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The Career of Seth Rollins: From Face to Heel at Lightning Speed



It wasn’t that long ago that The Shield debuted on Survivor Series, setting the main event careers of three talented wrestlers in motion. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins all came to the WWE through NXT. In and out of The Shield, each man has held multiple championships and has had great success.

Seth Rollins
The Shield stands together.

These days, look a lot different for the former Shield members. Dean Ambrose left the WWE for AEW to wrestle again as Jon Moxley and Roman Reigns took a step back from the spotlight after warring with cancer. Meanwhile, the career of Seth Rollins has taken a turn of its own.

Becoming Seth Rollins

Colby Lopez joined the WWE in 2010 as part of Florida Championship Wrestling under the name Seth Rollins. He was there when it was re-branded in 2012 as NXT and became their inaugural champion. Seth Rollins turned heel in epic fashion by betraying The Shield and embarking on a huge singles career after his main roster debut.

Seth Rollins heel
Rollins turns heel and betrays The Shield.

Rollins hitting his Shield brothers with a steel chair still rates as one of the most shocking turns in WWE history.

More recently, Rollins had two wars against Brock Lesnar over the Universal Championship. Rollins won the Royal Rumble, using the title shot he earned to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania. Then, Lesnar somehow won a Money in the Bank match he wasn’t technically involved in. He used that shot to get his belt back. Rollins would then reclaim the title at SummerSlam.

Rollins defeats Lesnar at WrestleMania.

It was a repetitive feud.

Rollins vs. Lesnar Into Infinity

The back and forth between Rollins and Lesnar became exhausting to fans. Not shockingly, WWE viewers were already sick of Lesnar being an absentee champion by the point that Reigns finally took him down. When he reclaimed the belt after Roman’s cancer announcement, the focus turned to Rollins hunting Lesnar.

Even when someone else like AJ Styles or Baron Corbin got in the mix, fans knew they wouldn’t win. It was always going to be about Lesnar and Rollins so fans started to turn on Rollins. His Hell in a Cell match against ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt was the final nail.

Top Face or Top Heel?

There was a time long ago that fans over the age of eight cheered for John Cena when he came out to the ring. At some point, it became cooler to boo him. The same is true of Roman Reigns, who had to go through a traumatic personal experience to get fans to ease up on him. In both cases, they were the corporate champions chosen to lead the brand.

In reality, fans didn’t really care if they were good wrestlers or not. It’s just something they chafe against.

The boos echoing through the arena are growing louder and louder for Seth Rollins for similar reasons. That’s due in no small part to the long, tedious promos he’s sent out to give to personally connect with the audience. Play that card too often and the opposite becomes true. WWE was frequently guilty of the same thing with both Cena and Reigns.

Rollins cuts another promo.

Watch the video from the night when Reigns made the announcement of his hiatus to fight cancer. Fans were reflexively booing him because they figured they were in for another long promo. The mood changed quickly when Roman started talking about leukemia.

Things Go Wrong at Hell in a Cell

All of this was already building to a head when Hell in a Cell came along.

Rollins faces The Fiend.

Universal Champion Seth Rollins was set to defend his title against ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt in the titular main event. Unfortunately, WWE had painted themselves into a corner. They wanted Seth to retain, which he did, but couldn’t use the traditional DQ or count out to do it. Instead, WWE went for some weird finish where Seth hurt Wyatt so much so the ref stopped the match.

Essentially, a DQ in a no DQ match.

Rollins became the focus of much of the rage for the bad finish but the feud between him and Wyatt would continue. Wyatt finally won the Universal Championship and took it back to SmackDown. The side effect of this would be Lesnar returning to Raw with the WWE Championship.

It’s inevitable that Rollins and Lesnar will cross paths for the WWE Championship. Unfortunately, fans will have to choose between the two. They’ll end up cheering Rollins on as the lesser of two evils from their perspective.

The main miscalculation that WWE made at Hell in a Cell is the same one they made with Reigns and Cena. They assumed that being the top face in a match makes you the fan-favorite. Bray Wyatt is, by far, the most over wrestler in the company. People love Firefly Fun House and they love ‘The Fiend.’ Rollins simply couldn’t compete as any ending that wasn’t Wyatt with a belt would not be satisfactory to fans.

Seth Rollins’ Next Phase

Now, Rollins is stuck in a weird limbo. The top face on Raw for management that’s morphing into a heel based on fan opinion. His heel run alongside Triple H was some of his best work and he is still a superb in-ring performer. WWE should let what’s going to happen by letting Rollins perform to his strengths.

Let Rollins burn it down as a heel one more time.

Ian is a freelance writer based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who writes about pop culture. That includes movies, TV series, comic books, and wrestling. He's a full time freelance writer, sleeps way too little, and buys way too many toys.

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WCW Monday Nitro: 25 Years Ago, A Legend Was Born



WCW Monday Night Nitro

September 4th, 1995. That was the day WCW Monday Nitro debuted and launched the Monday Night Wars. It was the day that Ted Turner’s wrestling company would take its biggest shot a dethroning the company then known as WWF. And they came a lot closer than many fans realized at the time.

As WCW’s version of Raw, Monday Nitro was their flagship show. If you were going to watch WCW, you had to tune in to Nitro. That’s where everything happened since almost nothing of consequence ever happened on their secondary show, Thunder. It was, at the best of times, a hot mess.

Nitro was where the war started as well as where the war ended. The last episode aired on March 26th, 2001 from Panama City Beach, Florida. But between those two dates, a number of huge moments happened, both for WCW and for wrestling as a whole.

The First Show

The first episode of Monday Nitro set the tone for what was to come. Broadcast from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the show was live. This was a huge change from WWF programming, which was pre-taped at that point. Internet spoilers weren’t an issue in the old days.

Lex Luger appears on the first Nitro

Saying the energy was amazing was an understatement, to say the least. The card featured Brian Pillman versus Jushin Thunder Liger, Ric Flair versus Sting, and Hulk Hogan versus Big Bubba Rogers. It was an amazing night with a huge twist no one saw coming, including Vince McMahon.

This was the evening Lex Luger made his return to WCW. It was a shock to fans as he had appeared on WWF programming the night before. Luger’s WWF contract ended with that appearance, then he signed his WCW the next morning and appeared on the first episode of Nitro.

Lex Luger’s shocking debut was incredibly important. It cemented the notion early that anything could happen and anyone could show up. The moment also proved to be a key piece of foreshadowing for the surprise appearances of other former WWF talent.

Madusa Dumps The WWF

December 18th, 1995 was a date in the Monday Night Wars that would live in infamy. Alundra Blayze was the WWF Women’s Champion as well as an early high profile defector to WCW. But she did it in an epic, memorable fashion.

She showed up on Nitro with the actual WWF Women’s Championship title belt in tow. Blayze, now going by Madusa, denounced the WWF, her former gimmick, and quite literally dropped the title belt in the trash.

Madusa debuts with the WWF Women’s Championship

It was an enduring image of the Monday Night Wars inexorably tied to Blayze/Madusa. She was eventually welcomed back into the WWE family and the Hall of Fame. Her recent appearances for AEW probably didn’t do her any favors in the forgiveness department, though.

The Outsiders

After leaving WWF and the Razor Ramon gimmick behind, Scott Hall made his return to WCW on the May 27th, 1996 edition of Nitro. Two weeks later, Kevin Nash followed suit. This was a huge moment as it was two of WWF’s biggest stars making the leap to the competition.

The Outsiders arrive on WCW Monday Nitro

As it turned out, it was also the beginning of something much bigger. The nWo was officially launched when Hulk Hogan joined the faction at Bash at the Beach. But Nash and Hall debuting on Nitro was the true beginnings of the infamous group.

The Outsiders, as the duo was known, were the backbone of the entire nWo angle. Unfortunately for WCW, Hall and Nash knew it, and took full advantage of their importance to the company. Regardless, the end result of their initial appearances kicked off the biggest faction in wrestling history.

Two Places At Once

You would think that WCW fans would have been used to the surprise debuts of WWF talent. But Eric Bischoff was always talented in making those debuts interesting. Few had the impact of Rick Rude, mainly because he was in two places at once on November 17th, 1997.

Rick Rude was ravishing

Raw featured an appearance by the new faction known as DX. Many people have forgotten that Rick Rude was a founding member of the group. But while that episode aired, Rude was also making his debut on Nitro. For fans channel flipping between both shows, it was a confusing moment.

Once again, this was thanks to Raw being taped and Nitro being live. To make things even worse, Rude went on a tirade against his former employer. It was a big deal to hear those comments. Wrestlers didn’t have the option of Tweeting their issues with WWE out the day after leaving in those days.

Fingerpoke of Doom

As far as history-making moments go, this wasn’t exactly a great one for WCW. At this point, there were two nWo factions. One was the Wolfpac, led by the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash. The other was led by Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

Goldberg had recently dropped the title, as well as his legendary undefeated streak, to Nash thanks to another questionable angle. Essentially, Scott Hall tased Goldberg and allowed Nash to get the pin. Yes, that is actually how the streak ended. That’s WCW for you.

The Fingerpoke of Doom destroyed Nitro and WCW

On January 4th, 1999, Goldberg was supposed to get his rematch against Nash on Nitro. But partway through the show, he was kayfabe arrested for stalking Miss Elizabeth. This necessitated a change in the main event which now featured Hogan and Nash facing off over the championship.

That’s when it happened. The wrestlers walked out to the ring, Hogan poked Nash in the chest, and the big man hit the mat. Hogan then got the pinfall and the championship. This signaled the reunion of the two nWo factions, all of them turning heel.

The Fingerpoke of Doom is widely regarded as possibly the worst booking decision in Nitro history, if not all of pro wrestling. Many fans soured on WCW after this moment as it was an incredible letdown. Shockingly, it wasn’t the only strategic mistake they made that evening.

Burying Mick Foley

On the same evening that the Fingerpoke of Doom was going down on Nitro, big things were happening on Raw is War. Mick Folely was wrestling The Rock for the WWF Championship, and would ultimately win. But because Raw was pre-taped, some people already knew the outcome, including Eric Bischoff.

Since Nitro was live, he instructed commentator Tony Schiavone to spoil the WWF match and bury Mick as their new champion. Schiavone has since stated he was not happy about doing it. Still, Tony did what he was asked and made the announcement.

Mick Folely became the WWF Champion

The plan completely backfired. Ratings showed that hundreds of thousands of viewers more or less immediately changed the channel to watch the historic event on Raw. Mick Foley was, and is, arguably one of the most beloved figures in the industry. Watching him win a top title would be a huge moment.

The combination of the Fingerpoke of Doom and the failure of burying Mick Foley’s championship victory was a watershed moment. It was the start of a decisive shift in the Monday Night Wars back to WWF, driving fans off in huge numbers.

The Night of Champions

The final episode of Nitro took place on March 26th, 2001, after Vince McMahon bought the company. All five of WCW’s major championships were defended that evening, allowing the company to go out with a huge bang.

Fulfilling the circle of life, the final match for the company was Ric Flair versus Sting. These were the two names that typified the best of WCW over the years. In particular, Sting was considered the face of the company. He was one of the only wrestlers who stuck with WCW to the bitter end.

The final moments of WCW Monday Nitro

But there was one more twist waiting for fans. Shane McMahon revealed he bought WCW, not his father. It kicked off the Invasion storyline which featured wrestlers from WCW and ECW trying to take over WWF. The angle largely misfired because the biggest names from WCW were not involved in it.

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Festival du Nouveau Cinema

‘Nail in the Coffin – The Fall and Rise of Vampiro’: Another Wrestling Doc Worth Seeing

Festival du Nouveau Cinema



Nail in the Coffin – The Fall and Rise of Vampiro

When it comes to the world of professional wrestling, most wrestling fans derive as much pleasure watching people talk about wrestling as they do watching wrestling itself, and ever since Paul Jay released his controversial Brett the Hitman Hart documentary, Wrestling with Shadows, we’ve seen a number of excellent behind-the-scenes wrestling-themed documentaries made over the years.

For decades, pro wrestling has had its share of drama, both inside and outside of the ring and for devoted fans, wrestling documentaries have provided a candid and deeply personal look at the lives of some of the world’s most famous wrestlers. Many of these documentaries have been produced by the WWE of course, so obviously there’s a certain amount of bias that goes into making them— but every so often, a documentary produced outside of the WWE is released, and provides raw insight into the politics and backstage mechanics that often tear apart the lives of those involved. And usually, the best of these docs go out of their way to give viewers a different perspective on important events in wrestling’s history that fans would otherwise never see. Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro, the directorial debut from Michael Paszt about Richard Ian Hodgkinson, is one of those films.

Ian Richard Hodgkinson is a name most people won’t recognize but die-hard fans who’ve followed professional wrestling over the years will know who he is. Everyone else will know him as Vampiro or the Canadian Vampire, a living legend in Lucha Libre (Mexico’s version of the popular sport) and one of WCW’s most underrated stars. Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro follows his career from its beginnings in 1991, when the then 20-year-old, punk-rock Canadian made his debut, to his current job, working as a talent director for Lucha Libre AAA. For the most part, the documentary chronicles the latter part of this career, concentrating on his relationship with his daughter and his declining physical health.

Like most wrestling documentaries, the story it tells is at times a dark one— Nail in the Coffin doesn’t shy away from the realities of injuries, painkillers, and recreational drug use, nor the wrestler’s tragic past growing up. Vampiro has broken his neck and his back several times as well as suffered around twenty-seven concussions in his lifetime. He has a history of substance abuse and was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and when he was younger he was molested as a teenager which led him down a path of organized crime working for the Montreal mafia before landing a gig as a bodyguard for Milli Vanilli. From there, he risked everything and heading to Mexico where he became a star before signing a lucrative dollar contract with the WCW (the title of the film is actually named after his WCW finishing move). That’s when he suffered a severe neck injury that sidelined him for three years and lost him millions of dollars.

Given its short running time, it’s impressive how much ground Michael Paszt covers. Other topics introduced include the influence of Lucha Libre and the differences between Mexican and U.S. wrestling as well as the process of directing a televised broadcast and the unexpected problems that can arise due to the backstage bickering between the wrestlers which can drastically alter the course of a show. It’s also interesting how Hodkinson claims he was never trained to be a professional wrestler and admits that it was his good looks and charisma that won over the crowd, particularly the female audience who helped him become a legend in Mexico.

Despite being the legendary wrestler who helped popularize Mexican Lucha Libre in the United States, what makes Nail in the Coffin different than most wrestling documentaries is how it places a larger focus on the relationship between Hodgkinson and his teenage daughter Dasha. Nail in the Coffin is first and foremost a documentary about a father— it just so happens to be a professional wrestler. Hodkinson repeats several times throughout the doc that he hates wrestling, and although those statements are likely not true, it does highlight that even when the shit hits the fan, he powers through the hard times in order to provide for his family. The documentary never makes you forget that Hodgkinson is first and above all, a father who constantly puts his daughter first. The father-daughter relationship is the emotional core of the film, and without it, Nail in the Coffin would be a lesser film.

Michael Paszt’s documentary could have made a better two-part series on a streaming service like Netflix given that there is so much ground to cover and not enough time to explore every topic addressed. For fans of the sport, there is certainly enough behind the scenes footage to pique their interest, but I also couldn’t help but wish we saw more of Vampiro’s most famous wrestling matches including his time working with WCW. Still, there is plenty of extensive footage to make Nail in the Coffin worth seeing, and despite the short running time, the film manages to be a fascinating character study that every wrestling fan should see.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 16, 2019, as part of our coverage of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

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SummerSlam 2020: Actually A Solid Pay-Per-View



As one of WWE’s big four pay-per-views, SummerSlam plays a key role in all of their storylines. Regardless of what their promotions tell you, this is the event where the build to the next WrestleMania truly begins. And it actually held up reasonably well against TakeOver this year.

SummerSlam 2020 was no different, as a variety of rivalries ended, began, and advanced to the next level. What was overall a decent pay-per-view had its fair share of ups and downs. It did have more ups than downs, which is what happens when Asuka has two matches.

This was also the first pay-per-view to take place from the brand spanking new WWE Thunderdome. It turned out to be an improvement over the Performance Center, despite the crowd noise being pumped in. Still, the Thunderdome at least has a big event feel to it.

Apollo Crews vs MVP

No one was sure what to expect from MVP’s return to WWE at the Royal Rumble, but the last six months have been great. As the voice of The Hurt Business with Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin, MVP has proven to still be a master on the mic. But he’s still got it in the ring, too.

Apollo Crews retains at SummerSlam

United States Champion Apollo Crews has really stepped up in the past few months, as well He has always had all the talent in the world, he just needed the opportunity. Crews’ title reign is almost three months old, and shows no signs of slowing down. It was the opportunity he needed.

Apollo retained his championship against MVP on the pre-show in a solid match. It proved that Crews was the right choice to hold the mid-card championship and that MVP has still got it in the ring. That being said, this should be the end of Crews’ feud with The Hurt Business.

Bayley vs Asuka

The first of Asuka’s two title matches against members of The Golden Role Models opened SummerSlam. This one featured Bayley putting her SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line against the Empress of Tomorrow.

Since her heel turn and partnering with Banks, Bayley has been doing the absolute best work of her WWE career. For some reason, her constant yelling at Michael Cole during matches is especially engaging. Maybe she’s just living out fan fantasies.

Bayley barely retains against Asuka

Not surprisingly, Bayley retained with the help of her bestie, Sasha Banks. This continues her historic run as the SmackDown Women’s champ. It wouldn’t be a shock to see her take this run all the way to the next WrestleMania, building a feud against Sasha Banks for the event.

Street Profits vs Andrade and Angel Garza

The title run of the Street Profits as the Raw Tag Team champions has gone on longer than anyone would have expected. That’s a good thing, too. As they come up on as six months as the champs, they have only gotten better and better in the role.

Montez Ford takes a spectacular leap

At the same time, the fate of Zelina Vega’s stable has gotten more and more cloudy. After beating Austin Theory out of the group, Andrade and Angel Garza have been perpetually on the verge of imploding. Their SummerSlam bout was a solid match that ended with the Street Profits retaining.

The biggest surprise was the fact that Bianca Belair was not involved at all. Given her burgeoning feud with Vega, she should have been at the side of the Profits. Her time is coming soon, hopefully, as its been reported that Vince sees a big upside with Belair.

Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville

Real-life events certainly added some drama to this feud. While their kayfabe friendship has fallen apart, their real-life friendship was put on full display when an obsessed man tried to kidnap Deville at her home. Rose was present. Fortunately, everyone is fine and the perpetrator is in custody.

The match was at it’s best when Rose and Deville were working outside of the ring. But the table Rose brought out didn’t event get used, breaking the storytelling rule of Chekov’s Gun. They made a big deal out of showing fans the table so someone needed to go through it.

Sonya Deville leaves SummerSlam and WWE with a big loss

Deville lost, meaning she leaves WWE. It was a last-minute stipulation added on the go-home episode of SmackDown. How long Deville’s kayfabe departure lasts and how she makes her return will be interesting. It’ll be more interesting to see how Rose fits into WWE without Deville as a friend or foe.

Seth Rollins vs Dominik Mysterio

While he might claim that his mission is to bring the greater good to the WWE, Seth Rollins’ real mission seems to be to exterminate the Mysterios from wrestling. He’s oddly obsessed with the living legend and his son. Even Dominik’s mother, Angie, was involved in this one.

Seth Rollins mocks Rey Mysterio

A lot of fans were questioning Dominik getting such a high profile match on a big four pay-per-view as his first WWE bout. But it’s hard to deny that he delivered. Dominik may not have been the seasoned professional his opponent was, but he did well all things considered.

Rollins won the match, which he should have. No one would have believed Dominik coming out on top. If WWE is serious about Dominik, he needs to head down to NXT and sharpen his skills with the other talents there. It wasn’t a perfect match, but at least Dominik showed his legit potential.

Sasha Banks vs Asuka

After losing to Bayley and getting a post-match beat down, Asuka made her way to the ring. This time, she was taking on Sasha Banks for her Raw Women’s Championship. It was only at the last pay-per-view that Asuka “lost” that title to Banks in the most dubious fashion possible.

Asuka becomes a two time Raw Women’s Champion via submission

Asuka came to play, though, taking her belt back from Banks via submission. What made this win so special was that it was the first singles championship she’s won on the main roster cleanly. Both of her previous victories were in multi-person ladder matches, no pinfalls or submissions.

This was Sasha’s fifth reign as the Raw Women’s champion. She has set a record, both for wins and losses. Banks has held that title more times than any other woman. That being said, she has never successfully defended it, losing the title on her first defense every time.

Bayley vs Sasha Banks is on the horizon

Part of this loss can be attributed to Bayley not watching Banks’ back effectively. Without Banks, Bayley would not have retained earlier in the evening. Depending on what happens with their Women’s Tag Team Championships, this could be the beginning of the build to a big match between them.

Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton

This is the kind of match you want to see on a pay-per-view. Two wrestlers on the top of their games going at it over a championship. Both Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre are doing some of the best work of their careers, on the mic and in the ring. Their feud will career-defining for both wrestlers.

There was a lot of speculation going into this match that WWE was going to put the title on Randy Orton. Thankfully, that did not happen. Drew McIntyre is the WWE Champion Raw needs right now. Randy is doing amazing work, but now is not the time to take WWE to the past.

McItntyre retains at SummerSlam

It’s unclear if this is the end of the McIntyre/Orton feud. If Edge is ready to return, then WWE will continue their program. For Drew, it might be time for a new challenger. Keeping in mind that Keith Lee just lost his title, now is a good a time as any for the limitless one to make the main roster jump.

Braun Strowman vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

The history between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman goes back years, from The Wyatt Family all the way to the current era. The babyface version of Strowman excelled after leaving The Wyatt Family behind, eventually becoming the Universal Champion.

“The Fiend” is now a two time Universal Champion

Their feud got rolling with Bray Wyatt losing to Strowman. That got followed by a match that wasn’t a match between Strowman and a Wyatt Family era version of Bray in a swamp. Finally, “The Fiend” stepped in and took the championship off of his old friend at SummerSlam.

After the match, things really got rolling with the return of Roman Reigns. He hasn’t been seen since the start of the pandemic. But he made his intentions clear, attacking both Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman. Heel or face, Reigns immediately launched himself back into the main event scene.

Roman Reigns made his return at SummerSlam

Who has to deal with Reigns has yet to be determined. It’s likely that his first feud will be with Strowman. The WWE may then use that as a launchpad towards a feud with Wyatt. No one would be shocked to see Reigns pick up the Universal Championship from him at the next WrestleMania.

Missing In Action

In addition to Belair, the newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy wasn’t on the card. He took the belt off of A.J. Styles on the go-home episode of SmackDown. A rematch at SummerSlam would have been a great addition to the pay-per-view, even on the pre-show.

The new Intercontinental Champion was missing from SummerSlam

Also nowhere to be found were the SmackDown Tag Team champions, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. But that shouldn’t be a surprise as the WWE seems to dislike giving these two pay-per-view air time. They aren’t even really involved in a program with anyone right now, which needs to change soon.

Both the SmackDown Tag Team titles and the Intercontinental Championship were in matches on SmackDown. That was probably done to lighten up the SummerSlam card. Regardless, those were some huge names to be absent from one of the big four pay-per-views.

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