Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho: Asylum Extreme Rules Gimmick Enhances Stale Feud

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2016

Dean Ambrose
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Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho will go for round two at Extreme Rules coming up on Sunday, May 22. The two men are continuing their feud, which saw The Lunatic Fringe score a victory over Y2J at Payback on May 1.

But though the babyface has won the first big event encounter, the return match is taking place inside a steel cage. The good part about this stipulation, however, is that it enhances this stale feud.

The notion that a second bout would happen inside a cage was perhaps a bit unexpected. After all, the heel did not win the first match, of course, and that means he would have no reason to get revenge in an environment he could not escape.

Heels are typically cowards at heart, and that is true of the egotistical Jericho.

But this one needed something, because it's been somewhat underwhelming so far. The crowd has just not responded that well to this point, and the reason for that likely has everything to do with the build, which has been less than impressive.

The rivalry looked good on paper, but it's not looked that good in reality.

There just doesn't seem to be enough here to warrant a truly volatile feud. Jericho's ego is massive, and Ambrose's need to prove himself is as well, but after that, what's left? Other than needing someone to work, there seems to be no good reason for these two to feud.

Maybe part of the reason for fans' frustration over this is the fact that Dean has been dealt one bad hand after another in recent months.

Losing to Triple H at Roadblock on March 12 was perhaps not surprising, but it was disappointing nonetheless. The idea of Ambrose going over on Hunter for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, thus changing the main event of WrestleMania 32, was intriguing to say the least.

The idea that he would then defend the title against best friend Roman Reigns was captivating. So many fans were not on board with Roman vs. Triple H, but Roman vs. Dean? That one seemed to be just what the audience wanted.

But when that win did not happen, Dean's supporters moved on to the next event.

WrestleMania 32 is the Showcase of the Immortals, a night when a Superstar can become a legend. Ambrose had an amazing opportunity to grasp greatness, when he faced Brock Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate was the favorite to many, but once again the idea of an Ambrose win was tantalizing.

This could be the night when Dean finally reached that next level.

But the match itself was poorly received by many, and of course, Dean did not get the victory. Dean seemed to be a man without direction, and it appeared to be getting worse with each passing week on WWE programming.

So when the feud with Jericho came along, hopes were surely high among the WWE faithful.

Ambrose did go over at Payback, and though the rivalry was not exactly legendary, a win is a win. Dean had a chance to take the victory and maybe build something better for himself. As long as the booking was there, Ambrose could begin to move ahead.

But WWE Creative was not done with this yet.

Instead of Chris coming after Dean in a fit of rage and demanding revenge over his Payback loss, Ambrose is the one who had to force a second match. Jericho seemed content to attack Dean with a potted plant in an effort to try to embarrass him instead.

It seemed that a second match was not part of Jericho's game plan.

The addition of the steel cage is more of a curiosity than anything else, but the hope here is that this will finally bring the feud up to par. Jericho vs. Ambrose needed something and what better way to draw attention than with a massive steel asylum?

Now Dean can go Mad Max and get away with it.

There are weapons above the cage, and those weapons will surely come into play. This is a match that Jericho should want no part of, but the clock is ticking until Extreme Rules, and his time is running out. But as intriguing as this stipulation is, who is going to go over?

Logic says that Dean is not going to lose a match that should be his specialty. 

This one has Ambrose's name all over it, and he should be a master of his domain on May 22. Chris should be at a disadvantage from the moment the bell rings, and he should not even be able to walk away from this one without some help.

But the crew calling the shots behind the scenes, is likely the same one that thought this feud's booking was going along smoothly so far.

So if Jericho does indeed find a way to win this match, how does WWE follow it up? Since the ladder match is considered by many to be Jericho's specialty, would Dean suggest that one next? Maybe a submission match would be in order? Perhaps a no-holds-barred contest is the right call to wrap up the rivalry?

The fact is it's anyone's guess how this one will be handled.

But fan interest should grow from this point on. WWE waited long enough to book this match, so there is virtually no time to hype it, or sell the gimmick cage to the audience. Both Dean and Chris will deliver in the match, and that should be enough to make the crowd happy.

The question of who wins is looming over this bout, of course, and that could be the determining factor in where this rivalry goes after Extreme Rules.


Tom Clark can regularly be found on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here