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The latest interview with IC champion Dean Ambrose captures the sentiment that Ambrose is in the wrong era for himself, but in the right era for WWE.
Ambrose has an old-school mentality of wanting to have – as he described – an “end of the world fight” selling the audience that what he’s doing in the ring counts and has purpose. However, he has arrived at a time when WWE is more about “an entertainment thing,” making it increasingly difficult to sell the audience on a fight.
But, Ambrose has come at the right time for WWE, which needs a character like Ambrose to provide that sense of realism to stand out and resonate with the audience in this current era. The issue, as Ambrose acknowledged, is that he has a ceiling because is a high-end utility player and not a featured act.
“I think I’m one of the only guys here, I mean we have so much great talent here, but I can do anything. I can literally do anything. That’s not me being like, ‘Oh I’m so great,’ I’m just like. I know what I’m doing,” Ambrose told Chad Dukes of CBS Radio’s “The Fan” radio show in Washington, D.C.
“I like to think I’m a good mechanic for the company. ‘Oh well, we sprung a leak? Call Ambrose, throw him in there.’ I like that because I think it has really upped my value with the company and I think that they realize nowadays too another Dean Ambrose isn’t going to walk through the door anytime soon or ever. So. I kind of exist in my own little space, I kind of got my own little corner of the room carved out for myself, which I like,” Ambrose said.
Ambrose still desires that “end of the world” fight, which was inspired by watching Roddy Piper walk into the lion’s den facing the NWO during the Monday Night War. Ambrose said he sees some of Piper in his character, which he hopes to carry on after Piper’s death.
“The thing I always say is my favorite Roddy Piper moment was one of the nights he was wrestling Hogan it was in WCW. He’s wrestling Hogan and he’s the big hero finally going to go up against the NWO or whatever and just the entrance makes you go, ‘Man, that’s what wrestling, that’s where you captivate people.’ ‘Cause they just went out there and back-raked each other for 15 minutes, they’re both like 55 by that point, but the entrance he just walks down, Roddy Piper music, and he just walks to the ring, down the ramp, with like this death stare at the ring, like this thousand yard, like he’s in a different mental place. He’s doing nothing but doing everything. The way he walks the ring, you know that Roddy Piper is ready to die in the ring fighting the NWO that night, he does not care, he will fight to the death. This is the end of the world fight,” Ambrose said.
“It’s so hard to capture that anymore because it’s such a fun, entertainment thing nowadays. We have so many shows and so much content. When is there an end of the world fight to the death anymore?”
Perhaps that will come with his current foil, Kevin Owens, who has the same kind of no-nonsense, hard-hitting, physical style, just on the heel side of the ledger. If given the stage and platform, Ambrose and Owens could deliver the kind of realistic-looking fight that would stand out from the “entertainment thing” of today’s WWE product.