But I’m not complaining about the timing this win came in the end. I’m just not sure why it was done, why Dean Ambrose was added to the main event at Payback. Because of his recent booking I’m not even able to really enjoy this because the only reason I can think of is, “to make Reigns and Rollins look strong”.
RAW 2015/05/04: This Dean Ambrose push was long overdue
As an ancient historian I have always the privilege of knowing the end of a process. So living without knowing where it’s going to be and where it finally ends, is kind of a struggle. Knowing the starting point A and the final point B is great because you can fill it with everything you are still able to find. And if there are still missing spots you can make up possibilities no-one can actually falsify until new sources or puzzle pieces are found.
So, having something like a forthcoming Pay-Per-View is kind of a final point B – still unknown of course. And you can only imagine how my historian brain works here. It makes up a whole lot of scenarios for this B and knits together the path towards it. The nearer the event is, the more puzzle pieces are added; some made-up point – like B1 and B2 – can be cancelled, but others are still possibly working. And since WWE has managed to get me invested again, I’ll try to come up with some scenarios after my reports from the best Dean Ambrose week this year and some little William Regal love.
Like it’s almost always the case we got a rematch on RAW from a match on SmackDown in Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins. For some reason Kane was still in charge, so he could add a stipulation to that match that Seth Rollins had previously said of there was “no point in it”. So first Dean Ambrose came out into the ring, Seth Rollins came out without J+J Security, because they were banned from ringside because of the chaos at the end of the first match on SmackDown. But before the match could even start, Kane came out to teach Seth Rollins another lecture. Like I already hinted, he added a stipulation, so the match all of a sudden did have a point. So if Dean Ambrose would beat Seth Rollins, he would be added to the main event at Payback, id est the Triple Threat match would be a Fatal-4-Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Of course Seth Rollins didn’t like it but thankfully enough Dean Ambrose took his microphone, so we didn’t have to hear Seth Rollins’ stuttering any longer. Also naturally that Dean Ambrose wasn’t that much against it. That’s what he had to say until Seth Rollins took the mic from him again:
“I think it’s a great idea. I don’t know though. Does anybody here have a problem with me being added to that championship match if I beat Seth Rollins?”
The audience in Montreal, Canada didn’t have a problem, Seth Rollins still had, but since Kane was still fine with his own decision, the match started right after that. Total match time once again couldn’t be measured because I only watched the commercial free version. I usually add one minute to the on-screen plus app match time and these were 16:16 minutes. Since Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury weren’t on ringside for this match, there was no distraction from the actual match which was great. And the action Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins put on the canvas earned them two “This Is Awesome” and two “Holy Shit” chants. It certainly was helpful that some kind of a Dean Ambrose boys fanclub was standing right behind the barricades and the whole Montreal crowd was NXT-like, id est lot of chanting, much into the match, good amount of Dean Ambrose chants as well as heat on Seth Rollins.
Now what you can see on the two first Gifs for the previous paragraph is something I had in mind when seeing Dean Ambrose wiggling his way through two spots of the match: Willem Dafoe as Paul Smecker in The Boondock Saints. Willem Dafoe acts just a little more dramatic here and it’s obviously a slightly different setting. But if Dean Ambrose would have been a bit more exalted he could do a pretty close copy of it. Kind of thought it was worthy to put these Gifs right next to each other for comparison. Hey, after all wrestling is still considered as fun, and I like to compare some facets that happen in WWE with other things from the pop culture. And Dean Ambrose is highly inspiring in that department.
For my previous WWE recap of the whole month of April I had only put a picture in from the revival of the Hook and Ladder. So this time I put a Gif in here, just because it seems to be a permanent item now (which is great) and worth showing it anyway. Together with the Deanering that you can see on the left hand side which is always fun to watch. But these moves together with some others are just one tiny part of a wrestling match. For me there needs to be storytelling. You have to have a decent built-up from start to finish. Like these ten-minute rock songs that start slowly, built up constantly and erupt into a breathless finish. This is a good wrestling match for me. And consequently a decent wrestling match has to last for more than ten minutes.
Like this one. And Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins matches just are the best that WWE have at the moment. There shouldn’t be an argument about that. Both men just know each other so well – and like they always say, they just clicked from the very moment they stepped up against each other inside a wrestling ring for the first in FCW. Both men also sell the hell out of each other’s moves, so it always looks real.
Now the first part in the match belonged to Dean Ambrose. Then there was a little fun back and forth, but very soon Seth Rollins took over, doing a few holds inside the ring, a few strong moves. Dean Ambrose here did what he – unfortunately – can do like no other of the entire roster, he sold the hell out of Seth Rollins’ punishment and acted kind of unstable (yeah, I know, bad joke), like he doesn’t know where he is and hard on the edge of an out of power competitor. During all that there was much talk about the history of The Shield from the commentary team during this match. Also noticeable (and highly annoying) once again was that the more important of a match Dean Ambrose is in, the more useless nonsense JBL is talking about him.
So the punishment to Dean Ambrose continued until he got the upper hand once again. But somehow he was a little too enthusiastic with himself while doing the little dance. And right there Seth Rollins caught him again and hit him out cold. But Dean “Cockroach” Ambrose came right back for a little slap fest in the middle of the ring and then sent them both over the top rope outside the ring. Here Dean Ambrose was almost counted out after he was thrown into the barricades by Seth Rollins. But this also was the beginning of the end for Seth Rollins. Because he was surprised that Dean Ambrose made it back inside of the ring and that made him a little frustrated, not thinking about the whole game plan anymore.
It was then when Dean Ambrose connected with an impressive Pendulum Lariat. He was just about to set up Seth Rollins for Dirty Deeds when J+J Security were running down the ramp and inside the ring. But they were quickly shoved back outside, Seth Rollins tried to attack Dean Ambrose from behind but the latter got the cheap pin for the win. Really well done finish to a great match – something that Dean Ambrose very much deserved during their feud last year as well. But he didn’t get it then. Just now. And since I don’t live in the past, I’m fine with it that it finally happened – even if it wasn’t with Dirty Deeds.
But who cares about how this win happened. Everything that matters is that it will be a Fatal-4-Way at Payback – including Dean Ambrose.
Later on there was the main event of RAW between Randy Orton and Roman Reigns (and during the latter part of it that I watched, the crowd was basically dead). Of course Kane interfered into the match by pulling down Reigns. And Rollins, Kane and J+J Security beat down Orton and Reigns. The crowd chanted “We Want Ambrose” and after a little moment he came out, shoved J+J Security out of the ring. Kane went out as well. That made the little preview to the Fatal-4-Way at Payback complete. Roman Reigns speared Seth Rollins. Randy Orton finished off Reigns with an RKO. And finally Dean Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Orton to stand tall inside the ring and close RAW.
NXT 2015/05/06: William Regal is able to control the guys at a contract signing, but not the gals
I’ll break down this episode of NXT in a slightly shorter manner just to keep the word count for this review in a still somehow acceptable frame. First I’ll list the segments and write down a short statement. Then I will write down the contract signing between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks with GM William Regal in detail. And finally there will be another list with the possible matches at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable on 20 May 2015, also with a few words about it.
- Match: emma vs CHARLOTTE (5:41min).
That was a pretty good short match with a quite heelish Emma who injured Charlotte’s left knee and kept going for it. But Charlotte won. Bayley came out for hugging Emma like it seemed – all about forgiveness, since Emma is mocking and imitating Bayley lately – and Emma went for the hug. But Bayley hit Bayley to Belly on Emma, got back her shirt and hairband to throw both into the NXT crowd.
- Vignette: Becky Lynch’s path to NXT.
The usual good made vignette and promo by Becky Lynch to hype the title match at Takeover: Unstoppable. Seeing this Riverdance gimmick again that Becky Lynch initially had, it’s with big relief that she dropped it. I mean, how more stereotypical can you go with an Irish female wrestler?
- Interview: Michael Cole with Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens still doesn’t want to answer Cole’s question if the match against Sami Zayn is personal. My favourite here was when Cole asked Owens at the end, if he’d still like to add something, and Owens said, “Follow me on Twitter, FightOwensFight“. Nice.
- Match: bull dempsey vs RHYNO (1:00min).
Meaningless match with two competitors who don’t do anything for me. After his win Rhyno challenged Baron Corbin for a match at Takeover: Unstoppable.
- Promo: Sasha Banks with a good backstage heel promo.
- Promo: William Regal welcomes Uhaa Nation to NXT in his office. Uhaa signs his contract and we see a vignette about him and his journey to NXT.
- Match: Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady.
This match at least was scheduled but never happened because before Enzo & Big Cass could make it outside into the ring they were attacked by Blake & Murphy backstage. Typical strategy to weaken your challengers before a title match.
- Interview: Michael Cole with Sami Zayn.
Sami said that of course it’s personal for Kevin Owens to fight him. But Owens is a liar and Sami Zayn is not. Then he challenged Ownes to come out this week to tell him eye to eye that it’s personal for him. But instead we got a replay from last RAW when Sami Zayn injured his left shoulder against John Cena. So the title match is in doubt since WWE currently speaks about Sami Zayn could be out of action for a couple of months.
- Contract Signing: Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks (w/ William Regal).
More about that after this little summary.
- Promo: Alex Riley.
He points out that he’ll be out for a while now, thanks to Kevin Owens. And he thinks that this is what the people wanted. He couldn’t be more right.
- Backstage Interview: Dana Brooks.
Grey hair. Total Diva. Pointless.
- Match: HIDEO ITAMI vs tyler breeze (w/ Finn Bálor) (9:12min).
Good back and forward match that finally went outside the ring. Hideo Itami went for an attack on Tyler Breeze but accidentally hit Finn Bálor who was sitting at ringside. Anyway Hideo Itami won but was attacked by Tyler Breeze. Finn Bálor joined the action and it looked like he wanted to go for revenge on Hideo Itami. But Tyler Breeze knocked out both of them to stand tall at the end of this episode of NXT.
For the contract signing for the match at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, GM William Regal was already inside the ring. And this is what he had to say as an introduction:
“The NXT Women’s Division has been making headlines all over the world. And rightly so. And the match that I’m about to make official in a moment will surely continue that trend. So with that being said, I would love to introduce to you, the number-one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, Becky Lynch. (…) And now, the NXT Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks.”
And now since both competitors were inside the ring, William Regal asked them to set their autograph onto the contract. But first Becky Lynch spoke out again and told about her passion for the wrestling business. Good promo once again and I really liked her last line, “I didn’t come here to take part; I came here to take over.”
Nice play with the NXT special title. Then Becky Lynch signed the contract and it was now on Sasha Banks to do the same. But apparently she’s unable to write, so she had her own stamp to set her mark. But it somehow counted and this could have been the end of that signing session. And I still remember the words by William Regal before the contract signing of Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens that he won’t allow that contract signing to end in chaos like every contract signing in WWE. Well, he can’t control the guys but definitely not the gals.
Sasha Banks shoved the contract into Becky Lynch and then the assault on Becky Lynch started while two referees and the GM looked on basically. Male etiquette says, “don’t hit a woman”, so how to separate them when you are only able to shout they should please leave each other alone? The mind struggle was hilarious to watch. But then Becky Lynch took over to keep Sasha Banks in her submission move. Sasha Banks indeed tapped out and was now separated from Becky Lynch who stood tall for a little stare-down.
After the show we visited William Regal in his office for a breakdown to that match. And this is what he had to say now,
“Greatness is what I expect. The Women’s Division here in NXT is just beyond compare and it’s turning heads obviously everywhere. Everybody’s talking about it and I expect greatness from this match. To see Sasha Banks become the NXT Women’s Champion has been a joy to watch. And I like the mean spirit in this. Becky Lynch on the other hand is, I’ll be honest with you, it really brought a tear into my eyes listening to that girl out there, the struggles… And I know that these are all true, the struggles and the heartache that she’s gone through to get to this position. And now she’s finally got here. So you think that she’s not gonna bring every last drop of everything she’s ever gone through in her life into that ring and compete? It’s gonna be a fantastic battle and I’m really looking forward to it. (…) Some champions become a little lazy when they become champion because they think they’ve reached the peak. And they sort of losing a bit of an edge. And I don’t think that happened to Sasha Banks in any way, shape or form. But Becky Lynch, we heard the struggles she’s gone through, we heard that she’s been fighting since she was fifteen years of age to get to this position. So this is an even, very evenly match competition – very evenly match. And that’s what’s gonna make it exceptionally good.”
Now for the special NXT Takeover: Unstoppable the following matches have been confirmed:
- Kevin Owens (c) vs Sami Zayn | NXT Championship
- Sasha Banks (c) vs Becky Lynch | NXT Women’s Championship
- Hideo Itami vs Tyler Breeze vs Finn Bálor | #1 Contender’s Match
- Blake & Murphy (c) vs Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady | NXT Tag Team Championship
- Rhyno vs Baron Corbin
However, with the injuries to Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami these two matches are in danger. Not so much the #1 Contender’s Match, of course, since this match can also be a one-on-one match between Tyler Breeze and Finn Bálor. Or they could make it a Battle Royal with a few more guys added to this match who didn’t have the chance to show themselves at such a special NXT event before. As for the actual NXT title match it’s a bit more difficult, because – well – Kevin Owens can’t fight himself. So whether Sami Zayn takes a risk or they might have a show fight between Kevin Owens and Uhaa Nation for example. There could also be a match between Emma and Bayley added. And in case the NXT title match is off, then the match for the NXT Women’s title should be the main event.
So, yeah, the card might be looking different come NXT Takeover: Unstoppable but it will have great matches and be a great show nevertheless.
SmackDown 2015/05/07: And this time Seth Rollins stands tall
And just another contract signing took place at this episode of SmackDown. But before it took place right at the end of the show, every competitor of the Fatal-4-Way had to say something about it. This is what Dean Ambrose had to say:
“Well, those are better odds than I had before I beat Seth Rollins on RAW and made this match a Fatal-Four-Way. But I’m not really a Math guy. I’m not really a Science guy. I’m more of an hanging out of the bleachers kind of guy. Guy who doesn’t really care for rules, schedules or… what’s that other word like the people in charge use to hold you back and push you down… Authority! See, there’s a little thing called chaos that they can’t factor in to any of the equations that they so like to use. In a Fatal-Four-Way match, anybody can win at any time. So that means maybe the last guy you expect, and the last guy you want to, walks out the new WWE champion. So it should be interesting to see how this contract signing goes out tonight. I’m a bit of a party crasher. And these things typically don’t go very well. And I got a feeling, that ain’t nobody is going to be happy to see me.”
Now for the very event, Kane was already out there in the ring in front of a table and four chairs. He announced that our voices would have been heard and that Seth Rollins would have to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt against three competitors will happen because of us. Now the signing would take place and out came Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in that particular order. Last one out was Seth Rollins alongside J+J Security but he chose to stay on the ramp while the other three guys sat on their particular chair.
Interesting about the other entrances was that Randy Orton just had a sarcastic wave to spare at Reigns while he kept sitting in his chair. But he was standing for Dean Ambrose and only sat down again when Dean Ambrose was about to sit down. Kind of a gesture of appreciation for that win against Seth Rollins? That Dean Ambrose indeed deserved to be in that match – in contrast to Roman Reigns? Well, you are allowed to argue with me about that. But I like to see it that way.
After everyone realized that Seth Rollins would stay on the ramp, Kane wanted to go through the signing but Dean Ambrose didn’t want to have that. So, a little chit-chat between the four competitors took place that went as following:
Ambrose: Hey, hold up a second, hold on. I realize Justin Bieber up there is a VIP in Canada but does this mean that he doesn’t have to get to the ring? Come on, Biebs, bring Frodo and Bilbo with you. Come on down!
Rollins: Oh, Ambrose, you and your sharp tongue! You know, your humour was never really my style. But it was always better than listening to Roman over there trying to form sentences. I’m not coming down there. I think I’ll stay up here. If you three have some unfinished business between you then, you know, sort that out.
Reigns: I’ve got a sentence for you, Seth, I’m gonna sign this contract and I’m gonna kick your ass.
Orton: Yeah, Seth, news flash, genius, we’re all here for the same reason – we want that championship that you got right there around your waist.
Ambrose: Alright, alright, alright, you’re gonna come down here and sign this contract, Seth, or I’m gonna have to drag your ass down here myself.
Now that Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose had signed the contract, Seth Rollins gave orders to Kane that he should sign in his behalf because he’d have the… um… authority to do so. But Kane broke logically down why this wouldn’t happen, so Seth Rollins finally had to come down to the ring but Joey Mercury was sent to grab the contract, so Seth Rollins could check it outside of the ring. And he had to say just a few further things about his opponents at Payback:
“Dean Ambrose… or should I say low rent Roddy Piper? I mean I never thought you were that good but that’s what Roman used to call you back in the day when you acted all crazy trying to entertain all these idiots. There is… Roman Reigns, yup, which is good because he’s much better in signing autographs than he is in wrestling. I mean Ambrose used to say he couldn’t wrestle out of the wet paper bag. And Randy, I don’t want you to feel left out but really it’s no secret how Dean and Roman feel about you. They used to call you spoiled, entitled. Roman said you never worked a day in your life. Hell, Ambrose used to say the only reason you’re here in WWE is ’cause of your old man.”
After dishing out all this – and most of it isn’t that wrong – Seth Rollins finally stepped inside the ring because for some reason he didn’t thought he could use the back of Joey Mercury as a table to sign. He still needed a real table, so he had to come into the ring. Very wise decision after firing shots like that, I have to say. After he signed, Seth Rollins handed the contract back to Kane and the two of them started a little bickering while Dean Ambrose rearranged the ring. He put the table onto one turnbuckle and the chairs were shoved to the side. Reigns and Orton were still sitting and watching with interest when J+J Security, Rollins and Kane finally realized what Dean Ambrose was doing. They stopped bickering and let Ambrose say:
“We all know how this is gonna end anyway. I call dibs on the table.”
So, like every other contract signing in WWE, also this one finished with a brawl after Dean Ambrose first grabbed Joey Mercury to put him on that very table. In the end it was Seth Rollins this time who was standing tall inside the ring. My very dibs are on Reigns on RAW and Orton on SmackDown next week. Interesting note about the brawl though was that Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were pushing each other a little bit, mostly because Reigns had hit Ambrose into a corner, courtesy of Seth Rollins. More about that under the next headline.
Some speculation from the Master Of Possibilities That Never Happen
Now I’ve already read a few theories and rumours circling around plus I made my own mind up for a few outcomes to that Fatal-4-Way match. For the most important thing – yes, that’s still the title – I believe that Seth Rollins will retain. But now for some scenarios what could happen storyline wise:
- The Shield re-unites.
I’m not sure who came up with that rumour. But there is actually a lot of history talk about The Shield by WWE itself. And the fangirls go crazy for days now that it actually could happen. Oh. My. God… forbid! Worst scenario for me personally. I mean, WWE breaks up The Shield to make Roman Reigns their new shining star just to realize that most fans apparently don’t like him that much WWE thought they would. One year of pushing him to Pluto wasn’t enough for the fans to gather around him, so just let The Shield re-unite to try making Roman Reigns look strong once again from inside The Shield? And Seth Rollins firing shots at his old Shield mates was only done so it would come as some kind of a surprise when Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns would triple powerbomb Orton onto the canvas? I’m glad that Dean Ambrose is a singles competitor. I was fed-up with his recent booking but even that was better than having him back as the “weak link” of The Shield. Because he would be. The only reason the WWE would re-unite The Shield would be to repackage Reigns, give him more time to learn and absorb the popularity from Ambrose and Rollins. No, merci!
- Dean Ambrose turns heel and joins The Authority.
First of all on these supposed heel turns in general: if people think that this little shoving and pushing scene could be an indicator to one of Ambrose or Reigns could turn heel than I guess it’s only done to make it a real Fatal-4-Way. It’s no secret that basically the only guy that Super Reigns consider as friend and brother, is Dean Ambrose. So there needs to be some bickering between them. That doesn’t make one of them automatically turn heel. But there are other reasons for that. First of all about Dean Ambrose.
It’s basically screamed from the rooftops since last year that Dean Ambrose will “soon” turn heel. But it never happened. And it shouldn’t happen now. I never thought that I would ever say that. But I like Dean Ambrose as this face / tween kind of guy. He was a heel all of his wrestling life so far. But he does great since the Shield break-up as a face children, women and men can all be behind. Now in his interview before the contract signing he said that The Authority held him down, pushed him down and all. And he usually kept saying that he’s like a cockroach, no-one can destroy, that his road to glory won’t be easy but he’ll get there the hard way and through many obstacles. Doesn’t sound like a man who would sell-out to The Authority like Rollins did just to get to the gold the easy way. Dean Ambrose is proud of doing it the hard way but if he’d turn heel, he’d automatically join The Authority. They are the head of the main storyline and I just can’t see Dean Ambrose as a heel without any connection to The Authority. So, also this one makes no sense for me. And I also wouldn’t like it.
- Roman Reigns turns heel and joins The Authority.
There is much more reason in that scenario. Roman Reigns could finally turn on the fans because they don’t like him despite him trying hard and winning a lot and all that. So, he wants the same as Rollins, beats up his “brother” Ambrose, spears Orton and Rollins can choose for himself which one he’d like to use for a pin to retain. Naturally he’ll chose Ambrose to humiliate him. And after Payback Reigns can have a feud with Ambrose, so Ambrose once again is used to make someone strong – and in this case – get Reigns over as a top heel besides Rollins. Makes the most sense for me, so is probably the least likely to happen.
- Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns both turn heel to become the new A+R Security for Seth Rollins.
I just read this imagination on a blog post and initially laughed about it. Then I feared that this is illogical enough for the WWE really considering it. Because – come on – this is really stupid. If Ambrose and Reigns would indeed become the bodyguard for Seth Rollins then only by punishment. Why would Ambrose and Reigns degrade themselves in such manner? To protect the belt on Seth Rollins’ shoulder? The belt that Ambrose and Reigns want for themselves? Well, if they choose to become the bodyguard of Rollins then only to steal the belt from inside. But since this is strategic thinking, that’s not really after the style of Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns. All around, this makes no sense whatsoever. So it can indeed happen unfortunately.
And one little extra
If you’ve missed it so far, there is another episode of Dean Ambrose at “Talk Is Jericho”. It’s episode no. 141 and if you don’t have iTunes, just click here to listen to it online. This episode isn’t about wrestling at all. Like the title “Paranormal Dean Ambrose” should already insist. The main subjects are ghost stories and Big Foot vs Yeti.
At one point Dean Ambrose says that he wasn’t good at school and he laughs at it like this was the most natural kind of thing in the whole universe. He probably wouldn’t consider himself as a very smart human being. But being good at school and being smart don’t naturally belong together. First of all, people who are good at school most likely haven’t already found their passion in life. If you already found something that is whole mind consuming for you, all your thoughts and doings will belong to this one thing. And consequently you won’t have much interest and time for school subjects. Another huge part is the school system itself and the certain teachers you have. If you aren’t very smart but you are really good at remembering things and your teachers won’t for you to think but just repeat what they have told you, then chances are that you are great at school.
Now Dean Ambrose was pretty much left on his own when he was young. So he found wrestling and spent all his days to dream himself into this other world that was so much better than his real life. If he would have had caring parents who would give him a good real life, there wouldn’t have been for him the need to create an alternate life that was more fun and worth to live in. Through school he found this other passion, the Big Foot and Yeti thing – also a paranormal, fantasy creature that – as far as we know – doesn’t really exist. He dived into this subject and I’m really impressed about the depth he is able to talk about it. Really put Chris Jericho straight up to the wall. Also the very way he talks about it you can almost consider as scientific – doesn’t take anything for real or granted at first sight but reads on and on for further proof and wants to discover himself. This is quite smart thinking. And who knows what life would have put him into if he would have had another early life that would have made the most out of his potential.
But then we would have missed out on a great wrestling entertainer. And as of right now he is back on the right track on booking terms. So looking back now with knowing his path everything was kind of right in the end.