Welcome one and all, to my little corner of the internet, where each and every week (starting now, apparently) I bring you some thought-provoking, mostly not terrible opinions on the world of professional wrestling. If you are not yet familiar with me, my name is Mike Killam, and I am the newest addition to this here wonderful WINC team, heading into my sixth year covering wrestling news, and my 18th year as a wrestling fan.
For my first trick, I'm going all the way back to my days in grade school, where I would fill notebook upon notebook with my own custom WWE shows, cards and ideas. The only difference is that now I'm adult, and it's way more pathetic how much time I spent putting this together...
I was partially inspired by a conversation WINC's own Raj and Sean had on Sunday's podcast, talking about the pros and cons of Seth Rollins, and the possibility of reuniting The Shield. So I went ahead and booked the whole damn thing, from this month's WWE Hell in a Cell PPV, all the way to WrestleMania 32 in Dallas. I hope you enjoy!
Believe In The Shield:
Killam Books Seth Rollins' Road to WrestleMania
HELL IN A CELL
First stop...hell. Now with a stipulation like "win or you get fired" you almost always err on the side of WWE pulling out the ole double count-out or disqualification finish to maintain the status quo. Not only is that horribly predictable, it's just lazy, vanilla writing.
Rollins goes over. He's the Heavyweight Champion of the world and an incredible professional wrestler – it's time to start booking him like one. He's also an insufferable narcissist who can't help but rub any victory in everyone's faces, and that's what we're counting on. Rollins goes over Demon Kane and the next night on RAW starts up with the "I'm the best champion in WWE history" rhetoric.
When Stephanie fires Corporate Kane, it fully awakens the "Demon" and the big guy goes insane, destroying the backstage office and laying out people left and right throughout the night. He causes so much chaos that Triple H himself tries to get involved, demanding Kane leave the building or risk a suspension, which inevitably results in Kane attacking and delivering a Tombstone Piledriver to The Game. Rollins and Stephanie look on as medics attend to Hunter and the show goes off the air.
As the weeks pass, Rollins gets more brazen with his championship boasts, comparing himself to greats like Ric Flair, Harley Race, etc. Meanwhile the Demon Kane is still causing chaos, and Stephanie flat-out tells the champ that he must deal with the problem he created, or she'll personally deal with both of them. Rollins manages to evade Kane for weeks, until Triple H returns to RAW and announces a title rematch for Survivor Series, with no disqualifications to appease Kane and get some modicum of revenge on Seth for basically causing the entire mess.
Rollins and Kane destroy each other for a solid 15-20 minutes, with The Authority ringside to make sure this entire thing meets its end, one way or another. In the final moments, Rollins ends up knocking the Demon into Stephanie, who goes down harder than a referee. Triple H is furious and attacks Kane, which is enough for Seth to pick up the win using The Pedigree.
After the match, Rollins is ecstatic over his "defining victory" and actually cuts an in-ring promo about his own greatness while medics are still checking on Stephanie. Hearing enough, Triple H storms the ring and lays out the champion with a Pedigree of his own, and helps his wife to the back. Que Sheamus, who cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The next night on RAW, Seth Rollins comes to the ring and demands that Triple H answer for his crimes against him. The Game comes down in his usual suit and tie, and informs everyone that his wife is doing fine, but is resting at home. Seth doesn't care, and wants Sheamus' title win overturned. At this point Triple H is starting to loose his cool, and goes on a giant rant about how Seth made his own bed and now he has to lie in it, and goes on about how he doesn't care what the fans want, because the fans wanted Demon Kane to go crazy. They wanted the No DQ match, and it was their fault that his wife was at home injured, and it was their fault that Sheamus is the WWE Champion.
This is important, as it starts setting up Triple H as the stand-out corporate villain who still doesn't care what the WWE Universe thinks. He should never, ever again deviate from this role, and I'm sick of seeing him and Stephanie flip-flop between babyface and heel on a weekly basis. Channel that inner Vince McMahon already!
So as we're heading into TLC, Triple H gives Rollins his rematch for the title because he's contractually obligated to do so. But he also puts Kane into the mix making it a triple threat, with the explanation that he doesn't care if they all rip each other limb from limb, and he never wants to hear the name "Seth Rollins" or "Kane" again if either doesn't manage to win the title. Oh, and it's a TLC match because...duh.
So now we're going to get into the "WTF" booking a little bit, because sometimes it's fun to pull a trick out of left field and watch people react to it. During the main event, as Rollins is poised to regain his world championship, two masked figures rush the ring and attack him, allowing [Kane/Sheamus] to win the match. Yes, this lets a PPV go off the air with a bull**** finish, but it also leaves the question "who were they" in your brain until the next night.
Except you're not going to find out the next night. Or the next week. Or the week after that. These two guys in masks are going to keep finding ways to insert themselves into matches and segments to take out Seth Rollins, or to at least make his life a living hell heading into 2016. The beatings get more severe, but you never get to find out who's under the hood (it's not Vince McMahon).
At this point, Rollins approaches a cautious Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns backstage. He is a broken man. He has been beaten down week after week, he has lost his world championship, and he is desperate for help. Except he's still Seth ******* Rollins, so he has to be a little bit of a prick about everything anyways. He asks his former partners what they've accomplished since they all split up. Ambrose reminds him they didn't "split up", he got his head put through cinder blocks. Rollins gives him a speech about how he doesn't regret what he did, and all of them would do the same thing in his position, and he knows that because they all came into WWE together as a band of badass vigilantes who would do anything they wanted, whenever they wanted, regardless of who got in their way. And the only thing that ever changed was Reigns and Ambrose getting soft, which is why Roman lost at WrestleMania, and why Ambrose hasn't done anything relevant in a year.
Seth has one last chance to get back to the WWE Championship, and it's the annual Royal Rumble match. He enters first, focused and ready to win it all; this gives him empathy with the fans, and starts naturally turning them back in his favor. They can feel what's about to happen, and everyone wants it. There's no need for the over-the-top "I'M A BABYFACE NOW, LOVE ME PLEASE!" angle – fans are smarter than you think, they'll get it when it happens.
After about 25-30 minutes, Rollins is left in the ring with Dean Ambrose and a few other stragglers, who are all down and resting up for a bit. The countdown clock hits zero and out comes... one of the guys in a mask. They go at it for a few minutes and fight over the mask, until the clock ticks down again and out comes a second guy in a mask. A brawl ensues as the two masked men attack the former champion and beat him senseless, then throw him over the top rope and eliminate him from his WrestleMania dream.
Seth is heartbroken, and he snaps, rushing the ring and going right back at them. He gets beaten down and is joined by Dean Ambrose, who was also thrown over and eliminated by the masked guys, who now have a ton of heat on them and are attacking the two with steel chairs. The clock ticks off and its some jobber, who gets beaten down and left in the ring as the masks continue their assault on our anti-heroes. The clock tickets down again, and this time it's Roman Reigns, who comes down to even the odds and tosses both guys over the top rope, but ends up going over with them, and now all five of them have been officially taken out of the Royal Rumble match.
The brawl goes on, and eventually Rollins is able to unmask one of the guys to reveal him as... Billy Gunn! Ambrose unmasks another and it's... Road Dogg! It's now very obvious that Triple H has orchestrated this entire plot against Seth, who grabs a microphone and calls out The Game. He tells him something along the lines of "Triple H, if you want The Architect so bad, you just found him." The three bump fists and Reigns says "Believe... in the Shield" before they hoist up Billy Gunn and triple powerbomb him through the announce table, then leave through the crowd together.
The following night on RAW, we kick off the show with The Shield coming out with their traditional entrance theme, through the fans, only they're all wearing street clothes. There's really no need for the cheesy riot gear at this point. Rollins calls out Triple H, who comes down with security who lines the ramp at his request. He basically cuts a power play promo, saying anybody who touches him gets fired, because this is his show, and he'll be damned if the three of them are going to come back and take it over again. He calls Rollins a fraud and basically goes on and on about how he himself was the greatest WWE champion in history, and how his group of guys (Evolution/DX) revolutionized the business and he basically created Randy Orton and Batista off his own success, etc.
For the next few weeks we see Triple H being more and more the typical heel owner, booking Rollins in terrible situations like 3-on-1 handicap matches with his partners banned from ringside; basically making sure the Shield reunion doesn't actually get to happen. The Outlaws stay in the mix from time to time, always a part of Rollins getting beaten down night after night.
Eventually this leads to The Shield having enough of the bull**** and they attack Road Dogg and drag his body out to the ring. Triple H comes down with security and says that if they don't stop right now they're all going to be fired on the spot. Ambrose gets some mic time and says if they get fired, they're going to go out by breaking every bone in Road Dogg's neck, as they hold a chair to him. Hunter asks what it is they want, and Rollins says they want a tag team match at Elimination Chamber – Degeneration X vs. The Shield, and Triple H must compete. And... If The Shield wins, Rollins gets Triple H at WrestleMania, one-on-one.
On Smackdown before the Chamber, they have a contract signing and the match is made official.
So The Shield wins. Obviously.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Triple H tries his best to coward out of the WrestleMania match, giving every excuse from "I was threatened into the match" to "I'm a high ranking official I shouldn't be wrestling", etc. But because they signed a legally binding contract there's nothing he can do, and the match is on.
At this point the program pretty much writes itself. Rollins is in full babyface mode as the leader of The Shield, and Triple H is full-on heel talking about how he was the greatest champion of all time and Rollins was just a copycat who rode his coattails just like Randy Orton, Batista, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, The Outlaws, The Undertaker, etc.
Billy and Brian eventually walk out on him, realizing that they were just being used, and that's the final end of DX as we know it. Hunter says he made DX and now he's killed it, and he doesn't need anyone to prove that he's still better than Seth Rollins will ever be. Rollins can carry himself on the mic, so the promo work between these two would be absolutely incredible.
In the final weeks, Triple H declares that if Reigns or Ambrose interfere in the match they will be fired. This prompts them to drive him absolutely insane, pulling all kinds of hijinks and shenanigans, basically doing to him what DX used to do to Vince McMahon back in the day (the real DX, not the later-era PG version). Hunter uses his authority to essentially force Big Show, Kevin Owens, and any of the other bigger heels to take them all out one by one, on threat of losing their jobs.
One week before WrestleMania, things have gone very personal as Reigns and Ambrose have both been taken out on multiple occasions. The final segment sees a bunch of the heels attacking Dean Ambrose in the middle of the ring, as a wall of security holds back Seth Rollins from getting anywhere near them. Triple H comes down and cuts one final promo about "power" and how he gets to do anything he wants because he's spent more than two decades getting to where he is. He displays that power with a Pedigree on Ambrose into a steel chair, while Rollins is being held down. We end the night with Hunter saying "at WrestleMania it's Game Over", and Rollins saying "at WrestleMania...I'm going to end you."
Seth Rollins wins clean, after a 20-minute-plus match with no interference. Seriously. There's no reason to do what they did with Sting this past year; Triple H can easily work a long match with one of the best in the world today, and it serves no one to make it overly convoluted. Lots of back-and-forth, lots of nearfalls and close finishes. The actual finish comes when Rollins hits a Pedigree, but decides not to end the match there, builds it up like Randy Orton would a punt kick, and finishes off The Game by bringing back the Curb Stomp.
Rollins has won the match, but it's not time to celebrate just yet. Triple H manages to get to his feet and flips Seth the bird and basically won't acknowledge that he lost; typical cocky heel stuff. He tries to leave, but The Shield's music hits and out comes Roman and Dean to block his exit. The three of them surround Hunter in the middle of the ring, and at that point he pleads for forgiveness, but there is none to be found. The trio beat him down and end things with the triple powerbomb into a whole stack of chairs, just for good measure.
And thus concludes my booking of Seth Rollins' road to WrestleMania 32. From this point you can go in a lot of directions. You can keep the Shield together, you can have Rollins chase the title, you can break them up and do the much-talked-about triple threat match – you can really do anything you want, because you've established Rollins as a top star who can (finally) win matches on his own, but he has this unstoppable team by his side as well.
I would personally start building up Reigns and Ambrose at this point, as they're going to have taken one hell of a beating en route to getting Seth to his WrestleMania match. I think a program with the New Day would be entertaining as hell, and could even lead to them winning the tag team championships.
I hope you enjoyed my ridiculously long-form booking of Rollins and The Shield, and if you have any ideas for future, similar columns, sound off in the comments section below!