I was gonna write up a post about Retroactive Reconstruction, part 8. It was gonna be a cute little piece about a deep cut within the roster. Y'all probably need a day to recover or so from what happened tonight.
Instead, I'm writing this, because I think that we all need it.
Monday's episode of RAW, and that incredible heel turn of the architect Seth Rollins, proves once again why we watch this sport.
Yes, I said sport.
Because in one swift moment, with one strike of a steel chair, we are reminded once again that as snarky and smarky as the internet age has made us all, this curious industry has an interesting way of hitting us right in the gut.
And then stabbing us in the back.
But you wanna know something? Something that, deep down, might hurt even though it leans towards the truth? I believe in this, even though it pains me to admit it.
Ready for it?
A heel turn for Seth Rollins makes perfect sense.
WAIT! Put down the torches and pitchforks, and for god's sake don't cry.
David Tennant is doing that aplenty for all of us. (via www.reactiongifs.us)
Please, I'm here to help. I'm a proudly minted smark just like the rest of you, and I marked out in horror just like everyone else that watched Seth Rollins turn his back on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns just so he could buddy up with Mr. Shovel Triple H and Mr. No-Personality Randy Orton, instead of his brothers.
But as the tears dry and our broken hearts are put back together (slowly and painfully), it needs to be said. The signs were there that this was coming, because now everything is thrown into disarray.
At the time, we all thought that this was a troubling moment that indicated the eventual ending of the Shield. Frustrated with the bickering between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins legit rage-quit during a match against the Wyatt Family. A match that the Wyatts won, by the way. We were all stunned, we were rightly pissed off, and agreed with the frustration that Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose felt towards their teammate for being so selfish. Then, during the summit of the Shield a few days later, after getting some tough love anger out…Seth asked them to reunite for the sake of the team. And they did. And we all wrote it off as natural frustration that stemmed from the Shield's inability to defeat the Wyatt Family.
…But what if Seth never really let go of that bitterness?
Think about it. For the longest time, we thought that Dean Ambrose was the leader of the Shield, because he was the talker. Then, after some time, we thought that it was Reigns, because he was such a tank. (This peaked, in my opinion, in the days after Survivor Series) Then, after the Shield Summit, there were people who thought that it was Seth. Then it bounced back to "Fuck it, they're united as equals."
But I think that Seth Rollins was always the real leader of the Shield. The real mastermind.
Why do I say that? Well, for one his nickname is "The Architect." Okay, not so great of a reason, but think about it from this angle. We often associate leaders as grandiose men or women that step out onto the frontline and through their actions trumpet a presence of power and control. That's the romantic image of a leader. It's the reason why we gravitated towards Dean Ambrose at first (because he had the mic), and then to Reigns (because he couldn't be stopped).
But sometimes the most powerful men are the ones that lurk in the shadows, the ones that put on a facade of deference, when in reality their actions subtly influence everything.
At the very least, this man would've approved of Rollins' actions last night. (via assets-s3.rollingstone.com)
Of course Rollins would know that Reigns and Ambrose needed some physical exertion to vent their frustration. He could take it. After all, they'd forget about later during a night of blackjack and reading Sun Tzu (or whatever it is you imagined the Shield to do together in their spare time). Meanwhile, he'd cling to that memory of them smacking him around and then getting over it immediately. As if he wasn't all that important.
Of course Rollins would know that a united Shield would be the better option against the Wyatt Family et al. The Wyatts are together through the hypnotic lead of Bray, thus there can be no doubt of their unity. Evolution is held together not because of their friendship (Orton, Bluetista and Triple H certainly weren't going together because they were buddy-buddy again, that's for sure) but because they were the establishment and the establishment can always put together a united front. It's simply a truth of human nature, if never really explainable. But the Shield only works when they are fighting as a cohesive unit.
Being the glue is an essential part of every team, no matter what the venue. But you know something else about being the glue? It's fucking hard work. And unless the glue-guy/girl is at least made to feel appreciated, then they start getting resentful.
My point is this: Seth Rollins the character appears to be a very coldly pragmatic individual. And very, very cynical. Why, after all, did the Shield turn place in the first place? Well, because Kane wanted to beat up an old man in Jerry Lawler. Even Rollins could see that that was garbage. The subsequent feud with Evolution was collateral, really.
And maybe Seth turned to see the Authority and realized: what's our endgame here? Even if we do beat down the establishment, are they really going anywhere? Are they really going to leave us be, because we swept them at Payback? No, they're just going to keep coming. They'll never stop coming. And they won't stop fighting us until they've crushed us.
Maybe, he thought to himself, it would be best to join now while the pain isn't too great.
And maybe one could see the point in his rationale. As a member of the Shield, he will always be out on the outskirts, fighting the establishment. But within the system…maybe he can get some glory after all, and be rightfully praised for his work.
Because, let's be honest here, when we talk about great moments within the Shield…who has quietly compiled a list of holy-shit moments larger than the rest of the trio?
In his mind, he looks at the Wyatts and Evolution and yes, even Dean and Roman, and probably thinks to himself "What the hell am I doing still part of a team? I think that I'm good enough to be the greatest man in this company. Fuck it, I should be THE guy."
I bet you he didn't take too kindly to all of the talk that his "friend" Roman Reigns received about being such a physical specimen.
I bet you he wasn't too happy when Bray Wyatt marveled at Roman Reigns' ability and physique, and privately thought "I should be the one that they all respect like that. I can do more than any of these guys."
Eventually, even though they thought that he was an essential part of the team, Seth Rollins must have taken a look at his lot in life, taken a look at the Shield around him, and come to that heartbreakingly ruthless decision.
"These guys are holding me back, and we can't keep doing this forever. It's time to look out for number one."
Cold. Pragmatic. Cynical. But totally within character for a man as technically oriented as "The Architect."
But where does that leave Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns?
Aside from being total bros, of course. (via media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com)
Remember how we all wondered just how the Shield individual members were gonna be after the inevitable breakup? What kind of catalyst would send them down their future roles as red-hot singles stars? They couldn't just randomly transition into new roles without a starting point; it'd look rushed, tinny, and silly.
This is that moment.
Dean Ambrose, in the eyes of the IWC, has always felt more like an unhinged heel than anything else. His promo skills are electric, his finisher is damn cool, and there's just something about him that works better as a heel than as a babyface. He's a little too anti and not enough hero. (At least in my opinion.) And though he's a goodie right now, you can tell that all it will take is, to quote a famous man...
"All it takes is one. bad. day. to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy…"
Let's just hope that he doesn't give himself some nasty scars. Hate to see that face cut up. (via static.comicvine.com)
Here's that bad day.
To Dean, nothing makes sense anymore. What he thought was right was wrong. Up is down, and truth is a lie. He'll snap. Completely, mouth-frothingly snap. He'll grab the mic, tear down Seth Rollins for being a traitor, rant and rave like a goddamned maniac, and you won't be able to keep your eyes off of the TV as he speaks. He'll hold the world in the palm of his hand. And then he'll disappear from sight for a short while, and then re-emerge, perhaps with another group of guys who are a little angry at how the world has wronged them…and they'll sow indiscriminate chaos. They're not Faces. They're not Heels. They're just burned. And the world will burn with them.
But first he'll have to abandon Roman Reigns.
I imagine in the last gasps of his sanity, Dean will have the decency to break it to Roman as gently as he can. He'll tell him that where he's about to go is a dark and a scary place, and that Roman is better "staying out of the dark." He'll tell him that he'll always cherish the memories he had with the big guy, and maybe for fun they'll reminisce about some of the Shield's greatest moments (to an audible pop from the crowd with each mention). They'll chuckle and smile a bit, and then become somber as Dean gives Roman a little salute (as one last reference to the paramilitary allusions the Shield have created with their gimmick), and then walks away. For some added production values, have this filmed in an alleyway where Dean can disappear into the shadows, perhaps smoking a cigarette as he does so that the last we see of him is the fading ember. And Roman Reigns will be alone.
And now we have the break we need.
For if it is true that Roman Reigns is considered by some to be the future of the company, then for starters I'm for it. He has the look. He has the moves that remind viewers of another powerful being that is feared by many but could be and eventually was loved by all. And on a personal note, I just think that he's cool.
That is so much more awesome looking than "You-Can't-C-Me-Cena" that I'm getting goosebumps. (via 3.bp.blogspot.com)
But for a short while, he'll drift. He will still be a "babyface," but essentially a babyface without a cause. He doesn't really know what it means yet to be a hero who can strike it out on his own, and (in kayfabe) might even begin to doubt his powers. Of course, he'll have these doubts while punching peoples' faces in and spearing their spines out, but doubts nonetheless. I imagine he'll adopt a gimmick similar to early-WCW Goldberg: a stoic, stone-cold silent badass that fights for an ostensible sense of good but doesn't have motive yet.
Because who can he turn to now? Seth Rollins has gone corporate, and Dean will be traipsing the dark like Roddy Rowdy Piper if even meaner. He'll need to be inspired again, by someone who has taken on the establishment by himself and hung on forever without refusing to quit, even as the odds were increasingly and hilariously stacked against him. But he persevered, and now he is in a position of leverage that the Authority cannot take away, because no one in the company can beat him. And Reigns will see that, and perhaps realize that he's not alone in his struggle after all.
For while the Shield may be broken, Justice can still prevail.
But can Roman Reigns strike out on his own, improve his promo work, and become a true face of the company?
Dear Cagesiders, there is only one word that can answer that question.
Oh, but in the meantime? I can't wait to see them get their hands on that traitor Rollins.
YOU GONNA TAP OUT, YOU SUNAVABITCH!!! (via www.wwehunks.com)
So it wasn't a Retroactive Reconstruction, and it was written on strung-out nerves and a broken heart. But I think that this move is the best thing for the long run, and now I know FOR SURE that I am renewing my subscription to the WWE Network. What do you guys think? Am I off the mark? Is this a good way to go? Have a better idea? Sound off in the comments below. I'll get back to RR later this week, but for now, I leave you with something I hope will make you chuckle, if only to take the pain away. Here's Dean Ambrose in an old Cesaro shirt.