The circus that is WWE is moving away from the strongman to the acrobat.
That is great news for a high-flying dynamo like Seth Rollins who will follow CM Punk and Daniel Bryan's lead in going from Ring of Honor world champ to WWE titleholder. His athleticism, looks and stage presence will have The Shield's speedster rise to the top of the WWE.
Rollins was known as Tyler Black when he won the ROH world title in 2010.
He joined an increasingly impressive list of great wrestlers to achieve that feat. Among them are two former WWE champs, Bryan and Punk. Those two men's builds are a sign of WWE's current path, moving away from dependence on power and instead rewarding wrestling excellence with championship gold.
Rollins, at 6'1'' and 217 pounds, with his two-toned hair and wiry frame, doesn't look like the burly champions of the past.
He is, however, perfectly sized for the WWE champ of the future, a future where quickness, kicks and overall mat ability can elevate one to the mountaintop. Take a look at the talents the company has signed in recent months.
Triple H and company have seemed to realize that the wrestling big man is going the way of the true NBA center. WWE has picked up a number of guys who would once be considered too small to make it.
|Ring Name||Also Known As||Height||Weight (in lbs.)|
|Kalisto||Samuray Del Sol||5'6''||180|
|Solomon Crowe||Sami Callihan||5'10''||200|
|Corey Graves||Sterling James Keenan||6'1''||209|
|Sami Zayn||El Generico||6'0''||193|
Once those NXT prospects begin to make their way onto the main roster, Rollins will no longer be one of the smaller guys in the locker room, just one of the most talented.
Ever since his first match with The Shield last December, Rollins has produced a number of thrilling matches in the ring. His contributions in the The Shield's clashes against Team Hell No and Ryback at TLC 2012, against John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus at Elimination Chamber 2013 and against Kane, Undertaker and Bryan on Raw in London show a star ready to explode.
His agility is a big part of that, but versatility is one of his major strengths.
In this match against Jey Uso, Rollins shows off punishing submission holds, compelling facial expressions and the ability to make all of his opponents' moves look devastating.
Challenging Dolph Ziggler for WWE's best seller, Rollins makes The Usos' Samoan Drop look like it gives him internal bleeding.
It's this performance part of the business that separates a great technical wrestler from a top star. Infusing entertainment into sport is something Rollins has been doing for a long time. It comes as no surprise how much WWE believes in him.
WWE made Rollins both the Florida Championship Wrestling world champ and the first-ever NXT titleholder.
Six months after first appearing on the main roster to help send Ryback through a table, Rollins won tag team gold alongside Roman Reigns. It's a championship he has yet to relinquish. That should come as no surprise to fans who have followed Rollins from his days at Scott County Wrestling.
He has been soaring, corkscrewing and moonsaulting his way to championships since first stepping between the ropes.
A championship in pro wrestling is not necessarily a measure of wrestlers' greatness as evidenced by title runs from the likes of David Arquette and Great Khali, but the fact that so often Rollins has been put in the "top guy" spot says plenty about his ability.
ROH thought him worthy of their highest rung, as did indy promotions like Full Impact Pro and All American Wrestling, as well as those in charge of WWE developmental.
Having fantastic chemistry and a long history with the hottest wrestler in WWE won't hurt Rollins either.
(NSFW Warning: The fans chanted a non-PG phrase at Rollins)
Bryan and Rollins have worked together going back to their ROH days. Looking back at this match, it's not hard to imagine it being something we one day see as the main event to a WWE pay-per-view.
There's a mix of drama, realistic wrestling and breathtaking spots that has been both Bryan and Rollins' trademark throughout their careers.
Punk and Bryan already made the journey from ROH champ to WWE champ and Rollins has all the talent to become the third man to do so.
WWE is changing before our eyes, the sleeker athletes passing up the musclebound beasts.
As that transformation continues, expect one of the best in that former category to add the WWE Championship to his growing collection of gold.