|Rollins was known for his battles with the Rhodes Boys in 2013|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
3. Seth Rollins
Highest Vote Received: 2nd Place (Joey Splashwater, Willow Maclay)
Last Year's Placement: 19th Place
TH: Seth Rollins was the danger. Sure, that danger was mostly to himself in 2013. As The Shield's designated prop dive and absorber of all bumps large and hideous, Rollins reinvented ragdolling and co-opted the Ziggler scale for himself. But his stunt falls and ridiculous selling had a far grander purpose than shock. The Shield as a group was an impenetrable wall in the win/loss column, but that kind of dominance is no fun if it plays out in the ring just like it appears on paper. Rollins was instant vulnerability for the group, not only adding extra "wow" factor to the matches, but helping protect the aura of Roman Reigns mostly, a suave leviathan who needed to look as beastly as possible. As any giant will tell you, prop bumping doesn't make the werewolf look cool.
But Rollins being the best possible Jeff Hardy (and full disclosure, I LIKE Jeff Hardy a lot as a wrestler/in-ring performer) as a proxy for Reigns in all situations and the deceptive and cunning Dean Ambrose in trios matches brought balance to the group. Ambrose schemed, Reigns smashed, Rollins died. The formula was perfect in its basic state, and it left an infinite space of room in which to create. Rollins, as the one creating that chaos with his own body, had the most freedom since he was the one whose reactions depended most on the actions of others. He also did the most with his role, which cannot be understated.
I had other reasons for ranking Rollins the highest among the three members of the group. He had the best singles matches of the three – most notably twice with Daniel Bryan and another with Goldust on Main Event – and he has the best finisher, the Blackout. No matter what, the fact that Rollins went from a guy I groaned whenever he'd hit the ring in ROH to one of the best performers in the biggest wrestling company in the world speaks to several things, all of them insanely positive.
Tristan Wolfe: Seth Rollins is going to kill himself. Someone needs to stop him now. The risks he's taken in 2013 in addition to just solid ring work have really made him stand out in 2013. Don't get me wrong, Roman Reigns is a beast and he' s became really good in a short amount of time, but Seth Rollins has just been a crazy man in 2013.
Frank McCormick: Like Luke Harper, Seth Rollins isn't necessarily the "star" of his stable (though I think that's changing in 2014), but to my mind he is. The man has absolutely no regard for his body, leaping, planchaing, and bumping like there is no such thing as "prematurely ended careers." I worry for his future, even as I delight in his work.
Joey Splashwater: The Shield delivered the consistently best matches in 2013 and for an in ring perspective, the leader was clearly Seth Rollins. I credit him with being the MVP in most of The Shield's tag matches and trio matches plus in singles matches, he definitely stood out most in some incredible outings vs. Daniel Bryan. Regarded as the third banana of The Shield when they debuted, Seth Rollins in ring work as pushed that thought to the side and would have been the best wrestler in just about any other year.
Brock Lutefisk: I probably should have all three Shield guys higher than they are. In my mind, Rollins is probably the best out of all three. His work in the ring stood out among all three members during 2013. I’m pretty sure he’ll be in my top 10 next year.