While he has not been at the center of the top WWE stories for the last few months, there has been no more consistent wrestler in 2014 than Seth Rollins. In any storyline and against any opponent, Rollins can draw out something entertaining that makes me want to come back to see more. His most recent program has pitted him against Roman Reigns, but he continues to find himself in strange pairings because his broad set of skills allows him to do good work with just about anyone on the roster. Sure enough, his tag match with Randy Orton against Reigns and Chris Jericho was a highlight of Smackdown, and he helped rescue an otherwise depressed final hour of Raw when he extracted a fantastic match out of Reigns.
On Friday’s episode of Smackdown, Rollins found himself in the show’s main event slot. He teamed with Authority teammate Orton against their Night of Champions opponents, Reigns and Jericho. Jericho and Rollins have reportedly worked together a fair amount at house shows during Jericho’s run, and if their time together in this match is any indication of the quality of those matches, I hope we get to see more of them head-to-head next time Jericho comes back to WWE. Jericho said on his most recent podcast that he sees some of himself in Rollins. I think they share the ability to work a variety of styles and work a compelling match, so the comparison is a fair one. While Rollins looked very good, he did not factor in the decision of the match. Jericho pinned Orton on a roll-up to get Orton angrier and provoke more emotion for their PPV match.
Early in Monday’s Raw, it was announced that Rollins would face Reigns in a preview of their upcoming PPV match. It seemed strange to give that match away so close to Night of Champions, so I assumed that it would not go down cleanly. Traditional booking would have had Rollins chicken out on the match early on to make fans want to see him get his comeuppance on Night of Champions. There are variations on that theme- a cheap win by cheating, a beatdown like the one last week- but the principle would be the same. Instead, they wrestled a fantastic match that was very different from some of Reigns’s recent matches that have felt plodding and predictable. They both used more varied offensive tactics, sold each other’s offense well, and created situations that raised the stakes in the match. Reigns finally hit his spear off of a missed Curb Stomp by Rollins to win. I presumed that my emotional reaction to a clean Reigns win would be indifference to the PPV rematch. Instead, the match was so good that I am intrigued to see what they can do at the PPV.
From the closing chapter of The Shield until now, Rollins has been terrific at every opportunity in 2014. He has not yet reached the pinnacle of WWE, but he is extremely close. Given his position on the card, his consistent performances, and the handful of extremely memorable moments he has created, he is on the short list of wrestlers who have had the best overall year in 2014. Incidentally, Dean Ambrose is also on that list and has shared many of those moments with Rollins. Ambrose should be back from his time off soon, and their hot angle can resume with Ambrose more motivated than ever to exact revenge. With a great week in the bag, a promising PPV match in the near future, and a great feud to restart on the horizon, Rollins continues to look like a major part of the future in WWE.