It’s only appropriate that after crowning a borderline lunatic as the WWE World Champion at Money in the Bank that the first Raw of his reign would feel a little off-kilter. From the moment Ambrose arrived in Phoenix by taxi, nearly forgetting the belt when he got out of the cab, things were somehow different. The atmosphere in the arena was a little brighter than usual, the jokes seemed funnier, the energy level seemed higher, and all sorts of interesting things seemed to happen as a result. Maybe it’s a side effect of WWE having its first fully babyface champion in quite some time. Whatever the case, the energy that Ambrose brought to Raw seemed to spread through most of the show, and we’ve examined some of the highlights for your enjoyment.
10. Wait, You’re Supposed To Like The Champ?
The best thing we can say about Dean Ambrose is that while he’s not the best wrestler on the roster (he’s above average, most of the time), and he’s not the best talker on the roster (although he’s up there), he is certainly one of the most likeable performers in WWE. Even as champion, Ambrose comes across as a regular, albeit slightly unhinged guy. He speaks naturally and doesn’t fall back onto catchphrases. He talks directly to the people in attendance instead of to the hard camera. He inadvertently refers to The Big Lebowski. And while he can monologue with the best of them, where he really shines is when he’s just riffing, reacting to things with clever one-liners and talking like a human being instead of a guy who’s memorized a script. This isn’t designed to be a gigantic set-up where we dump on Roman Reigns, but there is a reason why Ambrose isn’t getting mixed reactions when he comes out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. With his crazy attitude and street fighting persona, people have been comparing Ambrose to legends like Brian Pillman and Steve Austin, but we see Ambrose more as someone like Mick Foley. Like Foley, Ambrose is a wrestler whose hard work clearly connects with the audience. He’s someone that fans actually like, relate to, and want to see do well, which is why his title reign is being greeted with acclaim.