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WWE Can’t Hold Back with Ambrose & the Extreme Rules Asylum Match

Extreme

This Sunday, WWE vows to get … EXTREME!

No, not ECW “Bring Your Own Weapons” match or Sandman with a Singapore cane or Mick Foley being speared through a flaming table kind of extreme, but extreme by today’s PG era standards. However, even in the era of no chair shots to the head or middle fingers to the camera, Extreme Rules is the one night of the year where WWE allows the guidelines to be bent just a little bit in hopes of putting on a show that is full of stipulation matches and fitting of the PPV’s name.

In the past, this hasn’t always worked out as aside from the first ever Extreme Rules in 2009, all of the others have been produced under the PG banner and thus have been visibly hampered by the restrictions said banner poses.

With the big PG elephant in the room, WWE Creative, which lacks outside of the box thinking in general these days, hasn’t quite found a way to really have Extreme Rules live up to its name, although not for lack of trying. But it’s not just PG however that has been standing in WWE’s own way, it’s also the fact that this is a new age of wrestling fandom where both the live and viewing audiences expect just a little more and know just a little more about what else is out there beyond just Vince’s flagship company.

Not only has the WWE’s audience been exposed to old school ECW, which quite literally translates into Extreme Championship Wrestling, but many are also familiar with indy promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling, which epitomizes extreme wrestling through its death matches and the use of light tubes, barbed wire, nails, staple guns, syringes and even explosives just to name a few. So needless to say, it’s going to be hard to convince an audience that a Fatal-4-Way even belongs in the same sentence with the word “extreme.”

Now, an asylum match however, if executed properly, well, that’s a completely different story. Because if ever WWE had a chance to really make this PPV live up to its name it would be through this match and through its originator, Dean Ambrose aka Jon Moxley, one of CZW’s most famous alumni.

Moxley, I mean, Ambrose, spent two years of his early career getting bloodied and beaten to a pulp (as well as beating others to a pulp) in what is widely considered to be North America’s most dangerous and most violent wrestling promotion. And while the WWE version of his character is decidedly less unstable, less unpredictable and less a danger to himself and others, Ambrose still carries some of those Moxley traits and therefore plays the part of the lunatic better than anyone on the current roster. Sure, he’s not bashing skulls in with light tubes or winning staple gun matches anymore, but Ambrose is still the guy on the roster you can call to for a high-impact street fight or a falls count anywhere or, like this Sunday, the WWE’s first ever asylum match.

Introduced on the go-home edition of Raw, the asylum match will be making its debut at Extreme Rules. What is an asylum match you may ask? Well, for starters it takes place inside a steel cage but fitting to its name, there is no escaping the cage. The only way to win is by pinfall or submission. So, there’s a nice twist on an old classic. But in addition to the new rules, there are also going to be a variety of weapons hung from the top of the cage including a potted plant, fitting given Jericho’s actions, a strait jacket, also fitting given Jericho’s actions, and some items hand-picked by Ambrose, including a bucket and mop, a kendo stick and a barbed wire 2×4. Granted, not exactly the type of CZW grade weapons Moxley would have picked, but better than the standard fare of tables, ladders and chairs.

Throughout his WWE career, Ambrose has drawn comparisons to the likes of hardcore legend Mick Foley, ultimate anti-authority badass Steve Austin or most notably, legitimate maniac Brian Pillman. Even in storyline, he was once referred to as a “low-rent Roddy Piper” and Ambrose himself has been known to embrace some of Piper’s traits and signature catchphrases on occasion. However, with today’s guidelines, the character has not fully been able to embrace those traits and commonalities. He has not been given the opportunity to go, as I like to call it, “full Mox,” something if creatively booked right could make Austin and Foley look like teddy bears by comparison.

Sunday at Extreme Rules however, could be that opportunity. The asylum match could be the chance for Ambrose to fully show off his creativity and ingenuity in the ring. It could be the turning point in the man’s career, the match that cements him as a permanent fixture in the main event scene. If WWE does this right and gives Ambrose the freedom to unleash on Jericho with those weapons in a way he best sees fit, they’ll get their extreme moments, they’ll get their “Holy S***” spots. And in the process, they’ll have unlocked a part of Ambrose’s character that is missing, a part that will establish him as truly being the resident psychopath and doing so with his own signature match to boot.

 

What WWE can’t afford to do however is a repeat of Wrestlemania. Where despite having legendary hardcore weapons such as Cactus Jack’s barbed wire baseball bat and Chainsaw Charlie’s, well, chainsaw, Ambrose merely jobbed to Brock Lesnar through a series of suplexes that made him look weak in defeat. They can’t tease the 2×4 without someone getting whacked in the head with it, or simply let Jericho, who now is claiming he is the craziest person on the roster (yeah, okay…), be the one to overshadow Ambrose in his own match.

It seems so rare when WWE puts themselves in a position for success these days, but this is the perfect example. They are claiming this to be a new era with new superstars receiving new opportunities. Well, look no further WWE, than this match and this superstar, to fulfill that destiny. If they let Ambrose be Moxley, even just half-Moxley, the amount of depth they are adding to his character is going to create a new star. Not to mention, they’ll undoubtedly get some high-intensity, creative spots that will become the stuff of legend.

All in all, PG guidelines aside, WWE has nothing to lose and everything to gain by just letting Ambrose do what he does best in this match. Conversely, if they don’t and settle for just another match filling their much lesser definition of “extreme,” there is no denying they’ll end up regretting it in the long run.

 

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