The chairshot heard round the world has just stopped ringing in our ears, meaning that Seth Rollins betrayal of teammates Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns is only starting to establish itself in pro wrestling lore.
Of the many WWE Legends and prominent industry figures who have commented on the angle, a couple of noteworthy names seem dubious about the turn. In the hours after Raw went off the air, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Jim Ross both took to the internet to offer some thoughts.
The Texas Rattlesnake, who offered a comment via his Twitter account, seems to indicate what we saw on Monday night wasn't conclusive:
Now, to me, there really isn't much "perhaps" about it. Sneak attacking your partners, handing the weapon to an old enemy so he could beat them down more after they'd fallen and buddying up with the leader of the opposite faction is pretty conclusive. The only "cliffhanger" is Rollins' explanation and Ambrose & Reigns' response.
Too many Steveweisers? The difficult nature of communicating your thoughts within a 140 character limit?
Or does Austin think that there's more to the story than simple backstabbing? While millions of heartbroken fans are probably keeping a sliver of hope alive that this is an intricate plan to infiltrate Evolution and gain an advantage for The Hounds of Justice, I seriously doubt that Creative will go back to that well just a few months after Daniel Bryan pulled it on Bray Wyatt.
RAW was an o.k. show with a hot ending. Therefore the thing that most people will take away from the broadcast was Seth Rollins turning his back on Ambrose and Reigns and apparently aligning himself with HHH and Randy Orton.
Or did he?
I always thought that Dean Ambrose was the natural heel of the Shield but I've got no issues with Seth Rollins doing the dirty deed even though in a perfect world I would have preferred that the Shield stay together a little longer. Apparently, WWE felt compelled to re-shuffle the deck which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'd assume that several dominoes will fall as time moves forward and the company prepares for a major push to Summer Slam. In other words, I'd assume that multiple cards are up in the air and won't land on the table until August.
The concern here seems to be more along the lines of what's been discussed elsewhere on this site, that if The Shield had a natural heel, it was Dean.
But he also is careful to not assume that what we saw on USA Network was the whole story. Could the remaining dominoes that Ross sees falling by SummerSlam include a reunited Shield threesome, or a scenario where Ambrose ends up a bad guy - with or without Seth? In or out of Evolution?
The initial greatness of this angle was the emotion and surprise, but going forward, it will be judged on what it does to keep up the intrigue and to maximize possibilities. Here's a couple of guys with a lot of years in the game - many of them dealing with WWE Creative - who aren't even sure that what looked black & white on Monday night should be taken at face value.
What do you think, Cagesiders?