When Seth Rollins debuted at Survivor Series, he made his way onto the main roster with a ton of hype and expectations surrounding him.
As one of the top independent wrestling stars in recent memory (as “Tyler Black” in ROH), there has been a ridiculous amount of buzz surrounding Rollins since the moment he signed with the company, and rightfully so.
The guy accomplished more on the indy scene by age 23 than most will accomplish in a lifetime, and along the way, he developed a reputation as one of the very best in-ring performers around. His incredible skill set in the ring is perhaps the biggest reason why he’s earned a bit of a cult following on the Internet and has been deemed a future main-eventer by many.
A good portion of fans are expecting Rollins to be a big part of the WWE’s future and to have a great run that lasts for the next decade or so.
Exactly how Rollins’ WWE career will play out is a bit of a mystery, but as one of the most talented guys to set foot into the WWE in quite a while, expect him to follow a career path like that of another talented former indy standout: Daniel Bryan.
After participating on the first season of NXT, Bryan’s first major role on TV came as part of a group of NXT rookies that wreaked havoc across the WWE. Sound familiar?
For Bryan, it was the Nexus, and for Rollins, it’s The Shield. Rollins is a member of a trio of NXT studs who are attacking the WWE’s top stars in a way that’s eerily similar to what The Nexus did just a couple of years ago.
Of course, Bryan eventually parted ways with The Nexus. He was released after the infamous tie-choking incident and then returned as a babyface for Team WWE at SummerSlam shortly thereafter.
Many expect Rollins to, like Bryan, transition into the role that suits him best—as a babyface. Before Rollins debuted as part of The Shield, the widespread expectation seemed to be that Rollins would debut as a face because he’s a more natural fit in that role.
It was a similar scenario with Bryan and The Nexus. While most Nexus members appeared to fit well in their heel roles, Bryan just screamed babyface at the time.
So does Rollins. He’s generally been viewed as a likeable babyface, and his incredible skills in the ring make him more conducive to being a face than a heel.
That’s why it seems like, of the three Shield members, Rollins is the likeliest to turn babyface first and then get a sizable push as a midcarder. That’s what happened with Bryan in late 2010 when he became the United States Champion, and it could be what happens with Rollins, too.
Rollins would be a natural fit as a babyface Intercontinental or United States Champion and one of the WWE’s top midcarders. The WWE won’t want to elevate him to the main-event scene too quickly, so an extended midcard run to establish him as a good guy would be a very logical scenario.
From there on out, it’s a matter of Rollins even further developing his already impressive skill set and working to become an elite overall performer.
When Bryan entered the WWE, there was a lot of talk that he was a fantastic wrestler but not a great talker. That’s what a lot of people are saying about Rollins now.
There’s a widespread notion that Rollins is more than ready to wrestle on Raw but that he needs to work on his mic skills.
Bryan, of course, proved that, once he was given the opportunity to cut promos on a consistent basis, he was actually a very skilled talker. Odds are that Rollins will do the same, especially if he has time to develop his skills.
Once Rollins gets more opportunities to wrestle and work the mic, the fans will begin to see that he is easily one of the most talented performers to enter the WWE over the last several years.
He’s already good enough in the ring to be a top guy, and at just 26 years old, he still has all the time in the world to get even better. That’s why a run in the main event and World title picture seems like a very real possibility for him.
Rollins is, quite simply, too talented not to make a major splash in the WWE, and like Bryan, his first storyline on the main roster is a huge one. Bryan used that angle to get over with the fans and become a hot commodity in the WWE.
Expect Rollins to do the same.
He has main-eventer written all over him, and even though he may not win a World title next month or next year, it’s a safe bet that he’s slowly but surely going to work his way to the top of the WWE.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!