Is Seth Rollins Capable of Carrying WWE Raw on the Road to WrestleMania 35?

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2019

Seth Rollins' Road to WrestleMania 35 might be the only thing keeping WWE Raw afloat in the coming months.
Seth Rollins' Road to WrestleMania 35 might be the only thing keeping WWE Raw afloat in the coming months.Credit: WWE.com

Despite the McMahon family promising a "new era" in WWE, Raw remains in the doldrums and will need to be shaken up considerably between now and WrestleMania 35. Perhaps the only man capable of carrying the torch in the weeks and months ahead will be Seth Rollins.

Since the Brand Split was brought back in mid-2016, Rollins has been positioned as one of the red brand's top talents. Although he has yet to receive a run as the universal champion, it's possible his time will come on April 7 when he challenges Brock Lesnar for the belt.

For the past three years, The Architect has been the undisputed workhorse of Raw and has made the most of everything he's been a part of, meaning his upcoming program with The Beast Incarnate is bound to be no exception.

Credit: WWE.com

Rollins was at the forefront of the tag team wrestling renaissance in 2017 before restoring prestige to the Intercontinental Championship the following year. Granted, his recent rivalry with Dean Ambrose fell well below fans' expectations, but that hardly hindered his momentum heading into the Royal Rumble.

The Architect entered at No. 10 and outlasted everyone to win the Rumble match and punch his ticket to the main event of The Show of Shows. His outstanding performance only further cemented his status as the most beloved babyface on the red brand.

He wasted little time in choosing Lesnar to be his 'Mania opponent on the following night's Raw, but The Beast laid him out with multiple F5s to close the show.

According to John Pollock of Post Wrestling, Rollins suffered some sort of injury in the last few weeks that will keep him out of action for the next month or so. While he won't be wrestling at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Feb. 17, he'll still likely appear on Raw in a non-physical capacity.

Rollins was in a similar situation two years ago when he was legitimately hurt during an angle with Samoa Joe on the post-Rumble edition of Raw. He didn't compete in a single match from Jan. 23 to WrestleMania 33, yet he showed up almost every week to call out Triple H and cut some of the best promos of his career.

There's no reason why this year's Road to WrestleMania should be any different for the 32-year-old, and once he is eventually cleared to compete again, WWE fans will have even more of an incentive to pay attention to the Monday night broadcast.

Credit: WWE.com

Unfortunately, Raw has a ton of time to fill, so unless Rollins is involved in every segment on the show in the build to WrestleMania (which would obviously run the risk of overexposure for him), he alone can't make an entire episode of Raw must-see.

Rollins can certainly play his part in ensuring the red brand is as exciting as possible, but sometimes his own creative direction isn't enough of a reason for fans to want to sit through the three-hour marathon.

His latest feud with Ambrose was the perfect example of that, as WWE barely scratched the surface of what they could have done with them and instead kept things fairly formulaic and tame.

If there aren't any other compelling stories being told, then overall interest in the brand won't rise, regardless of how hot Rollins is right now.

Thankfully, his chase for the championship will be tough to botch, but it should be noted that he'll have to promote his 'Mania match mostly on his own with Lesnar's Raw appearances far and few between.

The inevitable promo battles between Rollins and Paul Heyman should be stellar, but beyond that, it will be a struggle for The Architect to find new topics to talk about if he isn't in the ring.

As for the rest of Raw, it's entirely dependent on what WWE has in mind for the Road to WrestleMania and how much of a focal point Rollins will be. If he continues to take center stage, there's a chance Raw will be the least bit bearable and he will entice fans to tune in to see his segments and watch whatever else is worthwhile.

Raw has been referred to by many as "Monday Night Rollins" for some time now, and if WWE can stay the course with the 2019 men's Royal Rumble winner, he may be the sole saving grace of the show through WrestleMania season.

   

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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