Bret Hart,HBK and Seth Rollins: Has the Torch Finally Been Passed?


Is there a more consistent in-ring performer in 2015 besides Seth Rollins? The experiment to have Seth Rollins as the future of the WWE is here and has excelled into a masterpiece. Since his brilliant Royal Rumble match, which in my opinion was his coming out party as a superstar, he has been the gold bar the WWE has been searching for since HBK.

Rollins’ performances over the past year are very similar to that of legends Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Hart recently told Sports Illustrated that “Seth Rollins is one of the hardest-working wrestlers I’ve ever seen.” He didn’t stop there and continued by stating “he’s one of those rare guys in the industry today who is an innovator and a guy who creates new ideas, moves, and psychology.”

All of this early success has catapulted him atop the PWI chart as the #1 wrestler in the world this week. That’s a sign of how far the man has come since he was signed by WWE in 2010. A stand out in developmental, Rollins was called up as part of The Shield stable in 2012. Rollins was the heel in The Shield; the man who saw an opportunity for himself and grabbed it by the horns. He joined forces with the Authority to build his character even bigger. Again, reminiscent of the way The Rock became associated with The Corporation. The leadership skills he possesses are unmatched with the company right now and he could be single handedly holding interest in the product while new directions continue to be developed.

His attitude as the cocky, entitled Superstar with an inflated sense of self-worth is perfect within the Authority storyline. Rollins is just the right mix of intelligence and arrogance, and it’s enough to make fans respect him yet hate him at the same time. He is very good at getting that reaction, and it should serve him well against any type of babyface he encounters now or in the future.

No matter who is on the other side of the ropes, Rollins has excelled. He has been labeled as the best seller in the business and he’s always looking to have the best bout on the card. Generally, top stars tend to work a safer style on these shows, saving themselves for the bigger matches. That hasn’t been the case with Rollins. His attention to detail during matches has been awesome to watch and a breath of fresh air within the WWE roster.

As a first-time WWE World Heavyweight champion, it is easy to view Rollins’ current run as a transitional period until WWE finds its actual replacement for John Cena. But this scenario has quickly turned from transition period to permanent storyline. The bottom line is that he has the tools necessary to succeed on a high level. But much of that success depends on his ability to affect fans to the point that they will pay to see him in the ring. These results seem to be evident based on the following statistics: (stats courtesy of Forbes magazine)

• Paid subscribers for the WWE Network increased in 2Q15 from 700,000 to 939,000. Rollins appeared in the main event for four of the six WWE Network live specials during that span, including every live special that was also offered on pay-per-view.

• WWE’s 2Q-15 live event attendance (average paid attendance) was slightly down from 2014, but up from 2013. Through one month of 3Q-15, WWE has already surpassed the same figure from 3Q-14.

Could this merely be a coincidence? Sure. There have been plenty of factors that could be feeding into these numbers, but it still has Rollins’ name stamped all over it.

Since winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania, Seth Rollins has defended the belt on 6 different Pay-Per-View events. He has gone through Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar and John Cena. As things stand, Rollins is set to face both Cena and Sting at Night of Champions on September 20th. It’s a huge show of faith from WWE management to place him in 2 different title bouts on one Pay-Per-View.

He is being trusted to carry a match with a 56 year old icon after going to battle with one of the hardest workers in the game. There are definitely questions lingering as to what will happen, but I still do not see why they would have him drop the title to Sting. Losing the title this early would kill any momentum that has been built over the last several months. If he can come out of Night of Champions with both the United States and WWE Title around his waist, it’ll only validate why he is being viewed as the Gold Standard in Professional Wrestling.

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