Yesterday I dropped the first part of what ended up being a two part piece on Seth Rollins current character deficiencies in the WWE, and how they can be rectified. It was a story of that presented the karmic balance required for us to forgive a man that did the things Seth Rollins has as a character. He was every bit as bad, and is every bit as entitled as he claims Kevin Owens is, and it is making it hard to for some fans to fully embrace him as a hero. He does need to truly suffer in the way he made others suffer, and earn respect and forgiveness.
CLICK HERE to read the first part in case you missed it.
We rejoin Seth’s redemption saga at Roadblock, where he defeats Rusev after weeks of feuding to close out 2016. However, with Triple H’s Championship Death Penalty still hanging over his head, his New Year isn’t so Happy. In January, Seth strikes a deal with Stephanie and Triple H. Seth can be a part of the Royal Rumble as long as he enters number one. The Authority make Seth jump through hoops for weeks, but eventually acquiesce to his proposal. It turns out on Rumble night, that their acceptance of his terms were far more sinister than they seemed. Seth enters at number one. Dean Ambrose “randomly” drew number two, and out at number three is Roman Reigns. Seth is directly confronting his past right off the bat in this Royal Rumble match, and it isn’t pretty.
His former brothers double team him and let out a lot of unreleased animosity for Seth Rollins. It’s certainly an interesting way to start a Rumble. As the ring fills with more people, Dean and Roman’s attention is drawn away from Seth for a time. There are a couple instances where it looks like Dean and Roman could get eliminated, where Seth helps them avoid elimination. Each time Seth gives the former Shield member he saved a look as if to say “you beat the crap out of me, I helped save you now, can we call it even?”
At a certain point in the bout, The former Shield clean house, and Roman and Dean turn their attention back to Seth, who exclaims “Aw c’mon!” as the hounds stare him down. It is around that time that Brock Lesnar’s music hits, and he enters the ring, and takes down each guy, one by one as they try to fight him. That’s when we are treated to a little blast from the past, as Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins resemble The Shield of old as they surround The Beast, and take him down with an efficiently co-ordinated attack. They even hit him with a Triple Power Bomb for good measure.
Everything seems to be going well, when Triple H appears on the Tron and announces that there is now a bounty on Seth’s head. Whomever eliminates him from the Rumble will get a considerable cash bonus and a Championship match with their respective Brand’s Champion at the February PPV. “Happy Hunting!”
Seth battles valiantly, but is eventually eliminated by Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns (or maybe even Samoa Joe), who earn themselves a Championship match in the process. With that, Seth’s only chance at getting a title opportunity is dashed, but we are given the second Snapshot of his Odyssey. Him facing the hounds he turned on with nothing to hide behind, him making gestures in an attempt to bury the hatchet, their systematic attack on Lesnar will all be memorable moments in WWE’s history as well as distinctly memorable moments on Seth’s journey to becoming a true hero.
All this leads to Seth Rollins vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania. If Seth wins, his ability to wrestle for Championships is reinstated. If Triple H wins Seth’s indefinite ban becomes a permanent one. During the build, Triple H weaponizes NXT against Seth. He brings different guys like The Revival, The Authors Of Pain, SAnitY, “Cien” Almas, and more up for short stints to beat down Seth, showing him that he owns the future, and Seth isn’t it. We eventually get to Raw, two weeks before Seth battles Triple H. Seth requests time to go to the ring and speak, and it is there that he gives the speech that I’ve been waiting to hear.
Seth begins by saying he spent so much of this past year angry. Angry that he got hurt while living his dream. Angry that he came back and everything he left wasn’t there waiting for him, angry at the world for his misfortune. “The truth is, while I was injured, I looked back at everything I accomplished and felt nothing. Everything I accomplished was assisted. I was propped up by The Authority, and even though I had everything I dreamed of as a kid, I was never satisfied. I didn’t understand why I was never satisfied then, but it was because it was all unearned. I didn’t dream about one being picked by management to be the face of the WWE. I wanted to be the best and win the WWE World Championship. At some point I thought that those two things were the same, but they are not.”
“I hated Kevin Owens when Triple H handed him the belt last year, but now I understand that I was mad at myself. I was more like Kevin Owens than I’d ever be comfortable with admitting. He turned on his best friend Sami Zayn to get a Championship. I turned on my best friends to get the Championship. He struck up fake friendships with Chris Jericho to insulate him during his title run, I did the exact same thing with Kane and J&J. I was as big a scumbag as Kevin Owens, if not more.”
Seth finally acknowledging his past, and repudiating it goes a long way in his journey to being a hero. He’s never repented or atoned for his many atrocities, and he needs to in this moment. He then announces that he asked Dean Ambrose to come to the show, and even bought him a ticket. He requests that Dean and Roman join him in the ring, which they do, and for the first time since that fateful night in June of 2014, Seth apologizes for his actions.
“I spent years convincing myself it was the right thing to do. I was scared of you guys passing me by and making it to the top before me. I rationalized it in so many different ways. I told myself that you guys would have done the same if Triple H had offered you what he offered me. That we were all greedy and wanted to be the face of the WWE. But I’ve seen you guys go to war over the belt, and you guys have remained brothers. I threw that brotherhood away for what amounted to nothing.”
“Triple H used me and threw me away, and I should have known that was what would happen, but I was blinded by my desire to be champion and my greed. I could come up with a million excuses, but there really isn’t one. I destroyed The Shield and our brotherhood because I was a coward, and because I wanted to feel important. I did horrible things to both of you because I wanted to feel superior. I threw away everything for short run as Triple H’s guy. There’s nothing I can do or say to make what I did right, but I want you both to know, that from the bottom of my heart, I regret what I did every day, you guys are my brothers and I love you, and I am truly sorry for everything I’ve done.”
Dean and Roman just stand there looking at Seth, before turning to one another. That’s when Triple H’s music hits and he comes out and mocks Seth’s sentimental speech. He decides that Seth must be in too emotional a state to compete tonight, so he’ll give him the night off. He then levies a fine on Dean Ambrose for appearing on Raw despite being a Smackdown Superstar, and put Reigns in a handicap match for late. As security come to the ring to escort Ambrose out, Triple H barks “I wonder how long it will take Seth to apologize for this one?” Seth looks on angrily as Dean and Roman shoot both he and Hunter disapproving looks.
We then hit the final Raw before Wrestlemania. Triple H comes to the ring and it is surrounded by his NXT stars. He cuts a promo about how he made Seth Rollins, and Seth Rollins has foolishly decided to bite the hand that feeds him. Now he is going to make sure that everybody knows that Rollins is a nobody. That he would have been nobody if it weren’t for Triple H, and that he alone decides what the future of this company will be. Rollins interrupts and calls Triple H out as dying old man clinging desperately to his relevance. Triple H gets angry and tells Rollins that he is the be all and end all in the WWE. “All these guys in NXT know their place, and know that they are what I make them. I am the past, the present and I own the future!”
He challenges Rollins to come to the ring and fight. Rollins makes his way down the ramp, and as he approaches the ring, many NXT superstars look back at Triple H and walk out, having been disrespected by Triple H’s dismissive appraisal of their talents. Triple H is beside himself in anger. He yells for all those guys to come back and that they’d all be in bingo halls and high school gyms if it wasn’t for him (for effect, he will go to grab the biggest start on NXT as they are leaving, possibly a Nakamura or a Joe, who will then stare him down, as he backs off sheepishly for a cool little moment within the segment). The Revival are the only two that remain and they are dispatched of by Seth who then fights Triple H in a pull apart brawl 6 days before their big match.
Everything culminates at Wrestlemania. Seth Rollins vs. Triple H, with Seth’s ability to wrestle for Championships on the line. During the match Triple H tries every dirty trick, but Seth outfoxes him, showing off the intellect that made him the Architect of The Shield. When it seems that he’s got the upper hand, Triple H has a couple of cronies from NXT, let’s say it’s The Revival, come out to get the 3 on 1 advantage on Seth. That’s when Roman and Dean hit the ring and take care of The Revival. They lay both Dash and Dawson out and then stare down Triple H as he cowers in the corner.
In the opposite corner ,Seth Rollins struggles to his feet and looks at his former brothers. They hold out their fists and Seth joins them, hitting us with the old Shield salute. In this moment, he achieves the redemption he sought. The men he did the dirtiest have found it in their hearts to forgive him. The Shield isn’t reunited, but the bond these men once shared is clearly on the mend. Roman and Dean mouth to Seth “take care of your business” before they exit the ring without laying a finger on Triple H. He’s all Seth’s, and they simply made sure the odds were even. Seth and Hunter go for a few minutes more before Seth vanquishes Triple H with a Pedigree, and with that, his redemption saga concludes.
Seth stands in the ring at Wrestlemania, and for the first time can say he accomplished something real. He vanquished his demons, he defeated his Palpatine, and he made amends with those he most wronged. This journey wasn’t about petty jealousy and revenge. This was about Seth Rollins atoning for his past sins, and redeeming himself so that he could become our hero. These are the kinds of stories missing in the WWE right now, but they have all the ingredients necessary to make us feel something powerful and real.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Should Triple H and Seth Rollins’ rivalry culminate at Wrestlemania? Would Seth having a segment where he really took inventory of his career and apologized to his brothers in The Shield about his selfishness work? Would there be a better start to a Royal Rumble than having all three Shield guys in there right off the bat? Can anybody say Shield vs. The Club: One Night Only after this?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Go Spurs Go! Have a great week everybody!