Thursday, February 5, 2015

Can Dean Ambrose Be The Man To Make The Intercontinental Championship Matter?

Is Dean Ambrose the man to bring the Intercontinental Title back to its past glory?  In a year that Randy Savage is going in the Hall of Fame, it makes you think of what the Intercontinental Title once meant. While Savage had a yearlong run with the WWE Title and a second shorter run with that belt that are on his Hall of Fame resume.  He also some forgettable runs as WCW World Championship, but it is his time as the Intercontinental title run of just over a year that made him famous. In current times, even hardcore wrestling fans have to rack their brains to remember who the Intercontinental Champion is. If you don’t know, the answer currently is Bad News Barrett.

Dean had a long but really pointless run with the United States Title. I would venture to say it was the least title defenses in a title run until perhaps Brock Lesnar got his hands on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Dean unlike Brock was always around it is just as member of The Shield his title was secondary to that. Roman and Rollins at the same time had the tag team titles but were much more active in defending them. The state of United States title has been even worse. It has become a little more important since Rusev got his hands on it but it is more just a prop to his overall gimmick. The fact John Cena is challenging for this title in a few weeks and even people that dislike Cena would admit this title is beneath his status. This is part of the problem in how weak these championships have become.

Back to our original question is Dean the guy to take this title and bring it back to being a big deal? There was a time when Ambrose was the most popular guy in this company in the summer. The return of both Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan along with the rise of Seth Rollins as a top heel have left Dean in some sense stuck in this gimmick as this crazy unpredictable guy that loses more often than he wins. In fact, you would think in theory a guy with the Intercontinental Title would win more often than he loses. That hasn’t been the case though and perhaps it is time to change that. Dean needs more than just being unpredictable and crazy to remain over with fans. A strong title run with a champion that welcomes challengers and is a fighting champion might be a good role for Dean.

If he could have an extended run and come out of it gunning for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship it could be the best thing for that belt and for Dean. In the old days in WWE, you had two kinds of WWE Intercontinental Champions. You had guys like Savage and the Ultimate Warrior who were given the belt as a trial to see how they might do one day with the big title. This tradition carried on with the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold and even The Rock. Somewhere along the way from the Attitude Era to the PG Era, the Intercontinental Title lost that role. There was even a period when the title was but in mothballs. I am not sure if there is a point or person that is responsible for the decline of the Intercontinental Title. It just seemed to erode into insignificance.

Wrestlemania in early days often had its second most important match on the card. Savage defending the title and having his over a year long reign come to an end produced one of the best wrestling matches of all-time. It was a lot to do with two of the greatest wrestlers of all-time but it also was about fans wanting to see Steamboat get his revenge on Savage. In the built to that historic match, Savage tried to take Steamboat out attacking his throat. Fans were invested and it makes even one of the greatest matches of all time that much better. In front of according to the WWE their largest crowd ever had Hulk Hogan’s favorite dome the Silverdome.

Dean Ambrose gets compared to a lot of old time wrestlers from back in 80’s. Maybe he is the guy to take us back to when the title meant something. His reason for wanting a title shot is bizarre and makes little sense but who cares he is the right guy for the job. Barrett while I like him has had several runs with the belt to no real success. In fact, name me the guy on the roster in the mid-card that has been here for more than 5 years that doesn’t have multiple runs with the belt. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and a list that could go on much longer. The title in order to get over truly needs someone fresh attached to it and hopefully can understand what it once meant and how to make it mean that again.

If there is anyone in the WWE that is capable of bringing this title back from the dead it is Dean Ambrose. While many would be disappointed with Dean vs. Barrett title match at Wrestlemania it would be worth it if we could see Dean return to Wrestlemania in Dallas still with that belt it might be worth it. Dean Ambrose needs something to be his legacy in this break-up of the Shield. Seth Rollins has his Money in the Bank win, Roman Reigns has a Royal Rumble win and likely World Title run in his future so what about Dean?  If he could have a long and meaningful title run that might be his ticket to be his legacy coming out of The Shield. He would be doing all of us a favor if he were able to restore the I-C title to what it once was.

If Dean can’t do it, I am not sure who can at this point. Dean seems well suited for the belt a great talker and solid worker in the ring. He matches the model of some of the great champions of the past and to me is a good fit to raise this title back up if only they book him in the correct way to allow him too. I am not suggesting anyone hold his or her breath that it will happen. I just see it as the best possibility for restoring the title and giving Dean something to focus on.

In the end, a title is only as strong as the person that holds it and how they are booked as the champion. If they believe, the belt means something and is important that is the first step. I only look over to current day Ring of Honor in which Jay Lethal their Television Champion considers his title the most important in the promotion. He will face Alberto El Patron (Del Rio) on PPV and it very well could be the main event on that show in Las Vegas. The Intercontinental Championship being the main event in WWE would be a laughable thought at this stage. The only time it ever did was in England at Summerslam when the British Bulldog challenged his brother in-law and champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart. It was one of the best matches of both men’s careers.

We don’t need to see that happen but we do need to see a Champion that we see as a main event talent holding that belt. Dean has already proven he can be that headlining a few shows with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Dean and the Intercontinental Title is a marriage that could work for everyone.