If WrestleMania’s Focus is Roman Reigns, Why is Fastlane About Dean Ambrose?


If WrestleMania is set to be Roman Reigns’ moment, why is Dean Ambrose getting all the air time before Fastlane?

We’re a little over a week away from Fastlane, WWE’s latest stop on a road to WrestleMania that all maps, compasses, GPS systems and phone apps seemingly indicate as the capital city of the Roman Empire. Ever since WWE’s injury-depleted roster forced COO Triple H to say “screw this, I’mma do it myself” and claim his 14th World Heavyweight Championship by tossing then-champ Roman Reigns over the top rope at the Royal Rumble, the story’s been so obvious as to be yawn-inducing.

The company’s chosen Superman, Reigns, will power through his Fastlane opponents, Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose, on his way to giving the big bad boss man his comeuppance at WrestleMania: Star, sending the fans home happy as confetti reigns down (groan) on their conquering hero. It’s written in the stars, including the blue one in the ‘Mania logo. Book it, print it, write it in the sky in radioactive chemtrails–Roman’s going over at ‘Mania, and the company will finally give their new Chosen One the coronation they wanted at last year’s show.

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So if that’s the case, then why has all the buildup to Fastlane been centered on the Intercontinental Champion, Dean Ambrose?

Monday Night Raw has been the Dean Ambrose show since he walked the aisle on the Feb. 1 episode and stared down Lesnar, just to “see what all the fuss was about.” In that opening segment, Ambrose delivered a scintillating promo that has set the tone for the main event scene since. “Take me to Suplex City, baby!” he implored The Beast, promising Lesnar that while he knows he’s in for the beating of his life, he’s willing to take it if it means getting close to that elusive World Title. “I may look crazy, but let me assure you — I ain’t crazy. And I ain’t stupid. And I ain’t scared of you.”

Brock just laughed him off, and later in the night delivered the first of a number of F5s that the Lunatic Fringe will be receiving in the next couple weeks. Well, certainly that set Ambrose straight.

Except that on this past Monday’s Raw, Ambrose, after getting a beatdown from The Beast to close out the opening contract signing, went back out to the ring and called him out again. And sure enough, Lesnar obliged with another thorough ass-kicking, grinning at first, but soon all business as another F5 leveled the IC Champ. And yet, Ambrose called for more, with a smile on his face. What is he, crazy?

Nah. He ain’t crazy.

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  • Finally, as Lesnar set up to deliver more punishment to ol’ Deano, the ostensible star of the show, Reigns, finally appeared, distracting Lesnar enough for Ambrose to deliver a low blow and send the Beast crumbling to the mat.

    Dean ain’t stupid. He remembers WrestleMania: Play Button and remembers how the main event was shaping up before a certain former partner of his stole the show with an epic Money in the Bank cash-in. Think back: Lesnar vs. Reigns was largely one-sided for most of the match. Lesnar sent Reigns to Suplex City and Roman absolutely ate it up, begging for more like Tommy Dreamer begging for cane shots. It was a Roman Reigns Rope-A-Dope, taking the worst Lesnar could dish out while waiting for the opening that finally came when he launched Lesnar into the ring post, busting him open. From that point on, it was anyone’s game…until Seth Rollins stole the show and the World Title, anyway.

    Dean Ambrose ain’t crazy, and he ain’t stupid — he knows he’s not as buff as his brother Roman, and he sure as hell knows he isn’t as strong as Brock Friggin’ Lesnar. But if there’s one thing the former Jon Moxley, CZW Champion and death match veteran, can do better than either of those guys, it’s take a beating. And Dean Ambrose ain’t scared to take a beating. What’s a few F5s when you’ve been in the CZW Tournament of Death?

    Ambrose is playing the long con with Brock Lesnar, goading him out into the ring and willingly absorbing the Beast’s abuse, testing the former UFC Champ to see exactly how rough a town Suplex City actually is. Heck, he’s even got Brock convinced that the only way Ambrose can hurt him is with the Undertaker’s favorite shortcut–the low blow. Dean Ambrose may have Brock Lesnar right where he wants him heading into Fastlane, where knocking off the Beast could punch his ticket to WrestleMania and a shot at Triple H.

    It’s a killer story and one of the best builds WWE has put together in some time. Except…isn’t it predestined that Roman will Reign supreme on Feb. 21? If the Road to WrestleMania is supposed to be Roman Reigns’ story of redemption and overcoming the Authority, why is WWE giving all the meatiest material in the main event scene to Roman’s best friend? If they think all those pops for Ambrose are going to just transfer to Reigns when he’s the one to go over at Fastlane, they may want to revisit what happened the last time they tried using a crowd favorite to get their Chosen One over.


    Unless, maybe the Road to WrestleMania isn’t going to end up in the obvious dead end we think it’s heading in?

    If there’s one thing the WWE has proven at their last two ‘Manias, it’s this: while their storytelling may be a mess 364 days out of the year, they tend to make the right call on their biggest stage. Batista was going to take the title at WrestleMania 30…until Daniel Bryan was forced back into the picture. The Roman Empire was set to dawn at ‘Mania 31 until Seth Rollins spoiled the party. This year, will WWE go with the obvious finish at last?

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    The smart money’s on yes, of course. Most likely we’ll see Ambrose eat the pin at Fastlane, perhaps in a way that sets up a one-on-one match at ‘Mania with Brock (unless the Wyatts get involved), while Roman goes on to take back his title in Dallas.

    But don’t be surprised if the Lunatic Fringe gets the nod. The way WWE TV’s been heading the last few weeks, it may still be unlikely, but it sure as heck wouldn’t be crazy.