AJ Styles successfully defended his WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Sunday’s No Mercy pay-per-view, as he defeated John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a controversial triple threat match.
If you’re keeping track, you’ll know that the No Mercy pay-per-view marked the third time that Dean Ambrose had failed in a WWE Championship match since he lost the title at Backlash, and, according to Bleacher Report, he may not be getting another shot at the title any time soon.
WWE is apparently considering moving Ambrose back into the mid-card, with their mindset being that they need to rebuild him for a future shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, there’s no timetable for when they want to put him back in the title picture, and it’s unclear who he’ll begin feuding with on Tuesday’s SmackDown.
In the aforementioned Bleacher Report article, it was suggested that Ambrose would begin a feud with John Cena, with the winner of the feud earning another shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which means that the feud’s winner will be getting another one on one match with AJ Styles at some point.
It’s no secret that WWE is building towards John Cena tying Ric Flair’s record for the most World Title wins, but most are expecting them to hold off on him winning the title for the sixteenth time until WrestleMania 33. Also, Cena is about to leave WWE to begin filming season two of the Fox reality show American Grit. So, Ambrose may end up winning that feud, thus earning another shot at AJ Styles.
Ambrose’ first WWE World Title run was heavily criticized by many, with John Cena being his most notable critic.
Just a few days before the No Mercy show, John Cena compared Dean Ambrose to the other two members of The Shield, and he pointed out that both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are now legitimate superstars, whereas Dean Ambrose is “still trying to figure it out.”
“Let’s document The Shield – the first time they hit the ring, ‘man, that Ambrose is something special. Right now, two bonafide WWE superstars: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns. One guy is still trying to figure it out; Dean Ambrose.”
Since losing the title, Ambrose’ character has changed quite a bit, as he’s gone away from being the quirky guy who was billed as the “Lunatic Fringe.” His character gaining more of an edge is something that a lot of people — most notably “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who called Ambrose out for resting on his laurels during an episode of his podcast over the summer — have been wanting to see.
WWE taking Dean Ambrose out of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture does present a ton of questions, with the obvious one being who will the next challenger for AJ Styles’ title be? The SmackDown roster is extremely thin, and its top stars like Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are currently involved in what looks to be a long term, non-title feud.
Aside from Orton, Wyatt, Cena, and Ambrose, there really isn’t another credible WWE World Heavyweight Championship contender on the SmackDown brand. So, even though WWE is considering moving Ambrose back to the mid-card, they may not actually pull the trigger on that move when SmackDown airs on Tuesday night.
Just to put SmackDown’s depth issue in perspective, the next group of possible WWE World Heavyweight Championship contenders aside from the four names mentioned in the previous paragraph are Baron Corbin, Kane, Dolph Ziggler [who is the current Intercontinental Champion], and The Miz. So, unless WWE decides to bring someone like Shinsuke Nakamura or Samoa Joe to the SmackDown roster, they may be forced to put Ambrose right back into the championship picture.
[Featured Image by WWE]