Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The 2014 TWB 100 Slow Release: #2

Photo Credit: WWE.com
2. Seth Rollins
Points: 6769
Ballots: 72
Highest Vote Received: 1st Place (James Girouard, Dan McQuade, Brock Lutefisk, Frank McCormick, Rene Sanchez, Brian Brown, John Henderson, Bill DiFilippo, Brian Coulter, Joey Splashwater, Brandon Armstrong, Pablo Alva, Kevin Newburn, Mike Tunison, Ian Riccaboni)
Last Year's Placement: 3rd Place

TH: While I was not nearly as high on Rollins as my peers or even as I was last year, one cannot deny that he was among the top workers in WWE and in America in 2014. When The Shield turned face, he was allowed to settle into his most natural role, a hard-bumping, high-spot taking, best-possible-Jeff Hardy babyface who got the crowd invested by nearly getting pummeled to death before pulling out the ultimate gamble in an attempt to win. The couple of months between the Royal Rumble and Payback featured his best work with no coincidence. Afterwards, he was shunted into a heel role that didn't suit him as well, and even though his matches with anyone but Dean Ambrose left a bit to be desired, he worked hard and put his back into working the way he was asked to. I'll be counting down the days when Rollins turns back and becomes that which he is destined to be, but in the meantime, he's still doing some fine work in WWE rings.

James Girouard: From an in-ring perspective, Seth Rollins basically held the WWE upper mid-card and main event scene together the second half of the year. If there's a reason why I voted Rollins over Sami Zayn (and I can certainly the argument the other way around) it's that Rollins had to do more on a bigger state, and thus, had more opportunities to lay an egg. And I can't think of a single high-profile Seth Rollins match from 2015 that was anything less than very good.

Julio del Aguila: Break out year for him. I thought he would be the least successful Shield member, but he's turned out to be the Justin Timberlake of the group.

Frank McCormick: Rollins totally defied expectations in 2014. First, he destroyed the Shield when everyone expected Ambrose to. Second, in so doing, he turned heel, when again the expectation was that Ambrose would. Most importantly, he defied expectations that he'd end up the also-ran of The Shield to be THE top heel of the WWE (well, second; no one touches THE DEVIL HERSELF Stephanie McMahon). With his evil laugh, asshole sneer, penchant for cheap cheating, slimy crew of minions, total disregard for his own body and long-term health, and ability to pull out the "HOLY SHIT!" moves, Seth Rollins is my #1.

Rene Sanchez: It was always supposed to be Dean Ambrose in my mind. Ambrose was the guy that was going to betray The Shield, become the transcendent Singles Superstar, and absolutely destroy everyone on his way to the top. Alas, we instead got Seth Rollins as the backstabber and the results have been greater than I could have ever imagined. Now I know that this is strictly a ranking for a wrestler’s in ring performance and that they gimmick and storyline has nothing to do with this, but the surprise factor in Rollins ascension has only aided in my opinion of him. He has become the best in ring heel that I have seen since the CM Punk Championship run. Rollins is performing spots in the ring that are akin to 2013 Daniel Bryan. It never matters what type of match is happening, because Rollins is going to provide fantastic work and do it with a fully developed ethos. No one was more dynamic in the ring than Rollins and that is why he is my top wrestler for 2014.

Joshua Browns: Seth had an amazing 2014, and I could easily see him as one of the WWE's top 3 guys as soon as this summer.

Brandon Spears: I was wrong about Seth Rollins. Truth be told, I had his ceiling set as WWE's best possible Jeff Hardy, wowing the audience with his high-risk maneuvers and enjoying the career of an upper mid-carder babyface. I was so wrong. What's perfect about Seth Rollins as the top heel of WWE is that he can still pull off that unbelievable moveset while still getting the crowd to chant "You Sold Out!" after match. I still think he might kill himself in the ring one day.

Joey Splashwater: I have to admit it was tough for me to compile a list considering only match performances in American wrestling for 2014. It was a weird year, folks. The only easy part of making the rankings for my ballot was putting Seth Rollins #1. With Daniel Bryan injured for most of the year, Seth Rollins became the premier in ring performer for WWE.

The best case I can make for Rollins is that I can't think of a great Dean Ambrose match in 2014 that didn't involve Seth Rollins in it and I can't think of a respectable Roman Reigns match in 2014 that didn't involve Seth Rollins in it. Considering The Shield track record for the first quarter of the year and adding in Rollins singles matches, he's the top. Rollins had stellar matches on RAW, PPV, singles, trios, 5 on 5's, he really was a jack of all trades. While there are varying factors in that, the match results spoke and Seth is my #1.

Ryan Foster: Despite the imminent coronation of Roman Reigns, I’m sticking to my belief that Rollins is destined to be the biggest star to emerge from the erstwhile Shield. Rollins has been dynamite as a smarmy, entitled heel, essentially doing 2013 Randy Orton better than Orton ever could. Meanwhile, his character transformation hasn’t slowed his development into one of the company’s best. Rollins is capable of dazzling and acrobatic highspots, but is far from dependent on them, working a smooth and reckless style fits the WWE environment perfectly. Not to mention the fact that the Shield existed for much of 2014 and did some of its finest work paired with the Wyatts and Evolution, in which Rollins was the clear standout.

Luke Starr: Seth Rollins has been my favorite part of WWE programming for a long time, and his 2014 was brilliant for a few reasons. “The Evolution of Seth Rollins” is particularly apt when describing his year in the ring: it is as much a statement on his future as it is his past. Moving from cohesive 6-Man tag matches as part of The Shield to consistently amazing singles matches on his own in one calendar year is fun to see primarily because he’s adjusted his in-ring style perfectly while retaining what made him successful with The Shield. He may not look over to Roman Reigns in desperation or shoot a scheming glance at Dean Ambrose anymore, but he communicates those same feelings to the crowd in each singles match, and does so clearly and effectively. Oh, and he’ll powerbomb a dude into a turnbuckle when he can. That’s fun.

Joey O: An architect carrying a briefcase as the biggest heel in WWE? What decade is this? I keed, I keed. After betraying his brothers in one of the most memorable heel turns this side of a barbershop window, Rollins went on to have outstanding singles matches, primarily with Ambrose, and served as the true workhorse of the company. Defying the predictions of many, Rollins has shined as the biggest success story to come out of the Shield. And just wait until he cashes in that briefcase... (Uhm, unless he already has by the time you're reading this.)

Nick Ahlhelm: No member of the Shield excelled post-break up like Seth Rollins. Everyone knew Dean was great and Roman would get the mega-push, but Seth Rollins as the Authority’s poster-boy resulted in a series of amazing matches and a depth of character I never expected to see from the former Tyler Black. My fellow Iowan has developed into an all around player that WWE banked on to main event several cards at the end of 2014. With the Money in the Bank win still in his hand, he’s got an equally bright 2015 ahead of him.

Bill DiFilippo: There is a 90-second sequence in each Seth Rollins match where he just says fuck it and throws his body around like it’s a rag doll. He’ll do this, like, seven times a match. All he cares about is having a five-star match whenever he sports entertains.

Tomorrow, the top spot is revealed.