Hello again, wrestling fans, and welcome to the March to WrestleMania, where each stop contains a discussion of a big match you’ll see this Sunday. We’ll dig into the build surrounding the match, shoot out some positives and negatives about it, and reveal what should and what actually will happen before things finish up this weekend. We’ve got THREE big matches left to discuss, so let’s not waste any time.
Matchup: Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No-Holds-Barred Street Fight
The Build: In what is surely one of the most anticipated matches to air Sunday, wrestling fans around the world will get to see what happens when Dean Ambrose is allowed to use anything and everything in his arsenal to defeat the beastly Brock Lesnar. Ambrose/Lesnar has been a focal point for WWE programming for quite a while now, as Lesnar has done his level best to convince Dean to look elsewhere for his next opponent courtesy of parking garage attacks and an abundance of F-5s. Ambrose, digging into his maniacal persona, revels in the pain and keeps coming back for more. That’s a new twist for Lesnar, who’s dealt with plenty of guys who attempted to handle his brand of physical obliteration, but not so many who seemed to enjoy doing it. This is a critical point for this match, as on its surface the WWE has rebounded from their earlier missed opportunities booking Brock to turn him into a dominant monster for the ages. Given that Ambrose has been seen as the guy that keeps getting World title shots but not quite getting it done, this match has to be realistic on both sides. Ambrose has to have a valid opportunity to defeat Brock one-on-one, or the whole thing’s invalid from the jump. Enter the weaponry and the lack of rules.
Ambrose is no stranger to the use of foreign objects throughout his career before joining up with the WWE, so this type of match suits him perfectly. He also has been the subject of several backstage vignettes in recent weeks, receiving weapons like Mick Foley’s barbed-wire baseball bat and Terry Funk’s chainsaw. This use of legends has added to the rivalry, as well as placing Ambrose’s character in historical perspective. Having names of the past provide some help to Ambrose in his quest to defeat the undefeatable is a great move, and brings some extra juice to the proceedings. It’s also allowed for Brock’s advocate Paul Heyman to get involved verbally, and his interactions with Ambrose have been exactly what you’d think: gold.
The Good: For starters, let’s hear it for a stipulation that adds to the match rather than overcomplicating it. Lesnar vs. Ambrose is personal enough to feel like it should be anything goes, and Ambrose’s acceptance of the beatdowns leading up to Sunday put him in the prime position of a man who fears nothing. That plays incredibly nicely with the idea that you’re going to get one hell of an intense spectacle Sunday, something WrestleMania needs more than any other card in the year. Ambrose is one of those rare commodities where he’s found a way to be interesting almost without doing anything. We instinctively want to know more about him, and that’s the type of guy you want headlining your card. Ambrose could have been lost in Roman Reigns’s trip to the big dance, but this match affords him to have his WrestleMania moment win or lose. Should he be vanquished by Lesnar, everyone in the building will tip their cap to his effort. Should he somehow win, it will cause buzz for days. That can’t be understated.
This match also plays to Lesnar’s strength. Allowing Ambrose to dig into his bottomless well of weapons means there is nothing left out there should Lesnar withstand the barrage. It also lets Brock do what he’s done since his reintroduction, shrug off challengers and move on to the next one. Most critically, I think it provides the opportunity for both men to respect each other at the end of the day. Brock has to be kept busy for now, as he’s not needed in the World title scene, but Ambrose is the perfect foil and therefore this doesn’t feel like busy work. Besides, any excuse to get Heyman’s take on Ambrose’s theatrics. This will be a show-stopper of a match.
The Bad: I don’t have many complaints about the setup to this match, because Lesnar’s aura needs to be protected. Ambrose has had a steady uphill climb even getting this match booked, and that might have a negative impact on his standing. The good news is his character doesn’t care, and therefore neither do we. Dean has already made himself a near-MVP of being the guy you can throw into the fire without consequences, and this bout is the most shining example of that. Essentially, both men have the chance to add to their respective legends here, and the literal outcome of the match is less important. True no-holds-barred enthusiasts might argue that this match has been a little too “light” in its build, but that’s part of Ambrose’s charm. This thing comes down to how deep Dean can dig to overcome wrestling’s true beast, and that’s a compelling story indeed. The street fight part is there for Ambrose, and that’s pretty obvious. Lesnar doesn’t really need weapons, but it shows how invested Heyman is in displaying Brock’s dominance. All the elements are there. Nitpicking is silly.
What Should Happen: As I’ve mentioned here, the great news for Ambrose’s fans is that he doesn’t even have to win the match to come out looking great. I’d imagine Ambrose is called upon to withstand an early Lesnar decimation before digging into the bag of tricks and gaining the upper hand. Lesnar will have the tougher road to hoe, as he has to show some vulnerability in the encounter before the final result. That’s not necessarily been a strong suit of his. I’d love to tell you that it’s critical for Ambrose to not only bring Brock to the edge but right over it with his shopping cart of pain, but it’s really not. The effort will produce the results, as well as an opportunity to continue this feud if they wish. Ambrose will become a hero just by getting through this, and he’ll deserve it. Lesnar can be brought right to the edge, but should get the win. Ambrose has reached the point where he’s a winner either way.
What Will Happen: All of that said, there’s the small matter of the Wyatt Family to deal with. Rumors have persisted that part of their reduction to the Andre battle royal is that a feud is setting up between Brock and Bray, and should that be true there can be little doubt that the Family get involved in the outcome here. Their interference, whether Ambrose wants it or not, could be enough to tilt the advantage to Dean’s side of the ledger. A Wyatt-themed loss sends Lesnar into a dangerous spiral, and that’s good television for everyone. It also adds to the enormity of the Wyatt/Lesnar match, likely at SummerSlam. WrestleMania generally has that one match with the ending that leaves everybody guessing. While it’s obvious that the Shane vs. Undertaker match will do that no matter what the actual outcome, this one could head in that direction as well. This contest will be incredibly watchable and buzzworthy no matter what, but don’t be shocked if WWE takes the long con route and allows Ambrose to walk out the victor against all odds.
Shameless Self-Promotion: I’ll have the second-to-last breakdown, the WWE World Title match, posted to TJR tomorrow morning, and we’ll close it out just in time for WrestleMania with the Shane/Taker match. (Unlike the WWE, I don’t have to obsess over the order!) I hope you’ve enjoyed this march as much as I’ve enjoyed leading it. In addition, I’d be remiss not to remind my readers to please check out my appearance on the Main Event Madness podcast this week, available here. I had a great time with the guys and if you liked it as much as I did, please tune in this Sunday at 2 PM as I’ll be back to dig into some of what I’ve written here as we count down the minutes to ‘Mania. Lots of discussion and lots of fun. See you soon.