Dean Ambrose walked out of Monday Night Raw in Detroit this week still the Intercontinental Champion after successfully defeating Apollo Crews in a title match.
Crews won a battle royal earlier in the evening for a shot at Ambrose, but came up short after the champ planted him with his Dirty Deeds finisher.
Ambrose's road to the Intercontinental Championship stretches all the way back to SummerSlam when he helped Seth Rollins win it back from Dolph Ziggler. Ambrose's return from injury quickly marked the return of The Shield with Ambrose, Rollins and Roman Reigns, but their unity quickly started to ware down as Ambrose became more and more frustrated with not having a championship while Reigns and Rollins both had titles. Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman pushed this further by trying to convince Ambrose to turn on his brothers before their big match at the Super Show-Down event, but Ambrose continued to refuse.
Finally in late October Reigns made the shocking announcement that he needed to step away from professional wrestling as he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Rollins and Ambrose honored Reigns by winning the Raw Tag Team Championships later in the evening, only for Ambrose to immediately turn heel on Rollins and brutally attack him. Ambrose's reasoning for why he did so were never made fully clear, though he did indicate that he felt guilty for everything The Shield had done in their initial run and that they all needed to pay for it (insinuating that was the reason why Reigns was diagnosed with cancer). The two finally faced off in a match at TLC, which Ambrose won after capitalzing on a mistake Rollins made and hitting him with his finisher.
Using Reigns' real-life battle with cancer as part of a wrestling storyline rubbed some of the WWE fans the wrong way, though Rollins did come out and defend the decision in an pseudo-kayfabe interview in mid-December.
"It sucked, especially for Shield fans, and it was an emotional roller coaster of a night, going from the announcement that Roman made earlier in the night, to me and Ambrose winning the Tag Team Titles later in the night by defeating Ziggler and McIntyre, and then Ambrose doing what he did," Rollins said in a radio interview. "It was a lot to take in, if you're a viewer and you're a fan, but you're never going to forget where you were that night, if you were watching on TV or if you were live, you're never going to forget that, and really that's what we do, is we create moments that you're going to remember for the rest of your life, good or bad."