On the very first episode of OTTB that I recorded with Cardo last year in the lead-up to Wrestlemania, I mentioned that Seth Rollins aka Crossfit Jesus was quite possibly my favorite wrestler of the current generation. In fact, I think I may have said that Seth was my favorite wrestler since HBK retired. Although WWE has been unsure in how best to portray Seth since his return from the injury that abbreviated his title run, he remained a favorite for me and many smarks. Now, here we are a little over a year later with the Universal title still wandering somewhere in Minnesota in Brock Lesnar’s duffle bag, a royal mess at the top of the Raw card and a single saviour, with a firm grasp on the Intercontinental Championship, in Seth Rollins.
I’m going to call a spade a spade, Seth Rollins deserves to be Universal Champion as much as, if not moreso than any other man, woman or beast currently employed by WWE – that includes Raw, Smackdown, NXT and developmental. This man has been absolutely killing it. We’ll get to this eventually, but damn it if Seth hasn’t been killing in the ring since 2018 started. His ring work, mic work and just overall “holy shit”-ness has been on full display. He is having the kind of run that makes 2015 Seth look like a joke. (Notwithstanding that many people were note here for chickenshit heel Seth, but that’s neither her nor there.) Given that we have matches on Smackdown between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, it stands to be damn remarkable that the best match or matches in WWE this year have almost all included Seth.
I reiterate, it is a damn travesty that Seth is not Universal Champion and is not currently slated to be in line for it. At least in the meantime, Seth gets to hold the number one championship on Raw.
Sidebar: EFF BROCK LESNAR!
Number One Belt on Raw
Let’s face it, as long as Vince is screwing around trying to decide what he is doing with Brock Lesnar, the Universal title and deciding on who the “rub” gained from being the guy to beat Brock should be the Intercontinental Title is the number one championship on Raw.
Let’s pause for a second so I can point out that clearly Brock Lesnar will be holding that title at least until SummerSlam and maybe even longer. You know how I know this, they ensured the IC title stayed on Raw AND they slapped it on the aforementioned Crossfit Jesus. They know it, and we should know it too, until such time as Brock takes a loss in a championship match, the IC belt is THE belt on Raw.
This is further clarified by the fact that Seth has the belt, has defended it thoroughly, and has had the best series of matches going back probably to January. Go and look up any of the matches with Finn or Miz or both. Seth has been killing it in the ring.
Obviously, it is also the only men’s singles title that can and will be defended with any regularity. While the WWE shifts gears so that Brock can “break” CM Punk’s longest-reigning champion of the modern era record, Seth will continue to be “Monday Night Rollins” and the IC championship will continue to be the top one on the brand.
Sidebar: WWE is showing their pettiness by clearly taking the last minute decision of having Brock retain (twice) and launching it forward as an opportunity to break CM Punk’s record of 434 days. The problem is, Punk held the WWE title for that long, not the Universal. In the long run, the WWE title will always be held in higher esteem. It is the belt with the history dating back to the beginning of the WWF/E.
So until Brock decides to get up of his rocking chair for a title defense, Seth Rollins will be the “reigning, defending, undisputed Intercontinental champion” and the guy holding the number one championship on Raw.
Sidebar: EFF BROCK LESNAR!
Seth is a Face Smarks can Love
Other than the purest of babyfaces like Daniel Bryan and forces of nature like Braun Strowman, faces have been having a hard time in WWE as of late. One of the only guys getting consistent full throat legit pops night in and night out has been Seth. He is as over as you can be while not being a cheesy babyface. Due to his indie background, Seth has cred with smart fans forever. Add in the run with The Shield and you have a double dose of love from casual fans. When you add in the fact that he can play both heel and face so well and clearly is comfortable flipping back and forth and toeing the line, Seth is guy we all can love. That he is a face at the moment is just a matter of information moreso than being a requirement. If Seth turns heel and beats the holy snot out of Finn Balor, it won’t matter – fans are still here for Seth, and will boo him accordingly.
In the interim, Seth is a guy who has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands. He reminds of HBK in some ways when it comes to his mic work. As a face you get the cocky but just shy of arrogant guy who can go on the mic and back it up in the ring. By virtue of his size, he will most often be pitted as an underdog. Even against Finn, who is currently a face who has been leaning towards a heel turn, Seth can sometimes get that underdog spot, I mean, have you looked at Finn, he looks like he was chiseled out of granite. Pause. If he was six inches taller, he’d be Universal Champion right now. Nonetheless, Seth is our guy. I repeat, Seth is pretty much everyone’s guy.
Listen, I could write 4,000 words about Seth’s in-ring ability and the level of matches he has had of late and the in-ring storytelling that has been top-notch and it still would not do it justice. I’m going to post the link to the most recent Seth vs Finn IC title match.
The beauty of this match is that it plays on all of the beats from the previous matches. Where Finn reversed Seth’s superplex Falcon Arrow combo into a schoolboy in one of the earlier matches, this time he reversed midstream into a Falcon Arrow of his own. Little details like that have been a hallmark of this feud and really of Seth’s run since The Shield first broke up.
I was only going to post that, but then I remembered this:
Somebody give this man a standing ovation.
2018 – The Year of Seth
Look, I don’t have to run on with this forever. WWE fans everywhere can enjoy the fact that Seth is doing his damndest to make everyone forget about the beast and his advocate. Seth has rightly earned the moniker “Monday Night Rollins” through everything that he has done this year. One need look only at this past Monday Night Raw. Raw opened with a quick promo between Stephanie McMahon, Kurt Angle, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. This led to a match between KO and Reigns. Jinder Mahal interfered and Seth came out to help his former SHIELD buddy. Like that we had a Teddy Long special – “let’s make it a tag team match, playa” – with Seth and Roman taking on KO and Jinder. We then got a tremendous display with Seth getting the hottest of hot tags. That entire segment and two matches took up almost the first full hour of Raw – with the highlight being the build to and the hot tag received by Seth. By the end of 2018, Seth needs to have had either a record-breaking run with the IC title or a switch into the main event scene to hold down the Universal title for a lengthy reign. Hell, at this point, can we get Seth vs Brock at SummerSlam and have Seth slay the beast? At this point it is probably the most believable outcome this side of Braun Strowman which goes to show that Seth Rollins is the absolute pinnacle of WWE right now and fans cannot wait to see what is to come.