At Extreme Rules anno 2016 the first ever Asylum match in WWE took place. Those are my thoughts about it, how it happened and what’s next for Dean Ambrose. Enjoy!
Prologue: Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho don’t have matches but a lot of promos and teasing to get to their final match against each other
Just to recapitulate the events that lead to their second big match at Extreme Rules, I break down the storyline between Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho after the “death” of Mitch the Plant and the very Pay-Per-View. I only write down some facts or what I think was “important” or just plainly made it to my mind:
RAW 2016/05/09: This is why heels are more interesting than babyfaces
During his promo Chris Jericho made a good point that I have also written down in the previous post: people cared a lot about the “dead” Mitch but basically no-one wondered about the well-being of Dean Ambrose after getting hit by the pot. And why was that? Because we’re used to Dean Ambrose getting beat up again and again but he comes back anyway, so we don’t need to care? Or because we’re used to Dean Ambrose putting other guys over instead of himself, even though in this case it’s not a guy but a potted plant? Just think about it!
So, Chris Jericho as a heel was able to state the obvious and basically judge the fans for being such heartless individuals towards Dean Ambrose, the man that most WWE fans say they love or at least like. And still they care more about a potted plant and don’t care about Dean Ambrose at all. Of course, the “WWE Universe” booed Chris Jericho for this crystal clear truth.
Also on this episode of RAW Dean Ambrose destroyed Chris Jericho’s blue-LEDed jacket – just like he once destroyed Bray Wyatt’s rocking chair. I guess, that’s just another of Dean Ambrose’s various gimmicks: destroyer of iconic things. And yes, he’s still booked as a babyface (unfortunately).
SmackDown 2016/05/12: How to make the WWE Universe care for Dean Ambrose again
For this episode of SmackDown, Dean Ambrose explained why he destroyed Chris Jericho’s 15,000 dollar jacket. It’s simple: because he lives by the old rule of the bible: an eye for an eye. So, he didn’t care about a certain price tag but only about the fact that Chris Jericho destroyed something that belonged to him, so Dean Ambrose was entitled to destroy something that belonged to Chris Jericho. And in Dean Ambrose’s simple world, he got his deserved revenge.
Of course, this philosophy collided with Chris Jericho’s who very much lives by measuring things. And in his world, his 15,000 dollar jacket doesn’t equal the price tag of a potted plant. So, of course, we needed to dig out and made obvious the “crazy”, “lunatic” tag on Dean Ambrose and put him into a straight jacket because that’s where crazy lunatics apparently belong. So, as stupid as it is to put Dean Ambrose – just when you think WWE lowers the crazy gimmick a little – into a straight jacket, it also made the audience care for the man, even though the reasoning might slightly differ between what WWE wanted and what the fans saw. The fans want Dean Ambrose more like he was in FCW: still some kind of crazy but not in a lunatic way, more serious and taken seriously; the WWE want Dean Ambrose booked as a guy the kids find funny – and that’s basically all. Yes, it’s that simple. And it hurts.
RAW 2016/05/16: It’s going to be the first ever Asylum Match in WWE and Mitch the Plant is a part of it
Is there seriously no better option for the heel commentator on RAW than JBL? Because this man doesn’t draw heat; he doesn’t make me hating on him; he makes me turn off the volume. And it’s disrespectful to talk over a promo like he did when Dean Ambrose cut this great promo while explaining the rules of the first ever Asylum Match in WWE. On the other side it was an interesting choice by WWE to play this Asylum music during Dean Ambrose’s promo. Because it made me wonder if the WWE want Dean Ambrose portrayed as an Asylum inmate or as an Asylum keeper. It looks like WWE want to portray him as an inmate while Dean Ambrose himself acts more like a keeper, perhaps Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest styled. But even in this case, Dean Ambrose should be taken a lot more seriously.
SmackDown 2016/05/19: Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho teasing weapons but will WWE allow them to use them?
I still didn’t watch Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar because their was a lot of teasing before but in the end Dean Ambrose was just a punching bag and toy for Brock Lesnar and I still don’t care to watch this. And WWE did it again with this Asylum Match. Like I did for the WrestleMania match, here is a list with the teased weapons:
- Mitch the Plant;
- straight jacket;
- fire extinguisher;
- Kendo stick;
- barbed wire stick;
- leather strap;
- bucket (including a black bag with hundreds of thumbtacks).
What actually had been used this time, I put in red colour and there was in fact an additional weapon being used. It’s this and the fact that Dean Ambrose also won this match, why I chose to write about his match at Extreme Rules. Plus the surprising fact that something like an 1980s Tom Selleck moustache strangely suits Dean Ambrose’s face. Disguised as a ring worker, Dean Ambrose was finally left alone with Chris Jericho in the Asylum and beat him down with a Kendo stick after Jericho promised Ambrose forty days into a hospital after Extreme Rules. Most of times it’s not the guy with the lengthy pre-Pay-Per-View promo who gets the win. So, we could be sure that Dean Ambrose was going to win.
Extreme Rules: Asylum Match – pre thumbtacks (20:38)
The whole match lasted for 26:21 minutes, a decent length, so I made two parts of it: the first part being before Dean Ambrose spilled the thumbtacks on the canvas; the second part being with the thumbtacks being on the canvas.
The beginning of the match was a little strange for me to watch because the acting of Chris Jericho made no sense at all. It seemed like it just dawned on him what he got himself into. Because after just a few punches and kicks by Dean Ambrose he tried to climb outside the steel cage or demanded to open the cage for him. The rules were pretty clear: in this Asylum match you could only win by pinfall or submission. Escaping the cage wasn’t possible. Chris Jericho’s behaviour also didn’t make sense because he didn’t show fear during their entire feud. He also pointed out that he had been in cages before. So, what was the difference here? Dean Ambrose as the opponent? Chris Jericho trying to escape was fun to watch but again: it didn’t make any sense.
Another ridiculous point about the start of this match was the commentators stating that this Asylum match was actually Dean Ambrose’s idea. We well know that – unfortunately – the wrestlers in WWE are able to pitch ideas but they hardly ever come to fruition. The only thing that most likely was Dean Ambrose’s idea possibly was the use of the thumbtacks. And I don’t want to know what he had to do to be able to use them.
The first “weapon” that was used was the mop, and if you are able to enjoy the good moments then this was very funny to watch. After that we had a Clint Eastwood vs Lee van Cleef like stand-off with Chris Jericho and the barbed wire stick vs Dean Ambrose and the nunchucks. Jericho mocked Ambrose about his choice of weapon but Dean Ambrose showed off his skills and obvious knowledge how to use them. And this knowledge indeed brought him the advantage over Jericho again. This is also great face vs heel behaviour: while the heel rambles on and on how good he is, the face will just show off what the heel is only talking about.
A spot that should have been a little longer was when both men were on top of the cage, Chris Jericho hitting Dean Ambrose with the Kendo stick. Definitely non PG was Chris Jericho hitting Dean Ambrose with the leather strap, yelling at him, “come on, wicked boy!” and asking the crowd if they like that. Well, Chris, I think a lot of people liked this…
Now Dean Ambrose got the fire extinguisher into the ring while Chris Jericho took the straight jacket down. Which weapon would be more useful now? And it was the straight jacket that Chris Jericho simply threw on Dean Ambrose to temporarily blind him when he was about to use the fire extinguisher. But Dean Ambrose was able to escape the jacket this time before Chris Jericho had been able to fix his arms unable to move. A few wrestling sequences later, Dean Ambrose was standing on top of the cage to elbow drop Chris Jericho from there. That happened just moments after those stupid “we want Rollins” chants. This audience didn’t deserve this match at all!
Extreme Rules: Asylum Match – post thumbtacks (5:43)
Some people argued that this match took a little too long. And this is probably right. But this second part from the appearing of the thumbtacks to Dean Ambrose winning with Dirty Deeds was just the right amount of thrill and suspense about who would have to take the thumbtacks spot and – of course – who would win. This is how a finish to a match is booked correctly: with a bit of teasing from both sides, finally using two weapons that were still left to use (both, the fire extinguisher and the barbed wire stick, on Dean Ambrose) and good paced action.
The good thing about the use of the thumbtacks was that no-one really expected them. Because PG and all. Getting something you don’t expect but craving for, is always perfect for getting people’s attention. The bad thing about the use of the thumbtacks was that commentators and smarks already draw comparisons between Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley. WWE already did that before – they even made Mick Foley “passing the torch” of hardcore over to Dean Ambrose. And I think it’s stupid and ridiculous. Because this way 1) Dean Ambrose won’t ever be allowed to just be Dean Ambrose; he’ll always be mentioned as the next [put in WWF / WWE wrestler from the past of your choice] and 2) he’ll never be a serious competitor for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship if he’s put into gimmick matches. Dean Ambrose is one of the best storytellers in the ring right now – so why don’t you use this talent and make storylines / matches more interesting?
I very much enjoyed the second part of this match because it was well told, had good spots and the right (and only possible) ending. I didn’t enjoy the disrespectful “We want Rollins” chants during the first part. Not everyone wants to see him, especially not in a match he doesn’t belong in at all. Plus, Dean Ambrose himself looked like he’s sick of all the gimmick matches, too. But I guess, WWE is happy enough about ridiculously talented people asking to leave the company (Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes) because they aren’t allowed to show what they are really capable of. Just further bury yourself, WWE.
Epilogue: Dean Ambrose needs to get the Money in the Bank briefcase this year
Like it’s already good old tradition, we got a couple of Money in the Bank qualifier matches right after Extreme Rules. Five guys to compete in the ladder match for the briefcase are already confirmed. The following list shows the qualifying matches that took place on RAW. In bold I marked the winners and so forth participants in the ladder match:
- Chris Jericho vs. Apollo Crews
- Cesaro vs. The Miz
- Sheamus vs. Sami Zayn
- AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
- Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
There are two other guys who still need to join this setting; they’ll be confirmed during the following fortnight. I already saw some people complaining that Chris Jericho won against Apollo Crews. But to be honest, I think the call-up for Crews to the main roster came far too early. He isn’t even close to being ready. He should have stayed in NXT a little longer. As for the other participants: it’s already a good mix between experience and younger guys.
I hope Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are in this match to cost each other the win. Then we have Cesaro who apparently has no charisma and can’t talk. So, Old Vinny won’t give in and hand him the briefcase (except for he wants Cesaro cash in within a week and lose this very match). Chris Jericho is a part-timer who’s in this match for experience. So, this leaves us with Dean Ambrose until the last two participants are announced.
And actually, this match screams for Dean Ambrose as the winner. With Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship being the main event of Money in the Bank, some people already speculate about a Triple Threat match at the very Pay-Per-View. But I hope for a longer run for Dean Ambrose and the briefcase. Whoever will be the WWE champion after Money in the Bank needs to be chased and threatened by Dean Ambrose. I still think that WWE wants the Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns Triple Threat match as the main event at WrestleMania. And in case Dean Ambrose really gets the briefcase, he needs a far better booking than Sheamus last year.
I still hope that WWE let Dean Ambrose finally be their best heel they’ll ever have at some point in the near future. I still hope they cancel this stupid Lunatic Fringe, Ambrose Asylum nonsense and make him into a serious competitor. I still hope that I can fully enjoy watching Dean Ambrose again.