WWE fans witnessed brilliance on Monday night. Finally, Seth Rollins was booked properly and is now one step closer to becoming part of the main event picture for the red brand.
After watching the former WWE World champion wrestle over 60 minutes in a gauntlet match, elimination both Roman Reigns and then John Cena, it is evident the man known as The Architect is closer to being known as “Mr. Monday Night.”
His performance was as good as any we have seen in some time, coming within an inch of losing on many occasions, only to rise up and overcome two of the biggest names in the business.
“Soon after Seth Rollins had finished off his second straight blue-chip opponent Monday, the 140-character superlatives rained down at a rapid pace, clogging up Twitter feeds,” Matt Wilansky of ESPN.com, following the performance we will all talk about up until WrestleMania 34 and beyond.
It was the stuff of legend, comparable with Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Steve Austin and Bret Hart. WWE needed this shot in the arm given the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is less than a week away and the buzz of a Reigns-Brock Lesnar main event in New Orleans in April is being met with a chorus of boos.
Rollins proved when he is at his best, he is one of the five best performers on either roster. WWE booked the former Shield member properly, giving him the stage he needed after a poor start to 2018 with the injury to Dean Ambrose and then the ill-fated union with Jason Jordan. Where Rollins fell in the pecking order as other stars leapfrogged him – by a mile.
I remarked on my Twitter feed on Monday night following his exit from the match that he and Elias were a feud waiting to happen in 2018. The company that has asked fans to walk with the man and his guitar, has been given a solid push and has looked good as a fringe main event star grappling with Rollins, Reigns, Cena and Braun Strowman. With a decidedly heavier roster on Monday nights instead of the blue brand’s product, it would not have shocked me to see Rollins move to SmackDown Live at some point.
Now, WWE almost has to create a position for him as a true title threat.
“In recent weeks, though, Rollins had re-ignited his aspirations to discover whatever it was that made him tick for so long as a singles performer. Not so long ago, a much more vindictive Rollins held the WWE Championship for 220 consecutive days, a reign that, dating back the past three-plus years, has been topped only by Brock Lesnar’s current run,” Wilansky added.
The fear now becomes will the company capitalize on what happened, how the fans reacted and can Rollins continue to get over as a babyface when the McMahons are still pushing Reigns as the future face of their dynasty?
For those of you who have read my work before, you know how I feel about this. I like Reigns – who has the look and the feel of an immortal. Fans don’t give him a chance for whatever reason. He is stiff, he is decent but not great with a promo and most of all, he is the chosen one and Vince McMahon makes no excuses or apologizes for it. Rollins and Ambrose are more charismatic, more dynamic and are better in the ring despite Reigns improving weekly and the fact he continues to headline pay-per-view events and face the company’s toughest competition.
“The crowd roared in appreciation of Rollins, especially after first overcoming a physical affair with his Shield brother in arms, Reigns, then multiple AA bombs from Cena,” added Wilansky. “In a sweet act of revenge against the latter, Rollins impossibly power-cleaned the 16-time WWE champ onto the back of his shoulders and delivered an AA bomb of his own.”
The build was immense. The victories brought the fans to their feet. There was electricity. Wrestling was “real” for the time in ages and when he fell to Elias, it was booked as an upset because of how good Rollins looked for a solid hour.
It also gave Elias the momentum he needed to continue toward stardom.
It had a feel like Vengeance 2001 when Chris Jericho defied odds and beat Steve Austin and The Rock in the same night. Those wins made Jericho an undisputed champion. The wins on Monday night may not have given Rollins a title or assured him of winning the Elimination Chamber event, but it did give him his spot back as the man to watch Monday nights.