While a Lumberjack match is not everyone's idea of a SummerSlam classic in the making, the stipulation has some promise to further Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins.
Surrounding the ring with other Superstars can add subplots to an already narrative-rich clash. It's a fitting gimmick match, one that can focus on the past and highlight each man's character.
Utilizing old rivals, The Authority and relying on traditional heel cowardice can elevate this contest, even if it's not everyone's top choice for Ambrose and Rollins' first real showdown.
Ambrose earned the right to name the stipulation of this grudge match by winning a Beat the Clock Challenge, beating Alberto Del Rio in over 15 minutes. He then announced his choice on SmackDown, per PWInsider.
The result was a collective "What? Really?" from fans.
The folks who run the Wrestling With Subtitles Twitter account weren't thrilled with the choice:
That match being a lumberjack match is a bigger letdown than Miz's WWE Title reign #RawIsBrother— WrestlingW/Subtitles (@WrestleSubtitle) August 12, 2014
Writer Jonathan Fisher trashed the idea as well:
That lumberjack match idea is so stupid. Iron Man? Ladder? HIAC? Anything but a pointless lumberjack match— Jonathan Fisher (@JonFisher21) August 12, 2014
Jim Ross wrote on his blog, "I'm not wild about the Lumberjack Stipulation for Summer Slam between Dean Ambrose and Rollins but I'm sure that the two will tear down the house if given the time to do so."
Admittedly, a fight for the Money in the Bank briefcase or a Falls Count Anywhere match would have been more exciting, but WWE has some storyline options to turn to as it attempts to maximize the potential of Ambrose's quest for revenge.
Rollins has made more enemies in the last two months than JBL has made Bo Dallas puns.
The fact that so many of the wrestlers likely to be serving as "lumberjacks" despise Rollins will make every trip out of the ring an intriguing one. Should Ambrose send him flying over the top rope, a collection of sneering faces will await Rollins.
He has attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on John Cena. Roman Reigns won't be happy with Rollins, either. Although Reigns has been more focused on Randy Orton as of late, the memory of Rollins destroying The Shield with a chair shot to Reigns' back is still vivid, still powerful.
Rollins and Dolph Ziggler have battled several times recently, but on the Aug. 8 SmackDown, the former member of The Shield was especially merciless. He yanked on Ziggler's hair and hurled him into the ring steps.
The Showoff won't be smiling should he and Rollins cross paths at SummerSlam.
Rollins' collection of enemies can add tension to what should be an already tense bout. WWE shouldn't have those men get too involved, but if he runs into each one at different intervals, there's a chance to create some engaging moments and lasting images.
Cena, Ziggler or Reigns staring down Rollins before roughly throwing him back into the ring would add a nice touch to the action.
Fight, No Flight
After running from Ambrose for months, Rollins will have no path to do so come SummerSlam.
That's clearly why Ambrose chose this type of match. It's something that can aid these foes in telling their story.
Rather than just have them lock up and engage in a standard wrestling contest, WWE could have Ambrose chase his prey. Rollins may try to duck out between the ropes a few times, but he will see a human wall surrounding him.
Watching him furiously scurry around the mat could be fun.
He would be the mouse running from corner to corner before realizing he's closed in. That's when the mouse becomes a monster. Forced into fighting, Rollins can show off an especially aggressive side.
Desperation could overcome Rollins and turn him from slimy heel to something much more dangerous. That would be a logical and intriguing next step to their story. Rollins has been in escape mode for so long that he's going to need a catalyst to change.
The Lumberjack stipulation can be exactly that.
The Authority's Influence
A sense of injustice could add emotion to this match.
Should Ambrose find himself outside the ring, he will no doubt run into one of Rollins' allies. Mr. Money in the Bank selling out means that Orton, Triple H and Kane are now all in his corner.
While the babyfaces will likely refrain from doing damage to Rollins, The Authority has no issues with rule-breaking. A kick to the face from Orton or a chokeslam from Kane could tilt the advantage against Ambrose. It would also get fans upset with the villains, Rollins included.
It will be entertaining to see how Triple H goes about choosing who occupies the ring area for the match.
Does he fill it with guys like Ryback and Curtis Axel, two men he knows will do his bidding? Does he find new cronies to control?
Like an attorney choosing members of the jury, The Game has the chance to handpick the lumberjacks, making for poor odds for Ambrose.
Those elements won't be as important as the fire that will burn between Rollins and Ambrose, but they could be entertaining bells and whistles to better the match.
WWE is likely planning for a Steel Cage match or a collision inside Hell in a Cell with these former friends. It's too good a feud to wrap up already.
With a few subplots packed in, the Lumberjack match could have folks forgetting how much they hated the concept in the first place.