Over the next several days, I’ll be revealing my top five most-likely Royal Rumble winners. Today we’ll look at my number five most-likely Rumble winner, “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose. –Scott Strandberg
Previous entries: The Field
Just a few months ago, Ambrose was probably in the running for the top spot on this list. No one was hotter in WWE this fall, and it seemed like his match against his former Shield brethren Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell would punch his ticket to the main-event scene. When Bray Wyatt interfered in that match, allowing Rollins to win, it seemed like Ambrose could still benefit in the long run, if he had an engaging feud with Wyatt.
Some people say that wins and losses don’t matter in wrestling, but that’s just not true, especially in high-profile feuds. In his rivalry with Wyatt, Ambrose went 0-4. He lost by disqualification at Survivor Series, before pinfall losses at TLC and in the “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” on the Dec. 22 Raw. Finally, he capped off his losing streak against Wyatt with a loss in the Jan. 5 Raw Ambulance Match.
While it is true that the way in which a wrestler wins or loses their matches is more important than the W-L record itself, constantly jobbing to Wyatt has absolutely hurt Ambrose’s momentum. The only televised win that Ambrose picked up over Wyatt was at Tribute to the Troops, which is basically a televised house show, and is usually considered to be non-canon. In fact, aside from Tribute to the Troops, Ambrose has recorded just one televised pinfall victory since Survivor Series — two nights after that show, on the Nov. 25 episode of Main Event against Kane.
Photo Credit: Scott Strandberg
Ambrose is still highly popular with the fans, and I think most would view it as a pleasant surprise if he won the Rumble. However, let me be crystal clear that it would be one hell of a surprise. Ambrose hasn’t been on the winning end of a pay-per-view match since The Shield beat Evolution at Payback on June 1. He’s not likely to break that streak in the Royal Rumble match.
The probable best-case scenario for Ambrose at the Rumble is an early entrance and a long run in the match, before a dusty elimination, a la CM Punk in the 2014 Rumble.