I don’t mean to pile on Seth Rollins. Really, I don’t. He seems like a decent guy, and can be really fun when he’s hanging with Austin Creed & the UpUpDownDown crew or tweeting about football.
But he continues to be really bad at being the top guy in the biggest wrestling company on the planet. And as someone whose job it is to write about that company and business, it’s kind of hard to avoid talking about Seth and his struggles in that job. Especially when he and WWE keep offering us new examples of him being bad at it.
The latest example comes via Corey Graves’ new WWE podcast, After The Bell. To promote the new show, they released the clip embedded above, where Graves asks Rollins about being a target of a “vocal minority” of fans and the “controversial” end of his match with Bray Wyatt at the last PPV.
Seth gets all the way to a second sentence before labeling people who weren’t satisfied with the match and/or the story it told as whiners:
“It’s kind of one of these things that, you know, where does it go, what’s the answer, why, why? But it’s sort of like if people don’t get what they want they whine about it on Twitter, right? That’s kind of what happens nowadays. And that happens with everything, it’s not just our industry, but if you do something and it strikes a cord then it’s almost like you’re doing the right thing. I don’t even know anymore. It’s a weird industry, dude. It’s 2019 and I don’t know what wrestling looks like anymore, it’s a weird place, dude.”
Pro wrestling, and the world, in 2019 is a weird place we’re all trying to figure out how to navigate. That’s relatable. But especially when you’re trying to portray an everyman hero, pointing fingers at the audience is rarely a good idea. Even when Rollins makes a good point, he can’t resist blaming the fans:
“You could go back, shoot, six months, you could go back a year. A year ago from Hell in a Cell... I was everybody’s favorite. Those same people who are panning Hell in a Cell and talking about how Seth Rollins is not cool are the same people who were clamoring for me to be the guy to face Brock Lesnar going into WrestleMania, so I don’t know what changed... except for the fact that I became the person that they wanted me to be and then they hated me for it.
And so, it’s a very fickle audience, it is what it is. But to answer your question directly, it feels awful. It’s not a good feeling to go out there and put your body on the line. And not just at Hell in a Cell, but every single night for the past however many years that I’ve been doing it. I’ve gone out and compete at an extremely high level and dare I say I’m one of the very best at my job. And I do what I have to do when I have to do it. And look, it’s not always pretty. But you go out there and you do your job and you do it well and people don’t like it and they kinda forget that it is what it is. And so it hurts your feelings. You’re a human being and you work hard. It’s fine, it’s art, you can have your opinion it, but man, it’s a tough pill to swallow some times.”
That’s true! Fans of all forms of entertainment and people in general will often turn on the person once they’ve reached the top of the mountain. It’s not that that, or the expression of the pain rejection causes him, aren’t understandable positions. Only the most unreasonable critics wouldn’t agree that what Rollins and every WWE wrestler does is a grueling, difficult thing.
But reaching the top isn’t the only thing that changed. In the period between arenas screaming “BURN IT DOWN” and people bringing “Seth Rollins is not cool” signs to shows, Rollins also decided to become the defender of all things WWE. Whereas others in his position like John Cena, his friend Roman Reigns, and his fiancee Becky Lynch will acknowledge issues with the product or at least respect the audience’s opinion on them, Seth’s stance has been to call us “fickle”.
His company man pose has also led him into public disputes with other wrestlers like New Japan’s Will Ospreay. That beef is discussed on ATB, and Seth re-spins it as fans getting upset that he brought up being a bigger draw than the Brit. But that isn’t what he tweeted (he wanted to “compare bank accounts” with Ospreay). And here again, he plays the victim by saying no one else would have been attacked for bringing up money. Bragging about being rich is usually a heel trait, and gets people in and out of wrestling heat. But in Rollins view, he’s just being picked on again.
Graves brings up the statements he made about Kenny Omega and AEW which brought a response from Jim Ross, and there I agree with Seth. He borrows Becky’s line about being in the conflict business, and it is fun when there’s competition. Omega didn’t get nearly the heat Rollins did for similar comments, and that probably wasn’t fair.
But repeatedly bringing up how unfairly you’ve been treated isn’t cool. It comes with the job you say you’re better suited to handle than anyone else.
One thing not covered is Seth’s slam of Jon Moxley after the former Dean Ambrose’s tell all interviews. Rollins alleged Mox wasn’t “equipped to handle the rigors of the WWE”. Which is not only a comment which alienated a lot of fans, but is also pretty funny to think about in light of how Seth is constantly talking about being unappreciated or overly criticized. That’s one of the rigors of WWE, sir.
So, yeah. More of the same from The Beastslayer, which probably means you’ll come out of it thinking the same things about him and his ability to be WWE’s top guy that you did going into it.
You can give Seth’s latest interview a listen here.