Say It Ain’t So, Seth Rollins’ Knee

A couple of days after using my first Raw review to largely discuss WWE’s main event picture, I was told the very biggest piece of the damned thing will cease to be a factor. Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins, he of eye-popping acrobatics and smarmy diatribes, apparently suffered tears of his ACL and MCL that will sideline him for six to nine monthsThis cruel twist of fate (Matt Hardy finisher reference!) robs WWE of one of its very best, effectively making it like he’s pregnant and can’t return until he births his immediately long-haired Iowan child.

You know the worst part of this whole thing is that it happened during one of the company’s European tour events at the hands of Kane, basically making the whole Demon Kane Vows To Destroy Seth Rollins storyline a stark reality. Then again, I haven’t actually seen the match that caused this injury. For all I know, the culprit was actually Corporate Kane, or the less-heralded Dentist Kane. Hell, someone could insist that this tragedy was caused by Kevin Nash Kane and I wouldn’t have a way of denying it!

All perplexing Kane-related speculation aside, I can’t help but wonder what losing Rollins means for WWE in the short and long term. With established top stars John Cena and Randy Orton out for a little while (presumably so that they can defend our country and deliver RKOs to people falling out of airplanes, respectively), this is not an opportune time for Rollins to go and let one of those four Kanes take him off our televisions. For the general state of things to keep from getting downright disappointing, WWE is going to have to broaden its horizons and allow fresh faces to enter the heavyweight fray.

Fortunately, every news item I’ve seen concerning this particular story is quick to mention that WWE has already come up with a plan. A tournament will be held during the Survivor Series pay-per-view to determine who will take hold of the company’s biggest prize now that Rollins has vacated his spot (again, because of Kane). As sad as I am to see Rollins out of action for a while, I must say that I’m thrilled at the theoretical opportunities his injury gives the creative team and, hopefully, the underrated wrestlers on the roster.

The title tournament itself will be a lot of fun to watch, but imagine if WWE lets several men in on the heavyweight scene in the weeks and months following it. There are all sorts of realistic (well, for wrestling) scenarios where multiple wrestlers could feel slighted by the results of Survivor Series and bully their way into title shots. Could this mean we actually see the title change hands on Raw at some point? Could the annoying and largely purposeless Sheamus see this as a moment of weakness in the division and try to cash in his Money in the Bank contract for a chance at reclaiming his relevance? There are limitless possibilities, but I don’t want to wildly speculate.

Wait, of course I want to wildly speculate! Here are a few scenarios running through my head as of this moment:

  • Shield Drama, version 1: Dean Ambrose makes his first heel turn, taking the title from Roman Reigns in vicious fashion either for himself or by allowing another man to get the win over the greased-up behemoth. Ambrose has been written in Reigns’ shadow for a while, and going this route would still allow for a plausible complete Shield reunion match at a big event once Rollins returns.
  • Shield Drama, version 2: Roman Reigns makes his first heel turn. Reigns hasn’t ever quite gotten the fan reaction WWE wants since going solo, so perhaps the writers will decide to do a solid about-face and have him use questionable tactics to take the title in a match against Ambrose. This seems like a pretty juicy direction to head in, as Ambrose honestly seems to go over better as a babyface anyway, and this could be a fantastic feud. Again, it would still permit Rollins to return and do the first legitimate Shield triple threat in a big spot.
  • There is always that glimmer of despair known as a Sheamus title run lurking in our nightmares. I doubt he gets placed in the actual tournament since he has the Money in the Bank contract anyway, but perhaps he will take advantage of the overly-fatigued new champion on November 22.
  • Other than Sheamus existing and being a big deal, another scenario I’m pretty sure I would hate is the championship belt heading to the waist of someone old and tired. I don’t want John Cena coming back early from hunting terrorists or whatever to claim victory, and I don’t want the Big Show or any of these fucking Kanes being involved at all.
  • What if the writers choose to bring in some serious new blood by using the tournament to announce the arrival of NXT champion Finn Balor? Balor is an exciting wrestler with a pretty cool witch doctor-looking gimmick, and he could truly inject new life into the main event picture. I’ll Apollo Crews in the same breath, as he’s an impressive athlete on a complete tear. Less exhilarating NXT options (for me, at least) include veteran indie wrestler Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin.
  • Should none of these suggestions come to pass, there are so many excellent and, in some cases, underutilized talents ready for the next step. Kevin Owens has been fantastic and already has the Intercontinental belt, Cesaro is about ready for a bigger push because he’s ridiculous, Neville can flip 412 times in the air before ever landing, and Big E is a gyrating monster.
  • Did anyone tell Daniel Bryan that his body works and that he can wrestle yet? What about Sami Zayn? What about Raven?

There are countless legitimately positive avenues that WWE creative could take with this vacated title slot, and I’m unprecedentedly geared up to see how the entire situation is addressed on Raw next Monday. Will there be qualifying matches for the Survivor Series tournament? Will Rollins’ absence be framed as an injury, or will kayfabe take things elsewhere? Will JBL pronounce Michael Cole’s name as ‘Michael’? Only time will tell.

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