Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Seth Rollins: #4 in the Wrestling Weekday Top 10 Wrestlers of 2015, presented by ESO-PRO

Image credit: WWE.com. 
He dominated the main event picture in WWE from Wrestlemania all the way to the early parts of November when an injury derailed his run as The Authority's chosen champion. Yet Seth Rollins still only comes in fourth among his peers on the Top 10 Wrestlers of 2015.

This does nothing to downplay Seth's accomplishments. I have personally been a fan of his for years, dating back to the days when he was a young up-and-comer named Tyler Black working a bunch of Iowa and Illinois independents. He put on some great matches even then, before his friendship with Jimmy Jacobs landed him a job first with Wrestling Society X and then with Ring of Honor. Tyler Black would become ROH champion, but I honestly thought he had peaked there even when he signed with WWE. I didn't imagine my fellow Iowan would reach the level of success he has today.

A lot of that success must be given to the WWE developmental program. While it has not always been perfect, Tyler Black went in a spot master with limited charisma. Seth Rollins came out a man with some still impressive moves, but with a flow in storytelling and the ability to work the microphone.

The Shield honed him into a main event superstar (as it has also done for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose) and he became the first man to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania, where he won Brock Lesnar's WWE World Heavyweight title by pinning Roman Reigns. He went on an incredibly successful streak as he retained the title against Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Sting and Kane.

The only hindrance to his run was often his alignment with The Authority, which led to a few too many long winded Raw openings and extended promos about very little. But he still kept the WWE ship afloat while John Cena spent most of the year in the midcard ranks and he did it with a flare that showed he had what it takes to remain a main event player in WWE for years to come. He did so well, two respondents rated him as the best wrestler of the year. Mike Gordon said Rollins is the “Best heel in the business. Always a joy to watch in the ring, no matter who he's facing. ”

But it is John Morgan Neal who perhaps summed up his pluses and minuses in 2015 perfectly: “Many complain about how he was booked but that is WWE's issue and affects everyone right now. But the fact remains he was the top dog and carried the company on his back for most of this year.”

And while he enters 2016 on the injured list, he continues to be an ambassador for WWE and an influence on a new generation of young wrestlers as he helps The Black & Brave Academy, the wrestling school (and crossfit program) he runs with long time independent tag team partner Marek Brave. Already the first of his students, Connor Braxton and Eli Machete are making waves in the Midwest with over half a dozen other young talents following after them. Even if he was never to step into a WWE ring again, I expect Seth Rollins would still have a bright future in professional wrestling.

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