New ring gear, a sizzling rivalry, and a couple of strong matches made it an exciting week for Seth Rollins. It was inevitable that the breakup of The Shield would lead to a memorable moment for whoever initiated it, but there was no guarantee that the ensuing program would maintain the momentum. So far, Rollins has been so good in every possible way that he has elevated himself from the split. Rather than a high water mark, his attack on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns has been a stepping stone to even bigger and better things.
While the immediate feud for Rollins has been with Ambrose, the two of them have not yet faced one another in a match. Instead, Rollins has built momentum with wins against other face wrestlers and looked impressive in doing it. His week started with an announcement by HHH that Rollins would be the first entrant in the Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWEWHC match contract. He took that status into a match with Kofi Kingston on Smackdown. Both Kingston and Rollins are so athletic and coordinated that they can use offensive maneuvers against one another that might not work in certain matches. They moved fluidly and kept the action at a lively pace that never felt rushed. Rollins won the match when he hit Kingston with his Curb Stomp, which is a very cool finisher in spite of the fact that opponents could seemingly avoid it by not walking across the ring bent over. Even so, Rollins returned later in the night with a distraction that cost Ambrose his match versus Kane, and another Curb Stomp for his former partner.
Rollins wrestled in another fantastic match on Raw, this time with Rob Van Dam. Rollins cut a very good promo before the match in which he made fun of Ambrose and Reigns but said that he was responsible for their success. Van Dam emerged and the two exchanged words about Van Dam’s age and Rollins’s inexperience. The confrontation led to a match that brought the best out of Van Dam in spite of his age. Just like Rollins and Kingston did on Smackdown, Rollins and Van Dam worked very fluidly while maintaining an edge that kept the match feeling like a fight. Van Dam was able to get in a large amount of offense, which highlighted the advanced ability Rollins has to sell and keep matches interesting. When Van Dam missed a Five Star Frogsplash, Rollins answered with a buckle bomb and Curb Stomp, but Ambrose proved that turnabout is fair play with a run-in and a beating on Rollins. Even though Ambrose was initially left out of the MITB match, Rollins convinced HHH to put him in the match so he would not perform a run in or otherwise become a distraction.
Rollins has had some practice as the golden boy heel in his time in ROH and NXT, and the comfort with the role has shown so far. His wrestling ability is so refined and athletic that he will always have a job in WWE regardless of how well he develops his persona or connects with fans. Fortunately, he has excelled in those areas, as well. The heat between him and Ambrose feels very intense and the decision to wait a month for them to face off in a singles match only raises the anticipation for the match further. Just like the early matches between The Rock and Steve Austin while their characters were still developing, I could see the upcoming matches between Rollins and Ambrose as the first high profile matches in a rivalry that extends throughout their careers.