Pop-Ed: The Seth Rollins Heel Turn

I’ve watched wrestling for the past 28 years and tonight might have been one of the first nights a heel turn actually made me turn wrestling off.

On Monday Night RAW, the WWE turned Shield member Seth Rollins heel.

The moment was meant to be a huge shock, a radical “didn’t see it coming moment” for WWE TV, one that’ll be replayed for years to come.

Yet, here I was, a diehard wrestling fan clicking on my DVR to watch 24, while Seth Rollins joined Triple H and Randy Orton as the new top heel stable in the WWE.

This was one of the biggest desperation moves, I’ve ever seen. It was done completely illogically, it was telegraphed from a mile away (anytime a guy has a chair and then stands behind everyone, guess what — HE’S GONNA USE IT) and frankly, I have zero confidence the WWE will do a convincing job of explaining to the “universe” why Seth Rollins turned heel.

From a logic standpoint (and I understand logic and wrestling don’t always jive) why the hell would you have a member of The Shield turn on his partners and align himself with guys he’s been in a blood feud with for months, the night AFTER the big blow-off to their feud? At Payback, one of the factions was to disband after the match. Wouldn’t have made sense to have Rollins turn in that match, break The Shield up (which was what happened on RAW anyway) and then have the opportunity on Monday Night RAW to explain his actions? Frankly, wouldn’t it have created a huge buzz for the PPV to have Rollins turn and then maybe people would want to go order or watch the replay?

No, instead, after months of ring wars, and with no explanation, Seth Rollins is a corporate heel and another pawn in Triple-H’s power trip.

Why was it a desperate move? Well, think about it — who the hell are any of the top guys in WWE right now? John Cena and Randy Orton are completely stale. Daniel Bryan is out with injury for who knows how long. Brock Lesnar, he’s back on the farm till he wants another payday. The Undertaker is done. Batista is off to promote a movie. CM Punk…IS NEVER COMING BACK. Bray Wyatt just got jobbed out and needs time to regain his heat. The Cesaro experiment is going terribly. RVD’s comeback has been lackluster at best. Dolph Ziggler? The Miz? Bad News Barrett? Sheamus? Big Show? Don’t insult your own intelligence.

From an in-ring standpoint Seth Rollins versus his fellow Shield members will be awesome. Hell, Seth Rollins versus my laundry would be amazing. I can’t say it enough…Seth Rollins is an amazing wrestler. But from a logic standpoint and a narrative standpoint — it’s a disaster.

The other thing the WWE has to (and probably hasn’t) considered is that they have to go all in on Seth Rollins as a heel. He has to become a main event guy. He has to become a star. He has to win the title. They have to get behind him now because they have put their stamp on this guy as the next big thing…something they quite frankly don’t have. They cannot make him a lackey to Triple H and Randy Orton. In fact, those two almost have to become beholden to Rollins. He needs to be seen as a legit star now and legitimizing Rollins only makes Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose legitimized as well.

But I have no faith they’ll actually do this.

“So let’s see… Shield utterly dominates Evolution two major events in a row, so let’s just have Rollins change sides. Sure, that works.”

That is what I said in my RAWrecap. The question is, does that really work?

Perhaps in the long run, it might. But to do this, right here right now, without any plausible rationale? Sure, on SmackDown or next week on RAW we can get the “Why Seth, why?” explanation, which in all likelihood will be the same sort of shpiel we have heard before. Seth will say for months he has been doing all the work, keeping Reigns and Ambrose on the same page whenever there was trouble. He was the “architect” or the “glue” which held the team together. Seth had teased leaving a few months ago during some signs of dissension, but the Shield bounced back and pretty much destroyed Evolution. So, that whole potential tirade goes out the window.

This has been bothering me, why not Roman Reigns? His beating via Kendo sticks at the PPV could have been some sort of initiation into Evolution. He is the guy people have been talking about the most. With Batista gone, he would have made for an easy substitution. That would have been the big surprise. For Reigns to turn and the fans would have hated it. It would have made for a bigger and more importantly, and immediate impact on the WWE playing field.

Ambrose would have been the “seen that one coming” heel turn. It was thought for months he was going to be the one to break The Shield because of his instability and sinister personality. The guy can be a loon and he is great on the mic, but having him do the dirty deed would have been felt as predictable.

There is no doubt at all, Seth Rollins can have a match with anybody. Put him in with Kane. Daniel Bryan. Wade Barrett. Sheamus. An inflatable doll.

Seth has the talent to be a top tier star. With WWE choosing to put Rollins alongside Triple H and Randy Orton instantly makes him a top heel. However, this does not mean he is part of Evolution, or The Authority, for all we know, he could have just been “bought” to turn on the Shield and go off on his own.

The truth is, with Daniel Bryan injured, CM Punk never coming back, John Cena staying away from the spotlight and Randy Orton twiddling his thumbs in a corner, there are no defined top stars right now. This is a good thing as it allows the fans to voice who they want in the top spot. The downside, is WWE does not always listen to the fans.

What happens next is a huge critical spotlight on WWE Creative and whether they either do the right thing and push Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns individually, or as history has shown, one or two of these guys will fade into obscurity and inevitably forgotten. With a heavy focus on Roman Reigns suddenly taken away, will he be no more than just another “big man” in WWE? Will Dean Ambrose be one of those guys confined to mid-card hell?

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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