“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, with each new week, is becoming one of the most respected voices within the world of professional wrestling. Already one of the greatest performers of all time, he has some pretty solid ideas — and some pretty harsh criticisms — of what is currently going down with the WWE product.
Recently, he took aim at Seth Rollins on the Tuesday edition of the Steve Austin Show podcast. Well, to be forthright, it wasn’t Rollins he had a problem with as much as whomever it was who booked Mr. Money in the Bank at Night of Champions.
“Man I’ll tell you what. Don’t get me started on that Money in the Bank,” Austin said to a caller, adding that he “felt so bad for Seth Rollins” at the NOC pay-per-view.
“I’ll go and segue into a little tangent here — at Night of Champions, whatever it was, [you’ve got] Cena versus Lesnar, and then all the sudden, here comes Seth Rollins to interrupt that match and cash in his title shot. But when he did it… he did it with trepidation and hesitation. If you’re gonna cash that thing in, you’re making a bold statement, so the way that was booked, the way it was executed, it basically made him not effective and — what’s the word I’m looking for — emasculated the guy and it just didn’t have any impact. And he ends up looking like a coward.”
The criticisms of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin speak to a recurring problem fans have pointed out with WWE product over the past few years, most recently in the form of Bray Wyatt.
Wyatt was booked as a monster heel, and did some solid in-ring and mic work to back it up. He even got a clean win over Daniel Bryan, the fan favorite who would later go on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. Wyatt was an obvious opponent for Bryan’s title run, but when the champ injured his neck, Wyatt’s train quickly ran off the tracks.
Instead of continuing to decimate the locker room, Wyatt jobbed to John Cena and dropped some credibility in a feud with Chris Jericho — a feud he ultimately won, but not before the damage had been done to his character. Now the WWE is trying to repackage him, but fans are still scratching their heads trying to figure out why the company would want to bury a top heel to aging talent as his popularity was at a fever pitch.
In Rollins’ case, he was over as a face before turning on his partners with The Shield, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose. Afterward, he found himself as the white-hot heel the company needed, as it was forced to work around a part-time Brock Lesnar.
For “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the Night of Champions booking was a huge blow to Seth Rollins’ character.
“Right now is not the time for Seth Rollins to be running from anybody,” he said. “A back pedal [maybe] but just a flat-out run — to me, you can’t work too much of that cowardly heel.”
Austin believes that by booking Seth Rollins into the main event spot and then having him hesitate about cashing in his title shot, the company sent a message to fans that Rollins was still a mid-card player compared to Lesnar and Cena.
“And so then when you do that, if you don’t go into that full gusto with effect — and sure it can backfire on him, but the intent has to be there, to pay this thing off, and then it can blow up in his face. But it’s all in the execution, and I didn’t like the execution. But I do like Seth Rollins.”
Do you agree with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin? Did WWE take the bite out of Seth Rollins’ character at Night of Champions?