Is Seth Rollins unsafe in the ring? Bret Hart certainly seems to think so. The Hitman recently criticized Rollins for Finn Balor’s injury at WWE SummerSlam, and honestly he has a point. He also had a point when he criticized Seth for injuring both John Cena and Sting as well. But is he right?
Many fans are lining up to defend Rollins, and that is understandable. He’s a popular heel, which is something that WWE fans love. It’s cool to support the guy that should be hated. Some might call that simply getting over, and Rollins is, but it’s always gone deeper than that.
It’s the same reason why John Cena continues to get booed despite how many five-star matches he turns in; fans don’t like being told who to support and why. They would rather go their own way, and in this modern era, there’s no need for WWE to fight it. This is just how it is.
But even though Seth has support, the rumblings are growing louder by the day. At this point, there’s just no running from it, and had it been only one injured Superstar, it may not even be news. Of course, that may be part of the problem; are fans desensitized to injuries in WWE?
When Rollins broke Cena’s nose, it was considered just a by-product of the match. These things happen, right? After all, pro wrestling is a tough sport and sometimes, guys get hurt. That’s the nature of the business. Plus it did nothing but reemphasize Cena’s role as the most resilient worker on the roster, so it seemed like a fitting addition to the match.
The fact that Cena is WWE’s top guy and was hurt on live TV didn’t seem to bother anyone. Maybe the gravity of the situation was lost as fans just didn’t realize what a big deal it was. In any other era, an incident of this nature would be serious cause for concern to the promoter and to the top guy himself. But neither Vince McMahon nor Cena apparently seemed all that upset about it.
But when Rollins injured Sting, his perceived carelessness became a living breathing thing. Cena’s broken nose suddenly took on more importance than it had before, and fans began to take a second look at Seth Rollins. Sting, however, has never publicly held Seth responsible for the injury that has since put him out of WWE.
Instead, Sting claimed the corner powerbombs were simple buckle bumps, and he doesn’t know why they had such an impact on him. Sting is a professional of course, so to call Seth out in front of his peers and the company itself is not his style. If he’s being honest and truly doesn’t blame Seth, then how could anyone disagree? Isn’t this between Sting and Seth?
To believe ordinary pro wrestling fans that have never been in the ring could have more meaningful opinions than those held by the boys themselves, is nothing short of ludicrous. Yet every time Bret Hart opened his mouth about John or Sting, he was accused of being a bitter old man. Is that really the case, or were fans too quick to criticize him?
Now Finn Balor is on the shelf for what could be at least eight months. He was supposed to be the next big thing, the new face of Monday Night Raw. Of all the NXT talents that had been called up to the main roster, he was arguably the best and had the most potential on the main event level. Now he’s out, and fans are once again debating whether or not Rollins should be held accountable.
But is popular opinion turning against him this time? Once is accidental, twice is sloppy, but three times is irresponsible. Isn’t that the case here? Pro wrestling is a tough business, that much is true. But just because that’s a fact does not mean injuries should be happening as frequently as they are in WWE.
Perhaps the real problem here is not just Seth himself. Maybe the problem is the current WWE style, which is little more than an action movie taking place in a wrestling ring. The pace of the matches has multiplied exponentially over the past five years to the point it is now. Guys are going so fast that fans don’t have time to emotionally invest in anything they’re seeing.
It’s one high spot after another, one edge of the seat nail biter followed by more of the same. These are no longer wrestling matches, they’re stunt shows. The talent themselves are more athletic and more intense than they ever have been, and that’s a good thing. But when everyone is risking life and limb for the sake of popping the crowd, then the reason for the match itself is lost.
Many fans believe this is the style that WWE has evolved to, and to change it now would be taking a step back. Why slow down if the men and women involved are okay with it, and want to compete at this pace? But the fact is they’re not okay. None of them are okay. The injuries are happening more and more frequently as time goes on, and fans should be very concerned that they haven’t seen the worst of it yet.
So no, it’s not all Seth Rollins’ fault. Whether or not he is indeed responsible for hurting the top guy, a legend, and a red hot talent, is not up to fans. Perception is reality of course, but only Seth and the talents around him know if he is truly unsafe, or if all of this is just a terrible coincidence.
But none of that changes the fact that Seth Rollins is under the microscope more now than he ever has been. Maybe it’s time everyone took a closer look. Maybe Bret Hart is onto something after all.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here
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