Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
This story’s been building since last Summer, when Triple H switched allegiances away from one hand-picked “face of the company” to another in the wake of Finn Bálor. It’s fitting then that another injury’s left us with questions of how much of a match we’ll even get to blow off what was supposed to be an epic feud.
The Road to WrestleMania
At SummerSlam, Bálor defeated Seth Rollins to become WWE’s first Universal champion. In that match, however, the Irishman’s shoulder was torn apart when he was thrown onto a ringside barricade. He was forced to hand over the title.
Much to Seth’s chagrin, the powers-that-be (in this case, Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon) didn’t just hand the new belt to him. Rather, he had to compete for it. And when it came down to he and Kevin Owens, and Hunter appeared, the Architect thought this was just the latest phase of his coronation.
But, as Trips once famously told him, he always has a “Plan B”. And Rollins missing significant time with a knee injury, and acting like an entitled jerk before and after his absence, had led The Game to decide he needed a new plan.
Unfortunately, that real-life Executive Vice-President Paul Levesque can’t work a weekly schedule meant this program quickly lost - or never even really picked up - momentum. Seth didn’t mention it again for a while, and wasn’t convincing as a wronged hero while declaring he would take out Owens... and then mostly just feuding with KO’s buddy Chris Jericho, instead.
Finally, Rollins went to somewhere he knew he’d find The Game - at his beloved NXT. Crashing TakeOver: San Antonio really pushed the story forward, and the two came eye-to-eye again on Raw two days later. But what was meant to debut a new star and give Seth a bridge match to carry the story over to WrestleMania ended up being another real-life obstacle the story would have to work around.
The silver lining to Seth re-injuring his knee during that scene with Joe was it allowed him to look like a changed, humbled man in a way the story had failed to accomplish up to that point. Of course, that lining was on a rain cloud which called into question whether the Architect could or should be wrestling at ‘Mania.
Over the past month, Rollins has made some appearances on Monday nights to keep the feud in our mind, while WWE’s medical team warns us not to expect much. He appears able to work a little, and with a safe veteran like Triple H, he’ll likely be fine. The workaround the creative came up with was to have The Game make Seth sign a “hold harmless” agreement, swearing he won’t hold the company liable should Trips seriously or permanently injury him in Orlando on Sunday, April 2.
The “anything goes” stipulation also leaves the door open for Joe, who is not booked for The Ultimate Thrill Ride, to get involved. Speculation has also focused on the possibility Stephanie’s nemesis Sami Zayn, who is scheduled to participate in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the pre-show, could find his way into the mix here. Or even Bálor, who’s been medically cleared and working the house show circuit all month.
But if Finn does enter the fray, who would he side with? The father of NXT, a brand he was the star attraction of for most of his WWE career, or the man who injured him just a month into his main roster run?
What's at stake?
Seth’s injury kind of makes the answer to that “not much”. If he were at 100%, going over his mentor would be a major milestone in his career. Considering we’re not even sure if when he’ll resume a full-time schedule after this, WWE could cover either outcome.
The thing most fans are interested in here is what this means for a possible stable of Hunter guys. Joe and Owens have been loosely affiliated since “The Creator”, Triple H, introduced “The Destroyer” to take out Seth. Could that alliance become official here, or Monday night on Raw?
We here at Cageside Seats do not usually approve of unsanctioned matches - it's frankly barbaric. But we’ll cover it for you, dear reader, so if you can’t bear to watch, stick with us on Sunday night for the outcome of this one, and all the action at WrestleMania 33!
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