AJ Styles has pinned “The Face that Runs the Place,” twice. Now, The Phenomenal One sets his sight on The Lunatic Fringe that runs the asylum.
Styles will challenge WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose at WWE Backlash Sunday, Sept. 11, live on WWE Network. If Styles’ recent win streak is any indication, The Lunatic Fringe may be facing his biggest threat yet.
The Phenomenal One ensured the title match would remain a one-on-one contest by defeating former World Champion Dolph Ziggler on the Aug. 23 edition of SmackDown Live. Yet, even before that, Styles had accumulated an impressive string of major victories including, most notably, going 2-0 against John Cena in singles competition this summer.
Though the involvement of Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson tainted Styles’ first win over the Cenation leader, Styles needed no outside assistance to defeat Cena in their all-time classic return match at SummerSlam.
Styles might have the wind at his back heading into SmackDown Live’s first brand-exclusive pay-per-view, but he also has an unpredictable and unrelenting Lunatic Fringe staring him in the face on Sept. 11. Ambrose’s devil-may-care attitude has benefited his title reign thus far; will his kinetic style of fisticuffs continue to pay dividends against the dynamic force that is AJ Styles?
Don’t miss this huge WWE World Championship clash when WWE Backlash airs live on WWE Network Sunday, Sept. 11, at 8 ET/5 PT.
Dean is the lone wolf on the Backlash poster as we head in to a new era on Smackdown. The brands first Pay Per View since it’s split from RAW, although the Backlash name was previously used for PPV’s in the early 2000’s. We’re excited to see it resurrected next month on September 11th, and look forward to finding out what the Champion Dean Ambrose will be up against! Check out other promotional imagery for the event below.
A winning night for Ambrose, retaining his Championship against Dolph Ziggler – although he may have regretted winding him up QUITE so much, as Ziggler definitely put up a fight. Dean’s cocky and brash tactics designed to really get under Zigglers skin and throw him off didn’t really work. So as per his fallout video, Dean apologizes for his bad behavior this past week or so. It’s okay, Champ. You’re forgiven. Here’s what WWE.com had to say!
Dolph Ziggler certainly made every moment of his WWE World Championship opportunity count, but despite an incredible effort, he ultimately fell to Dean Ambrose in a tense, heart-pounding contest. Channeling his NCAA career as Kent State’s winningest wrestler, Ziggler started the bout by keeping the champion grounded and attempting to score an early pinfall. The Showoff maintained incredible momentum until Ambrose countered a suplex and threw Ziggler from the ring.
Battling on the outside, the WWE World Champion took control of the bout with high-impact maneuvers that kept his opponent on the defensive. Confident in his strategy, The Lunatic Fringe took to the top rope but was taken out mid-air with an expertly planted dropkick. The well-documented perseverance of both Superstars was on full display after a cringe-worthy double clothesline brought the action to a screeching halt. Ambrose managed to recover and unleash another offensive that Ziggler weathered long enough to apply a sleeper hold and spill the action to the outside.
Ziggler narrowly missed a chance to score a pinfall following a huge superkick, and nearly won the championship after countering Dirty Deeds with a Zig Zag. Regaining his composure, Ambrose ascended to the top rope again, but was met by Ziggler where they engaged in a tense exchange of blows and counterattacks. Thinking he had the upper hand, Ziggler tried to execute his patented facebuster from the top, but Ambrose countered, landing on his feet and planting his opponent with Dirty Deeds for the victory. Despite his defeat, Ziggler definitely made the most of his opportunity. Nevertheless, the unorthodox and unhinged nature of the WWE World Champion won the night.
WWE.com are making predictions again, and here’s what their staff predict for Ambrose Vs Ziggler!
GREG ADKINS: Few Superstars have shown more heart more consistently than Dolph Ziggler. Unfortunately for him, reigning WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose will make certain The Showoff gets shut down. WINNER: Dean Ambrose
RYAN PAPPOLLA: In the weeks leading up to this match, Dolph Ziggler has been displaying serious focus and determination that will be tough for Dean Ambrose to stop. I’m showing my hand and rolling with Ziggler. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
SCOTT TAYLOR: Dolph Ziggler will no doubt put on a show-stealing performance, but it’s going to take more than that to steal the WWE World Championship from Dean Ambrose. WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Dean had a chat with Joshua Caudill of craveonline.com and talked connecting to the fans, being ‘Put on blast’ and finally winning the WWE championship. Check it out below and original link at the bottom!
As WWE wraps up the summer with one of its premier PPVs this Sunday in Brooklyn, it will also serve as the setting for Dean Ambrose to further his championship run and write another chapter in his whirlwind journey.
After taking a backseat to two of his former Shield brothers the past year, Ambrose seized his opportunity a mere two months ago by cashing-in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After being drafted to be the face of SmackDown Live and a successful title defense against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, Ambrose is staking his claim as WWE’s top man.
It’s a position that Ambrose gladly welcomes but one he never thought would be thrust upon him. Nevertheless, the laid back superstar has plans for staying true to his nature and as he prepares to defend his title against Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam, Ambrose took a moment to open up about his match, winning the WWE title, the difficulty of wrestling in jeans and what he does to escape the madness of being in the ring.
CraveOnline: This Sunday at SummerSlam, you defend your WWE World Heavyweight Champion against Dolph Ziggler. What are your thoughts on Ziggler as your opponent? Dean Ambrose: I was very excited to see Dolph Ziggler come out of that No. 1 contender deal to challenge me at SummerSlam. Ziggler is one of those guys who don’t get all of the credit he deserves for being so good consistently for so long. Every single night for years, he’s out there busting his ass and tearing it up and keeping his nose to the grindstone. I like having that attitude and work ethic because when you bring that to the ring with the same mindset you can create something special.
I also like that we’re representing SmackDown Live. There’s an attitude and an excitement on that team because it’s a new thing, it’s a live show on Tuesdays and we’re going to try and built it into something. Plus, we’re trying to stake our claim to see who’s the leader on that team and both Ziggler and me want to stake our claim as the main guy on SmackDown Live.
CraveOnline: SummerSlam is one of the top shows of the year. As a performer, do you feel the need to step it up a notch or is it business as usual? Dean Ambrose: There are times when you got to put a little “extra” in especially on a card at WrestleMania or SummerSlam because it’s no time to hold anything back. You have to pull out all of the stops. The thing about Dolph [Ziggler] and me is that we really never hold back anyways. Whether we’re in Paducah, Kentucky or WrestleMania, we go out there to lay it all on the line and I think that grassroots of busting our ass from the bottom to the top attitude is what got us to this title match at SummerSlam.
CraveOnline: You have mentioned your admiration for the way the old NWA champions carried themselves with the title. Now you’re the WWE Champion and the face of SmackDown. What does that feel like internally for you? Dean Ambrose: It feels like a responsibility. It’s like I’ve been given the keys to a very nice car or something. The WWE Championship is the greatest championship in the history of this sport. It has the most history of anything. You go back to Bruno Sammartino and uniting the titles in the 2000s to the first undisputed title, it’s a ‘grade A’ championship. You can’t go out there and be a goofball. You have to represent like a true main eventer.
CraveOnline: There has been a connection between you and the fans throughout this journey of you getting to the ‘top of the mountain.’ What do you think drives that connection? Dean Ambrose: Anybody can come in and be hot for a day or a week or a month or something but I’ve had my ups and downs as you know. But when you spend enough time in people’s homes because we’re on TV every week and they see you go through your journey, they feel like they know you. A lot of people feel they spend enough time watching me go through the good, the bad and the ugly so they feel like they know me and are a part of it. I’m kind of like a part of people’s families. You can’t buy that kind of connection with people.
You can’t really imagine until you get in that position where you meet these people all around the world and you’ve helped them get through some tragedy or gave them motivation. I get stuff from dads saying their sons and them watch every week and that’s their father and son thing they do and they thank me for that, for giving them something to connect with their sons and how they’re creating memories. I didn’t plan on doing any of that but it’s the position I was given. That stuff is important. Continue reading »
Summerslam’s less than a week away and the fight for the WWE championship has reached fever pitch, with Dean crawling underneath Dolph Zigglers skin to both light a fire and plant a seed of doubt, Dolph Zigglers had to retaliate with nothing short of guerrilla warefare. Tonight, firing back at Dean’s accusations that he doesn’t have what it takes to hold the championship, never has and never will. Dolph distracted Dean with words, then struck with an out of nowhere superkick to the jaw. Okay, Dean didn’t see that one coming. But the problem with Dean Ambrose is, if you show him your hand, he’ll bite it off. Dean’s seen the trick up Dolphs sleeve and now he’ll be ready for it. However, its enough to put Ambrose in to the mood of a lifetime and he goes in to a match with Erik Rowan intent on working off some of that aggression. He takes down the big guy with relative ease, hitting Dirty Deeds to put Rowan down for the three count. Next stop, Summerslam. Here’s what WWE.com had to say!
In the immortal words of Lil Wayne and Christina Milian, “Let’s start a fire.” After weeks of both verbal and physical jousting (and more than a little turbulence from the likes of Bray Wyatt), WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose and his SummerSlam challenger Dolph Ziggler’s conflict finally devolved from being rooted in some level of mutual respect into a full-on firestorm on “Miz TV.” Ambrose continued his attempts to break Ziggler mentally in anticipation of their WWE World Championship clash Sunday, but The Showoff would have none of it, firing back with a passionate reply and then a scorching superkick square to the jaw of The Lunatic Fringe.
Is it Sunday yet?
Having to shake off the superkick he ate earlier from Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose now had to refocus his energy and walk into the darkness against Erick Rowan with Bray Wyatt at ringside in his signature rocking chair.
The WWE World Champion did not show many ill-effects from the mouthful of Ziggler’s boot he ate, prevailing in a brutal contest over the bruiser Rowan with Dirty Deeds.
In an eerie scene after the match, The Eater of Worlds was seen now rocking opposite of the ring in his chair. After a moment, Wyatt ominously stood up and left the sheep mask that Rowan often wears in the chair and simply walked away.