Happy Thursday TJR Faithful! I hope you’re all doing well this week. It’s been an exciting one (outside of wrestling). Awards season has begun with the rash of year end lists and superlatives, not to mention the nominees for both the Grammy and Golden Globe Awards being announced within the last 72 hours. It’s also time for mid-season finales for some shows and season/series finales for others. It’s that busy period right before things shutdown for the holidays.
Now despite there being very little worth discussing in the WWE right now, I wanted to undertake an analysis of a current feud that isn’t up to par. I could be talking about a number of rivalries currently taking place in the WWE, but specifically I’m talking about Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose.
Here we are, a few days away from the second PPV that will feature a Dean Ambrose/Kevin Owens bout, this time for Kevin Owens’ Intercontinental Championship. Unfortunately that’s all we know heading into their second encounter, because there has been no storytelling leading up to it. It’s unfortunate because this rivalry is awash in narrative potential. What’s even more puzzling is why they have not tried to capitalize on these potentially emotionally appealing storytelling opportunities, especially given the charisma and performing chops that both Ambrose and Owens possess.
As it stands, these are two guys that had a match at Survivor Series, who are now having a match at TLC because Dean won a triple threat match on Smackdown. They’d barely interacted going into this week’s “go home” Raw, and the big angle to finally get some heat heading into the bout was to have Dean, without uttering a single syllable, throw popcorn and soda in his face. Is this a prepubescent food fight at a Twilight screening between Team Edward or Team Jacob? What a colossal waste of time and their talents.
The way I see it, this should have started building right after Owens lost to Ambrose beat Owens at Survivor Series. The next night on Raw, Owens should have attacked Ambrose and berated him for wasting his opportunity at the WWE Championship. Owens should’ve told Ambrose that he was a waste of space and that he’ll never amount to anything, which he has proven time and time again.
Now once Ambrose wins a shot at Kevin Owens’ championship on Smackdown, Ambrose would get promo time on Raw (novel idea right) where he talks about how excited he is to get his hands on Kevin Owens. “I beat him at Survivor Series, and at TLC, I’ll beat him again, only this time it’ll be for the championship I’ve been after since a snowy day in January.” That’s when Owens’ interrupts on the Tron (since he was sick that day and was sent home).
Owens would tell Ambrose that he sat back and listened to Dean’s tough talk from the back and simply had to come let Dean in on a little secret. “You’re never going to win a title here buddy. You just don’t have what it takes.” Dean will respond by poking fun at Owens and challenging him to come down to the ring. Owens will say that he’s feeling under the weather and is about to go home for the week (getting some heat for basically calling in sick). He’d say that Ambrose is lucky that he’s, which Ambrose will respond by reminding him that he’s already beaten Owens before, to which Owens will respond “So what?”
“Yeah you beat me at Survivor Series with nothing on the line. And then what’d you do? You lost to Roman. Face it Ambrose, you’re a loser. You lose on the big stage, because you have no heart. I win on big stages because I fight for something. I have a family! I have a wife and two kids that drive me to do whatever I need to do make their lives better.
“Of course, you wouldn’t understand that Dean. You’re a orphan. You never had a family growing up with your dad in and out of prison and your mother off doing god knows what. You’re a degenerate. You’re a lost boy looking for a home. And whether it’s The Shield, or getting adopted by Reigns and his cousins, you’ll never have a home. Dean you’ll never have a family!”
“You don’t fight for anything because you have nothing. You fight because you’re afraid, and that’s why you’ll never be a champion, because you fight for nothing. Nobody loves you, because you’re worthless. And you always will be. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get home to my loving wife and family, who’ll alway be there to take care of me.” Kevin would cough and wheeze as he shuffles off camera, leaving Dean seething in the ring as we go to break.
The following week (the “Go-Home” edition of Raw) before Kevin Owens enters the arena for his bout with Dolph Ziggler, he’d be doing a backstage interview with Renee Young. She would ask him about his comments the week prior about Dean Ambrose. “A lot of people feel like your attacks against Dean last week were uncalled for. How do you respond to such criticism?” To which Kevin would respond “Of course you’re bothered by them.” alluding to the real life relationship between Dean Ambrose and Renee.
He’d defend his comments saying that he made them because they’re true, “And no matter how many times they tell you they love you Dean,” Owens would plane over to Renee “you’ll always end up alone. Because nobody loves you buddy.”
After Owens beat Ziggler, Ambrose would appear on the big screen. No popcorn, no soda, just him talking. “So Kev, you said some stuff about me last week and I thought we should clear the air a little before Sunday. You said I grew up without a family… that’s true. Never really got to see my dad, and my mom was a trainwreck. Yeah The Shield were my brothers, and yeah that went up in flames. And you’re right, my brother Roman Reigns has been good enough to make me a part of his family, but I don’t exactly fit in there.”
“So you’re right! I’m alone. Always have been, and maybe I always will be! But I don’t hide behind having a family to explain away everything I do. I don’t need my family to give me a license to do what needs to be done. I don’t use a family as an excuse to be a complete scumbag. I do what I want, when I want, because I want to do it. And right now I’m tired of talking. Right now I just want to kick your ass!”
That’s when Ambrose attacks Owens and gets a few shots in before Owens retreats to the back leaving Ambrose in the ring standing tall. In this scenario there is heat heading into Sunday. There is an anticipation of what these guys will do to each other to prove their points.
You see the story to tell here is of two men who like fighting, but in all other respects are different. Owens is a family man, and does use the fact that he has a family to excuse any and all of his wrongdoings as doing what he needs to do, to support his family.
Conversely, Ambrose has no family and is a man looking for a home. He didn’t have a family growing up, he found one with the Shield that proved to be false, and he clings desperately to his brotherhood with Roman because he needs to feel like he belongs somewhere. At the end of the day he’s a loner who fights for emotional reasons as opposed to fighting for anything, be that a cause or loved ones.
Ambrose and Owens have their similarities but they’re diametrically opposed in their ideologies, and that sets up for a really cool feud. Focusing a little on that and letting them talk about it could have gotten some real heat on their upcoming match. As it stands it will be a cool match to see, but that’s all it is. There’s no emotional hook. Good storytelling needs that. Good storytelling is built on that.
I’d have Owens win, setting him up to encounter Sami Zayn in the Royal Rumble, and mark the beginning of Ambrose’s journey to discover what it is that he fights for. Ambrose’s character needs this kind of internal struggle and this Sunday would have been as good a place as any to start that.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Have they dropped the ball on this program? Should they have been given more promo time? Should the WWE have focused on The Family Man vs. The Man Without One aspect? What would you have done differently?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J.Douglas saying #UncuffAmbrose and let him talk! Have a great weekend everybody!