At the moment, things aren’t looking too good for Dean Ambrose. From his days in The Shield, the “Lunatic Fringe” has stood out as a brilliant in-ring performer and speaker with an unhinged gimmick, and while he currently holds WWE’s Intercontinental Championship, rumors have suggested that WWE has been taking issue with his work ethic, hence a de-emphasis on Ambrose in recent storylines. There have also been reports suggesting that he may soon be turned heel in order to freshen up his character. And while the mileage may vary on the ideas cooked up by former WWE creative writer Kevin Eck, it would seem that he had some compelling plans for Ambrose in 2012, back when he was still working in WWE’s developmental promotion NXT.
In a PressBox blog post, Kevin Eck wrote on Wednesday about five ideas he had proposed to WWE’s creative team, only for them to ultimately get rejected by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon for one reason or another. Eck noted that his post was inspired by former WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee, who had credited him in her recently-released autobiography, Crazy is My Superpower, as the man behind her successful storyline with Daniel Bryan.
While the idea for that storyline was one of his two “most impactful” storylines during his three-year (2011-14) tenure with WWE, Eck highlighted some ideas that didn’t quite pass muster with the “powers that be,” including a couple involving Dean Ambrose and/or The Shield.
As it seems, WWE’s creative team, primarily Eck, had written Ambrose as a mentally-unstable character well before he rose to prominence with The Shield. In one of the rejected storyline ideas from 2012, Dean was supposed to play AJ Lee’s new boyfriend, with the two meeting in a mental hospital after Daniel Bryan successfully had AJ committed. In Eck’s words, this pairing was to become WWE’s answer to the infamous criminal couple Bonnie and Clyde, or Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis’ characters Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers,”wreaking havoc” on the rest of the roster.
According to Eck, this idea was turned down, as Vince McMahon saw AJ Lee as being better-fit to play the role of Monday Night RAW‘s new general manager, an idea that fizzled out and eventually resulted in Lee returning to in-ring action.
Eventually, fans would get to see Dean Ambrose debut as one-third of The Shield in late 2012. But Eck had his own idea for the would-be super faction, one that featured Ambrose, eventual Shield “brother” Seth Rollins, and Kassius Ohno. It’s been well-documented that Ohno, who’s better-known as Chris Hero in the independent wrestling scene, was intended to be the third member of the stable, instead of Roman Reigns. This was, in particular, stressed by CM Punk in his “tell-all” interview on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast, as Cageside Seats wrote in 2014.
— Neha Sharma (@NehaSharma__) April 30, 2017
Adding to what fans already know about the pre-history of The Shield, Eck wrote that the idea was to have ECW legend Tommy Dreamer hired as WWE’s storyline head of scouting, so that he could introduce Ambrose, Rollins, and Ohno as the newest members of WWE’s main roster. The idea was that the three-man faction would defeat a lower-card tag team, then call Dreamer to the ring afterwards to ostensibly thank him for the opportunity, only for them to attack him and establish themselves as the newest villains on the block.
What’s even more interesting is that Eck wrote that he wanted an established former indie wrestler with a similar background to lead Seth Rollins, Kassius Ohno, and Dean Ambrose in this proposed version of The Shield – Daniel Bryan.
“On the following week’s show, they explain that they just used Dreamer to get their foot in the door in WWE,” Eck added.
“They say Dreamer wanted them to work their way up the card and do things the right way, but they’re not going to play by his rules. They reveal that their leader is someone with a background like theirs who knows success is achieved by any means necessary: Bryan (who was a heel at that time).”
This version of The Shield was supposed to debut on the 1,000th episode of Monday Night RAW on July 23, 2012, but as Eck recalled, WWE instead went with CM Punk’s heel turn on The Rock as the “big angle” for that milestone episode. Months later, it was proposed that Punk would get three henchmen from NXT help him extend his lengthy WWE Championship reign, but WWE went instead with the three-man lineup that eventually became The Shield — Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns — with Kassius Ohno remaining in NXT.
In addition to the rejected ideas for AJ Lee, Dean Ambrose, and The Shield, Eck also wrote about two failed ideas for Cody Rhodes, including a proposed romantic storyline with former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn and another twist on Cody’s eventual Stardust gimmick, as well as Big Show making his 2013 feud with Alberto Del Rio personal by attacking Del Rio’s real-life father, Mexican wrestling legend Dos Caras.
[Featured Image by WWE]