Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
What Nick Wants to Happen: A good match immediately after an exciting video package, making everyone forget what happened with the best trailer possible. Beat that, shitty/mismarketed movies!
This match was extremely odd to sit through, as it became clear that there was going to be an escalation between these two — driven home repeatedly by the commentary team — that this match would not be able to contain. But, while it lasted, this was a fantastic showcase for both men, and Dean Ambrose’s very unorthodox style in particular. Bray Wyatt’s steamrolling in ring style is particular to him, but it’s not — outside of specific flourishes like the upsidedown spider-baby walk and the kiss before Sister Abigail — particular to his character, per se.
Dean Ambrose, on the other hand, is the physical embodiment of his “Lunatic Fringe” character. Part of the reason this feud worked so poorly in the build up — but worked well as a match and even better as a video package — was that Creative (or the performers themselves) never seemed to be able to translate the devil may care attitude that Ambrose used in the build to the Rollins match, and presents to near perfection in the ring each time he is out there. While some performers try to play unhinged as dangerous and not just “goofy over-the-top crazy guy”, Ambrose is one of the very few who can pull it off, not just consistently but like clockwork.
Ultimately, that’s why the short this feud is, the better. Both performers are much better served not trying to out “crazy mind game” each other, as they both have a crazy streak a mile long. Those strategies only work/build genuine excitement when the escalation isn’t “your daddy was a drunk who went to prison, so I am going to be in a prison cell when I cut this promo!” but things like, “I’m going to make smoke come out of something and project a hologram in it” or “throw you off something very high and seemingly very dangerous”. Otherwise, it just comes off as a horror movie for kids.
And because neither has established themselves — especially Bray — as the type of performers who can cut promos regarding their craziness/world view without coming off as way more interested in their own profundity than we are, they were unable to establish any order in the chaos until this match. But at least they got there, and created a match that not only is worth watching again, but had genuine moments of both catharsis for Dean and a feeling of sensible escalation that creates a bridge to the next part of what will hopefully be a better part of this story line.
Match .8 PPV 2.05