Seth Rollins faced Samoa Joe in the ring at Payback, and his knee injury was a major part of the story. It should be obvious at this point that Rollins is not legitimately hurt. That being said, he really was injured earlier this year. So what aspects of this whole saga have been real and what aspects have been fake?
Here’s a brief timeline of events: On the January 30th, 2017 episode of Monday Night Raw, the show ended with Samoa Joe attacking Seth Rollins on Triple H’s behalf. Two days later, it was revealed on the WWE website and social media pages that Seth Rollins had injured his knee during this encounter.
As far as we know, this was 100 percent real. Rollins really was injured during this segment with Samoa Joe, and this was not a part of the storyline. If you go back and watch the segment, you can actually see the moment when the injury appears to happen. The Wrestling Observer later reported that this was a real injury.
In the coming days, Seth Rollins was examined by WWE doctors. It seems that what happened was that it became clear behind-the-scenes that Seth Rollins would be fully recovered by WrestleMania, but the WWE decided to exaggerate the extent of his injuries for the purpose of the storyline, creating some drama out of the viewer worrying about Rollins potentially missing another WrestleMania; he missed last year’s event due to a legitimate injury.
By February 7th, about a week after the injury, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Rollins was “good to go” for WrestleMania and that the match was still on. Meanwhile, Monday Night Raw was telling us the opposite: Michael Cole said on commentary in early February that Rollins had “a torn MCL” and that his ability to perform in WrestleMania was “in serious doubt.” This was clearly not the case.
On the February 27th episode of Raw, Seth Rollins said that it didn’t look like he would be cleared in time for WrestleMania. On March 13th, it was revealed that Rollins was ready for action again, only for Triple H to attack him and reinjure his knee.
In a subsequent episode of Monday Night Raw, Michael Cole interviewed a WWE doctor, who said that Seth Rollins would not be ready to get back into the ring for months. Obviously, at this point, everything that was happening was completely fictitious.
As with a lot of things in the WWE, then, there were elements of truth in the Seth Rollins knee storyline this year. Unless the company simply masterfully worked us all from the beginning, it appears that Rollins was legitimately injured in late January, and there was a brief time when there was concern he might not recover before WrestleMania. However, when it quickly became clear that Rollins would be fine, it was decided that this injury would be exaggerated in order to heighten the drama and create a situation where Rollins is heroically putting himself in harm’s way.
Even after WrestleMania, the fact that Rollins’ knee was injured earlier this year became a factor of his storyline with Samoa Joe.