Seth Rollins Escapes Coquina Clutch to Pin Samoa Joe at WWE Payback 2017

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Sunday night at WWE Payback, Seth Rollins handed Samoa Joe his first singles loss since getting called up to the main roster.

Rollins appeared to be in dire straits after Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch. Unable to fight out of the submission, Rollins instead turned the move into a pinfall attempt and kept Joe's shoulders down for the three-count.

Famous superfan Ellis Mbeh, however, wasn't so sure Joe had both shoulders down:

Regardless, WWE Universe showed the victor:

ESPN.com's Dan Szymborski liked that Rollins' injured knee was a part of the in-ring psychology:

Rollins and Joe first crossed paths in February when the Samoan Submission Specialist made his unexpected debut on Raw by attacking Rollins at the behest of Triple H.

During that incident, Joe injured Rollins' knee. The former Shield member suffered a torn MCL, which put his WrestleMania participation in question.

The Architect managed to work his way back to health, though, and went on to defeat The Game in a non-sanctioned match at The Showcase of Immortals.

Rollins' rivalry with Joe was on hold while he dealt with Triple H, but that changed a couple of weeks ago when Joe jumped Rollins during an interaction with Raw general manager Kurt Angle.

The following week, Rollins was on commentary during a bout that saw Joe defeat Chris Jericho by submission on Raw.

Joe explained that he wasn't done with Rollins and wanted to make him pay for both beating Triple H and contributing to Stephanie McMahon falling through a table at WrestleMania.

Since getting called up to the main roster, Samoa Joe has done Triple H's dirty work and referred to the King of Kings as his benefactor.

In reality, Triple H gave Joe a chance in NXT after years in Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling, making him the perfect charge to go after the Cerebral Assassin's former protege.

Along with his loyalty to Triple H, Joe has been rising up the ranks and quickly developing into one of Raw's top heels.

With Kevin Owens moving to SmackDown Live as part of the Superstar Shake-up, the door is open for Joe to seize a top spot.

At the same time, Rollins is trying to fully gain his footing after recently returning from injury and looking to regain his place in the main event as well.

Sunday's match provided both Superstars with an opportunity to make a huge statement, and it was Rollins who moved up the pecking order and likely inched closer to Universal Championship contention. 

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