It all looked so rosy for Seth Rollins towards the end of March at WresteMania 31. History was made by having Rollins become the first Money in the Bank winner to make a cash in attempt at WrestleMania, while the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns was still in progress – another first – and successfully coming away with the title, giving the Curb Stomp to Reigns while Lesnar was out of the ring, one of the niftiest moves ever. That was as good as it would get for Rollins however because in one big travesty, his title reign which has lasted 215 days to date, has been nothing short of a flop, despite the impressive in-ring work.
His televised win-loss record since WrestleMania makes for sorry reading indeed: 21 wins against 39 losses. Some of the losses he has taken this year have been at best puzzling, at worst, inane. The loss in a handicap match to J&J Security is the clearest possible evidence of the latter. This had to be the lowest point for Rollins and a standout example of how a world champion should NOT be booked. Even the wins he has accumulated have been frequently plagued by interference from The Authority, disqualification endings and constant cheating. Admittedly, it is normal for a villain to cheat their way to victory, of course it is, and that is acceptable up to a certain point.
Being the undisputed no.1 villain in the company, it could be thought that he is doing such a great job in his role that fans want to see him get what he has coming to him on a regular basis and creative are actually giving the people what they want. Still, it is hard to get past the cold hard fact that no WWE World Heavyweight Champion who has had the belt for so long has been made to look less like a champion as is possible. The champion of the WWE’s most prestigious belt should be booked strongly to retain every ounce of credibility he had when he first won the title, credibility he has been sorely lacking throughout his championship reign. And not only should he be winning, but winning cleanly at that for the vast majority of the time. Maybe not all the time, that is too big a stretch, but certainly around 75-80% of the time would suffice. No champion, regardless of the title they hold, should be made to look so weak and too much of a coward in the eyes of the fans and this should be especially so in the case of the company’s top dog. For someone who combines the high flying ability of a young Shawn Michaels, the brash arrogance of CM Punk and the opportunistic streak of Edge for a wonderful and extensive all-round package, it is quite the mystery as to why he is being booked the way he is.
Scratch beneath the surface however and at least a couple of mysteries to the dubious and nonsensical booking of Rollins might well be unfolded. For one, Rollins is an elite seller, easily among the top three in the business, giving him a reputation as someone who can make far less talented wrestlers look much better than they really are. As a consequence, this may have convinced the creative team that he is more adept at putting others over than picking up the victories himself. There is also the matter of his current girlfriend, former NXT wrestler, Zahra Schreiber being fired from WWE for a controversial photo featuring a swastika, posted and deleted several years beforehand, somehow re-surfacing online in September. Whether she re-posted the image or if someone close to her had set her up and thus created a conspiracy to see her gone will possibly never be made clear, but it was clearly a knee-jerk reaction before the total establishment of the facts.
This, the shabby treatment of Schreiber, has probably had the knock-on effect of Rollins being punished for circumstances that were totally out of his control, unfair in the utmost, but something WWE, despite claims to the contrary, has had a history of doing to suit its own needs and purposes when it wants to. If he is indeed being punished, WWE have locked themselves in a conundrum of sorts. You would think the easiest option would be to have had him drop the title already when the news came to light. Or perhaps it was already decided in advance, when the title was won, that he was going to be a long term champion but unforeseen circumstances demanded instead that he would be presented as a fluke champion? When it comes to WWE’s top decision makers, everything that seems logical just goes out the window.
Really though, whichever way you choose to look at it, Rollins truly deserves so much more than to be treated as a jobber who just so happens to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. But at the end of the day the sad reality is, no matter how much longer he holds the title for, even if he makes it to WrestleMania 32 to complete a year long run, and regardless of how many more great matches he has with the title on the line, his reign will be not be remembered in the amber of greatness, but for the company monumentally failing to capitalise on his status as public enemy number one.