The “Seth Rollins may not make it to WrestleMania” story is ridiculous

Apr 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Seth Rollins enters to face Cesaro for a singles match during WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Seth Rollins enters to face Cesaro for a singles match during WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Even if it doesn’t feel that way for a lot of fans, WWE is promoting WrestleMania 38 as the biggest, most “stupendous” extravaganza the company will ever produce (until next year). Apparently, it’s a show — one that is airing for two nights, by the way — so big that not every star on the roster has a spot on the show, stars such as Seth Rollins.

That’s right, a show that will likely last longer than all of the Lord of the Rings movies combined doesn’t have a place for a multi-time WWE and Universal Champion, a wrestler who is one of the company’s top heels and currently had legions of fans who recite his entrance music during his matches.

Worse yet, Rollins not being able to make it to WrestleMania has become a story that has played out on WWE television(!), and has unfortunately included fellow top heel, Kevin Owens.

This decision WWE has made to tell fans that Seth Rollins might not make it to WrestleMania 38 is an obtuse one.

To be clear, no one actually thinks that Rollins will actually miss WrestleMania. He’s even been reportedly rumored to face a returning(?) Cody Rhodes at the show. But that’s what makes this story so silly: NO ONE believes that Rollins is actually missing the show, even if he doesn’t have a match, and because he’s a heel, seeing him make ‘Mania doesn’t have as much of a satisfying impact as it would if he were a babyface, diluting the payoff.

This was also true for Owens, but at least he also not-so-subltly built to whatever WWE has planned with him and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin via his re-enactment of that Spongebob Squarepants episode where Spongebob and Patrick insult Texas to keep Sandy from leaving Bikini Bottom.

Still, it speaks to a larger problem of hinging full-time wrestlers’ WrestleMania plans on certain part-timers or free agents will partake in the show at the last minute instead of preparing plans well in advance.

In-storyline, the idea that these two — who even faced each other on the March 14 Raw in a heel vs. heel match to, sigh, determine who hosts a talk show with Austin as the guest — need to fight for a spot on a show that will have the likes of actor Johnny Knoxille, public jerk (to put it as mildly as possible) Logan Paul, and SmackDown color commentator Pat McAfee participating in matches undercuts the notion of ‘Mania being a showcase for the company’s best.

(Of course, this doesn’t mean Knoxville, Paul, or McAfee shouldn’t be on the card, either [actually, I could do without Paul]. Celebrities have always played some sort of role at WrestleMania and expecting otherwise is preposterous.)

Maybe if WWE didn’t callously fire dozens of wrestlers under the guise of “budget cuts” (despite bringing in massive revenue) or dedicate so much of its energy to promoting one match, perhaps it could’ve planned something more interesting than what it’s done with Rollins so far. But this is the path WWE chose to take and we now have to pretend that Rollins has no path to WrestleMania because of that choice.

Yes, WrestleMania should be the sort of event that every wrestler in WWE should strive to participate in, and, in the right context, framing ‘Mania as a top-level show that not everyone can make, but for a company that only has a handful of stars, acting as though there’s no room on the pay-per-view for one of the few they have makes the whole show feel far more farcical than it should.

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When Rollins said that “WrestleMania needs him”, it wasn’t too far from the truth; a show this thin on star power and lacking in interest could only benefit from him in a prominent position. Hopefully WWE drops this “will Rollins make the show” stuff and clarifies what that position is.