Chicago Street Fight
The Match up:
Dean Ambrose is set to face Luke Harper in what will undoubtedly be a brutal and tortuous hardcore Chicago Street Fight at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. The grudge between these unique performers has grown since WrestleMania 31 Both look men look to get a hash mark in the win column at a major event for the year.
The Road to Extreme Rules:
Remember when Dean Ambrose had a purpose on WWE TV? 'Twas not long ago that the Lunatic Fringe seemed destined to be our next WWE Intercontinental Champion. After a chance snow-in which canceled the RAW after the Royal Rumble and lead Ambrose to WWE Headquarters, the former United States Champion began to envision his face among those on the Wall of Intercontinental Heavyweight Champions in the building. Having gained a pinfall victory over the then champion, Bad News Barrett, Ambrose sought out to be the number one contender for the IC title.
After some very Ambrosey stunts, a match between Ambrose and Barrett was made at the Fast Lane pay-per-view. Unfortunately for Dean, he managed to get himself disqualified after going into a rage after Barrett attempted to walk away from the fight. For his troubles, the Champ got his chicken heel rear end handed to him and his title stolen to boot. The link provided above explains Ambrose motives for stealing the championship. The fans saw things his way and happily cheered on when he enlisted R. Truth to lift the IC title again once Barrett managed to get it back.
This may have been the moment the whole scenario went off the rails as far as Ambrose becoming the champion was concerned. In the days and weeks following the initial robbery of the title, each Superstar who gained a victory over Barrett (and many did) entered the fray and began to steal the title as well. The shenanigans surrounding the Intercontinental Championship lead to a seven man Ladder match at WrestleMania 31. One of the men in question was Luke Harper, who bullied the title out of R. Truth after a RAW victory and actually had the title in his possession just as much as anyone else for a while.
When tasked to provide a reason for his involvement in the IC title chase leading up to WrestleMania, Harper simply stated that he wanted his WrestleMania moment. One could hardly blame any Superstar for that. In a bit of irony, the only participant who did not actively seek to possess the title during the lead up, Daniel Bryan, was victorious, completing a goal of having held every viable title in the company. Harper did achieve his 'Mania moment, even having the first big moment of the show, when he powerbombed Ambrose through a ladder near the conclusion of the Ladder match.
Ambrose's WrestleMania hopes of becoming Intercontinental Champion were effectively ruined with that move, as was his desire to get on the wall at WWE HQ. What's more, this move effectively stopped Ambrose from fulfilling a very serious promise that he made to himself and the WWE Universe last year when he was screwed out of becoming Mr. Money in the Bank.
That is what this feud should be about. Dean Ambrose should resent Luke Harper for incapacitating him therefore allowing a certain backstabbing sell out to win . . . yet again. Instead, what the WWE universe offered up was Harper powerbombing Ambrose through an announce table on the Smackdown after WrestleMania and then . . . the two brawled until Harper ran off for some reason this past RAW. And the two were on opposite teams of a remarkable tag match on the go home edition of SmackDown.
There has been virtually no mention of the EPIC war Ambrose and Harper were involved in as part of the Shield and the Wyatt Family, respectively, just last year. There has been no mention on WWE television of how Harper's actions at WM 31 stopped Ambrose from interrupting Seth Rollins cashing in during the main event. No mention of how odd it seems that first Bray Wyatt targeted Ambrose for no reason and his former Family member has followed suit.
The build up for this match has literally been , "Hey, you liked these guys in gimmick matches before, right? Well, we're gonna put them together in a gimmick match and see how you like that!" The back story is thin when the material is there. But, hey, these guys usually deliver, especially in this environment. Given how the two have worked together in the past, this looks to be a match that could steal the show.
. . . Um, I've got nothing. I predict a Payback card with these two in a match together. Everything about this match screams "Creative has no idea what to do with your storyline even though IT'S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM!"
I predict Luke Harper to walk away with the victory, only because I have wished for a big Dean Ambrose victory for so long and one can only be optimistic about certain things for so long. Both men could stand to use a meaningful victory; the issue is that simply will not be achieved this way. Dean Ambrose versus Luke Harper is what treading water looks like in WWE form.
At least we will get to see some Explicit Ambrose Violence. That's always fun, right?
WWE Extreme Rules airs Sunday, April 26 on the WWE Network starting a 7 pm central time. Join us here at Cageside Seats in the live thread.