Estimates are suggesting Seth Rollins will be out of commission for up to eight weeks, which is putting his spot at WrestleMania in serious jeopardy for the second year in a row. After missing WrestleMania 32, Rollins was almost guaranteed to be clashing with Triple H on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Now, with this latest injury setback, we get together to react to this major news and discuss what the repercussions will be on the Road to WrestleMania.
1. What was your initial reaction to the injury news, and does part of you still believe it could be a work?
WIGGINS: I was completely shocked to hear that Seth Rollins had suffered a recurrence of his knee injury during RAW’s main event segment. Honestly, I had lost a lot of faith in the strength of his feud with Triple H until the Royal Rumble weekend, his unforeseen appearance at NXT Takeover: San Antonio the most invested I have been in Rollins for a long time. To suffer this injury just when he was discovering some fire as a babyface is absolutely devastating.
I will also add that I would be extremely surprised if it was a work after all of these reports, but I won’t rule it out entirely. Imagine how huge a reaction it would be at Fast Lane if Triple H and Samoa Joe are gloating in the ring and Seth Rollins leaps in and clears them out? That would make up for every missed booking opportunity during this lukewarm feud.
CHAFFIOTTE: I did cry work immediately after it happened, partially out of wishful thinking, partially because I feel we as fans sometimes have a tendency to jump to conclusions and decide they’re facts. Sasha Banks’ back injury is a good example, and Seth falls into a similar category in terms of the riskier style of wrestling. It also strikes me as very convenient to the storyline, but no, I don’t think it’s a work still, I think it just is luck. Obviously, bad luck for Rollins, but at the same time, it doesn’t implode his storyline, rather I think it actually benefits it, though we all wish it had happened another way.
Seth’s one of my favorites, and it’s really hard to watch him get put back on the shelf. Needless to say I’ve been following the news of it since the first few reports of a reinjury. His comments on Twitter were especially heartbreaking, but I give the guy props for taking time in the middle of what essentially amounted to a digital promo to break kayfabe and let us know that it was real. I’ve noticed a trend recently of WWE playing fast and loose with telling us when injuries are worked, and there’s nothing I hate more. We care about these people, we acknowledge that they’re putting their bodies on the line for the sake of our entertainment, and we want to know if they’re okay. I don’t see Seth taking advantage of that. If he says it’s real, I believe him.
GUEST: My first reaction to the news was to assume it was a work and with the fact they announced he’ll miss this week’s live events makes me think that even more. They never say this about anyone else’s injury so why say it now? It also makes me think that it might only be a short term injury. I guess we can only hope. Samoa Joe tweeting about it also makes me think that it’s either a work or short term, but if I had to guess which it was, I’d say it’s a genuine injury, but he’ll be back after Fastlane.
2. After another untimely injury, does Seth Rollins' status as a main event star now come under scrutiny?
WIGGINS: I can’t say it’s a positive. Let’s face it, justified or not, Seth Rollins has suffered significant criticism of his main event status for a number of reasons. First, it was his reputation for injuring other superstars, brought to the forefront by Bret Hart after matches with Rollins resulted in injuries to John Cena and Finn Balor, as well as the retirement of Sting. Now, it is Rollins’ own injuries that put him under the spotlight, as a star of his magnitude can’t afford to miss two consecutive WrestleManias, especially if he is set to be involved in high-profile matches.
Beyond this, Seth Rollins has utterly floundered as a babyface in my opinion, due to a mixture of poor booking, terrible motivation and massive overexposure on the RAW brand. Rollins’ moveset lends itself to being a babyface, his attitude lends more toward a heel. If Rollins does end up missing another WrestleMania through this injury, it might be time for both him and those backstage to reflect on his future. I really want him to succeed after carrying WWE through a rocky 2015, but they need to make more effective plans for the Architect going forward.
CHAFFIOTTE: Some might say he’ll lose momentum, but frankly, you can’t lose what you never had. Yes, his work last Monday was incredible, but that was the first time in months that he’s shown us that side of Seth Rollins. It’s not entirely his fault, it was the dumbest booking decision to bring him back as a heel, and this cat-mouse game between him and Triple H (up until this past week) could not have been more poorly handled. But the reality is, Seth Rollins is the type of competitor who puts out what he’s getting back. Call him a bit of a diva (I do) but he needs to be creatively satisfied to be at the top of his game, and until Takeover, this wasn’t his best work. This injury, though untimely, might give him an opportunity to come back as a face, jump right into his feud with Triple H and Samoa Joe, and push this to where it should be.
Now as for his general future, no I don’t think it affect his ability to hold down his main event spot. Either you want indie stars like Seth Rollins in the WWE or you don’t, and if you do, you have to accept that they’ve got a lot more wear and tear from doing this for the past decade. WWE just can’t have it both ways, so push them to the moon while you have them. I don’t know if he’ll continue to have knee issues the rest of his career, or if they’ll end it early, but if he feels he can go, let the man go. Sure, there’s always going to be talk about his wrestling style being reckless, and maybe he’d be wise to tone it down, stop doing Pedigrees, and go easy on his knees. But do you really think he’s going to do that? Not a chance. I say give him all the tools he needs upon his return, and let him do all he can as a main eventer while it’s still his choice.
GUEST: I don’t think so. WWE are very high on Seth and have had him in the main event for so long now that I don’t think another injury is going to change that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on to face Triple H and maybe even get the Universal title this year or next. Despite this, I think some time out of the main event could benefit Rollins. He hasn’t done much to secure himself as a babyface yet and a few months in the midcard could help him establish a babyface character.
3. If Seth Rollins is ruled out of WrestleMania 33, what should the plans for Triple H/Samoa Joe be instead?
WIGGINS: Honestly, I don’t know what the fixation is on Triple H needing to be on the WrestleMania card if Seth Rollins is ruled out. That is the story here, and placing something in its place seems more than a little forced. If the Game does feel the need to insert his presence on a card that will already feature The Undertaker, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar and John Cena, then it should be Sami Zayn. Zayn has been putting on great performances the past year and deserves a real match on the main WrestleMania card, not to be relegated to the kickoff show or a battle royal which seems to be his trajectory right now. After his frosty encounters with Stephanie McMahon recently, it makes the most logical sense.
As for Samoa Joe, even if Seth Rollins is fit to compete I would have no idea where Joe fits in. I thought Joe would defeat Rollins at Fast Lane in the lead-up to WrestleMania, but beyond that I haven’t got a clue who he will face on the Grandest Stage. The most logical fits would be a returning Finn Balor (which we’ve seen many times before and would result in Balor getting the win) or Sami Zayn, if Zayn is able to capture the United States Championship from Chris Jericho. In the end, I think Samoa Joe’s move to RAW is another instance of making a big moment without any plans for what he would do beyond that.
CHAFFIOTTE: Right now reports are saying that worst-case-scenario it might be a torn MCL which would have him out for eight weeks. That’s pretty okay compared to the outlook of the original injury. It also strikes me that if he was definitely out for WrestleMania, they’d have just come out and say it, and so they may be exploring non-surgical options first. The problem is, even if it is only eight weeks, it would make it nearly impossible for WWE to build to Mania with him. Instead, I see them taking their time to see how it pans out and keeping him on the periphery while they build to a different match. In this scenario, why not move Finn Balor over to feud with Joe. After all, wasn’t it him who was supposed to be the next Seth Rollins, and wouldn’t he take issue with the idea that Triple H created him? Plus their friendship is well documented, he sent Seth a get well soon card that’s all sorts of adorable, and it’s unclear where he was planned for prior to his own injury.
Triple H was training to wrestle at WrestleMania, and while it seems like a shame to throw out that hard work, I say just table it. He should be consumed by this feud with Seth, who can make an appearance or two during his recovery to remind everyone that he’s still really mad about it. Having Triple H fight literally anyone else will only serve to decrease the value of Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, which is already having problems with its stock. Have him continue to prepare to get back in the ring, but in a few months, maybe at SummerSlam, or even at a smaller pay-per-view to get eyeballs on Payback or Battleground.
If Seth is cleared for Mania, let him jump over the barricade during Finn’s match and stop Samoa Joe from reinjuring Finn the way he reinjured Seth. If he’s not, let him watch sadly as Finn gets handed his first major pay-per-view loss. Either way, if he’s not out for another 6 months, there’s no reason why his story needs to stop dead in its tracks or why Joe and Hunter shouldn't just move on to the next thing. I’d never call this a blessing in disguise, but maybe they can make it work.
GUEST: For me Samoa Joe won’t be involved with Rollins at WrestleMania anyway and I would love to see him face Finn Balor as I don’t think either guy will have anything better going for them at that time. As for Triple H, the only match I’ve wanted to see from him for the last few years has been either Seth Rollins or Shane McMahon so… I guess Shane? I’m not a huge fan of having those to in a match but the SmackDown vs Raw element will be great and having two big names like that always seems to end up on the card and this one at least makes sense.