Seth Rollins Is Low-Key Wrestling's MVP of 2022

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 18, 2022

Seth Rollins Is Low-Key Wrestling's MVP of 2022

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    Seth Rollins has showed out time and time again throughout 2022. (Credit: WWE.com)

    Countless competitors across all companies have had exceptional years in wrestling, but a case can absolutely be made for WWE's Seth Rollins being the best of the bunch.

    Rollins' in-ring ability has, of course, never been questioned. For nearly a decade, he has been churning out incredible performances week in and week out both as a babyface and as a heel.

    He has been involved in many Match of the Year conversations throughout his WWE career, but 2022 in particular has seen him reach new heights as a performer despite not always winning on the bigger stages.

    Raw hasn't had an active world champion for the better part of the year, leaving Rollins to largely carry the red brand on his back. He's no stranger to the spotlight and seizing opportunity, but it's almost as if his undeniable greatness hasn't been acknowledged or appreciated as much as it should be.

    His compelling character work, bulletproof booking and determination to give every outing his all are among the several factors that have made him wrestling's MVP for 2022–and that's without him holding a single title.

A Lackluster PPV Record Hasn't Hindered Him in the Slightest

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    Clash at the Castle earlier this month saw Rollins score a much-needed victory over Matt Riddle. Prior to that point, he hadn't won a singles match by pinfall on pay-per-view since June 2021's Hell in a Cell when he beat Cesaro.

    Since then, he has been the sole survivor for Team Raw at Survivor Series and defeated Roman Reigns by disqualification at Royal Rumble, but he hasn't had a whole lot of luck otherwise.

    He was essentially squashed by Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber, suffered three straight setbacks at the hands of Cody Rhodes, and was unsuccessful in becoming a two-time Mr. Money in the Bank.

    However, fans would never know his win-loss record on premium live events this year has been less-than-stellar because he has remained relevant and maintained momentum this entire time.

    Rollins has reached a point in his career where any number of losses, even if they're high-profile, will not drastically hurt him or his goodwill with the audience. That has been especially evident in 2022.

    That isn't to say The Visionary should be WWE's ultimate enhancement talent or stepping stone by any means. He deserves a prominent spot atop the card and should be winning more than he loses, but having always looked credible in defeat, he is every bit as popular now as he was a year ago, if not more so.

Making the Most of Impromptu Situations

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    Rollins is the prime example of a Superstar who can be put in just about any situation, and he can be expected to excel.

    He is undoubtedly one of WWE's biggest stars on the active roster, and yet he had no scheduled opponent for WrestleMania 38 this year until only a few weeks prior. Despite plans for every potential opponent falling through, Rollins remained the most interesting aspect of Raw every week on the road to WrestleMania.

    In the end, his match with the returning Cody Rhodes wasn't made official until the night of, and they killed it.

    Rollins found himself in a similar situation at SummerSlam when his scheduled bout with Matt Riddle was canceled only a few days prior. He took to Twitter a few days ahead of the event to apologize for being bumped from the card, only to appear anyway and further his feud with Riddle in effective fashion.

    He's the guy who can be plugged into any program or match on short notice and turn whatever he touches into gold. Few other stars in wrestling have that same sense of reliability about them, and he never ceases to thrive under that pressure.

Elevating and Bringing the Best Out of His Opponents

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    One of Rollins' greatest strengths is that he can bring the best out of any opponent he shares the squared circle with while also managing to save some of the spotlight for himself.

    This has been pretty apparent over the past decade and has enhanced every feud he's had so far in 2022.

    Roman Reigns was already on the run of a lifetime by the time they finally crossed paths for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble, but it remains one of his best bouts as champ to date, and fans are still anxiously awaiting a rematch.

    Furthermore, Cody Rhodes came into WWE feeling like a major deal thanks to his successful stint in AEW, but it was his series of matches with Rollins that cemented his status as a star. The Architect was selfless in putting over Rhodes on three straight occasions and in clean fashion to boot.

    His most recent rivalry with Matt Riddle has been no exception. Riddle needed to find his footing as a singles star, and this feud has helped him tremendously with that, thanks to Rollins' ability to elevate each and every one of his adversaries.

    Rollins' win over Riddle at Clash at the Castle will make Riddle's eventual win over Rollins (presumably at Extreme Rules) mean that much more.

Strong Character and Promo Work

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    While Rollins' matches are always second to none, his character work and promos throughout 2022 have been of equally excellent quality.

    His character arc in particular has been nearly flawless since his arrival in WWE. He's done everything with a purpose and has organically shifted his alignment with the audience based on their reactions to him.

    He's been at his best when he's been portrayed with an edge and less over-the-top obnoxious. We still see hints of that side to him from time to time, but he's tweaked it to where his actions and mannerisms are justified.

    His rivalry with Reigns was brief but was brilliantly done to where he highlighted how Reigns has never beaten him one-on-one on a major stage. Plus, following his three losses to Rhodes, he kept his crowd heat by putting The American Nightmare on the shelf with an injury (in storyline).

    Riddle has been a fantastic foil for him lately because of their characters being so drastically different from one another. It's allowed Rollins to really step up his game even more and revert to his roots as a dastardly heel.

    His promos have improved immensely over the years, and because he's never lost sight of wanting to regain world title gold, it's made it easier for fans to follow and invest in his journey.

Consistently Stealing the Show

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    If Rollins didn't outright steal the show on WWE's biggest stages in 2022, he certainly came close.

    He started the year strong with his standout performance at Januarys' Day 1 pay-per-view, followed by his outstanding encounter with Reigns at the Rumble. His disappointing run inside the Elimination Chamber was his only sore spot, as he immediately redeemed himself with an instant classic against Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 38.

    As if that wasn't enough, they went on to have one of WWE's greatest trilogies ever with another two tremendous matches at WrestleMania Backlash and Hell in a Cell. He also shined in the men's Money in the Bank Ladder match and ripped it up with Riddle at Clash at the Castle.

    That's all in addition to his many above-average television matches this year with the likes of AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Montez Ford, Randy Orton and Big E. When the bell rings for a Rollins match, greatness is guaranteed.

    Somehow, Rollins has only advanced every aspect of his in-ring game and has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.


    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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