Since Elimination Chamber, LadyBlack here has been contemplating many things, amongst them the Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins WWE WHC title match and its aftermath on Raw.
Now, those of you who frequent the Daily will know that I am an Ambrose mark. A huge one in fact. He's my personal favorite of The Shield boys.
And while a part of my will always have a ready growl for Traits, I have to admit Seth Rollins also played a huge part of my return to wrestling. The man can wrestle and was phenomenal to watch in the Shield. And while he broke my heart a year ago today, I appreciated what I anticipated to be an epic Architect character - cunning, smart, yet deliciously evil. Bends and breaks the rules to get ahead but can more than hold his own. The man you just want to hate.
After an incredible WrestleMania cash-in, I anticipated the man who single handedly destroyed the stable that brought me back into wrestling:
Not someone whose entire championship reign would be based on how many interferences he needed to keep the title:
(yes this is an awesome gif that we will continue to see around these parts for years to come but also is emblematic of a weak whiny Rollins whose entire championship has relied almost exclusively on interferences and being bailed out by others)
So going into the EC championship match, I wasn't quite sure what to anticipate. Architect Rollins works best against his ultimate advisory in Dean F****** Ambrose who I was ecstatic was back in the main event scene, so I was hopeful for a good match but not overly hopeful considering the past weeks' buildup.
Watching Elimination Chamber Live
I liked most of the match itself. Rollins and Ambrose have undeniable chemistry and while I didn't feel this was their greatest outing together, the match itself was decent. So for a good portion of the match, LadyB was happy.
But as the match went on, we were treated to interference after interference. It soon became clear that this was going to be another instance of Rollins needing 3 additional men to defend his championship. My mood began to sour.
And then Rollins pushed the ref in front of him to take the hit from Ambrose. And LadyB was happy again. Now that may sound odd, but here was Rollins doing the dirty work himself. This was the Architect bending the rules and doing what he had to do to keep his title. No running away and no relying on others to save his title for him. For the first time in a long time, Rollins saved his title himself.
But then the match ended, and oh how it ended. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds, pins Rollins for nearly a 10 count as a second ref runs in to make the count. We get the one, two, three and Ambrose wins the title. But then the original ref gets up and reverses the call, arguing that he was disqualifying Rollins for pushing him, meaning Ambrose wins but Rollins retains.
To me, this made no sense. How often, in the history of refs going down and other refs coming in to make the counts, does the first ref get up and reverse the call (and especially in favor of the person who knocked them down in the first place)? Not often as far as I could remember. The last second ref instance I could remember was Survivor Series where the call of the standing ref was honored.
And this was true for most of the knocked down ref situations I could remember. Last ref standing makes the final call. I was baffled. I couldn't understand it and even the subsequent Ambreigns love we got couldn't save the ending for me. It was completely nonsensical and basically gave Rollins the win on a complete whim. No cunning, no deliberate manipulation. A whim. Pure chance. I couldn't even.
And Then There Was Raw...
My head was still abuzz with these concerns as I settled in to watch Raw last night. I was curious to see how they would book Rollins given what we got last night. The opening promo was a pleasant surprise. Here was Rollins the Architect, frustrated at his loss of control in the situation, at his apparent inability to win anything on his own. He points out the ridiculousness of the situation - why should he need J&J and Kane to win? He was the Architect. The Future. He was Seth F****** Rollins. Unable to take it, he leaves angrily for the locker room.
Now, I was ecstatic! Here was Rollins voicing all of the concerns I had been raising! I was hopeful; we had finally gotten much needed character development from Seth Rollins. And then the ending happened.
Despite having explicitly stated that he didn't need anyone else to help him, at the end of the show, to prevent Roman Reigns from going to Money in the Bank, Rollins rounds up the gang yet again. Despite mere hours before decrying his dependence on others, here he was having them do what he apparently could not on his own. It was a complete 180 from the beginning of the show, and LadyBlack was left again to wonder what had just happened.
Let's (Re)Book, Shall We?
So let's get right down to it. Over the last day, I've had time to contemplate the title match, and I've found myself agreeing with the finish more and more. I think the ultimate outcome, Ambrose winning but getting screwed out of the title, was a good call. As much as I want an epic Ambrose title run, the build and constantly getting screwed over works perfectly for his character, especially if they want to keep him a face. And when he does take the title? It will be glorious.
But could this finish have been booked better for Rollins? That's what I'm going to suggest and all it takes is two simple tweaks.
- Little to no interferences from Kane and J&J during the match
- Just one interference - from Triple H/Stephanie at the very end of the match
What's Your Point, LadyBlack?
Now you may be wondering what the point of all of this is. Why re-book the stuff that just happened rather than trying to fantasy book say a run-up to SummerSlam for Rollins?
I'm not say this would have been the perfect booking for the match and aftermath especially since one well-booked match may not be enough to reverse months of bad booking, but for me, this fantasy re-booking brings up some of the issues WWE should focus on as they go forward in booking Rollins. Booking Rollins as utterly reliant on his lackeys makes no sense character-wise because of all people, Seth Rollins should know that you can never trust anyone completely. Weak whiny Rollins just isn't working and the Elimination Chamber match reflected that.
So what's my point in all this? It's simple - we need the Architect back.
So what do you think Cagesiders? Think this fantasy re-booking would have worked? Or does this newbie need to know her role and shut her mouth? Sound off in the comments as only you lovely Cagesiders can :)
Also, if you want a more retrospective look at this subject, I highly recommend Lordban's awesome write-up, One Year After the Shield: The Descent of Seth Rollins.