I might be giving WWE creative too much credit here, but I think we might be seeing the genesis of a really well-booked Seth Rollins heel turn. Before anyone gets worked up here, this is just a theory based on a few observations. I have heard no rumors, I’ve read no reports, my name is not Dave Meltzer. This is just a theory I have that I wanted to share with the greater wrestling community.
Is WWE Turning Seth Rollins Heel?
Right now, Seth Rollins is on the best run of his WWE career. He’s consistently having stellar matches, the crowd is firmly in his corner, and he’s coming off of a fantastic run as the Intercontinental Champion. Rollins is so over that there have been reports (and a decent dream-booking) about a change of plans that would see Rollins challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam, instead of Roman Reigns as many expected. So how could they turn him heel? Like this.
Monday Night Rollins
In kayfabe, this all started when Rollins told Kurt Angle that he wanted to be the man again, like he was in 2015. He said he wanted to be the face of Monday night raw, and ever since, he’s been red hot. He had a good showing at the Elimination Chamber, he had that incredible gauntlet match, and not long after that, he defeated The Miz and Finn Balor at WrestleMania to become Intercontinental champion.
As Intercontinental Champion, Rollins wanted to be what Brock Lesnar wasn’t, a fighting champion. That’s not just an observation, Rollins did not shy away from calling out the Universal Champion and his spotty attendance. Instead, Rollins followed in the path of John Cena, hosting open challenges to prove that he was the man, and a fighting champion. Week in and week out, he would defend the prestigious title against all challengers.
He actually had some good matches with some questionable talent as well. It’s not a walk in the park to get an exceptional match out of the likes of Mojo Rawley or Jinder Mahal, but somehow, Rollins managed.
Here’s where it gets interesting though. Because as a character, Seth’s charm has always been that he’s a little arrogant. Rollins doesn’t just get the Shawn Michaels comparison because of the similarities in between the ropes, Rollins has the same confidence that Shawn did where you could tell he knew just how good he was, and that he didn’t mind reminding everyone else. He’s a little smug and kinda cocky, but it works because he’s so good in the ring, he backs it up.
During his run as Intercontinental Champion, he did things like interrupt Elias’ concert that we laugh at because Elias is a heel, but that are objectively a little heelish. And that’s where I started seeing signs of a heel turn, because Rollins does heel things, but he gets a face reaction because he does them to heels.
For instance, in his open challenge against Jinder Mahal, he lost by DQ when he used a steel chair. Of course, it was justified because it was Jinder who cheated first, employing Sunil Singh as a distraction, but Rollins still used nefarious means to retain his title.
Then, at the Money in the Bank pay per view, Rollins pulled on Elias’ tights (pants) for the win, but he got a pass because Elias did it first. Fair is fair, after all, and turnabout is fair play.
But then the night after happened.
Champion No More
Rollins was clearly banged up from the night before when he came out, asking for yet another open challenge. In kayfabe, he had been suffering from injuries for weeks, but that didn’t stop him from putting his belt on the line. In Rollins’ eyes, this was just another way to prove he was a real fighting champion. Even on commentary, they began to play up how Rollins’ ego was playing into jeopardizing his title.
However, injuries and all, he issued the open challenge, and this time, it was answered by Dolph Ziggler. Yet again, his opponent had extra help, this time, it was the interference of Ziggler’s partner, Drew Gallowhatevertyre, and he attempted to retain by grabbing Dolph’s tights like he had to Elias the night before. However, this time, it wasn’t enough and his opponent was able to roll him through for the win, costing him the title.
He didn’t wait long to cash in on his rematch, demanding a match with Ziggler for his Intercontinental Championship the very next Raw. In the main event of the June 26th edition of WWE’s flagship show, Rollins and Ziggler main-evented in a fantastic bout that ended when Drew McIntyre attacked Rollins, ending the match in a disqualification. The duo beat Rollins down until Roman Reigns came to the rescue, leaving the babyfaces standing tall, but disappointed.
Think back to the promo between Seth Rollins and Kurt Angle. Rollins said he wanted to be the man again, like he was in 2015… but in 2015, he was a heel that did whatever he had to in order to win. In 2015, Rollins was a chicken heel that couldn’t win without help, not that he’d ever acknowledge it.
Before dropping the white belt, Rollins hadn’t been able to cleanly defend the championship. Recently, he’s actually been on a bit of a losing streak. He hit Jinder Mahal with a chair and grabbed Elias’ pants for both title defenses, and in the other two matches with clean finishes, he lost. Elias beat him, and he was the one to take the pinfall in the tag team match with Roman against Jinder and Elias.
Seth Rollins wants to be the face of Monday Night Raw. He wants the spotlight, like he had as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and because he’s so damn good in the ring, we all want it to. We want it so bad that we overlook little things like Rollins taking shortcuts or cutting corners to win. It’s been over a month since Seth Rollins has won a match clean, and with all due respect to the wrestlers, it’s not like Mojo Rawley is a main event guy.
Sure, Rollins probably would’ve beaten Ziggler without the interference, but we’ll never know that, and yet again, just like with Elias and Jinder, “big brother” Roman Reigns had to come to the rescue. Seth is a man who wants to be the best, but despite some incredible showings, hasn’t been.
I’m not saying this is what WWE has in mind. Maybe they’re just trying to get the belt off of him so they can move him up the card. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, and they wanted to change champions while still protecting everybody.
But what I see? I see someone who wants to be the man, who wants to be a fighting champion, that doesn’t have a title, and is slipping from the spotlight. Maybe we’re about to get a program with Rollins and Reigns vs. McIntyre and Ziggler, and maybe there will be some shuffling at the top of the card to see who gets that shot at Lesnar. And hey, maybe I’m reading too much into everything, but Rollins has been wearing the same gear he used to wear as champion.
Wouldn’t it be something if Rollins turned on Roman Reigns yet again to elevate himself on the card? You know what they say, fool me once…