Dean Ambrose's recent departure from WWE has led to a lot of fans recalling his best bouts and feuds while with the company, and I don't think there can be any debate that his greatest rival was Seth Rollins. They were closely linked throughout their respective main roster runs, having started out in The Shield together and later feuding over the WWE World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships. Hell, they even teamed for a time and became Raw Tag Team Champions together.
What some may not know, however, is that their history dates all the way back to their days in Florida Championship Wrestling. There, they collided on many occasions, but perhaps their most memorable match against each other took place on September 18, 2011 where the FCW 15 Championship was on the line. For those unfamiliar, the title was contested in 15-minute Iron Man matches, which is actually a pretty cool concept, and Rollins was definitely the perfect person to be in possession of it at the time. Interestingly enough, instead of a traditional title belt, the championship was represented by a medal. Maybe they couldn't afford a title belt and had to settle for that?
As you could probably imagine, their chemistry was excellent even back then, so this was an incredibly fun match from start to finish. I'm typically not a fan of Iron Man matches rushing falls within a short span of time, but they managed to make it work here and keep things interesting throughout. The layout was brilliant with Ambrose getting the upper hand early on and staying one fall ahead of Rollins for most of the matchup. Rollins had to rally back and was only able to do so in the final few minutes.
The closing stretch of any Iron Man match is exciting but this was especially exhilarating because of how hot the crowd was for Rollins. Rollins tied it up but couldn't score that deciding fall before the clock expired. It really looked like he would win it when there seconds left in the bout, but I liked that they swerved the fans by having it end in a draw instead. That wasn't it, though. Maxine, who apparently was the general manager of FCW at the time and was watching the championship clash from afar, announced that this would go to a sudden death to ensure there would be a victor.
Although the extension of the match didn't last long, it was fantastic. You could feel the sense of urgency from both men and Ambrose came extremely close to capturing the championship. Ultimately, Rollins beat Ambrose decisively to retain his title and put their rivalry to rest (temporarily, anyway). If you miss Ambrose and are looking for classic matches of his to re-watch, this one is for you.
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