Seth Rollins had a prime opportunity to become the new WWE universal champion on the November 21 edition of Monday Night Raw. The Architect was close to taking down Kevin Owens but ultimately came up short in his bid to rule Monday nights.
But this has become an ongoing problem for Rollins. The longer he goes without the title, the less sense it makes. Rollins is red-hot right now and should be reigning as the WWE universal champion.
There seems to be no other reason to keep Rollins from the championship other than to watch him chase it. That seems like a great idea on paper, and a logical one at that. There's nothing like seeing a fan favorite overcome the odds to achieve his dream, and that's especially true in WWE.
But the company hasn't capitalized on Rollins to this point.
He's getting over, which has happened because of the connection he's made with fans. The WWE faithful appreciated him for the work he put into his heel character, and they respected him for the work he did in the ring.
He was cheered in spite of himself, and a face turn was inevitable.
The man who dismantled The Shield is now back on the same page as both Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. If there was ever a time to see The Hounds of Justice reunite, it's surely coming soon. Rollins has realized his potential as a top player in WWE, and now he's got the chance to do the same as a babyface.
But he's done it on his own, without much help from the company; it's as if he lost support when he turned.
When Triple H betrayed Rollins and sided with Owens, it was much more than just a storyline, and maybe that's what WWE intended. It appears that Rollins is falling through the cracks, while the Universal Championship sits on the waist of a part-time comedian.
It's not to say that KO isn't entertaining, and it's not to say that he's not a good choice to be the champion. Owens has put his time in and deserves the opportunity to show what he can do on the main event level. If WWE can trust anyone with a top title, it's Owens.
But his booking has left a lot to be desired.
The WWE Universal Championship is a major title because WWE says it is, not because there's been any work to prove it. The belt can only get over if the booking gets it over, and that's just not happened yet.
However, that could immediately change if Rollins was the champion.
Rollins would make the belt mean something from the first moment his arm was raised in victory. He's red-hot as a babyface right now, but if he becomes Universal champion, he would go nuclear. He needs the title as much as the title needs him.
The alternative to Rollins is Roman Reigns, and many want nothing to do with that.
Reigns just cannot connect with fans the way Rollins can, so any thoughts of him coming away with the belt should be reexamined. KO's booking is already preventing the Universal Championship from being all that it can be, and the same would be true of Reigns.
WWE may have a plan in mind for Rollins and Owens. Perhaps all this is leading to something bigger later on, and maybe it will indeed end with Rollins as champ. Their match on Raw is a great example of what they can do if this feud becomes a championship rivalry.
But if it doesn't, then WWE will be missing out on a major opportunity.
Rollins is ready now to make an impact as champion, and he can make it work like no one else on Raw can.
The WWE Universal Championship needs to get over, and Rollins needs to get back to the business of getting over. Matches like the one he had with KO on Raw is a great way to make both happen, but the easiest way is to put the belt on Rollins.
The longer Rollins goes without the title, the more time WWE wastes.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here