The go-home edition of Monday Night Raw heading into Clash of the Champions was lackluster, at best. There are tons of reasons for that, none of which are excusable, but the biggest of them may have been the WWE’s inability to fully acknowledge the Seth Rollins face-turn.
Rollins is meant to be a good guy at this point. Well, at least we think so. At this point it is too complex to tell in a clear fashion, but everything leading up to his title shot against Kevin Owens would make someone assume such a thing.
Unfortunately, the company hasn’t really shifted gears into the Rollins face-turn at full bore. It is either hesitant to do so, which means it is hedging some of its own bets, is bad at storytelling, or the face-turn we all think happened actually hasn’t.
Because of that, we are left to assume. That is it. Nothing more. Nothing less. We, the viewers, are meant to piece this jigsaw puzzle together by our lonesome.
If there’s a confused crowd reaction for the former Shield member at Clash of the Champions, that is on the company, not the viewer.
That’s part of the problem here to begin with. Owens gets his own massive pops despite being a face. When you add a character without a clearly defined “good guy” or “bad guy” tag next to him, the WWE Universe can enter a situation on Sunday in which the person the company would prefer us to cheer for is not getting the love because it did a poor job of letting us know he’s a face.
Triple H going after him on a previous edition of Raw wasn’t enough. On its own that run-in during the Fatal 4-Way to determine the new Universal Champion could have been taken in any variety of ways. That is why, at least in part, the WWE needs to do more to showcase Rollins as a face.
Again, that is under the assumption that the WWE is giving him a full run as a face and not just a mini-outing as a good guy.
Corey Graves, and other Raw announcers to a lesser degree, have spoken about Rollins in different terms since the entire Triple H fiasco. The tone has changed dramatically, and gone are the coward-related adjectives. Instead, this applies especially to Graves, more positive descriptions of Rollins are used — which lends credence to the idea of his face-turn.
But that’s only a somewhat solid start. Even more needs to be done. Not at all oddly, the “more” isn’t even all that difficult.
While Rollins has been cutting promos backstage, with most of them being “against” Hunter to Stephanie McMahon’s face, an in-ring oral celebration of his face-ness would very easily set the tone for however we are meant to consume “The Architect.”
Rollins can bluntly let the WWE Universe know if he’s full face or in-between or a bad guy just by doing a singular promo in the ring. How he discusses himself, the fans, and whoever else is topical at the moment, would clear up any confusion fans may have on their end of this storytelling spectrum.
That’s the sincere issue here. Rollins was already a bad guy who was getting some face pops from crowds because of his in-ring abilities. An already established mixed-reaction was going to be there. Yet, if the WWE does want Rollins to move forward as one of the good guys on the Raw roster, it can’t leave the WWE Universe in a situation where they have to figure it out for themselves.
A huge part of storytelling — unless it is a mystery novel (which the WWE is not — is painting the clearest picture possible for the consumers. The WWE has failed in this regard with many of the wrestlers on the current roster, but maybe none so more than Seth Rollins now. And it is a shame, because if he is in the early portion of his fist singles face run, the WWE has dropped the ball in a crazy way.