I just finished watching Extreme Rules, as I just back from volunteer work from out of my state. I read the spoilers of the event after it was over on Sunday night, and I knew that Brock Lesnar had successfully cashed in the Money In The Bank briefcase to obtain his 3rd Universal Championship. So I wasn’t surprised by what I saw, but I was watching that moment to discover something else. That being the crowd reaction.
During the main event, I heard faint chants of “We Want Lesnar”. Initially, I just thought the crowd was so bored of the mixed tag team main event that they wanted something to break the monotony. However, when Lesnar’s music hit after the match ended, the crowd cheered over his victory. Was this praise of Lesnar or an indictment of Seth Rollins? You would think that Lesnar, who does not compete on RAW and will hold the championship for months on end without having to defend it would invoke jeers and negative feelings. Instead, it was quite the opposite.
Again, this may have been attributed to being in their seats for nearly four hours and wanting something momentous to happen. However, I think it is also more than clear that people were turning on Seth Rollins well before he lost the title. Rollins losing the championship has given me valuable time to reflect on why people have been souring on him and his title reign.
Last year, I was infatuated with Rollins and thought he was doing the best work of his career. While he wasn’t in the main event scene, he was a babyface workhorse. He brought prestige to the Intercontinental Championship by holding open challenges and giving us quality matches with the likes of Kevin Owens and Finn Balor weekly for free. On a weekly basis, you could say that he was the best part of WWE programming because of his consistent performances in the ring and how white hot of a babyface he was. When he won the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, it was supposed to be the culmination of his hard work and the dawning of a new era. So what happened?
I must first state that this isn’t entirely on Rollins. He was often not put in a position to succeed. For example, you know that picture he posted kissing his girlfriend (just in case Michael Cole hasn’t reminded you enough) Becky Lynch after WrestleMania? It, of course, went viral and WWE could not let something white hot outside of WWE programming exist on its own. So Rollins and Lynch’s relationship was brought to the big screen. For the past month or two, this subjected us to sheer cringeworthy segments involving the two. By proxy, this also meant that we had to see more of their two individual adversaries, Baron Corbin (who still dresses as though he has some level of power) and Lacey Evans (who is quite clearly not ready to have a meaningful run as champion yet).
In addition to that, he was already facing Baron Corbin on two straight PPV’s, both of which were overbooked messes. So the first problem is that WWE isn’t maximizing the opponents who Rollins is in the ring with. The difference between his first title defense against AJ Styles at Money In The Bank and Baron Corbin on any PPV is night and day. So perhaps we can say that the matches have just been boring and WWE put two people in with little chemistry to fight each other. That is understandable, but I think the problem goes a little deeper.
Seth Rollins is missing that “something” that made last year his best campaign. It appears as a main eventer and holding the de facto championship in WWE, he was ushered out of that workhorse, babyface role who was fighting every week. However, as Universal Champion, it appears he has gotten some of the booking that RAW’s premiere faces of the red brand in recent years have gotten. He can no longer be that guy who just shows up and puts on quality matches. He needs to have extra antics in his segments for the sake of building drama. How many times did Seth need a referee distraction or his better half to save him in matches last year? It’s a staunch difference.
In addition, it looks like his increased role has also exacerbated some of his faults. Everyone knows that speaking has never been Seth’s strongsuit, and at his best, he is serviceable. However, when he speaks, it seems like your typical run of the mill type of promo. He basically says things that we already know, and the occasional pandering to the crowd for a reaction has taken place as well. Seth certainly performs like a main eventer, but at many times, he does not sound like one.
Some have said that Seth is not really a main eventer and actually just an upper mid-carder at best. Some have said that Seth Rollins has actually gotten Roman Reigns’ gimmick from four years ago and that’s why the people have turned on him. Whatever the case, Rollins is currently in a downward spiral. Perhaps Summerslam will be an opportunity for him to right the ship. Then again, maybe it will lead to more of the same.
What do you think has been Seth Rollins’ problem? Was he never main-event ready? Or is it the booking team’s fault?