Payback’s triple threat was shaping up to be a humdrum and inconsequential 'B' pay-per-view (PPV) main event. The match had potential to be a good-to-very-good one, but it would be nearly impossible for someone to become overly excited about it. Concisely, the most apt way to describe the main event would be to call it a "corporate pleasing main event", not a fan pleasing one.
The dynamics of the match changed and became exceedingly more interesting, though, by dint of the addition of Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose possesses an uncommon virtuosity that few wrestlers have: he has the aptitude to electrify a crowd without having to do a whole lot to accomplish it. This has been evident whenever WWE’s writing team has revealed, by means of their booking, a diminutive amount of confidence in him.
Even when he was losing every match against Seth Rollins in their feud, the fans still invested in his character, because WWE’s Creative made him one of the focal points of the show. Well, that, and because the fans sympathized with him and therefore wanted him to achieve his objectives, which were both seeking revenge and providing Rollins with the comeuppance he deserved – for stabbing his comrade in the back.
While the theory of cream discovering a way to rise to the top has merit, the cream needs a considerable amount of assistance to do so. Several former WWE wrestlers had "it" but could only overcome so much. At most, wrestlers can prove the higher-ups are mistaken, but for them to break through the glass ceiling, the higher-ups must provide them with a hammer to do so.
Steve Austin, for instance, had "it" long before he became Stone Cold. People, in the business, saw it. However, he couldn't demonstrate his uber-charisma and an unparalleled ability to express himself to the fans, nor could he articulate his verbal skills and display his unique personality with a mute and monotonous character, The Ring Master. In essence, he needed to impress the boss before he could impress the fans.
Indeed, McMahon’s pigheadedness has always been his most counterproductive detriment, as he'd rather build his own poster child than have the fans decide for him. He has shoehorned and shoved superstars down the fan’s throats; and to his credit, he has amazingly discovered different ways to persuade fans into investing in them. Maybe it is the luck from being Irish, but for whatever reason, he always seems to luck out no matter how erroneous he is.
An exemplary illustration of McMahon’s good fortune was Daniel Bryan’s rise to stardom. McMahon’s ambivalence on how substantial Bryan’s drawing ability was enraged the fans and made them vehemently cheer and support Bryan even more. The company utilized the concept that the company - or Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon more specifically - did not fully believe in Daniel Bryan to their utmost advantage. Whether McMahon did not believe in Bryan, or it was an ingenious stratagem all along, is moot. The fact remains he generated more money and Bryan became a bigger superstar all because the fans wanted to ever so badly to stick it to the man
Anyways, in regards to Dean Ambrose, WWE’s best interest should be to impel him to a top-tier main eventer. By means of negligence, WWE’s Creative placed Ambrose in an impuissant situation. The purpose of his feud against Seth Rollins, due to its narrative, foreshadowed and built up the moment of Ambrose forcing Rollins to pay for his sins...except that never happened. He was then a stepping-stone for Bray Wyatt, so Wyatt could have enough notoriety to face Undertaker at WrestleMania. Ambrose also became a laughingstock because WWE Creative portrayed him as an ignoramus who loses matches in the most ludicrous ways, i.e. being distracted over a hologram or accidentally having a TV explode in his face.
But, in spite of losing his heat, momentum and credibility, he either passed WWE’s character durability test or overcame their incompetent booking. After all, he has almost rekindled his popularity just punching his ticket into Payback's main event by pinning the WWE champion on Raw last week.
Ambrose's climb to the top is very analogous to Daniel Bryan’s extensive upsurge – as the journey possessed an abundance of peaks and valleys and uncertainty of whether he would finally become a top-tier main event as well as receive his justifiable moment. Therefore, fans can only hope Ambrose’s push to the main event is because of WWE’s confidence in him – opposed to the possibility they need some to eat the pinfall (because they want to protect both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns).
No doubt about it: Ambrose has "it": He has the charisma, work-rate, promo skills and the ability to portray his character in a believable and authentic manner. But, the main reason fans have passionately rallied behind him has been because of his character’s parallel traits to Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Both are antiheros; rebellious, in your face and slightly psychotic protagonists. They also debunk the antiquated and exhaustive perception that a babyface must wear a white hat and goody-goody two shoes to be one, because, in reality, a protagonist just needs to be liked by the fans . His or her actions need to be justifiable and understandable, but that also means the manner in which they conduct those actions is utterly irrelevant.
For these reasons and more, it is best for business for Ambrose to become a top-tier main eventer. He has already won the fans over in spite of receiving next-to-zero help from WWE Creative, which makes us have to imagine what he could become if WWE actually strapped a nonliteral rocket underneath him.
This does not indicate that Ambrose ought to win the championship at Payback. That would be nothing more than a narrow-minded hot-take and a hotshot on WWE’s behalf to boot. But, Payback’s main event should emit belief and hope he is inching closer of becoming WWE champion.
And yes, in the fullness of time, when the moment is most right, he should become WWE champion – not just for trial-and-error purposes, but also for him to receive his long-awaited moment over his arch-nemesis Seth Rollins.