Smart booking says you build characters on a gradient scale; it provides wiggle room for talent to be flexible enough to fit whatever story you want to tell with them. If done correctly, the talent carries a foundation of character traits that provides a link of familiarity throughout the different shades. Now, enter Seth Rollins.
The issue with Seth is that the man that we see onscreen today is nearly unrecognizable compared to ‘The Architect’ that was responsible for his ascent to main event status. I don’t ‘love to hate’ Seth Rollins anymore, I simply can’t stand to see him. I’ll even go as far as to say there’s absolutely nothing about his onscreen character that justifies its existence.
Where did it all go wrong? Here are a few key points:
Seth Rollins lost his finisher
WWE may have had its reasons for banning the Curb Stomp, but that doesn’t negate the effect that it’s had on Rollins. Built up as the most dangerous finishing move in WWE, the Curb Stomp added an edge to Rollins and instantly legitimized him as a threat. Coupled with that move and the Money in the Bank briefcase, Rollins forced Brock Lesnar to take him seriously with the thought that, at any given time, he was literally one step away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. What once was a great equalizer has now been replaced by an awkwardly sloppy Pedigree that has rendered Seth a shell of his former self.
Seth Rollins lost his identity
During the weeks preceding Royal Rumble, Seth stood face-to-face with Lesnar and showed no fear or vulnerability whatsoever. He was able to not just command attention in the build towards a match with industry heavyweights like Lesnar and John Cena, but also rise to the occasion and feel as if he belonged there right along with them. Although his attempts to manipulate his way to a championship were unsuccessful (at the time), his actions contributed a great deal to defining who Seth Rollins was.
What happened to that master strategist who declared that he “played this human game of chess better than anyone”? Now, Seth has to be prompted to think about the most obvious solutions to his problems. He’s less of an architect and more of a petulant child transplanted into WWE from a 1980’s sitcom that’s being guided through the challenges of adolescence by his parents. He’s booked to such a level of incompetence that I don’t even believe he’s capable of wiping his own ass without a pep talk from Triple H.
The Authority lost its purpose
The Authority is less about shining a spotlight on Seth Rollins and more about hitching a wagon full of bullshit to his name and everything associated with it. Title matches and countless main events have been built to the point where storylines have rendered the action in the ring useless because the real results are pending interference.
Originally, The Authority’s relationship with Seth was dual-hatted: they provided him with a high-profile position on the card while simultaneously allowing him to develop his character. With Seth Rollins fully matured as a talent, his association with this repetitive cycle of drama has outlived its usefulness.
What does this mean for Lesnar vs Rollins?
If the build-up of Lesnar vs Rollins has told me anything, it’s that Battleground would be more aptly titled Massacre because Seth Rollins is going to get the ass kicking of a lifetime. Through the systematic erosion of all of the things that made Seth Rollins a formidable main eventer in the first place, he stands as a man that isn’t strong enough to combat the offensive onslaught that Brock has planned for him, nor is he smart enough to find a way out of it. While there is some appeal in a “Come watch Brock Lesnar kick (insert name here)’s ass” match, Seth Rollins is talented enough to be held to a higher standard than exactly what we got from Kofi Kingston at ‘Beast in the East’.
Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins have all of the skills in the world to deliver an awesome match; the problem is, however, the booking of this feud has given no indication that this should be the case. My only hope is that the shenanigans are kept to a minimum and Brock Lesnar walks away with the win. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship meant more on his nightstand at his home than it does on Rollins’ waist.
Check out the clip below of PWF Empire Live hosts discussing the possibilities of Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins at Battleground: