Don’t let a silly little thing like losing to the guy holding the title and not being seen since keep a guy like John Cena out of the world title picture (sarcasm). Thanks to some woefully booked creative logic, Clash of Champions is going to feature the new WWE Champion, AJ Styles, defending his title against two men he recently defeated, the aforementioned Cena, and former champion Dean Ambrose.
This is likely a killing-a-few-birds-with-one-stone type of situation. Save for the fact that no one uses stones to kill birds anymore — unless you are a sicko — the safe bet is to assume this entire setup is to provide Styles with a chance to be elevated to that next level of stardom.
He is facing the two guys who provided him with his two biggest WWE wins… at the same time. Each of these guys bring a little something to the table. It can be argued that all of them are worthy of being the WWE Champion.
He is the defending champion, fresh into his run, and there is very little reason to take the belt off Styles right now.
The Phenomenal One has put on a string of great matches since his debut, too. He even made Ambrose look pretty good in a wrestling ring. Because of that, he is a more than worthy WWE Champion, especially since everything he touches turns into match-of-the-year events.
His mic work has also been solid since turning heel. While he’s not exactly breaking the fourth wall or changing the landscape with each syllable that comes out of his mouth, Styles isn’t a bore, either.
Logically speaking, as already noted, the fact that this three-way features two high-profile wrestlers Styles already defeated feels like an attempt by the WWE to solidify him as a legit main-event-level guy. If he defeats both of them, particularly at the same time, that is exactly what they will accomplish.
Make fun of his jean shorts all you want, Cena still brings that big-match feel to everything he’s involved in. That’s a rare commodity in today’s WWE.
There are other reasons to think Cena should have the gold, but many a member of the Internet Wrestling Community won’t like them.
The biggest of those is the fact that he has yet to surpass Ric Flair’s “most times held” record. With Cena getting a bit older, time is running out to accomplish that feat. If he wins at Clash of Champions, it doesn’t mean he has to hold the WWE Championship for a long time, either. Get him the win, inch him closer to surpassing Flair, then have him drop the belt back to Styles — or whomever.
Ratings being low — all things considered, relative to SmackDown, they are fine — can’t be one of the reasons to hurl the title on Big Match John, however.
Ambrose turned heel on Tuesday night — maybe. It is really hard to tell because his character — by design — doesn’t really align with faces or heels. He is just kind of, sort of there.
A solid reason for putting the belt on Ambrose is that he needs it more than the other guys. Cena and Styles are both be fine trotting about the WWE Universe with no gold around their bellies. They are more established, can function in a variety of roles and don’t need a prop to make them feel relevant. At this point in his career, Ambrose mostly does.
That’s not to say he deserves another title run (at least not yet). Ambrose has to show that he can be better in the ring and that his character isn’t as stale as some believe it is. If Tuesday’s edition of SmackDown did indeed feature an Ambrose heel turn, this could be second-life for the former Shield member.
Rarely do guys drop the belt one Network Special after winning it. Styles is going to leave Clash of Champions still the WWE Champion. Even with that being said, there’s plenty on the line in that match that has nothing to do with the outcome. Primarily, can Ambrose function at a high-level in the ring with two guys who work hilariously great together?