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Seth Rollins Stands his Ground against Brock Lesnar

Seth Rollins stood eye to eye with the devil himself on Monday Night Raw and he didn’t blink. Not once. The guy given all the credit for creating The Shield then destroying it has spent the past several months trying to convince the world he’s the next big thing.

And now he’s trying to prove that against The Next Big Thing. Brock Lesnar is the big dog in WWE, the guy with the most important piece of hardware in the industry and when a guy like that stares you in the eye, he means business. And Seth didn’t blink one time.

Think about it. Lesnar has only had five actual dance partners since coming back in 2012. Five guys and all of them were former world champions. That in and of itself is a statement not only by WWE but by Lesnar himself; I’m here for the money matches, nothing else.

Lesnar came back, got the spotlight and stepped into the ring with talents that WWE could build a card around. The only exception to that was The Big Show, who has never been a legitimate main event star since he went to work for Vince. It’s not his fault necessarily, it’s just he always seemed to be one step shy of greatness.

But as for the rest of them, CM Punk, John Cena, Triple H and The Undertaker? Top tier main event talent. That’s the collection of stars that WWE put in front of Brock; battle tested, marquee names. And really, who can blame WWE?

Who can blame WWE for doing everything in its power to ensure that a worker paid the amount of money Brock is who will not work a part time schedule, give them as much return as possible? Forget all that talk about him putting younger talent over. That’s a job reserved for the veterans still in the company, the ones whose spots will eventually be filled by that younger talent.

This is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about here, people. He’s the big time prize fighter, the man that makes bank for the company every time he’s on the card. He needs other bankable stars to work so the company can make the rent that week. And he’s got no time for the next generation.

Or at least he didn’t. Now Seth is in the picture. One of the talents that are tasked with carrying WWE forward has a prime opportunity at The Royal Rumble to prove he’s something more than just the guy that stood beside Dean Ambrose for two years. Rollins has the chance to show what he can do on the main event stage once again only this time; it’s against The Beast Incarnate.

So how did he look to you on Raw? How did Seth Rollins look standing nose to nose with Brock Lesnar? Let’s face it, that’s the true measure of how he will probably fare at The Rumble. Seth should not be intimidated. He should not be forced to play second fiddle to anyone, no matter who it is. Brock’s pedigree aside, the fact of the matter is he’s just keeping the belt warm. The title is coming back to WWE and when it does, the guy getting it needs to be ready.

Does Seth look ready? Before he stared down Lesnar, I would have said no. He’s looked good and I enjoy his work but WWE world champion? Eh. But after he and Brock had their face-to-face? I think I’m getting onboard. Well, I have a foot off the dock anyway.

That’s the power of a well executed spot. WWE creative, and yes I use that term loosely, can write these moments all day long. But the ones making it happen are the guys on TV. They’re the ones that have to convince the fans that they should care about what they’re watching. It’s up to them to run the plays and score the points.

And I think Seth scored big time on Raw. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t smirk. He didn’t back down. Seth Rollins has been portrayed as a squirmy lowlife that sold out his best friends and is coasting to the top on someone else’s dollar. That character has been okay and he’s made the best of it.

But the Seth Rollins that breathed the same air as Brock Lesnar and lived to tell the tale? That Seth is something very different. That’s Mel Gibson in Payback; a two-bit thug getting revenge on top level thugs and he’s not a very nice guy about it. There is nothing redeeming about any criminal in that film but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to see him get one over on them.

The notion of a guy gone bad that somehow finds his way back is probably one of the most intriguing story points in all of pro wrestling. We’ve seen it a thousand times before and though I don’t think that’s where this is leading, it’s certainly an avenue WWE can go if they choose to.

In the meantime, Seth’s character has turned a corner. He’s still a squirmy lowlife but now he’s a squirmy lowlife with a pair. And after staring down Brock Lesnar with no fear in his eyes, that pair clangs together like church bells on a Sunday morning. Amen and pass the briefcase, brother.

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Tom Clark

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/

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