Welcome, cats and kittens, to the only source on the entire internet for opinions about how good Dean Ambrose is at wrestling. Last week we kicked off our new weekly scouting project, to take a look at the entire WWE roster in this new era of fresh faces and turbulent change. Wejust finished up trying our best to explain the whole Roman Reigns thing without the internet exploding into another fight about it….and there they go again. Sigh.
Each week we’ll cover one major roster member. We’ll put on our lab coats and googles and put all the biggest players on the current WWE roster under the microscope. Let’s see what we have this week.
Number 1 Contender For The “Going To Get Suplexed Until He Dies” Championship
Stands out starkly amongst the current WWE main eventers
Extremely comfortable in promos
Has a gift for creating spectacle out of anything he touches
Character can be an awkward fit for modern day WWE
Will likely never be a top tier in ring performer
Has yet to really deliver in a high profile singles match
Cewsh: Just like we did last week with Roman Reigns, let’s break down the fascinating Dean Ambrose persona in 3 sections.
In The Ring
This is one of those times where it is important to make a distinction about what being “good in the ring” means. It does not mean that you throw a bunch of suplexes and can chain wrestle until your balls fall off from exhaustion. What it means is that you create entertaining matches with a broad variety of opponents, have a level of consistent quality that can be depended upon, and that viewers are drawn to watch you, and respond to what you’re doing while you do it. This frequently gets lost when discussing the best wrestlers because of this 30 year old ingrained idea we have that the best wrestlers are the ones who are most technically sound, when that is just absolutely not true in any measurable way.
With that said, Dean Ambrose is not a great in ring performer yet. He is a very good one, and against the right opponent and in the right situation I believe he can put on an incredible show, but there are still some growing pains. His matches tend to be inconsistent in quality from match to match, whether it be a throwaway tv match that is great while his PPV match is lackluster or vice versa. Part of this is that his signature spots, (the things that wrestlers do in every match that get a response from the crowd because they recognize it as being a definitive spot for that wrestler,) are tough to work smoothly into matches and he really only has two of them, (the Rebound Clothesline and the Dirty Deeds DDT.) Lots of top stars have done a ton with an equally limited moveset, but the problem for Ambrose is that when you don’t have these quick and easy shortcuts to get reactions from the crowd, it’s hard to get them involved in shorter matches. You have to work harder to build from scratch what the Rock might do with 30 sing a long phrases and 10 moves we all know by heart. If Ambrose got longer matches with more room to work his style, his matches would get better, and that will happen as he moves further up the card.
A possible solution has presented itself recently with the incorporation of a Mick Foley style, “I’ll take all the punishment in the world, but i’ll KEEP ON COMING” mentality. The genius of that, and part of what made Foley such a shocking success, is that it makes SELLING your signature spot. So every single time the other guy hits you with a move, it just gets you more over. It’s a great strategy, though it’s one that wrecks havoc on the bodies of those who run with it. Ask Foley and Tommy Dreamer about that.
All in all, we haven’t seen Ambrose’s best years in the ring yet, not by a long shot. This new spin on his style is going to take him places. Let’s just hope that he can hold up long enough to take advantage of it.
This is an odd case, actually. Ambrose is clearly incredibly comfortable on the microphone and has a habit of making little asides that are great, and witty, and flesh out his character’s motivations much better that long winded promos do. That’s all rad. The only thing that pulls down this score is that his promos are so different from the common WWE style promo, that it wrecks havoc with the timing of things sometimes. Take a recent promo with Triple H on Raw. Ambrose and Triple H are both dynamite promos in incredibly different ways, but Triple H had some trouble changing gears from MONOLOGUE TIME to WITTY BACK AND FORTH BANTER because that’s something that he isn’t often tasked to do, and he gets more promo time than anyone in this company. More importantly, though, the crowd always seemed a little off in responding to Ambrose’s comments because his quick comments didn’t give them time to react to what he was saying, which is what they’re used to.
This is part of why the “WHAT” chants rose so sharply in popularity during the 00s. The WWE promo style goes like this.
“LAST NIGHT, JOHN CENA BEAT ME RIGHT HERE IN THIS RING.”
“I WON’T STAND FOR IT.”
“JOHN, I WANT A RE-MATCH.”
“GET OUT HERE YOU SON OF A BITCH.”
If you watch carefully, WWE promos are the opposite of conversational. They have more in common with church sermons than anything else, with room left in between demonstrative sentences for an “Amen” here or a “What” there. (Please don’t start “What”ing your pastor and blame it on me.) But what Dean Ambrose does it talk to the crowd like they’re a friend he’s having a conversation with, and more importantly, he talks to other wrestlers like he isn’t aware he’s on camera. Like it’s actually for real or something. Go figure.
All of this is a way to say that Dean Ambrose is great at promos, even if his promos aren’t effective as they could be due to the way WWE has done things for years and years.
Well he’s a masochistic, anarchy seeking chaos demon who is besties with a big Samoan man he met at wrestling college and sometimes likes to throw food on people. Seems pretty straight forward.
There’s a stigma around Ambrose that he’s the lesser of the three Shield guys. Smarks have rallied behind him in the way that they always rally around guys who do things differently and who they see as unfair underdogs within the company, but I think both of those stigmas are unfair. Ambrose is a character and a performer with phenomenal potential, who I feel like has a top 5 all time feud in him down the road if things click just right. He’s just starting to get some real traction after a long period in limbo, and the day where all 3 Shield guys are full time main eventers is coming very soon. Don’t be surprised if Dean wins up having the most enduring legacy of the three. This is a guy who may inspire change.
I Told You He Loves Throwing Food.
Cewsh’s Grade: B+
Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H
WWE Roadblock 2016
That’ll do it for this Cewsh Scouts entry. Be sure to check back next week where we’ll take a detailed look at Dean Ambrose’s future murderer, Brock Lesnar!