I feel like we’ve been here before.
WWE reported today that former WWE Champion Seth Rollins sustained a leg injury on Raw this past Monday, during his encounter with the debuting Samoa Joe. In the segment on Raw, Triple H and Seth Rollins were set to collide, only for the 2-time NXT Champion, Samoa Joe, to make his surprise debut on the main roster, brutally attacking Rollins. During the fight, Rollins was put into the Coquina Clutch, botching the transition to the mat and re-injuring his torn ACL from the fall of 2015.
Whilst people were quick to call “kayfabe”, seeing how Samoa Joe himself reacted on Twitter, and the WWE’s own reactions via their social media, various journalists, including Dave “Things Are Happening” Meltzer and Ryan Satin, have all confirmed the injury to be legit. WWE’s official website announcement included the information that Rollins would be evaluated later in the week to get a recovery time-frame.
As many know, Rollins has been involved in a storyline with Triple H ever since September of last year, when H returned on Raw to cost Rollins the Universal Championship, aligning with Kevin Owens in the process. Ever since, Triple H has appeared on TV only once to further the story, a move that drew harsh criticisms from the fans as a result. The supposed culmination of this story was to be a match between the two at WrestleMania 33.
Before I give my take on the situation, let’s be clear; it is never necessary to injure a wrestler. Injuries suck, and can take years off of a career, depending on the severity. Rollins was gone for 7 months the last time he was injured, departing in October and returning in May the following year. The WWE even aired a special on the network, focusing on his recovery period.
Fans were behind Rollins more than ever, expecting a major face run upon his return. What we got instead was an extension on his heel turn, slowly becoming the face of Raw over the next few months. Few enjoyed this period of time, and even less have enjoyed his almost non-existent feud with Triple H following it. Suffice to say, the return and slow-turn of Seth Rollins was one of the biggest mistakes WWE made in 2016… and that says a lot, based on what happened last year.
Saying that, we appear to find ourselves in this situation again. Triple H vs Seth Rollins was slated for WrestleMania, giving fans a payoff that has been clamoured for for a long time. It’s safe to say that Rollins would face Samoa Joe at the next Raw pay-per-view, Fast Lane, and we would have seen a great match from those two on the road to WrestleMania. If Rollins is legitimately injured, especially in the same manner that he was last time, he will most likely miss WrestleMania all-together, and be out until the fall season.
Some are upset, and some definitely have good reason to be upset. However, I see it from a different position; maybe this is what Rollins needed. As bad as it might sound, Rollins is nowhere near the level that he was two years ago. Regardless of alignment, Rollins was the main event guy that starred on Raw for several months, as both the Money in the Bank holder, and World Heavyweight Champion afterwards. Even when he came back in 2016, he was getting major crowd reactions… but WWE didn’t decide to capitalise, and instead let him play the heel to the now-tweener Roman Reigns, to the disappointment of many.
Ever since his program with Reigns, Rollins had a major struggle in trying to get the crowd behind him. Feuding with, and then injuring, Finn Balor, then moving on to Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, all in an attempt to try and fill the space left behind by Balor, and then Triple H/Stephanie McMahon to close out 2016… it all fell apart for Rollins, slowly but surely.
This injury could be the blessing in disguise that Rollins, and WWE Creative, need in order to come back even better later on. And this might be a repetition of his injury in 2015, but after trying it once and failing, perhaps WWE have learned from their mistakes. Rollins could come back a legitimate babyface, with a crowd cheering for him like they did at Extreme Rules, and set Raw on fire as a result. However, a lot of factors play into this dream of mine.
Depending on when the aforementioned Finn Balor makes his return, and with the rumours of the main event scene shaping up to involve Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns once more, Rollins very well has the potential to get lost in the shuffle. One hopes that it doesn’t end up that way, of course… but knowing WWE, there’s always a chance for disappointment. In any event, get well soon Seth. We need you back on top ASAP.
What are your thoughts on Rollins’ injury? Comment below!