Seth Rollins Beats Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Wins WWE Title at WrestleMania 31

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2015

Photo courtesy of WWE.com

Seth Rollins became the handpicked future face of WWE when he turned on The Shield in June. That prophecy was fulfilled tonight as Rollins successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 to become the new WWE World Heavyweight champion.

Lesnar and Roman Reigns were in the middle of a bloody slugfest, with each star kicking out of multiple finishers. Both men were out of it in the ring after Lesnar delivered an F-5 as Rollins ran down to cash in his briefcase.

Rollins quickly deposited Reigns to the outside and hit a Curb Stomp on Lesnar. As he lined up another Curb Stomp, Lesnar quickly recovered and was poised to hit an F-5 on Rollins.

Then, Reigns recovered to spear Lesnar. Rollins immediately capitalized with one more Curb Stomp on Reigns to win the match. As WWE's Kyle Edwards noted, Rollins is the first wrestler to win both the NXT and World Heavyweight Championships:

Former WWE announcer Jim Ross was a big fan of how everything played out:

Jim Ross @JRsBBQ

Well done @WWE Title bout...excellently executed..beatable, heel champion..Lesnar wasn't pinned..Reigns & Rollins have an issue..worked well

ESPN's Robert Flores praised the execution as well but wonders how Reigns will recover and maintain his current aura:

Robert Flores @RoFlo

Main event was booked perfectly, putting strap on Rollins is good idea. But what to do about Reigns?? Hmmm #WrestleMania

Rollins was known as the architect of The Shield, but he tore it down as quickly as he built it up at the behest of Triple H. With Reigns and Dean Ambrose no longer by his side, Rollins was free to ascend to the role of WWE's top heel.

The high-flying Superstar has played the role to near perfection and was finally able to nab the final puzzle piece by becoming the company's top champion.

While dismantling The Shield was the first step in Rollins' journey to championship glory, the ball truly started rolling at Money in the Bank in late June. Rollins was able to capture the all-important briefcase with help from Kane and put himself in position to cash in at an opportune time.

That particular victory was huge for him, but it was also a major coup for The Authority as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon celebrated along with him, as seen in this WWE Instagram photo:

Carrying the briefcase wasn't always a walk in the park for Rollins, though. It put a major target on his back and placed him firmly in Ambrose's crosshairs. Since Rollins and Kane colluded to screw over Ambrose at Money in the Bank, he vowed to prevent Rollins from cashing in at every turn.

Ambrose was successful in that regard on several occasions as potentially perfect cash-in opportunities were wasted time and again by WWE's lunatic fringe.

Rollins even tried to cash in on Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions by interfering in his match against John Cena and Curb Stomping The Beast Incarnate. Cena foiled that attempt, but it was merely a speed bump en route to championship gold.

The fact that Rollins is now WWE World Heavyweight champion may be surprising to some based on the way the three Shield members were trending initially. Reigns and Ambrose seemed to be battling for breakout star honors with Rollins sometimes forgotten as the third wheel.

Reigns and Ambrose will still be top guys in their own right, but Rollins has stepped out from their shadows in a way.

Rollins admitted to Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun that his rise to prominence was rapid shortly after capturing the briefcase, but he also made it clear that he worked hard and deserved to be in that position as Mr. Money in the Bank.

It's crazy. It's very surreal. This is the goal, it's where we all want to be. I had to stop and absorb the moment—appreciate the sacrifices and time that were put into it. The cream always rises. I feel pretty good about where I am. ... It's a very awesome vote of confidence to be in this position, to be here two years after I started. Some may say it's quick, I say, for me it's right on schedule.

Now that Rollins has achieved his destiny and become the most powerful wrestler in the business, it will be interesting to see how WWE handles him. A long-term title run is certainly possible since he has a solid character and is more than capable of carrying his weight in the ring, but it is far from guaranteed.

Rollins could just as easily be a transitional champion, which may not be an ideal situation for his fans, but simply giving Rollins a taste of being WWE World Heavyweight champion should prepare him for sustained success moving forward.

Perhaps the best thing about Rollins is his versatility. He has done quite well as a heel, but he has face written all over him and should be able to make the transition back and forth with ease. He is also among the best in-ring workers in the world, so having him carry the top title is fairly safe.

Rollins is the latest example of an indie wrestling product striking it big in WWE, and there is no question that he has earned those accolades.

Winning Money in the Bank and cashing it in successfully has truly launched the careers of all-time greats such as Edge, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, among others. Based on everything he brings to the table, Rollins is a virtual lock to join that exclusive group.

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