Dean Ambrose’s climb to the top of the WWE has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination. And I’m not just referring to his past days competing in death matches in CZW.
With that being said, he certainly started off with a bang within the WWE.
Ambrose was at the heart of one of the hottest stables WWE has featured in years: The Shield. When they (Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) debuted in 2012, they took the WWE by storm. They were featured in countless classic 6-man tag team matches, including contests against the Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan), Evolution (Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton) and the unforgettable team of Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) and Ryback.
Aside from being the featured stable in the company, the faction found success outside the group. Reigns and Rollins were tag team champs and Ambrose had a 351-day reign as United States Champion.
Ambrose was initially viewed as having the highest ceiling among the trio. Ambrose was certainly the face and voice of The Shield. He caught the WWE Universe in with his aggressive, sadistic persona. His ability in the ring and his stature from the independent scene only contributed.
So what happened? The Shield split up in 2014 after Rollins ambushed his brethren with a steel chair and joined sides with The Authority.
He would then go on to win Money in the Bank in 2014 and cashed in the briefcase later that year at Wrestlemania at the hands of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
The very next person to grab the WWE WHC? Roman Reigns. Rollins had to drop the belt after tearing his ACL. Reigns won the belt at Survivor Series. Sheamus and Triple H would join in on the fun as they played hot potato with the WWE WHC along with Reigns.
Reigns would lose the title for good at Money in the Bank 2016 to Rollins. Rollins would immediately lose the belt to Ambrose, who cashed in his MITB briefcase successfully.
Dean has had the belt ever since. After 4 full years on the main roster he finally got to hold the ultimate gold. There were many highs and lows along the way as a singles competitor.
Ambrose has been featured in countless memorable non-title feuds, including with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt in 2014, ultimately coming in at the losing end of both.
Ambrose would then aimlessly float around in the mid-card scene. He came up short in his hunt for the Intercontinental Title in 2015. He then got a second chance at Seth Rollins.
Ambrose came up short again, but he came extremely close to capturing the WWE WHC on two occasions. At Elimination Chamber 2015 Ambrose momentarily beat Rollins and became WWE WHC, but a controversial Disqualification ruling overturned the result. Ambrose next competed in my #1 match of 2015 against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank in a Ladder Match. In a last second scrap atop the ladder, Rollins miraculously snagged the championship belt from Ambrose.
Afterward Ambrose looked hopeless. He lurked around the mid-card; a tag team feud with the Wyatt Family, a brief 2-month stint as IC Champ and opportunities as a perennial WWE WHC contender fell flat.
An underwhelmingly decisive loss against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania ’16 looked to be the final straw.
But all of a sudden something happened. Ambrose rebounded victoriously with a magnificent feud against Chris Jericho. As mentioned earlier, Ambrose would cash in MITB and finally became WWE WHC at MITB.
In a dream feud at WWE Battleground it was the Triple Threat match fans have been demanding for years: Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns.
We had seen this situation countless times before. Even though Ambrose walked in as champion, he was up against the formidable Reigns and Rollins. With all the marbles on the line, we had never seen Ambrose defeat either man. This time was different. After a Dirty Deeds on Reigns, Ambrose solidified himself as WWE WHC.
Because of this journey, it’s hard to see Ambrose losing this Sunday at SummerSlam to his opponent, Dolph Ziggler. Ambrose has left blood sweat and tears in the ring over the course of his 12-year professional career, not to say that Ziggler hasn’t.
Ambrose has had a tough journey. Even though he initially emerged as the face of The Shield, he often found himself on the sidelines or on the losing end of many crucial feuds.
Ziggler, another man who has had opportunities stunted by WWE brass, has been a World Champion in the past. He’s had 2 reigns as WHC. He’s had his shot at being the guy. Dolph is great and he will be a champion again one day. That day is not this Sunday.
Ambrose has clawed his way up as hard as anybody and he’s not losing grip of his gold.
At this point the only one who can stop Ambrose is Ambrose…if we’re to believe the rumors regarding his interview on the Stone Cold Podcast where he exposed his frustration with WWE Creative.
Was it a shoot or was it for real? We’ll find out Sunday night. My money’s on Ambrose walking out as champion.
by: Kevin D’Hooge