Bring Back the Architect

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.

  1. Little to no interferences from Kane and J&J during the match
  2. Just one interference - from Triple H/Stephanie at the very end of the match
Now, bear with me as I explain. I know many people here are increasingly tired of the HHH/McMahon Authority Era. I confess myself to be of similar mind. However, I think substituting the constant Kane/J&J interferences during the match for one from Triple H and Stephanie at the very end of the match would have been far better for Rollins in the long run.

As it stands, the Cruiserweight division and a Big Red Corporate Man have done more to save Rollins' title than Rollins has. Having them constantly interfere in this match only highlighted the fact that Rollins can't seem to do anything on his own. Taking them out of this match would have given Rollins more of a chance to shine. Have him hold his own but in danger of losing the title at which point he pushes the ref in front of him to get clobbered by Ambrose.

But then, Ambrose gains the upper hand and hits Dirty Deeds. He goes for the cover, first ref is down and a second ref rushes down. He begins the count - ONE, TWO, and Rollins kicks out right before the ref's hand slams down for the three. After some more competitive back and forth between the two with Rollins taking every attempted shortcut and bending of the rules he can, Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds again and covers Rollins for the ONE. TWO. THREE.


The crowd goes nuts, Ambrose holds that glorious title up high. But then, King of Kings hits and good ol' Haitch and Steph come out. They go over to talk to the refs and the announcement is made. Because Rollins pulled the ref in front of him, they (The Authority mandates this) say he should have been disqualified at that point and therefore, Ambrose wins by DQ but Rollins retains the title. This gives the ending sense. Of course The Authority would step in and pull a BS ruling to keep their boy as champ.

Now remember, Rollins didn't save his title. Daddy Haitch did. So rather than holding Rollins hand up high at the end, Haitch shakes his head and walks to the back right after the announcement is made without saying much to Rollins. No smirking out of Haitch - he's most certainly not proud of his boy who he's had to bail out yet again. Rollins, who's been smirking this whole time, knowing he gets to keep his title, his smirk begins to falter as he realizes he's in the doghouse with Triple H. The whole interaction shouldn't be more than a few seconds.

Cue Ambrose going nuts over being screwed over, and NOW call in Kane and J&J for the beatdown. Roman's music hits as he comes out to make the save, the pair steal the title and run off, etc. etc. Same ultimate outcome but a different way of getting there.

The next night on Raw would have flowed smoothly from there. We can continue teasing Triple H's frustrations with Rollins. You can still have that Rollins promo, Dean staying away with the title, Roman getting the beatdown, but at the end, have Rollins, without J&J and Kane, come in to interfere. The important thing is that, consistent with his promo, he comes out alone. Roman still manages to win, but Seth starts beating down on him. After all, Roman's been through three hard matches and Seth is fresher tonight. In Seth's mind, Roman's the guy who screwed him over by helping Ambrose, so he takes out his frustrations on Roman. Dean comes out for the save and despite having the title, Rollins still can't get a hold of it.


Dean gets away yet again, title in hand, and cue Triple H coming out apparently to see Rollins. He comes down the ramp but stops not too far in and just looks at Rollins. Again, just a look. A few seconds, that's all we need. Triple H stands there, contemplating his decisions, why he picked Rollins, while Rollins looks between Haitch and Ambrose. Raw then closes. Again, very similar to what actually happened, but with minor tweaks in how it occurs.

So what does Rollins gain from this fantasy re-booking?

First, he immediately has a long term booking plan. Teasing Triple H and Rollins at the end of the match, showcasing how Triple H needs to constantly bail out the champion he thought would carry his company, this gives Rollins a long term plan beyond the end of his title reign. This is especially important for Rollins because one Brock Lesnar will soon be returning, and at this point, we have no reason to not anticipate Lesnar getting the title back. Rollins' title run will most likely come to an end soon after Lesnar returns, so a Triple H feud that has been teased but not terribly heavily at this point could do wonders for giving his character direction post-title reign. Haitch's obvious love for one Kevin Owens will only add to the tension between Rollins and Haitch.

But most importantly, Rollins doesn't come off as much of a chump. He looks strong for most of the match but he tries to take a shortcut by pushing the ref to avoid getting hit. But Ambrose gets the pin and daddy Haitch ultimately has to bail him out. You can build the next few weeks as Rollins' arrogance getting in the way of his victories - he gets overly cocky despite the fact that he pretty much lost at Elimination Chamber. He takes unnecessary shortcuts despite having the skills to get the job done. The key here is that it is he making the mistakes - not him relying on 3 other individuals constantly at the helm to do the work for him. He tries to do the work and he is the one who fails.

Now this may not sound like much of a difference, but it sets him up as a potentially strong title holder but someone who by his own arrogance and his own underestimation of his competition fails to get the job done on his own. It gives him ownership over the direction of his character, which makes his eventual fall from grace of his own making. That way, going forward into a feud with HHH if that is indeed where they go with this, the focus is on the character of Seth Rollins, not on the many other players they've added into this storyline. From this, we can have the eventual return of the Architect, who by his own wits, commands and manipulates those around him to get what he wants. The Architect is the one who should be in control, not those around him. Rollins has lost that control and that's why he is no longer the Architect.

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.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.