Monday, July 8, 2019

A Compilation Of My Recent Thoughts On Seth Rollins' Main Events

Seth Rollins claims that WWE has the best pro-wrestling on the planet. This is, of course, a total lie since WWE is not pro-wrestling, but sports-entertainment. Therefore, you cannot have the best pro wrestling if you don't do pro wrestling, but I digress. In any event, I wanted to review the past year's worth of Seth Rollins' matches that I've seen... which isn't much.

So I've copied-and-pasted the relevant pieces of business to this here blog post and added some annotations in bold for current day thoughts. Should be a fun experiment:

May 7th, 2018 - WWE Backlash 2018
Intercontinental champion Seth Rollins defeated the Miz to retain the title and keep Miz on Smackdown for the foreseeable future because we really need that Miz vs. Bryan match down the line. Not much to say here; it was a nice little opener that had Seth ramming his knee into the ring post and the tail end of the match focused on the knee being in bad shape. Simple story, but it works and I enjoyed it. (Little did I know it at the time, but this would be the best match on the card by a considerable margin.)

(There was a Money In The Bank PPV that I didn't see where Seth Rollins defeated Elias to retain the IC title. Apparently, it's supposed to be a pretty good match.)

July 21, 2018 - WWE Extreme Rules 2018
And in the main event, the WWE Universe defeated the WWE in a 30-minute clusterfuck disguised as an Intercontinental championship title match between the champion Dolph Ziggler and the challenger Seth Rollins. So you have these two talented guys having (allegedly) awesome matches on RAW and people seem to like those matches a lot. So what does WWE do? They book these guys in another match... but this time, it's a THIRTY-MINUTE IRONMAN MATCH.

You know... I normally dislike the crowd in WWE these days. There used to be a time when that sort of crowd mentality was quite refreshing and provided entertainment for a match that wasn't doing its job. And then that became the norm and the crowd started to get annoying. So when I gave this match a bit of a snippet and heard the FIX THE CLOCK chants, I figured "Well, the crowd's being a bunch of assholes."

And well, that still holds true.

Here's the thing and something that dawned on me on the second viewing... it's an Ironman match; a match type that has two competitors wrestling for a set period of time and whoever scores the most falls wins the match at the end. It used to be sixty minutes before it got shortened to 30 minutes, but you want to know the one constant in an Ironman match? It's not one fall to a finish, it's going to run 30 minutes whether we have a fall scored or not, and nothing really matters until the tail end of the match where things might pick up for a bit.

Because of these variables, as a rule, Ironman matches suck and it takes two truly talented competitors to keep the audiences' interest for that period of time and make the match interesting... and even then, it's a tough sell, especially to someone like myself who could never get into Ironman matches or any of its other variations even when they were done very well because, again, it's just going through the motions until the end and that's when you have some semblance of drama involved.

Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler, as talented as they may be, simply weren't up to the task. And because the crowd knows that nothing's going to happen in this match until the last five to ten minutes of a match; because the crowd knows that Ironman matches tend to suck more often than not because it's two guys going through the motions until the very end, the crowd will eventually get bored unless you do something to keep them invested on an emotional level. And these guys simply couldn't get the job done.

(I'm not posting the entire spiel on this match; you'll just have to load up the original Extreme Rules 2018 musings in order to get the whole shebang or whatever.)

August 29, 2018 - WWE Summerslam 2018
Seth Rollins (accompanied by the return Dean Ambrose) defeated WWE Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Drew McIntyre) in the opening contest to win the title. Once again, fan favorite the CLOCK wasn't featured in this match and is presumably buried by management to prevent fans for cheering for someone they actually like. I'm hoping that with Rollins winning the title back, we can move on to something else, but I'm afraid this feud is going to continue another month or so. Yeah, it was a good match and all, but I've long since stopped caring and I'd like to see these guys do something else for a change.

October 8, 2018 - WCW Super Slowdown
The Shield defeated three jabronies who don't matter. Eh, a thing that happened.

There's a gap in PPVs because I didn't see either the Crown Royal or Survivor Series show and Seth Rollins' only involvement at the Hell In A Cell show was a run-in.

December 23rd, 2018 - WWE TLC 2018
Dean Ambrose defeated Intercontinental champion Seth Rollins to win the title in a super shitty grudge match. Remember when Seth turned on the Shield and they had all those goofy matches where Ambrose was jobbing to exploding televisions and ghostly holograms? Well, good news for Dean; it was a straight wrestling match with a somewhat clean finish. Unfortunately, this was also a shitty boring wrestling match that was so bad that even the crowd hated it and even chanted how boring this was. There's bad acting from Seth with bad dialogue and I'm just wondering how the fuck people write this shit and thought this was good. How this shit got a higher spot on the card than an excellent match for the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP... shit.

March 15th, 2019 - WWE Fastlane 2019
And in the main event, the Shield (comprising Seth Rollins, the soon to be departing Dean Ambrose, and the returning Roman Reigns) defeated the team of Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre in a six-man tag team match. It is the usual Shield match with the usual spots; the brawling on the outside, the triple power bomb, there's even a bit of profanity from Seth Rollins that gets bleeped. As for Roman, it looks like he hasn't lost a step, he looked perfectly fine, and the crowd was just lukewarm, not knowing whether to cheer him because he came back from this horrible real life disease or to boo him because it's fucking Roman Reigns. We'll see how this develops, I guess, but for now, this is a more that satisfying return for Roman.

April 27th, 2019 - RAMBLEMANIA 35
And so, in our opening contest, Seth Rollins defeated Red Belt holder Brock Lesnar after a swift kick in the junk and a couple curbstomps to win the prop in relatively quick fashion. I like this because it was nice and short... no need for extended periods of tiresome suplexes or kicking out of a billion finishers. Just a couple quick moves, an opportunity taken, a couple big moves, and a finish. That's it, that's all, Seth gets his big moment and the crowd is largely happy. And to anyone who says they should've had a longer match... FUCK YOU. THIS WAS PERFECT!

May 22nd, 2019 - WWE Money In The Bank 2019
Red Belt Champion Seth Rollins defeated AJ Styles to retain the title in what may very well the best match on the show. (There you go, kids. A good Seth Rollins match... so good that I have nothing to say about that match at all!)

(Also, did not watch WWE Blood Money III, which featured Seth vs. Baron Corbin.)

June 26th, 2019 - WWE Stomping Grounds
And in the main event, Red Belt holder Seth Rollins defeated Baron Corbin to retain the title. The only noteworthy thing about this match was during Baron Corbin's entrance where we cut to a shot of the crowd that presents us with the lovely image above before cutting back to Baron Corbin... because see, it's a family friendly show and those sorts of crude gestures are no longer appropriate or something. But, hey, somebody seems to dig the Corbin heel shtick... sadly, that somebody is not me... regardless, I shall push on.

And then Lacey Evans comes out and she's apparently the ref for this match... because Corbin was allowed to pick his own ref for some reason. Probably explained somewhere, but I honestly don't care.

So they have a match and it's boring. People don't care; they're chanting Daniel Bryan, they're chanting CM Punk, AEW, they pretend it's a John Cena match and offer dueling chants of "Let's Go Cena! CENA SUCKS!"  Nobody gives two fucks about this match. Then Seth powerbombs Corbin through a table and Lacey declares that there are no countouts... and then Corbin uses a chair, at which point Lacey declares that there are no DQs... and then Seth hits Corbin with a move and goes for the pin, but Lacey fakes a shoulder injury, slaps Seth, and punches him in the balls, prompting Becky to come out because she's Seth's girlfriend or something... and then I'm supposed to care about any of this why exactly?

So I guess this is supposed to set up a mixed tag match between two champions who are dating each against two supposed heels that we're supposed to hate, but really have no reason to care. And if this is main eventing the next show, then you know what? I'm fine with that. Makes me want to sleep in early.

And that's the brief recap... and so for the most part, Seth has put on some good matches this past year because Seth Rollins himself is a really talented performer and can manage some good stuff with the right people... but even he isn't talented enough to overcome some stupid booking decisions in terms of the matches. The recent match with Baron Corbin was a chore to sit through with a largely apathetic crowd entertaining themselves, which is similar to another match that Seth had with Dolph Ziggler just last year with the Ironman stipulation.

WWE doesn't have the best wrestling on the planet; it doesn't even have the best sports-entertainment on the planet... but what it does have is a really talented roster pool that could potential put on some good matches if they're allowed to do so. I'm not asking for a dissolving of the current PG product because a rating change isn't going to be an instant fix, but just give me a reason to care about any of the shit going on on screen to the point where I NEED to watch the current product on a regular basis to see where this goes. And this is where WWE falters considerably because nothing they do have any reason for me to care.

The best pro wrestling is not just about the technical; it's the psychology, the emotional investment, the journey. It is, essentially, a telling of the physical story between two competitors trying to emerge victorious. When you put on a match that takes the fan on a ride, elicits a reaction, and makes them want more, then that's a great match in my book. But if you don't have that... then you can't really call it the best wrestling on the planet, now can you?

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