Dean Ambrose Returns On WWE Raw And Gives The Red Brand Exactly What It Needs
WWE Raw featured the shocking return of Dean Ambrose, who came to the aid of Seth Rollins and helped “The Architect” fend off the heel duo of Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler.
The Lunatic Fringe” had been out of action since December 2017 after undergoing triceps surgery, ending his impressive streak as WWE’s “iron man,” when he wrestled 1,054 matches between March 2012 and December 2017 without missing any significant stretch of time. Indeed, Ambrose had proven to be arguably WWE’s most reliable and consistent superstar before being bitten by the injury bug, and there’s little doubt that he is back to reclaim his spot at the top of the card on Monday Night Raw.
Ambrose is exactly what the red brand needs, too.
During Ambrose’s nine-month long absence, Raw always felt like it was missing something, and maybe that something was Ambrose. Now that Ambrose has rejoined forces with Rollins to reform two-thirds of The Shield, however, WWE finds itself with an easy and natural storyline for two of the company’s biggest stars. WWE, of course, will be tempted to continue pushing Ambrose as a babyface both because of his undeniable popularity and the lure of another full-fledged reunion of The Shield.
Ambrose has spent essentially his entire singles career as one of WWE’s most popular stars. Indeed, he appeared to have ranked among the company’s top five or six merchandise movers in 2015, 2016 and 2017, indicating he is obviously a tremendous fan favorite. The same can be said of The Shield, which in the past has proven to draw strong TV ratings, generate impressive YouTube viewership and sell a ton of merchandise. Thus, a temporary Shield reunion, whether just two-thirds of the group or with Roman Reigns in the mix as well, should be a great way to briefly increase interest in Raw and potentially boost TV ratings and the WWE network subscriber count.
But the long-term goal here for Ambrose’s alignment with Rollins should be for Ambrose to turn on Rollins in much the same fashion that Rollins betrayed him back in 2014.
Especially given the uncertainty surrounding Brock Lesnar’s contract situation and exactly how much longer he’ll be in WWE, Raw clearly lacks a true No. 1 heel. Although the red brand has a number of very good heels, ranging from Elias to Baron Corbin to Kevin Owens, virtually all of them have their drawbacks that are preventing them from truly being that must-see villain the show needs. Although it’s possible that a rising star like Drew McIntyre eventually establishes himself as the show’s premier villain, arguably WWE’s best shot at surely cementing a star as such is Ambrose.
Of all the aforementioned talents, none is perceived to be as big of a star as Ambrose, who has spent his entire singles career as an upper midcarder or main eventer and has the accolades to back it up. Ambrose is a former Money in the Bank winner and has held the United States, Intercontinental and WWE Championships, all while consistently generating some of WWE’s best crowd reactions and being involved in a number of major rivalries, including ones with AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar.
Because of the way he’s been booked over the years, Ambrose is perceived to be a much bigger star than Raw’s current crop of heels, including Elias, Owens and Dolph Ziggler, but at the same time, he’s not such a massive draw that WWE would be taking a monumental risk by moving him to the dark side. WWE has famously resisted heel turns for stars like Reigns and John Cena out of fear that it would hurt their drawing power, and although Ambrose is an elite superstar both in terms of performance and how he’s booked, he’s not viewed to be on quite the same level as “The Champ” or “The Big Dog.”
Ambrose, however, is widely considered to be someone with a unique skill set that is tailor made for a top-tier villain, and yet, WWE has surprisingly avoided putting him in that role for the entirety of his career. While it makes sense for Ambrose to come back as a babyface because his lengthy layoff will make him incredibly popular upon his return, that doesn’t necessarily mean he needs an extended babyface run. In fact, a short-but-sweet reunion of The Shield, or just two-thirds of it, could be all Ambrose needs to remind fans of his allegiance to Rollins before he, well, pulls a Rollins and turns heel at some point this fall.
That would solve a massive problem for Raw (its lack of a top villain), which is an overlooked issue that has plagued the show throughout 2018. Why? Because a top babyface is only as good as the heel he’s feuding with, and WWE has been remarkably inconsistent with its booking of heels to the point where it’s been detrimental to the entire product. Without a Vince McMahon or CM Punk-like heel who can talk fans into the building, all of WWE’s babyfaces are worse off because of it.
But perhaps that may change now that Ambrose is back and is one chair swing a way from an epic heel turn.