Seth Rollins is Great, But His Run as World Heavyweight Champ Has Been a Failure | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
Two things can be true in pro wrestling, and that feels like the case with Seth Rollins—he unquestionably deserved this current run with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but it has ultimately been a flop.
Which is a shame, because it’s not an exaggeration to suggest Rollins is the best on the planet and nobody is more reliable across any promotion.
And yet, it’s hard not to feel a sense of deja vu in the way the booking continues to fail him here.
Rollins already has to deal with the standard WWE problem that is oversatuation, albeit to an excessive degree. He’s everywhere, constantly in matches, promos, interviews, etc. A bulk of his championship run right now is all about how he’s a fighting champion, the anti-Roman Reigns.
And yet Reigns’ run has been far more entertaining and in hindsight, will go down as far more memorable.
The overexposure would be problematic on its own, but that’s hardly what is happening here. One of the biggest elements of each match and story build is Rollins’ supposedly bad back.
But there’s a suspension of disbelief strain that is unforgivable each time out. Watching Rollins sell a back injury his opponent exploits throughout a match, only for him to do wild flips and/or amazing feats of strength stresses the adrenaline reasoning a bit too far. And when the injury doesn’t appear to be a thing after a match—and a certain someone with the Money in the Bank briefcase just absolutely cannot cash-in on him—it really hurts the overall idea.
There’s the line of opponents harming Rollins’ run, too. On paper, it sounds great to make underused Superstars look amazing in feuds. But when the challengers are guys fans have wanted to see win the big one for years and yet they never do, well, it sort of backfires.
Look at the recent lineup of challengers: Finn Bálor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn. All beloved names, with some—like Nak—even completely reinventing themselves for the feud, yet it being all for naught because the title seemingly isn’t allowed to change hands.
Unfortunate is the best word. The matches have been mostly excellent, and there’s a balance WWE needs to hit because the booking has fallen into a pothole around other titles that change hands far too often. A fighting champion giving favorites opportunities should be the right move.
This isn’t nearly as bad as Rollins’ disaster of a feud with Bray Wyatt from a few years ago that sent him back to the drawing board for a new gimmick. But it has started to feel like traditional WWE before Triple H took over creative in that the top face is constantly in front of fans but wholly incapable of losing during the “offseason” period before ‘Mania season starts.
It looks especially bad compared to Reigns’ run right now, too. The Tribal Chief has taken over that Brock Lesnar-ish final boss mode. The actual match finishes around the unified titles could use some fresh ideas, but the infrequency of Reigns coming around and small number of title defenses makes each appearance feel like an event.
This is almost a contrast of ideologies at this point. Rollins is the traditional WWE top guy, while Reigns is more akin to a UFC champion, which is fitting at this point after the company’s merger.
So what’s the off-ramp? Rollins losing in a shocker on a random Raw would feel like a cheap end. He certainly can’t lose to a cash-in from Damian Priest. And now there hasn’t been a worthwhile story build to another defense, which could take some time.
And that’s just the hole Rollins and WWE have dug themselves now. No matter what WWE ends up doing here—maybe a fast-rising NXT star beats him, perhaps—the man formerly known as The Architect might need some time away from screens weekly so fans can recharge, too.
Rollins’ current run almost feels like a botch in an otherwise 5-star match—unfortunate, but fans can forget it and dial in on the positives. The highs are still high in typical Rollins fashion, but the run should’ve probably ended a while ago.