Last week at Money in the Bank, the unthinkable happened: Dean Ambrose walked away as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Seth Rollins, the former champ, had returned to action no more than a month ago and was eager to recapture the title he had to forego as part of his recovery. Roman Reigns, on the other hand, was defending. In a Shield reunion, Ambrose, who had just captured the Money in the Bank briefcase that night in a hard-fought victory, decided to cash in.
This was a surprising moment in and of itself, especially because WWE likes to tease the Money in the Bank drama for as many months as possible, making fans constantly question whether the briefcase holder will finally claim his shot at the gold. Even then, there’s the question whether the wrestler will be successful. Unfortunately, what seemed like a pure moment on that Sunday night has already be tainted, as news of Roman Reign’s wellness violation suspension surfaced.
So just what does this mean for WWE and Ambrose? Well, as it turns out…nothing, really. Allow us to explain. There are plenty of reasons why Ambrose’s title victory is just too little, too late, such as…
15 It Feels Like Begrudging Fan Service
This will be mentioned a lot: WWE’s ratings are low (very low), with TV numbers as bad as they were before the Attitude Era back in 1997. With that in perspective, WWE writers know that they can’t continue to do whatever they want week in and week out when it’s just not attracting fans. They have to throw us a bone every now and again. Remember when Daniel Bryan was vying for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? You could just tell that Vince McMahon and company didn’t want to do it, which is why we got that demoralizing B+ player Authority storyline.
14 The Rest Of The Roster Is Still Underutilized
Of course, the cost to get there was steep. For a long time, Ambrose toiled in the mid-card, trading the Intercontinental and United States Championships. Yes, sometimes WWE would hint at bringing him into the main title picture, but he’d always be overshadowed by someone else who WWE thought would be a bigger draw. Even as recently as the Money in the Bank event, Ambrose was awkwardly wedged into the mid-card, fighting Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, and Alberto Del Rio.
13 He Stole Rollins’ Thunder
In a freak accident in November 2015, Seth Rollins didn’t land a powerbomb perfectly and wrecked the ligaments in his knee. This took place at the height of his WWE World Championship reign. Since his injury was so severe, and would require surgery and months of recovery, Rollins was forced to vacate the title. There were rumblings that he could have returned at this year’s WrestleMania 32, but he wasn’t cleared yet. Instead, he came back just in time for May’s Payback event, targeting the man who won his title - Roman Reigns.
12 It’s Too Soon
Dean Ambrose has been a fixture in WWE since late 2012, when he debuted with The Shield (more on them later). It was clear from the beginning that he was always the standout member of the group, yet out of all three of them, he was treated the worst. It could be because Ambrose’s popularity developed naturally, but it felt like Ambrose’s figurative glass ceiling was set considerably lower than that one of Rollins or Reigns.
11 He’s Not As Hot Anymore
Remember that rumor in 2014 that claimed Dean Ambrose was outselling John Cena in the merch department? Yeah, that wasn’t exactly a rumor. WWE tried its best to cover the real story because it didn’t fit in with its narrative that John Cena is the best at everything, but it was indeed true.
10 Too Many Fans Have Already Tuned Out
Let’s go back to what we said before about ratings (it was warned that this would be discussed a lot): they’re "1997" bad. They’re "every-wrestler-has-a-real-life-job-used-as-a-gimmick" bad. And honestly, that’s a damn shame, because between WWE and NXT, the company has signed some of the most talented and entertaining wrestlers on the planet. However, fans just aren’t biting. Why?
9 Ambrose Can Only Be On One Show
In just a few short weeks, there will be a huge shakeup in WWE. The company plans on returning to its draft format, where some Superstars will appear exclusively on Raw and others exclusively on SmackDown. We’re still not sure what the format will be for upcoming live Pay-Per-View events (rumors that are churning suggest we may get up to two PPV events monthly, one for each roster), but what he know for sure is that these changes take effect on Tuesday, July 19 on a live episode of SmackDown.
8 It’s Still Kind Of Sad To See The Shield Fighting
The Shield were arguably the most important faction in the last 10 years of pro wrestling. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns were indie darlings who finally made it to the main roster. Rollins and Reigns had even graduated from NXT, which was then in its infancy as a televised developmental entity. Together with Ambrose as The Shield, they were seemingly unstoppable.
7 Roman Reigns Will Return Within the Month
Watching the Money in the Bank event, it seemed as though perhaps WWE writers had come to their senses and wanted to give Ambrose what everyone wanted for him. However, on the Tuesday after the show, we learned that Roman Reigns was suspended for 30 days due to violating WWE’s strict wellness violation. The story is still a little fuzzy; some say Reigns was caught smoking weed, others say WWE staff were aware of the break in the rules on the night of Money in the Bank, but they kept Reigns around until the SmackDown tapings the following Tuesday to tie up loose ends with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
6 He May Only Ever Be a Transitional Champion
The whole concept of Money in the Bank is to potentially give a WWE wrestler the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance they’d otherwise probably never get on their own. That’s why mid-card talent typically grapple for the briefcase; it would make no sense for John Cena or Sheamus to try to win the Money in the Bank when they could theoretically get a WWE World Heavyweight Championship shot whenever they wanted.
5 He May Not Be Taken Seriously After This
We mentioned just now about what happened to past Money in the Bank winners after their championship gold was taken from them. The answer? Not much. It’s hard to have the same level of respect for a wrestler who was once regarded highly enough to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but who, after losing it, can’t even seem to get an Intercontinental title shot.
4 It’s Not Enough To Sustain Ratings
Raw ratings are still kind of in the toilet, as it’s been said again and again. While sure, Ambrose as WWE World Heavyweight Champion may appeal to more viewers than if Rollins held the gold again (since that’s been done before), we’ve seen this happen a million times, most recently with the shocking return of Shane McMahon. Viewers get all excited for a return (be in Shane, Rollins, The Rock, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, or anyone else), they tune in for that week, and then by the next week they tune back out.
3 He’s Champion At One of the Worst Times in WWE History
A champion is only as good as his opponents. Besides tossing the title around between his Shield brethren like a friendly game of hackey-sack, who else is there really who’s worthy of a title shot in WWE? Who has been built to that level? John Cena is always an obvious choice, but who else? Perhaps AJ Styles, but he’s slipped quietly back into the tag team scene. So who else? Jericho? Del Rio?
2 In the End, Dean Ambrose Still Isn’t THE Guy
We’re not saying that Roman Reigns’ suspension, which would slate him to return just in time for Battleground (literally he’d be cleared to wrestle the day of the event), was a bit underhanded and nefarious, but it certainly smells fishy. Reigns goes around on Raw and claims that he’s “the guy,” and that is indeed true, or WWE intends it to be.
1 It’s Clear He’s Just a Placeholder
Okay, let’s forget the Roman Reigns suspension drama for a minute. Even if that had never happened, even if the WWE writers had had a change of heart and decided to give Ambrose a legit shot, how long does anyone believe he’d really hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? One reason WWE fans are majorly turned off is because of how predicable the storylines are.
This is just like when Triple H claimed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at this year’s Royal Rumble. Yeah, it was cool for a moment, but in the next breath, you couldn’t help but ask, “how long will he have the title?” For Ambrose, he could drop it next month at Battleground for a returning Reigns. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’ll certainly be walking out of SummerSlam without any gold around his waist.
Sources: Wikipedia, WWE, Uproxx , Givemesport
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