On June 2, 2014, approximately 11 p.m. ET, the WWE Universe collectively turned into Jim Ross.
As Seth Rollins swung a chair into Roman Reigns’ torn-up back like Bambino at the plate and stomped Dean Ambrose’s mug into the steel like a bully on the playground, a nation of WWE fans channeled the WWE Hall of Famer for a collective howl of agony that reverberated across the nations. If the Universe hadn’t done it for him, one could practically imagine Good Ol’ J.R. calling the shocker himself: "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!!! GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!! ROLLINS!! ROLLINS, WITH THE CHAIR!! WHY?!?! FOR GOD’S SAKES, WHY?!?! STOP THIS!!!"
Even after The Architect threw his best-laid plans to the wind and took up arms alongside the very corporate king who had once used him as a pawn, it didn’t seem real that The Shield would shatter in such a way. But that’s where we are, and all that’s left is to come to terms with it. WWE.com has been raging with debate ever since the chair swing heard 'round the world, so two of our editors went head to head over The Aerialist’s dramatic change in trajectory. What side are you on?
Point: Seth Rollins is a Genius
Of course Seth Rollins made the best decision of his career by turning on The Shield and joining The Authority.
The only place for a wrestler to make life-changing money is here in the publicly traded, globally televised sports-entertainment juggernaut that is WWE. If you are lucky enough to have made it to the major league and want to make the most money possible, you do what WWE brass tells you to. When an executive officer like Triple H is benevolent enough to ask rather than tell you to do something, you say yes, period. This is show business, not show friends. If you want to make friends, you can rescue dogs and cats from animal shelters and eventually eat what they eat because it will be all that you can afford.
Did Shawn Michaels make the best decision of his career when he turned on Marty Jannetty by throwing him and that tired Rockers gimmick through The Barber Shop’s plate-glass window? Yes.
Did Andre the Giant make the best decision of his career and finally main event WrestleMania in front of more than 93,000 fans by turning on Hulk Hogan on Piper’s Pit and challenging him for the WWE Championship? Yes.
Did Hulk Hogan extend his career another decade by ditching the red and yellow of Hulkamania and its clichéd demandments and donning the black and white of The New World Order? Yes.
Did Seth Rollins make the best decision of his career by turning on The Shield, no longer having to split main event paychecks three ways with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns? Yes.
Counterpoint: Seth Rollins is a Traitor
First off, I gotta say: My money was on Ambrose.
Of all the members of The Shield who seemed likeliest to abandon the cause, smart odds had to have been on The Lunatic Fringe. But nope, it was Rollins: the peacekeeper, the brains behind the brawn, and now the traitor who threw down his sword and tread on his own flag for … what, exactly?
True, true, you can either get into “the business” to make friends or make money, as the saying goes, but surely Rollins realized that he was in the fortunate position to have both. Even though The Shield began as a hive-mind, it wasn’t long before they began to shine as individuals even within the contours of the group. Ambrose was the brawler, Rollins the daredevil, Roman Reigns the juggernaut, but alone or together they were the freakingShield, man. They were the first all-for-one unit that WWE had ever seen, and they beat everybody, because nobody had what they did. They tore Evolution to pieces in a 3-0 sweep at WWE Payback. Their run wasn’t winding down; it was just hitting its stride.
The arguments for Rollins’ defection are easy enough to toss off. There was no one left to beat (there really wasn’t). Evolution is — and always was — where the money is (it really is). Rollins secretly saw himself as the star of the group; the guy who would unmake it as easily as he had made it (apparently, he really could).
But the fact of the matter is it’s hard from both a business and personal sense to reconcile the suddenly selfish actions of a man who had preached brotherhood from day one. You come to WWE for friends or money, but as we’ve so often seen, the money doesn’t always last. Neither do alliances with Triple H. The Shield swore they were forever and no matter their squabbles, they backed it up. Ambrose even found his way home after his temper tantrum in the winter of 2013. Rollins may yet rue this day. The rest of us already are.
That said, I am interested to see if he can possibly top Batista’s suit-and-tie game. My money’s on “no,” but clearly predicting what Seth Rollins will — or can — do is a fool’s errand at this point.