Tuesday, 30 December 2014

50 Best Matches in WWE/NXT- 2014: #50. Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio (Beat the Clock Challenge)

Beat the Clock challenges are inherently flawed in that the winner is almost always the second guy. The only real drama in the stipulation comes at the pace the first wrestler sets, but setting all of that aside this is just a damn fine wrestling match between two of the very best workers in WWE at the time. Ambrose was beginning to get over in an escalating way that now sees him headlining pay per views, and Del Rio, while being fired shortly afterward, was always a reliable hand in ring.

In setting the scene up for this match, you find Ambrose's shoulder damaged and going up against a man whose specialty is the arm bar. His finishing move at the time (Headlock driver) was also dependent upon his arms so he comes into this match at a disadvantage. However, Ambrose was never going to submit to Del Rio, and lose his chance to make the rules for his match with Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. He wanted more than anything to get his hands on Seth, and this match specifically was a roadblock so as much damage as Del Rio could possibly create was never going to stand up to Ambrose's desire to win this match.

The match is paced very well, and I like forgoing the usual quick victory in Clock Challenges to create a sense of drama in the match in taking too long. Ambrose even showcases this as his face gets more panicked as the clock keeps ticking. In the match the two men move around eliciting almost non stop action, countering attempts at submissions and squeaking out of position for finishers. It's characterized by moments where Ambrose is trying his best to get his hands on Del Rio, but Alberto finds a way to slip out of the ring just in time or use Dean's over-exuberance to finish the match quickly to his advantage. Dean puts himself into bad positions throughout the entire match leaving his shoulder open, and he finds himself both in arm bar submissions of various kinds, and being thrown shoulderfirst into the ring post quite often. Del Rio's gameplan was about letting Ambrose beat himself and he had enough pride that he wanted this victory despite it not pushing him forward in any significant way. The sheer force of will of wanting Rollins eventually leads Ambrose to picking up a victory as he just doesn't quit under any circumstances. He hits Dirty Deeds with his one good arm when Del Rio taunts just a little too long, and it's just enough to pick up the victory, but not before Del Rio put him through nearly sixteen minutes of action, spelling doom for Ambrose's chances of picking the stipulation at SummerSlam. That is if Rollins hadn't lost to Heath Slater after Ambrose distracted him via JBL's hat. Wrestling is kinda silly sometimes, and I love it.

You can watch the full match here

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