First of all, that really sucks. Rollins might have been over-saturated on television, but he has been one of the most consistently entertaining aspects of the last two years. His matches have been excellent, his promo skills have improved immensely, and he carried that title as a good heel should.
Unfortunately for him and WWE as a whole, the entirety of their plans heading into WrestleMania 32 have seemingly blown up as soon as Rollins' knee did. He was their top heel in the company, and would undoubtedly have been a big part of everything leading up to that event, whether it was the long-awaited triple threat match between the Shield, or against Triple H.
Beyond the effect it has on Rollins, WWE now have to find a new champion. Maybe Roman Reigns was a lock to win the title at their anticipated Survivor Series clash, but what if he wasn't? And more than that, would Reigns winning the belt in a tournament have the same impact as defeating his treacherous former partner? I don't think so. Does that mean WWE are screwed?
Far from it, as from the ashes of disaster one can still stoke the embers of success.
WWE has done a terrible job booking big stars beyond the traditional pack of Rollins, Reigns, John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. At this moment in time, Reigns is the only one of those able to perform at Survivor Series, unless WWE begs Cena or Lesnar to appear on the show. So, WWE for the first time in a while has been unexpectedly backed into a corner that they had a big part in causing. Now is the time to be consumed by the pressure, or fight against it.
And maybe I'm being naïve, but I think WWE is going the come out swinging.
A multi-man tournament is the perfect opportunity for numerous stars to be born, and a champion to be crowned that will really capture the imagination. Say you start with 16 competitors, much like the Deadly Games back in 1998. Here are the sixteen I would preferably choose to compete from the available options:
Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, King Barrett, Mark Henry, The Miz, Neville, Roman Reigns, Ryback, Sheamus, Stardust and Tyler Breeze.
No Cena, no Orton, no Lesnar. You take a variety of veterans and hungry young stars and you have them fight for a golden opportunity they may never receive again. This has the chance to create new rivalries that could last until WrestleMania, or at least the Royal Rumble.
Have Tyler Breeze cheat to eliminate Dolph Ziggler for a massive rub, and then Ziggler could return the favor to get him eliminated. Why not have Mark Henry fall to Roman Reigns so he can conquer a giant obstacle in his way. Surprise us by having the Miz, Neville or Stardust go deep into the tournament. And with both the Intercontinental and United States Champion's involved, you can create feuds for them whoever ousts them. Nobody has to look weak that is important for the future, and that is exactly how it should be.
Then, you're down to the final four, and fans will actually be questioning who's going to win it all. Reigns should definitely be there because quite frankly he's earned that shot at the top. I'd also include Dean Ambrose for a potential Shield bust-up. The other two will be Cesaro and Big Show – a popular star who has been out of the main event scene long enough, and a giant veteran with something to prove.
While most would have Reigns and Ambrose as the final in this scenario, I'd actually have them meet in the semi-final, with Reigns coming out on top after a 20-minute classic. They shake hands, then comes the collision of the two Andre the Giant battle royal winners. The Swiss Superman overcomes Big Show, and leaves a mouth-watering final encounter.
You've already built up some superstars in the process, created some feuds, and established Cesaro as the main event star he deserves to be. From that moment on WWE creative can really make any decision that ends in a definitive winner, because they've already succeeded in the hard work.
Reigns can win cleanly and win the title he was already considered favorite to win after a strong match. Cesaro could overcome all odds and blow the roof off of the stadium. Ambrose could turn heel and cost Reigns the match. Either could turn heel and takes Seth Rollins' place in the Authority. Have Sheamus cash in Money in the Bank and start an immediate feud. It really doesn't matter.
What about Rollins himself? Frankly, if he can fully recover, this could end up being a positive outcome for him too. Fans were clearly becoming bored of his reign towards the end, with matches against Sting and Kane at the most recent PPVs not helpful to that. Now, he can return in 6-9 months as an established main event star, with an immediate claim to the WWE Championship. What's more, he can come back a babyface and launch a whole new chapter of his evolution.
I'll reiterate what I said at the beginning of this article – losing Seth Rollins sucks. It really hurts to think about it because he didn't deserve to go down like that. His title reign will now always be regarded as unfulfilled.
But, now WWE has a rare blank slate to create whatever they choose. Hopefully, they don't just smear crap onto it, as the potential is there to create a masterpiece. All I know is I'm looking forward to Survivor Series more than ever before, and I hope I can look back at it with fond memories, rather than as an error-strewn panic event that it could possibly prove to be.