The Wrestler of the Week award is designed to highlight a wrestler who made the most of his or her opportunities in a given week. While great matches or memorable promos certainly help a wrestler win Wrestler of the Week, the ultimate decision will also include consistency through the week and bonus points for pulling off a task with a higher degree of difficulty.
1/2/13 Wrestler of the Week – Seth Rollins
Anyone who watched Raw or Smackdown last week already knows who the best wrestler of the week was. For some unknown reason, Michael Cole started to advance a strawman argument about how Seth Rollins had become the most underrated member of The Shield. In reality, Rollins lost out on opportunities to showcase himself as Dean Ambrose defended his US Title in singles matches and Roman Reigns became a breakout star at Survivor Series and in many of The Shield’s subsequent matches. While the lack of opportunities was troubling, Rollins was so good whenever WWE gave him a chance to shine that it was only a matter of time before Rollins would remind everyone how good even the “underrated” member of The Shield could be.
The Shield occupied Smackdown’s main event on Friday with a series of matches. Big E Langston beat Dean Ambrose in the first match, Roman Reigns got a big victory over Mark Henry in the second, and Rollins took on John Cena in the third. The match was a perfect example of how a wrestler can look good in defeat if the match is put together well enough. The match told the story of Rollins giving Cena all he could handle and certainly more than he expected. Each time Cena tried to hit one of his big, signature moves, Rollins had a counter ready that was unlike what Cena usually sees. Even when Cena did hit a big move, Rollins managed to kick out and fight his way back into control. It looked like Rollins might actually win the match when he hit a flying knee off the top rope, but Cena kicked out. When Rollins got involved in a skirmish outside the ring, Cena was ready with an AA when he reentered to finally win the match. Given an opportunity to wrestle the biggest name in WWE, Rollins held his own and elevated his reputation in the loss.
The opening match of Raw was more of the same from Rollins as he took on CM Punk in another chance to turn heads in his direction. Rollins got involved in the match when Punk asked The Shield to pick their best representative to face him in a singles match. Ambrose, Reigns, and Rollins argued briefly over who should represent the team and Brad Maddox picked Rollins. In contrast to the Smackdown match, this match gave Rollins plenty of opportunity to control the direction with his own offense. He showed off his unique arsenal of float-over moves and slams that use the turnbuckles to punish his opponents. Rollins might have won the match if the referee was ready to count when he hit his float-over inverted facebuster, but a distraction from Ambrose outside the ring delayed the count. Punk took advantage of his second life and hit the GTS to beat Rollins. Just like on Smackdown, Rollins made himself look like he belongs with the very best wrestlers in WWE.
As The Shield starts to very slowly disintegrate, it will be natural to chart the paths of its members. Reigns fits the prototype of successful WWE main eventers since Vince McMahon took over the company, so it is easy to see how he will transition into singles competition. Ambrose has the eccentricity and mic skills to take poor storylines and make them worthwhile, so wherever he ends up on the card, he will make it entertaining. While Rollins does not have a singular, obvious destiny, he might be the most complete wrestler of the three. It is also a near certainty that he is the best of the three in terms of in-ring skills. Although I do not know where that will land him long-term, I know that it made him the best wrestler of the week to start 2013 on a high note.