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February 6, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Royal Rumble review, Ronda Rousey retired, more

The first pothole in the Road to WrestleMania took place in an angle on the 1/30 Raw to set up one of the biggest matches.

Samoa Joe made his main roster debut in the final segment of the show doing an attack on Seth Rollins just when it appeared Rollins and HHH were going to go at it. The plan was to set up Rollins vs. Joe at the Fast Lane PPV (2/22 in Milwaukee) and for that to lead to Rollins vs. HHH.

Joe threw Rollins around outside the ring and more inside the ring. The injury, believed to be a torn MCL, happened as Joe took Rollins down to deliver his choke finisher and Rollins legs were flailing around rather than planted and his right knee went out. That was the same knee that he had reconstructive surgery on in 2015, which caused him to miss his scheduled 2016 WrestleMania match with HHH.

Rollins was getting an evaluation on the knee on 2/1 in Birmingham and the early word was that he’d be out about eight weeks, meaning that Mania was possible but not definite. Obviously he’ll want to do it under any circumstances when it’s that close of a call but WWE these days, for legal reasons, is far more cautious about throwing talent back into the ring before they are ready than has been the case historically.

The WWE went with all their established plans, as happens pretty much every year, unless circumstances such as injuries dictate otherwise, even though most of the key stuff is already out.

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