Is Seth Rollins the next CM Punk for the WWE?
Soon after the opening pyro-techniques went off and Michael Cole welcomed us on yet another episode of the longest running weekly episodic show in Television history aka Monday Night RAW on the 27th of June, out came ‘The Man’, ‘The Architect’ Seth Rollins, storming down the aisle towards the squared circle.
As his ‘The Second Coming’ entrance theme reverberated across the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL, every fan could literally feel the buzz of the electric guitar solo of his theme electrifying their sympathetic centre, sending down shrills of excitement.
Moving on to the opening segment we weren’t the most surprised of fans when Rollins started off with his heel words. But what left us awestruck was when he quoted saying “To hell with it. Let's talk about Roman Reigns”. After WWE initially decided not to talk about the incident that got Reigns suspended on the back of violation of ‘Talent Wellness Policy’ weeks prior to his triple threat main event at Battleground, here was Seth diving right into the topic that left almost everyone with a grin on their faces.
Now you can disagree all you want, but you cannot simply deny the fact that Seth’s promo didn’t bring back flashes of CM Punk into your mind, even for the fraction of a second before you shrugged it off!
Sure Punk and Rollins are no absolute parallels. Rollins didn’t shellshock the company with any ‘Pipebomb’ that perturbed the Pro Wrestling industry for the whole of 2011 and years to follow. Neither did he leave the fans in awe on whether his words were scripted or shot right from the hip.
And he surely didn’t vivify the entire company like Punk did with his highly controversial diatribes. But what Seth Rollins did have was that tinge, that aroma, that essence of breaking-the-fourth-wall element that Punk thrived so successfully on. His trademark was the infusion of real-life events into his promo that is guaranteed of a huge pop and long discussions in the IWC.
There’s no prize for being able to notice the similarities in physique of the two men. In Vince’s pitch perfect world, you wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a huge bodybuilder or giants in spandex right on top of the pyramid with the gold or a push for the gold. Punk and Rollins are both out of Vince’s book for top stars that carry the company forwards or simply ‘champions’. One was a thin, tattooed guy who looked more like he belonged in a punk band than a wrestling ring while the other is a CrossFit junkie with long hair that you’d find more often in rock bands with a guitar in hand doing headbangs. Both are, without the slightest of doubts, antitheses of the WWE prototype.
The highlight of Punk’s appeal was him being a rebel, a renegade. A thinker out of the box who would so often veer off script and include real life jabs. Hell everyone knows that was merely an illusion or in modern words ‘kayfabe’, but the thing that stood out was the way Punk sold it, whether he was a heel or a face, leaving the crowd in the arena and those at home questioning what they heard. On the other hand, Seth’s character isn’t exactly built like that, at least not as of yet. He is neither a full blown rebel who you could expect to drop bombs here and there and cast the same spell of bewilderment that Punk did ever so successfully nor does he come off an insurgent in the ring. But his mic skills and his high athleticism surely makes him a top contender if the WWE ever needs a character of that sort.
Much like Punk, Rollins has been WWE’s go to man when it comes to providing a surplus of high-quality wrestling to accompany all the glitz and hype not only in the televised events like Raw and Smackdown but also in the numerous house shows day in and day out. The company has put him in a multitude of matches over the past few years to which he has put on an impressive show time and again. That's just what WWE got from Punk. While stars like The Rock and Cena brought buzz to big events, Punk was the in-ring backbone of the company for a long time. Rollins has assumed that mantle in Punk's absence boasting a grand total of 653 matches from the time he got pushed into the main roster with The Shield in 2012 till 2015. That is freakily high. No wonder the IWC love calling him Seth Freaking Rollins.
When it comes to mic skills, which is a huge, I repeat HUGE factor behind a superstar’s push as the top dog in WWE, Seth is not far off from Punk. Sure he isn’t as good of a talker as Punk was. But who said he has to be! That’s like saying a football player isn’t as good as a goal-scorer as Cristiano Ronaldo. The Architect has turned into a highly dependable star when it comes to cracking promos. For much of his world title reign you’d see him sent in to open the show. Whether he had storylines to discuss or go on with his nagging while hiding behind the authority as a heel, he would deliver great entertaining segments. Much like how Punk did during his run as the top dog of the company.
In the end we can unequivocally say that Seth Rollins is indeed the next big thing for the company along with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Much like how WWE injected the trio of Cena, Orton and Batista in the year 2002 to lead the company forward for a decade, they have indeed injected themselves with the trio of The Shield with the very same motive. While Rollins' arsenal is more of the high-flying variety than Punk's, but he gets the same kind of result that The Best in the World did. Losing Punk must still hurt, but Rollins is one hell of a replacement without the slightest shadow of doubt.