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.
4/30/14 Wrestler of the Week – Seth Rollins
Internet fans often complain that WWE has recycled too many of the same stars year after year and has failed to develop new main eventers due to excessive 50/50 booking. While there was a span of a few years in which that criticism may have been fair, the wrestlers who stood out on WWE television last week were almost exclusively from a new generation. Cesaro, the Usos, Rybaxel, Bad News Barrett, Bray Wyatt, and Paige were some of the most captivating personalities on Raw or Smackdown last week. None of them measured up to The Shield, though, who have somehow made a six-man tag match with Evolution the most exciting thing going in WWE. They dominated Smackdown with their methodical evisceration of the wrestlers who were supposed to oppose them in an eleven-on-three handicap until they got a more manageable number and even got the upper-hand on Evolution at the end of Raw to lead into their match at Extreme Rules.
As Scott Strandberg wrote in his Smackdown review, the continuity of the show made it feel like a short film about The Shield. They came up with a variety of different ways to undermine The Authority and find ways to even the numbers for their imbalanced handicap match. When they finally reached the match, they were left with Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Titus O’Neil, Ryback, and Barrett across the ring. Rollins worked beautifully through the match and showed once again that he is the most entertaining worker of the group for an extended period of time. He helped pace the match in the early going and dialed up the intensity near the end with back-to-back suicide dives on either side. Roman Reigns put the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence with a brutal spear on Ryback to get the pin, but it would not have meant nearly as much without the work Rollins did to build to that point.
The Shield had a slightly smaller profile on Raw, although they still made a big impression. Their only actual match was a bit of a downer between Reigns and Randy Orton (in fact, I would have chosen Reigns as WotW if this match had not been the low point of The Shield’s involvement last week). The match broke down when HHH and Batista ambushed Dena Ambrose and Rollins outside the ring and started to gang up on Reigns. Rollins saved his team at the last moment with a flying knee to HHH from the top rope while HHH tried to hit a Pedigree on Reigns. It turned the tide and allowed The Shield to chase Evolution away, seize momentum before their match with Evolution, and create more drama for a six-man match than we have seen in a very long time.
Despite his immense talent and phenomenal independent pedigree, Rollins was not featured as a major player in The Shield when they debuted. Ambrose was the first mouthpiece, had the memorably idiosyncratic attitude, and got the first singles title for the group. Due to his size and athleticism, Reigns has always been the obvious choice to be the breakout start of the group, and Rollins served as his high-flying caddy for their tag team title reign. I have a theory that people with balanced skillsets are undervalued in all walks of life, and that theory applies to Rollins. He is above-average or better in technical wrestling, athleticism, high-flying, look, charisma, and speaking ability, yet the lack of a single eye-popping trait made him blend in to the point that Michael Cole briefly called him the “mechanic” or a “glue guy” for The Shield. Rollins has definitely proven that he not only has main event potential, he is currently helping to carry his team in a very good main event feud.