WWE Hot Take: Bumbling Babyface Seth Rollins Making Fans Miss Roman Reigns

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2019


Maybe WWE was on to something in choosing Roman Reigns over almost anyone else.

Seth Rollins' recent sprint through WWE land shows it clearly enough. He's been all over the place for months, if not borderline boring, which isn't what anyone wants to see from the company's top guy.

And this isn't just taking aim at Rollins for the sake of doing so because he's the top guy or it's WWE. He's still one of the best in the world in the ring. Everything else, though, has been dramatically out of whack with Rollins for a long time.

Disclaimer: This isn't all Rollins' fault. The face of the company and the Raw workhorse has to deal with some garbage writing at times. But even in the easy-money feuds, Rollins is struggling.

Case in point, the most recent edition of Raw, on which Rollins hit the ring to start promoting yet another match against Brock Lesnar, which will go down at SummerSlam:

Think about some of these notes for a second. "He's like this big thing...and he's got this big old face on." Don't forget the "he's a real Godzilla looking (expletive), if you ask me, notorious GLB..." In one promo, Rollins is joking about appearances, saying he doesn't want to be Lesnar, that Lesnar wants to be him ("he's a Seth Freakin' Rollins wannabe!"), that Lesnar isn't a beast or a conqueror but just a man.

This isn't a new problem. Rollins, after winning the title at WrestleMania on a low blow against Lesnar, watched Lesnar win the Money in the Bank briefcase. Fine, but he then went around and told anyone who listened that he wanted Lesnar to be a man and cash in fair and square.

Why would Rollins, the guy who cashed in during the main event of a 'Mania and stole the title and then later won it again on a low blow against the same person expect or want that same person to play it fair? And at the same time, he was running around beating the living tar out of anyone who wanted to serve as referee with a steel chair.

This is a big part of the problem. Booking hasn't always helped Rollins, and he's still getting reactions, but the lack of a character is crushing any run he's in. If it weren't for the "burn it down" pop when he enters and sporadic pops from live crowds, things might be even worse.

And those pops might end up being at risk as it is. The live crowd in the video above wasn't exactly going wild. During a Battle Royal to determine Lesnar's opponent, guys like Randy Orton were getting cheered over him.

The live-crowd problem is only just beginning and wasn't hard to see coming. There isn't much of a character here. Who is Seth Rollins? He's a workhorse, which is fine. So are Kofi Kingston and any number of others. So was Dean Ambrose. He's had a few different nicknames, including The Architect and Beast Slayer.

But lately, the writing has reflected the lack of a character. Rollins had a fun one-off with AJ Styles and then got slapped into what was clearly a time-passing feud with Baron Corbin. That then looped in his real-life girlfriend Becky Lynch.

That, by the way, brought about this awkward segment:

When Lesnar cashed in his briefcase at Extreme Rules, Rollins was exhausted from a tag match fans would typically see on Raw and distracted by Lynch's well-being, costing him the title.

This is part of a bigger problem in WWE. Becky Lynch has cooled pretty dramatically too. She's not on a chase anymore, and the writing has needed to take over now that the organic rise that had her propped up by fans in the first place has washed away.

With Rollins, maybe the solution is turning him heel. Maybe it's simply putting him in better programs. But it isn't hard to see that someone like Reigns—the subject of fan ire for a long time because WWE was shoving him down their throats—is doing much better than Rollins.

But it's a rock and a hard place because of Lesnar too. If Rollins takes back the title at Summerslam because Lesnar leaves again, the writing has to once again prop up non-chase mode, babyface Rollins. If Lesnar wins, the universal title is off television again and Rollins goes into another holding pattern because it's clear he's earmarked as the guy at the top of Raw.

Not too long ago, it was hard to imagine pretty much any development could make fans miss Reigns as the top dog. But the wishy-washy direction of a good-guy Rollins and how he's performed in feuds have hurt his stock and the main-event scene.

Coming out of SummerSlam, regardless of result, WWE has to find a way to salvage Rollins lest more fans turn on him just like they did Reigns.


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