I’ve just finished watching this year’s Hell in a Cell. The latter two of the three featured Hell in a Cell matches were actually pretty decent, though they’re far from “classic”-material (there are simply a lot of iconic Hell in a Cell matches, particularly when wrestlers from the Attitude Era are involved). I especially enjoyed the match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, probably because of how groundbreaking and remarkable the whole idea of it. For not only was it the main event (I’m not sure if this was the first time a women’s match became a pay-per-view’s main event, but it was the first time I’ve encountered such occurrence), but it was also the first women’s Hell in a Cell match ever (this one, I’m sure).
Anyway, I’m not here to write about that match, or about any match of Hell in a Cell for that matter. Rather, it’s this: since the other solid Hell in a Cell match featured Seth Rollins, I was reminded of how bummed I was – and, apparently, still is – when his original finisher, the Curb Stomp, was banned.
First and foremost, Seth Rollins is easily one of WWE’s best young superstars. It was very apparent by how the WWE Universe (i.e. the fans) loudly cheered for him even though he was being a straight-up heel. It’s simply an indication of how awesome a character he is (The Rock and Randy Orton, two of my most favorite wrestlers of all time, also received tremendous cheers even when they were being villains because they were terrific, immensely entertaining characters).
The first time I began to like Seth Rollins was when he feuded with Randy Orton, setting up a WrestleMania 31 match. It was a good fight, but not incredibly memorable. Then this beauty happened:
Seth Rollins really sold the epic RKO, making Randy Orton look fantastic and giving him the win. Later that same night, Rollins would slyly capture the WWE World Heavyweight championship when he cashed in his Money in the Bank during the main event match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns when both were worn off.
Seth Rollins has great in-ring skills. But the move that I liked most in his arsenal was the Curb Stomp. It was quite simple and seemingly unremarkable in a technical standpoint, but it always produced an exciting and emphatic effect.
I’m not a regular week in, week out follower of WWE (I used to be when I was way younger) – I’m not too updated on happenings; I watch Raw, Smackdown, and the pay-per-views occasionally. That’s why I was greatly surprised when I saw Rollins using Triple H’s Pedigree as finisher. At first, I thought it was simply an alternate finisher that Rollins added to his in-ring repertoire. But after several more weeks of not seeing the Curb Stomp in action, I finally became curious why it had been missing. I looked it up and learned that it was banned. Bummer.
Apparently, it was banned for PR purposes because it was “too violent” and WWE didn’t want kids to emulate it and get hurt. That’s the official reason. But it’s really a big piece of bullcrap when you think about it. There are plenty of dangerous moves in wrestling, which could injure or even prove lethal when executed casually by a non-professional. In fact, if you consider it, the Pedigree, the finisher that was substituted for the Curb Stomp, is as equally dangerous.
According to one insight I read after further researching on it (because the official reason is simply BS), it’s because WWE was (is?) battling concussion lawsuits from former wrestlers, and it wouldn’t have a good effect for WWE’s defense if people constantly see its reigning champion (Rollins was champion back then) stomping heads on TV. That made more sense.
Still, regardless of the real reason. It’s quite unfortunate. The Curb Stomp is a really cool finisher. It definitely added to Seth Rollins as a wrestler – it definitely made him more interesting and distinctive. The Pedigree is strongly identified to Triple H. On the other hand, the Curb Stomp is fresh enough to allow Rollins to make it iconically his own.
Seth Rollins remains one of WWE’s most terrific performers. But he’s no longer as fun as he was when he still had the Curb Stomp.