On Sunday 20th September, Seth Rollins defended both his US Title against John Cena and his WWE Heavyweight Championship against the legendary WCW icon Sting at Night of Champions.
Seth came out of the pay per view with one less belt than he entered when he relinquished his grip of the United States Championship to the previous holder of the title John Cena.
While Rollins eventually beat Sting to retain the grander prize, the reemergence of an ‘attitude’ era wrestler at the end of the match genuinely had me putting my head in my hands and laughing. There were witnesses to this who also shared a chuckle with me at what was happening.
Why was I laughing? Because in 2015, ‘Everyone’s favourite demon Kane’ (not his official title) came down to interfere with finale of the pay per view and denied Sheamus cashing in his Money in the bank contract to win the WWE title.
Okay so story progression wise, Kane is out for revenge against Seth, as Seth injured him a while back. It’s a standard revenge angle. But the worrying thing for WWE is that should Kane now be inserted in a revenge angle with Rollins which could potentially lead to a title shot at the next pay per view (Which is Hell in a cell conveniently, a match Kane has excelled in) It’d mean that Seth Rollins last 4 pay per view title defense’s have been against older generation stars. Perhaps a more blunt way to word it, Should Seth and Kane square off for the title at Hell in a cell it’d mean that Rollins last 4 defenses have been against wrestlers no younger than 38.
While 38 isn’t obscenely old, It’s still worrying that WWE aren’t confident or comfortable inserting a fresher face into the title picture again, and haven’t since the summer months.
It’s not all bad though. Brock Lesnar (38) had one of the most entertaining and dominant title runs in recent memory. And while 2 of his defenses were up against John Cena (one of those did feature Rollins too) He did also defend against Reigns at Wrestlemania and the mentioned triple threat at Royal Rumble with Cena and Rollins, so a few defends against fresh faces.
During Seth’s run as champion, Dean Ambrose did get a surprising summer push and had a few title attempts which was great to see. But it seemed that once Brock was back he was inserted straight back into the title hunt wiping out the work of Ambrose from the summer.
Once Lesnar was sidetracked with his Undertaker feud, Cena on the back of his stellar year of defending the US title was inserted into the WWE title picture and had the shot at SummerSlam.
We all know what happened next as Sting returned after SummerSlam to challenge Rollins to the title. Meanwhile Reigns, Ambrose, Bray & Harper (all talented guys that would be suitable with any belt run) were involved in some family feud which sells as if the Wyatt and Shield breakups came about far too early. Ziggler and Rusev have been involved in some soap opera love angle which had killed all momentum Rusev had which was enormous at the start of the year with his incredible Royal Rumble showing and US title run up to Wrestlemania.
It’s been refreshing seeing Kevin Owens hit the main roster and go straight for Cena. His win over Cena at a PPV was one of the moments of the year. But once Cena had buried Owens in the next 2 bouts Owens fell to mid card mediocrity. Granted he came back at Night of Champions to take the Intercontinental title which I think is a perfect decision. An incredible heel with great mic work. He should be able to sell feuds and rivalry all by himself now and hopefully bring relevance back to the title.
And with no faith in Cesaro apparently, our hopes of a new champion lie on Sheamus to eventually cash in. This for the record is not exciting. But with Kane interfering on Night of Champions and then dragging Rollins to hell on Raw the next night, it’s likely Kane will be the next challenger to the WWE title in October at Hell in a Cell which will be once again headlined by 2 part-time wrestlers in Brock and Undertaker. Which also means that Money in the Bank back in June was the last time a WWE Pay per view had 2 superstars under the age of 30 main event.
The WWE old guard will be featuring in the main event of PPV’s for a while longer it seems after a summer of experimenting with younger guys apparently not doing the work.