My favorite band is Pearl Jam. They released a song called “Smile” in late 1996. The main part of the chorus is “I miss you already.” I have a long personal history with this song and it has meant many different things to me over the years. Well, now it’s how I’m feeling about the impending 6-9 month absence of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.
We haven’t even had a Raw without him yet, but the lack of his presence already weighs on me as a wrestling fan. I can’t imagine what it will feel like when it truly sinks in tonight that he won’t be showing up. I’m sure I’m not the only one. There are a variety of reasons I’ll miss Seth Rollins, some of them superficial, some more significant.
First, I’ll miss the blaring drums of his entrance music. I’ll miss his swagger down the ramp, his arrogant smile and his smug laugh. I’ll miss his ridiculous bragging and trash talk and the way he can turn any crowd against him. I’ll miss him mentioning every week that he was the first person to ever cash in during the main event of WrestleMania. I’ll even miss seeing that blonde streak grow out just a little more as each week goes by.
Some of my favorite things over the past year are any time Seth is transparently kissing up to a member of The Authority that he has recently disparaged. Or when his opponent has him in a precarious position and he says something along the lines of, “Let’s talk about this!” Or any time his foe is about to confront him and he ends up out in the crowd, escaping conflict for another day. I admit, at times it makes him look weak, but I can’t help it, he’s just so entertaining.
It might not be as fun to watch if he wasn’t such an incredible performer in the ring. Once the bell rings there is truly no one better. He is a great front runner, a wonderful heel trait. He can be absolutely dominant, handing out vicious beatings. When he’s having his way he hits tremendous, athletic high spots to accent his advanced technical ability.
When he’s on the wrong side though, he cowers and begs. He will escape the ring at any opportunity. He will attempt to jump the barrier and run through the crowd. He will go so far as to just pick up his title and simply try to walk away from the fight. He never makes it out, but it’s all part of selling his character as a coward who is capable of greatness, but doesn’t always want to deal with adversity.
I’ve been on record as saying Sasha Banks is my favorite thing in wrestling right now. With her taking a bit of a backseat on Raw lately, the brilliance of Seth Rollins has been able to help fill that void. I’m such a big fan of Seth that I actually cut my Performance Center promo on him. Some people think he’s been overexposed by being featured so heavily on Raw every week. I couldn’t disagree more. He’s been one of the very few performers to keep the show watchable.
All of us, everyone that watches WWE has something negative to say about the writing on Raw. It’s consistently subpar. Sometimes a performer can be so good that it actually distracts from the poor writing. Sort of like Matthew McConaughey in the first season of True Detective. It was hailed as a brilliant work, but it was really just a basic crime drama with villains out of any backwoods horror movie.
Those two performers were so great that the writing seemed better than it was. Seth Rollins is doing the same thing, doing most of the heavy lifting on a poorly produced show. WWE creative will have their work cut out for them now, as they’ll have to find a way to fill out those three hours without their most valuable performer.
Perhaps what is most disappointing is that it pushes back Seth’s feud with Roman Reigns once again. His dealings with Dean Ambrose were electric as the two of them brought the best out of each other. We all know Roman is going to be sitting at the top eventually and it would have been incredible to see what he and Seth could have done together.
Arguably the highlight of the past year of WWE was when Seth Rollins’ music hit during the Lesnar-Reigns match at WrestleMania. The tide had turned and almost everyone was worried that Vince McMahon was going through with his plans to put the belt on Roman. Then Seth cashed in, hit the now-defunct Curb Stomp on Reigns and perched atop the ramp holding the title over his head.
I viewed it as the dawning of a new era. An era where the stars of tomorrow become the stars of today. While many on the roster have experienced ups and downs since that night, including Rollins, he really has held up his end of the bargain. He’s carried the load on Raw. He’s performed on every house show. He’s brought the best out of every opponent on every PPV.
And now the show goes on without him. The title he’s held so proudly has been vacated and will be placed on someone else. He’ll miss Survivor Series. He’ll miss the Royal Rumble. He’ll even most likely miss WrestleMania. It will feel somewhat empty without him.
He’s been a great heel and a great champion and a great heel champion. We all lose by missing the opportunity to see him get what was finally supposed to be coming to him. As fun and exciting as this tournament could be, the victory will feel a bit hollow for not having gone through the rightful champion.
Hopefully in Seth’s absence, some important changes can be made. I hope when he comes back he has his own finisher, a finisher that fits with his specific move set, possibly the Phoenix Splash. I hope his abruptly ended title reign is acknowledged and respected. I also hope he comes back to Raw and actually wins more often than he loses.
Seth, Raw won’t be the same without you. Survivor Series won’t be the same without you. WWE won’t be the same without you. It’s going to be a long 9 months without you, but I can’t wait until the night you come back to a hero’s welcome. I wish you the best in your recovery and I eagerly await your return. Again, there hasn’t even been a missed TV appearance yet and Seth Rollins, I miss you already.