay-per-view like Battleground is too small of a stage for what has quickly escalated into the WWE’s hottest feud.
About two months ago on Raw, Rollins infamously turned on his former allies in The Shield—which includes Roman Reigns, a rising star in his own right—during the final segment.
The major angle was a fitting end of The Shield that depicted the stable’s success. The Shield debuted during a main event, and after 18 memorable months, it disbanded in the main event.
The split has beget the current strife between Ambrose and Rollins and is now directly tied to the welfare of Rollins’ Money in the Bank hopes.
Ambrose has vowed to sabotage every opportunity Rollins has to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. So far he has made good on his promise, with intense brawls between the two replacing would-be coronations for Rollins.
The feud will not grow stale so long as Rollins carries the Money in the Bank briefcase, and there is a ticking time limit on his ability to cash it in.
If booked correctly, the longer Rollins holds on to the briefcase, with Ambrose lurking in an undisclosed location, the more suspenseful the Ambrose-Rollins feud will become.
Since the briefcase lies at the center of this rivalry, matches with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line are perfectly congruent with Ambrose’s mission statement of stopping Rollins from cashing in.
A Ladder match with the briefcase hanging in the balance during December’s TLC pay-per-view is probably already penciled in.
Remember, long-term booking.
The Authority’s strategy of stopping Ambrose from interfering is just another layer in a feud that will only get better with age. The creative ceiling for an otherwise simple plot is basically endless.
If booked properly, it won’t matter whether or not Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank opportunity within his one-year time limit.
By then, the star-making briefcase would have once again served its purpose.