Earlier this week, I examined World Wrestling Entertainment star Dean Ambrose and his place in the company. I spoke on Dean’s past as a performer who often took liberties with his body in order to gain popularity and excite the crowds he wrestled in front of. From there Dean would sign with WWE, be assigned to their developmental territory of Florida Championship Wrestling (later rebranded NXT), and learn what is known as the WWE style before finally getting his call up to the big time. I then focused on how WWE has incorporated that past style into his matches more frequently, and how Dean Ambrose could be the new Mick Foley
First, I would like to address some confusion reading my article. Some believed that I was asking if it was fair for WWE to force these hardcore antics upon Dean in a hope to recreate something from a bygone era. That was not my intention. I do believe that Ambrose has a skill set that is fairly unique to the WWE locker room, and WWE is simply capitalizing on that. What I questioned was WWE’s attempt to make a new Mick Foley, and if putting that kind of pressure on Ambrose was fair.
Regardless of what you believe that answer to be, the idea of Dean Ambrose as hardcore’s heir apparent is intriguing, and maybe why so many fans have latched onto him. What may be more intriguing is how this passing of the torch almost occurred in 2012. I discussed it in my article, and think it might be worth another look. Not just because as a fan I think it would be an entertaining and captivating story to tell, but because in their own ways, it’s a match both men could benefit greatly from.
Why it benefits Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose came into WWE as a part of the trio known as The Shield. For two years they ran roughshod over any competition put in their way. Once the trio actually split up and went their separate ways, it felt like Ambrose had been left in the dust. Roman Reigns won Superstar of the Year and the Royal Rumble while Seth Rollins became WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Comparatively, Dean hasn’t exactly lit the wrestling world on fire lately. He has had some very good to great matches, but no one would call him a main event just yet.
Clashing with Mick Foley and fulfilling his prophecy from years ago would catapult Ambrose into a main event or very top of the card program, and raise his stock exponentially. If you doubt that statement, just look at the other men whos programs with Foley have done that very thing for their careers. Men like Edge and Randy Orton, who both had career defining matches with Mick and went on to become top talent for WWE. Having a match with a legend the stature of Mick Foley would put Dean back on the map with his brothers in the Shield.
While some might see this as merely an opportunity to defeat Foley, and claim the title of new hardcore legend, the truth is working with Foley will give him the opportunity to sit under the learning tree with Foley: a guy that understands a thing or two about not only being a respected hardcore wrestler, but also how to get out in as little pain as possible, thanks to all of his personal experiences in and around rings that featured thumb tacks, barbed wire, and other instruments of horror. Foley’s advice might not only make him better in the ring, it might keep him there longer.
How it benefits Mick Foley
Recently watching the Mick Foley Cheap Pops special on WWE Network, it’s obvious that Mick is a natural born storyteller. He truly enjoys telling anecdotes from the road and tales of his legendary career. While he has more than enough material to spin his yarns for now, eventually he will run out of new things to say. When this happens, Foley will need to reach down deep and pull out more than just a sock. He needs to have a tale of the young lion challenging him for his place in the pride.
Foley has seemingly spent that last decade or more of his career trying to elevate young talents like the ones mentioned earlier in this article. While he has done a fantastic job of this, he hasn’t come across a true successor. Yes, both Orton and Edge surpassed Foley in terms of success in their careers, but neither man has been able to take Foley’s place in history. While it may seem odd that someone would have a need to be replaced, think of it like parenting. Parents often want to leave a legacy not just in what they accomplish, but what they pass down. Dean Ambrose can continue to keep alive the style of wrestling Mick Foley made mainstream during the attitude era.
Foley may also have unanswered questions about his own legacy. While nothing can take away from what he has accomplished, his last big match was against Ric Flair for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in a Last Man Standing Match. Not exactly the exclamation point he was likely looking for. There is also the fact that this match was one Foley was excited about three years prior, and being a creative person it’s likely he is still itching to finish telling that story. The question is, how long can he hold it in?
Is it Destiny?
What are the chances that we get the Lunatic Fringe against Mrs. Foley’s Little Boy in Dallas, Texas for WrestleMania 32? I’m guessing they aren’t very likely. As much as I would love to see this match happen, the reason it didn’t happen in 2012 was because Foley wasn’t cleared by WWE doctors to perform at that time. Things might have changed since then, and when motivated, Foley could whip himself into passable shape, but it’s unlikely that he can get past his broken down old body.
That being said, it’s always fun to sit down and think about what would happen if these two titans of extreme rules were to clash one on one. What would the build up look like, what would the stipulations be, and even who would win and how. I may have to take one last look at this idea to see if we can figure out this fight of fancy.