Seth Rollins has elevated his stock in just a short time as a singles heel for WWE.
After about a month in, fans can already see that Rollins has the showmanship and ring wizardry to effectively serve as a top heel. Looking at his mic work, ring work and general contributions to the product leaves one with little to nitpick.
After venturing out on his own as a bad guy, Rollins isn't just passing heel school, he's on the honor roll.
Breaking away from Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose has allowed him freedom and added opportunities to impress. That's exactly what he's done so far, even if there are imperfections to point out.
No longer sharing mic time with his brethren from The Shield, Rollins has shown off both his acting ability and limitations.
He is not as charismatic as the elite talkers in WWE history. There's no way to quantify that skill, but as much presence and it factor as Rollins has, he doesn't have the kind of pull that The Rock, Paul Heyman or Bray Wyatt have. Very few folks do, though.
His run so far has shown him to be more than talented enough when wielding a mic.
With potential still to be tapped into, he's already thrived in his heel role. He's come off as confident and cold, a convincing villain. That was clear early on when he explained to fans on June 9 why he turned his back on The Shield.
In an interview with Michael Cole, he exuded a sinister aura.
He claimed to have built The Shield and that Reigns and Ambrose owed him "every ounce of success they have ever achieved." He later stared out in the crowd, a fusion of rage and delight on his face.
It felt as if Rollins had truly transformed, this snake-like persona merely the next stage of his evolution.
Before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, he showed that same level of acting, but didn't engage on the mic as much. He addressed the crowd on the June 17 Main Event.
His lines and his delivery were solid, but nothing special.
The glee he showed when telling fans that he was in the upcoming Ladder match was the peak. Much of the rest of the performance felt ordinary.
Right after winning that match, he had another uneven night on the mic. His post-victory interview sat somewhere between good and great.
A convincing grin and seemingly authentic pleasure in his triumph lifted this speech. A lack of spark pulled it back some, though.
The lesson learned from these promos is that Rollins is going to hit home runs at times, as he did opposite Cole, but he's also going to get a lot of singles. WWE can rely on Wyatt to be consistently excellent, a top-tier talker at every opportunity.
Rollins is a step below that.
He will be an effective heel, though. In just his short time on his own, he has flashed glimpses of stellar villainy. On June 30, after besting Rob Vam Dam, he told Renee Young, "Hey lady, if you're going to introduce me, do it right. It's Mr. Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins to you, toots."
Smug, comfortable and clearly having fun, Rollins shined here. That level of heel mic work will keep him near the the top of WWE's ladder.
One doesn't have to be a Hall of Fame-level talent to make fans boo you with passion. That's what Rollins has done well so far, thanks in large part to his facial expressions and stage presence. Expect him to further grow into the role and add highlights aplenty to his resume.
Rollins' one-on-one opportunities haven't been plentiful yet, but WWE has to be pleased to see what he's done so far.
He has shown that he's not just an acrobat that adds to a group. He's an intriguing showman on his own as well.
Against Dolph Ziggler on the June 16 Raw, emotions sizzled on the screen. Each man's desperation was clear. With each nearfall, each big move failing to get a win, Ziggler and Rollins both had to shake off frustration and fight on.
The match had an impressive flow and was well-paced.
Viciousness was one of Rollins' strengths even if his punches to The Showoff's head weren't forceful enough. Rollins wore a snarl as he attacked his foe with just enough smashmouth offense before he ended the bout with a ferocious Curb Stomp that was hard not to wince at.
His effort against Kofi Kingston on the June 20 SmackDown was not as impressive.
Their chemistry wasn't as fluid. The action was solid, but not as quick and crisp as Rollins has been at his best.
Mostly though, Rollins has exceeded expectations in the ring.
He contributed some of the most thrilling spots in the Money in the Bank Ladder match. He took a nasty superplex from Ambrose from high on a ladder. Later, Kingston hurled him into a propped-up ladder and had him tumbling dangerously toward the mat.
An integral part of the action, Rollins emerged the winner of one of the best Money in the Bank Ladder matches ever.
The clash ended up getting rave reviews. For example, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t ProFightDB.com) awarded the match a 4.5 star rating, making it the night's best bout in his mind.
Van Dam has been slower and less smooth than he was during his last run, but he and the Money in the Bank winner delivered a match that had the crowd chanting "This is awesome!"
On June 30, Rollins displayed an aggressive, nasty side that he will need to be a top-level heel.
He seemed to have genuine disdain for his opponent. His stomps came down hard, as if Rollins was trying to crush a roach.
Rollins added his usual excellent selling, flipping over dramatically on the floor after Van Dam crashed into him. This was one of his successes as a singles star so far, but his biggest test awaits. He and Ambrose are set to step on stage together at some point soon.
When they eventually battle each other, it will serve as both men's most important one-on-one match to date. They alone will be the stars. They can either prove that they belong on the marquee or show WWE that they're not quite ready.
The way Rollins has handled stepping into the spotlight on his own must have WWE officials grinning.
Reigns has always seemed like the blue-chipper of the group. Ambrose was the wilder, entertaining character. With this early part of his heel run, Rollins has essentially said, "Don't sleep on me. I'm a star too."
He has found swagger since leaving The Shield.
As the suit-wearing braggart heartlessly seeking his own fortune, Rollins' magnetism has grown. Ambrose may have seemed like the better fit to be the betrayer of the trio, but this must have been what WWE envisioned when it had Rollins serve as the Benedict Arnold.
Being emotive in front of the camera and a joy to watch in the ring, it's hard to argue that Rollins hasn't been a success.
His feud with Ambrose is just gearing up. It's already getting fans and writers alike to take notice.
What needs work is the smaller details of his character. His new ring gear is odd, something a retired superhero might sell at a garage sale. It's distracting and doesn't suit his character as well as Ambrose' new duds do.
His entrance music needs a change as well. It doesn't stand out like a great entrance theme should.
Get Jim Johnston back in the studio to crank something else out for him. His current song is a detractor not a booster.
If music and leather pants are a wrestler's biggest problems, though, it's a sign of their prosperity. Rollins has sprinted toward the top during the early part of his time alone and doesn't appear to be slowing down soon.
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