Whether by design or by coincidence, the WWE has kept any interaction between Triple H and Seth Rollins to a minimum in 2016. Right around this time last year, Rollins was forced to the sideline with a devastating knee injury that kept him out of action until this past May. And after Triple H’s defeat to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, he’s only appeared on WWE programming once.
Technically, he’s shown his face twice. The second time came when Hunter greeted his wife, Stephanie, following the Clash of Champions pay-per-view last month, though that was only broadcast online. Triple H’s lone television appearance in the last six months created the biggest stir of all.
That, of course, came when Triple H interfered in a Fatal Four-Way match on RAW the week after SummerSlam to determine the new WWE Universal Champion. The Game interrupted the proceedings by costing both Rollins and Roman Reigns the victory, essentially handing the title to Kevin Owens.
Triple H got some measure of revenge on Reigns for beating him in the WrestleMania main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But it was the pedigree to Rollins that had a far bigger impact, setting the stage for Rollins to turn babyface and, more importantly, further planting seeds for an eventual collision between mentor and student.
Back in August, the Inquisitr reported that Triple H was against the idea of facing Shane McMahon at next year’s WrestleMania even though Vince McMahon was pushing hard for it. HHH was aiming for an up-and-coming opponent who would benefit more by being in the ring with the Cerebral Assassin. It quickly became evident that Seth Rollins was being positioned for that slot, even though there were rumors that a superstar still in NXT might have a shot.
Originally, Triple H wasn’t going to return to television until later in the fall or perhaps not even until the calendar turned. But the injury to Finn Balor forced WWE to call an audible and have The Game attack his former protege ahead of schedule. 2015 was the year of The Authority, with Triple H and Stephanie calling the shots, and Rollins benefiting as the faction’s champion. But that’s all since dissolved, and the physicality will now certainly lead to a match.
Triple H pinpointed Rollins as his WrestleMania 33 opponent sometime this summer, and the storyline certainly makes sense. However, NODQ is now reporting that the WWE is considering pushing up the match between the two. The company now feels more pressure than usual to book a compelling Royal Rumble due to the fact that it will take place in the Alamodome, a 60,000-seat arena they haven’t performed at in 20 years.
The WWE has already announced that the Rumble itself will headline the show, but other marquee matches are expected to fill the rest of the time. We’ve already seen reports indicating that Brock Lesnar may challenge for the Universal Championship at the event, and AJ Styles continues to add fuel to the fire in regards to a dream match with Shawn Michaels, though that seems unlikely.
Triple H and Seth Rollins would certainly sell tickets, but it’s interesting that they wouldn’t hold off until WrestleMania. Perhaps even more interesting is that WWE officials have discussed Rollins going over Triple H at the Royal Rumble, but booking the angle in a way where the two would have their rematch two months later in Orlando. If the plan is to have them wrestle twice, conventional wisdom would suggest that Triple H wins the first bout and Rollins going over on the bigger stage in the rematch.
Everything is subject to change, especially with Goldberg in the short-term mix, but company officials have committed to three marquee encounters for the big show next April with Triple H and Rollins remaining as one of them.
[Featured Image by WWE]