This Monday, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose created one of the most sickening moments of what is now known as the "PG Era" in WWE.
It will take fans a long time to forget the image of Ambrose slumped against the remains of a stack of cinder blocks, following a brutal Curb Stomp. Rollins was instantly established as a top heel, capable of going to any lengths to defeat his rival.
Ambrose has since “disappeared,” giving him plenty of time to film WWE Studios’ next movie and setting the stage for a show-stopper of a return.
The entire Falls Count Anywhere match put on by Rollins and Ambrose was a perfect example of how there is still room for extremity and violence in the PG Era.
Tables splintered, skin was reddened and countless chairs littered the ring. Few would accuse either man of holding back for the kids in the crowd.
This was a match that delivered on every level. The storytelling was excellent and the in-ring work was stellar, peppered with some really innovative weapon spots. It pushed the limits of what is allowed in the PG Era to produce a match that felt truly extreme.
Fans of the "Attitude Era" are often keen to rubbish the modern state of the company, claiming that it caters only to children. Ambrose and Rollins are proving them wrong every week, with a feud that continues to escalate to increasingly violent new highs.
The two former Shield members might be stars of the PG Era, but their battles feel like they were taken from the 1990s. It’s no accident that Ambrose and Rollins are regularly compared to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Jeff Hardy—two of the Attitude Era’s biggest stars.
The brutal rivalry seems destined to culminate in an enormous steel structure at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in October, but it could comfortably continue even further than that.
The presence of the Money in the Bank briefcase potentially adds a second dimension to the feud that the WWE can explore. It seems unlikely that Rollins will attempt to cash-in his contract whilst Brock Lesnar is champion, so it’s a smart way for WWE Creative to keep the momentum of the briefcase alive.
Both performers have been wonderful in extending and stretching a very simple story. Rollins betrayed Ambrose, joining the authority figures they had been warring with since turning face before WrestleMania XXX.
Like all good feuds, excellent promos have helped to feed into some very exciting action in the ring. Ambrose speaks from the heart every time he rallies the WWE Universe against Rollins, who is really coming into his own as a slimy heel.
There’s a real sense that anything could happen between these two men. It’s not clear who is ultimately going to emerge on top and there’s no way of knowing how far they are willing to go to destroy each other.
Ambrose and Rollins provide the chaos and mayhem that many fans have been yearning for since we waved goodbye to the Attitude Era.
Their feud could come to define a generation for wrestling fans—and that’s no bad thing.