Seth Rollins was a hot topic of conversation among wrestling fans last week, and not for his battle with Baron Corbin at WWE Stomping Grounds. Rather, it was his war of words with New Japan Pro-Wrestling standout Will Ospreay over Twitter that sparked debate and led many to question what he was trying to accomplish.
Does Rollins believe WWE has the best wrestling of any company in the world right now, or did he say that because he feels it is his duty to stand up for the organization whose flag he waves proudly as the universal champion?
Either way, it's clear he aims to represent Raw and all of WWE to the best of his ability. Regardless of whether you agree with him, his recent behavior and comments about the company are certainly befitting of someone who can be considered the face of WWE.
Seth Rollins @WWERollins
Doubling down. Best pro wrestling on the planet. See that Cruiserweight Triple Threat? And that’s just one night, one match amongst the many. Find anyone else alive who does what I do as well as I do it as often as I do it. Ya can’t. #WWEStompingGrounds #UniversalChampion @WWE
Since his rise to superstardom in 2015, Roman Reigns has largely been portrayed as the face of WWE, and for good reason. He possesses every tool necessary to carry the company on his back and has beaten all the top names from Triple H and John Cena to The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.
Unfortunately, WWE hasn't done an amazing job of endearing Reigns to the audience over the years. Their questionable booking decisions (i.e., refusing to turn him heel and stunting his growth as a character on the whole) has hindered his popularity considerably, at least with a vocal portion of the WWE Universe.
WWE waiting too long to pull the trigger on him didn't help matters, either. He went two years without holding world title gold from 2016 to 2018, and when he finally dethroned Lesnar as universal champion at SummerSlam last year, the time for him to take the torch had passed.
The Big Dog then took time off from WWE to recover from his returning bout of leukemia. In his absence, the company struggled to find someone it could build the product around before settling on Rollins at the onset of 2019.
The Architect was the perfect choice to follow in the footsteps of his friend as the face of WWE since he has been on the roll of his career over the past year. He continued to build momentum by winning the men's Royal Rumble and later beating The Beast Incarnate for the red-leathered title in an exciting two-minute match at WrestleMania 35.
The ovation Rollins received that night strongly suggested he'd be positioned as the "the guy" from that point forward, but it hasn't panned out that way, leading fans to question if there is a single face of WWE anymore with the way things are run.
It should be noted that although Reigns has been back in action for months now, he has mostly been involved in midcard storylines with Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. Once he was moved to SmackDown Live in April's Superstar Shake-up, that basically cemented Rollins as the top dog not only on Raw but the entire WWE.
Even still, Rollins doesn't feel that much more special in the same way Lesnar or Cena do. He's had a solid reign as universal champion, but it isn't as if interest in the product would decrease dramatically if he wasn't around.
As CM Punk once famously said, he's another spoke in the wheel. Virtually anyone could be in his spot at the moment, and it wouldn't make much of a difference; gone are the days of WWE relying on one person to sell tickets and boost ratings, for better or for worse.
It can be argued Rollins has surpassed Reigns as WWE's go-to Superstar for pay-per-view main events, media appearances and prominent storylines. Of course, how long that will last remains to be seen, but his role on Raw doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.
Either way, Rollins and Reigns are equals, no matter who has what title. At the end of the day, the appeal of WWE is not any one performer but rather the brand as a whole, and with that in mind, it's unlikely they'll ever allow anyone to get beyond a certain level again.
Rollins is perhaps the closest thing the company has to a true franchise player these days, but even he is far off from being as big a star as he could be.
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.