Days removed from the widely-criticised conclusion to the Hell In A Cell Universal Championship clash between Seth Rollins and The Fiend Bray Wyatt, WWE have responded in a official capacity with comments on their YouTube show The Bump.
Many expected a reference to the controversial finish – the match was thrown out by referee Rod Zapata after Rollins threatened to hit Wyatt with a sledgehammer – on Monday Night Raw the following night, but deeper discussion on the situation was conspicuous by its absence. Rollins and Wyatt were both kept off the show entirely outside of a brief and heavily edited video package, but the The Bump revealed an exclusive statement from Zapata regarding the outcome.
He said, “With Bray motionless, and Seth clearly doing whatever it was going to take to win that match…I had to think of the competitor’s safety and at that moment, I did what I thought was best.”
Effectively pinning some questionable real life booking on a questionable predetermined decision, this is some canny gamesmanship from WWE, not least considering that fans won’t be inclined to vent their frustrations in the direction of the referee for something that transparently travelled beyond the confines of kayfabe.
Panel guests on The Bump debated the decision further, splicing in X-Pac’s brilliant baffled response to the situation during the in-house watchalong, but the competitors themselves haven’t yet responded to it beyond odd cryptic tweets. With Friday’s SmackDown hosting the start of a two-show draft, the pair may be separated before a possible rematch, or alternatively could be paired together in upcoming rematches following the non-finish.