August saw a Beat The Clock challenge as a means to keep the two separate and for the winner to be allowed to name the stipulation for one final match. Ambrose distracts Rollins to make sure it’s his choice.
Summerslam. Lumberjack. Rollins can’t run. In theory.
This match made the emotional pursuit of it physical. They fight all across the arena, but it’s in the ring where they shine. After chasing one another, being chased by the lumberjacks, beaten by any number of men, they make it back to the center. Even commentary notes at how dizzying it is to watch two men who know each other so well hit and reverse, hit and reverse. It’s less a fight and more a dance.
It’s a peak theatrical performance as well. Even when they aren’t touching one another, they don’t drop character. Their exhaustion and the high stakes and their heavy breathing make it that much harder to keep up machismo and so they’re both incredibly vulnerable and expressive.
Regardless of the men ringside who had good reason to pummel the former Shield or lackeys or Big Red Machines that were sent to spare Rollins, Ambrose is relentless.
Because of the interference from Kane, Ambrose and Rollins are given another match up with a fan voted stipulation. The following Falls Count Anywhere match functioned as a midseason finale for an intoxicating and almost flirtatious feud. All this time Ambrose has been performing an exorcism. If he can hit Rollins hard enough, trap him in the ring, on the ramp, backstage, in catering… if he has the ability to catch him anywhere, stop him from running, stop him from getting surrounded by Triple H or Kane, he could save his soul. Rollins betrayed the Shield, but he didn’t go on his own. He was lured by a predator.
Rollins has been on the run, being caught up again because Ambrose’s chivalry feels inevitable, or because he wants to get it over with. Until this match, the it he wants over with is a little unclear. Rollins wants to rewrite history. To deny the Shield as a brotherhood or a code of honor. He wants to dispense with his moral compass and leave no witnesses. Ambrose is living, breathing proof of all of it.
And without the Shield, without titles, without a fair fight, Ambrose continues to carry all of that. He won’t stop. He’s got nothing to lose.
Ringside, Kane’s face is one of horror as he slowly realizes that Ambrose will not balk.
And it is this, an outside source, realizing what Dean Ambrose IS and how impossible it is to stop him or for Seth Rollins to leave him, that takes this feud from fun to fatal.
Kane reveals a stack of cement blocks and slams Ambrose into them. Rollins tells Kane to handle it but Kane demands that he be the one to do it. He hesitates. He waits.
Kane keeps his eyes on him.
Rollins stomps Ambrose. He stands victorious but unable to look at Ambrose. Unable to really look anywhere.
On commentary, Cole says, “we’ve gotta get these two lunatics out of here,” but Dean Ambrose isn’t one of those lunatics. Seth Rollins, Kane and by extension the Authority… those are mad men among them.
Rollins follows this by staging a Eulogy for Dean Ambrose.