After much speculation, Seth Rollins finally debuted a new finishing move last Monday on Raw during a six-man tag team match of him, Finn Balor, and Big Cass against Samoa Joe, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows. Rollins went for the Pedigree on Anderson to conclude the match, but changed his mind and executed a jumping knee strike. This is Rollins’ third major finishing move as a single’s competitor, as he also ceased using the Curb Stomp finisher before exclusively using the Pedigree.
WWE went to Twitter to ask the WWE Universe what a good name for the knee strike will be. This seems like a serious request, as they are asking fans to use the #RollinsNewMove.
Cathy Kelley read a few tweets, namely one that suggests the move be named the “Regicide,” which is defined as the act of killing a king. This is symbolic due to Rollins defeating Triple H at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando.
WWE also played footage of the same move breaking John Cena’s nose during their match two years ago in July of 2015. As a result of the strike, Cena was out for weeks recovering from the injury. This incident, along with injuring Finn Balor during their match at SummerSlam in 2016, as well as a career-ending injury to Sting during their match at Night of Champions, has left many criticizing the safety of Rollins’ in-ring work.
It is quite a bold decision to have Rollins pick this move back up after the incident with Cena. However, it seems as if WWE is confident that Rollins will learn from his mistake and be safer when executing the move from now on.
Perhap the biggest criticism is how convoluted the move is to perfectly execute. First, Rollins turns his opponent with his back facing him while holding his arm. Then, he turns him around, lets go of the arm, and then jumps to land a knee strike. As seen on Raw, this move takes a while to perform, which can be a blow to Rollins in trying to sell the finishing move being something the fans are looking forward to.
With every legendary name comes a legendary finisher. For Hulk Hogan, people salivated to see the big boot signature move to set up the leg drop. For Steve Austin, his kick to the stomach was the prelude to the Stone Cold Stunner. The Rock would crouch while his opponents would get up, as he prepared to finish them off with the Rock Bottom. In most cases, what happened during the match would be forgettable, but how the finishing move was exhibited would be what made the crowd unglued.
For Rollins, he is still trying to create an identity as a babyface that is infectious to the fans. When he turned on his fellow Shield mates, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, he was able to use his alliance with Triple H to make him the front man of The Authority stable. Even then, he still did not have much of a character to allow him to stand out on his own.
When Rollins turned babyface in his quest to dethrone Triple H, his character was still in need of an overhaul. With the exception of competing against heels such as Kevin Owens and (then) Chris Jericho, there was nothing different about his persona. The music was the same, he still retained the Pedigree as a finishing move, and he did not do much of anything to gain the adulation of the fans.
For the most part, Rollins’ in-ring work is worthy of the fans getting behind him. However, he desperately needs to create ways to gain the interest of the casual fans as a babyface. Regarding his finisher, it may not be the right move to put him in the category of WWE talent that fans are excited to see him execute his finisher to cause the audience to erupt.
[Featured Image By WWE]