The WWE and its fans have always had a soft spot for the loveable idiot.
From Santino Marella to the Bushwhackers, many Superstars have found meteoric success as WWE’s local stooge.
Dean Ambrose is on the borderline of becoming one. There’s a fine line between something that is just a little crazy and something that is purely stupid. Ambrose jumping off the top of a steel cage is crazy genius; whereas cutting a table up with a chainsaw is absolute stupidity.
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The Lunatic Fringe is set for what we expect to be an absolute classic with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32. It’s an opportunity for him to use his body as a weapon and throw caution to the wind in an attempt to win a match.
However, in doing this Ambrose and WWE creative have to be careful in not having him come across as just the hardcore comedic relief. Too many times in big Ambrose matches, the focus is on Ambrose pandering to the crowd through his antics.
Being ‘hardcore’ is something that all diehard wrestling fans love. Guys like Mick Foley and Terry Funk are fondly remembered for some of the crazy things they did inside the squared circle and some of the most dangerous spots.
But, they are still harshly criticised for their attempts to try and connect with today’s PG audience.
Finding the balance
In matches where hardcore is available, Ambrose can still get funky with foreign objects because that makes him unique, but having purpose behind each chair shot or kendo stick strike makes him look more dangerous.
For Dean Ambrose’s character to stay relevant in the coming year and be a realistic challenge to ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar, he needs to become a little bit more serious and deliberate.
WWE teased this really well in Ambrose’s match at Roadblock - continually referring to him having a game plan - and this approach panders to his character better as a calculated loose cannon.
Showing control and using calculated strikes usually presents the traits of a top heel and Ambrose no doubt has these qualities. This could one day result in him being the top heel for the company.
However, with the unpredictability expected in his offence, the hint of a game plan actually makes him even more unpredictable; and with WWE determined to keep him as a babyface it's unlikely we will see this type of offence regularly.
Finally, WWE has to careful that his attempts to be funny aren’t jeopardising his character as one tough SOB. The beauty of Ambrose’s character at the moment is that we believe he can be hit with two or three F-5’s and still kick out. However, when he’s then involved with spots with the Social Outcast, it hurts the reputation of his character.
Whether we like it or not, at some stage in the near future it’s evident that Dean Ambrose needs to stop with his comedic ways, and get more devious and calculated.