Dean Ambrose retained the WWE Championship when he defeated Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at Battleground. That’s right, the last Shield member to win the title was victorious in the first all-Shield triple threat match.
In most cases, Ambrose may not have been the logical favorite. But considering the WWE Draft results and Reigns’ suspension, it was the obvious choice to make.
Let’s assume there will be separate world championships on both Raw and SmackDown Live. SmackDown is run by two of the company’s biggest babyfaces in Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Raw’s GM is pandering babyface Mick Foley, but ultimately he answers to uber heel Stephanie McMahon.
So if one show is going to add an alternative title, it should be Raw. Unless there’s going to be a fair tournament, it will likely include Stephanie handing the new belt over to a hand-picked champion, which would obviously be Rollins.
Reigns, who was also drafted to Raw, assumes his position as the No. 1 contender and boom, you have your Rollins-Reigns feud at SummerSlam. Raw now has its separate world championship and two of the company’s top stars feuding on the second-biggest show of the year.
SmackDown benefits from keeping the title by gaining some much-needed credibility. When Ambrose won, the show’s entire locker room came out and congratulated him. Personally, that was when I realized how lopsided the draft results were in Raw’s favor.
The celebration was led by John Cena and rightfully so. Cena has been the face of WWE for more than a decade and his presence on the SmackDown roster gives the show some credibility. But who really stood out in the crowd behind him?
Randy Orton was there in the background, so my focus was more on guys like The Usos and The Ascension hoisting Ambrose on their shoulders and celebrating in the ring. Are any of those guys going to challenge for the title?
SmackDown has a weird combination of veterans and up-and-comers. It’s main event scene has Ambrose as one of the true young talents expected to carry the company. But the only other realistic challengers are Cena, Orton and AJ Styles who, despite only making his WWE debut in January, is 39 years old.
It’s the SmackDown mid-card, tag-team and women’s divisions that feature recent NXT talent. But the upper card has the likes of Kane, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, former champions who are nowhere close to ever winning another world title.
WWE made the smart decision to not only give Ambrose a lengthy title reign, but legitimize him as SmackDown’s top rising star. He received the praise from Cena and the entire locker room as if it was their way of saying, “this is our guy.” He also pinned Reigns clean, which is something that seem unfathomable several months ago.
Reigns and Rollins have already been given the spotlight and established as top stars. The past two months have propelled Ambrose back into being alongside his former Shield brethren as an equal peer. If SmackDown is going to do the same in comparison to Raw, having the actual WWE Championship on its show is a great start.