wrestling / Columns

Cook: Defending Seth Rollins Tweeting That WWE Is the ‘Best Pro Wrestling on the Planet’

June 25, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
WWE Raw Seth Rollins

Being the top champion of a wrestling company carries a ton of responsibility. Having that strap means that the ownership has faith in you as a main event level competitor. They think you’re the best person to draw attention to their shows & put people in seats, buy merchandise, order PPVs, subscribe to streaming services or whatever else they need done. Once you get them watching, you have to be one of the top performers on every show you’re on & do your best to make the fans happy they bought tickets or watched on the visual device of their choice.

Is it entirely fair to put all of this pressure on one person? Not really. It’s not like the champion is making the matches. They’re not writing the scripts, setting match times, deciding who else gets featured by the office or anything like that. All they’re doing is saying their lines & working their matches. Blaming them for shortcomings in other areas of the show doesn’t feel right.

We do it anyway. We also give them credit when things work. Bruno Sammartino wasn’t the only wrestler on those Madison Square Garden shows back in the day. He wasn’t the only person fans came to see. Since he was on top, he got the most credit. The same goes for Hulk Hogan & Steve Austin. They weren’t the only guys drawing fans in their respective eras. If you refer to the Bruno Era, Hogan Era or Austin Era, people know what period of time you’re talking about.

On the flip side, you have guys like Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart that were on top during more difficult times in the early to mid-90s. In Bret’s defense, the WWF was under pressure due to sex & steroid scandals of their own creation. In Shawn’s defense, the writing & the characters were so bad that they had no chance of competing with the better product WCW produced at the time. I can’t blame Bret & Shawn for any of these things, but that doesn’t stop people from saying they weren’t on Hogan or Austin’s level as top stars.

WWE is under pressure. Yes, I know the money’s still rolling in from Fox & NBCUniversal & Saudi Arabia, so they’re not nearly as poor off as they were in the pre-Attitude 1990s. YouTube videos are still strong in views. The TV ratings are down, but TV ratings are down across the board. There’s plenty of good arguments for good WWE brothers to make in favor of the company.

With that being said, it’s hard to argue the fact that WWE is losing the perception war. Even if everybody else’s TV numbers are down, the numbers are still down. If it wasn’t for the hilarious 24/7 championship segments who knows where those YouTube numbers would be. Stomping Grounds’ live attendance was embarrassing for a company of WWE’s size. From a personal perspective, I’ve skipped the last three Network events. I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

There are plenty of people taking blame. Shane McMahon looking like he’s going to have a heart attack every match, yet going over credible babyfaces. Baron Corbin’s inexplicable never-ending push as a top heel. We all know that the champions are going to get their fair shame of blame too. You don’t have to look far to see Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston getting blamed for peoples’ lack of interest in WWE right now. Heck, I see Becky Lynch & her lack of top contenders getting some shade too.

At the same time all of this is going on, other companies are starting to make some noise. We all know about All Elite Wrestling at this point. Not to mention New Japan Pro Wrestling. Throw your favorite non-WWE fed out there too. Everybody’s taking shots at a seemingly weakened WWE right now. Even people that currently work for the company have taken shots. WWE Stomping Grounds was a poorly named show that was poorly built and had zero excitement going into it.

Even so, if you’re the top champion on the top show, you need to gin up some excitement. Seth Rollins tried to do just that on Sunday via the Twitter Machine.

The usage of the term “pro wrestling” immediately got our attention. WWE usually frowns upon the phrase most commonly used to describe their product. Then of course everybody in the comments went on about AEW & New Japan & star ratings and I’m sure there was pro-WWE stuff in there too but my doctor advises me not to go too deep into Twitter comments.

I have no problem with Seth Rollins cheerleading for his employer. No do I have a problem with this:

Let’s face it, the 205 Live guys are pretty far down the totem pole considering the effort they put into their craft. They don’t even get on the main show most of the time. In a business where top stars typically hold down the lower talent, brother, Rollins’ putting them over is a refreshing change of pace.

Then he got lazy and went for the cheap heat. First he went after the dirtsheet writers, then minimized one of his boys by saying he was basically the same thing as Will Ospreay. Not the best look there. You know what though, I don’t blame him.

There’s gotta be a level of frustration here if you’re Seth Rollins. The man busted his backside in the indies for years. Then he worked his way up the developmental system and eventually became one of WWE’s favored sons. He’s achieved whatever dreams he possibly could have had when he grew up wanting to be a pro wrestler.

He can still hear those pesky voices, though. The keystrokes on the computers reverberate through his mind. He’s heard & read all of the bad things that mean people say about WWE. He can look out at the dwindling crowds & see what’s going on.

It’s not his fault. He doesn’t write the scripts or pick his opponents. All he can control is his own performance, but he gets all the blame for all the things he can’t control. He knows that’s part of the job though.

Another part of his job right now is to change the narrative. He believes that WWE produces the best pro wrestling on the planet. I assume a lot of people on the roster believe that too, but they’re too busy hyping their own feuds or whatever most of them do. There’s nothing wrong with living in your own little world, but there’s also nothing wrong with standing up for what you believe in. (Usually.)

If Seth Rollins keeps saying WWE is the best pro wrestling on the planet, and does his best to back that statement up, more & more people will start to believe it. I would suggest he stay away from name-calling, but name-calling plays pretty well in 2019.

As far as I’m concerned, Seth Rollins can go ahead & dial it up. I might not agree with his take, but maybe he’ll prove me wrong.

article topics :

Seth Rollins, Steve Cook