After Survivor Series, Triple H said that we would see a more “defined” brand split, with any crossovers between brands coming to an end. In the first episode of RAW after Survivor Series, that proved to be true as an entirely new direction has been started. It was the first time in over three years that RAW had suffered a defeat at Survivor Series, let alone a defeat this big.
It resulted in Seth Rollins standing in the middle of the ring at the beginning of the show, hosting a “Town Hall” meeting with the entire locker room (minus Becky Lynch) surrounding the ring. Rollins took some blame himself for what had happened but slammed the entire locker room for not having higher standards. He took shots at Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair, AoP, and many others.
It resulted in the WWE locker room walking out on him and it was clear that his status as the locker room leader was in jeopardy, with Kevin Owens being the only superstar to remain afterward, leading to their main event match. It appears as though the seeds were planted for a heel turn down the line, even if his intentions appeared to be good. The commentators were both defending his actions, which probably means that WWE wants fans to side with Rollins, but his actions speak otherwise.
It was the best bit of character-work that he’s had in months and it’s good that WWE is acknowledging the fact that he’s losing the audience. It’s very symbolic of things outside of the ring for him and how he’s grown quite unpopular for the comments that he’s made. In that sense, he’s been compared to Roman Reigns – a babyface who was widely unpopular among fans. However, Reigns didn’t have much popularity as a babyface to begin with and the reactions that he currently gets appear to be quite new to him as he’s stepped away from any title picture.
With that said, it looks like WWE won’t be following the same route with Rollins as they did with Roman Reigns. If they are heading in the direction of a heel turn or even a major character alteration, that’s an instant lesson learned from the relentless 3 and a half-year push of Roman Reigns where he was constantly rejected as a babyface, only for WWE to push him anyway. In hindsight, none of that was his fault since he was simply doing what was told and it wasn’t up to him whether he was getting pushed or not.
Even if he wanted to turn heel, he was unable to, but with Seth Rollins, WWE doesn’t appear to be as hesitant to pull the trigger. Sure, they’ve worked long and hard to establish him as the face of RAW in Reigns’ absence, but even then, his character arc makes a lot of sense for him to turn to the dark side. He’s already done it once before from June 2014 to August 2016.
The final part of the night saw AoP end the match in a disqualification, attacking Kevin Owens but not laying a finger on Seth Rollins despite him being the man to criticize them. It was the biggest tease of a heel turn and Seth Rollins went after Kevin Owens immediately following it. While it hasn’t outright confirmed that he’s jumping over to the dark side, the seeds have been planted. Monday Night RAW is now brimming with exciting feuds and potential storylines and the new direction they appear to be heading in with Seth Rollins is going to be a massive one – something that will be remembered for years to come.