At Battleground 2015, Brock Lesnar callously manhandled Seth Rollins. It was one of the most lopsided WWE main event affairs in a long time, but due to The Undertaker’s sudden merciless seek of redemption and retribution on Lesnar and Heyman, his interference allowed Rollins to escape with the title. Luck was on his side again. Logically, the most transparent decision would have been to rebuild Rollins. for the Road to Summerslam. But now, Summerslam is only two weeks away, and he now looks weaker than before.
A few weeks ago on Raw, WWE irrationally perpetrated a booking transgression. It booked Seth Rollins vs. John Cena as the main event for Raw. While it was not for the WWE title (instead for the US title), it was still the main event (co-main event at worst depending how you look at it) for Summerslam. Something that is not too bright.
Granted, by dint of putting both the titles up for grabs at Summerslam, the company raised the stakes of the match - which, indeed, made the match more important and different from the Raw match. However, Rollins vs. Cena is one of the few matches between full-timers that has not occurred a copious amount of times before; wherefore, the "refreshing match" intangible is now nonexistent.
Surprisingly, though, WWE giving away the match on Raw is only the third worst piece to this feud. The second worst part is John Cena defeating Seth Rollins via submission weeks after Brock Lesnar annihilated him while the worst part is Cena referring to Seth Rollins as a joke.
Because, you see, due to that comment, John Cena will prove Seth Rollins was a total joke if he wins at Summerslam. However, if Seth Rollins wins, what does that make John Cena…a bigger joke?
A protagonist should never point out an antagonist’s biggest weakness for three main reasons:
(1) If the protagonist wins, it is no big deal. He pointed out the antagonist was a joke, so there was no challenge for him.
(2) If there is no challenge for him, nobody will care. The protagonist is essentially only interesting when he must prevail over huge – if not damn near impossible – obstacles. Now, if Cena said Rollins is a superb cheater, has the authority in his back pocket and has luck on his side – then Cena has a copious amount of obstacles in his way and thus a challenge.
(3) If Seth Rollins wins, why should anyone take Cena seriously anymore? He said Rollins is nothing but a joke, so if Rollins beat him – by cheating or not – Cena underestimated him and underestimating an opponent due to arrogance is not a very heroic nor righteousness.
However, WWE efficiently booked Seth Rollins well last week on Raw. They allowed Rollins to regain some of the heat Cena took away from him. He, as he does well often, lessened the damages the best one could, by virtue of being an arrogant and delusional heel. His ego is so bloated he has a narrow-minded view on reality, and because he is so oblivious of his surroundings and believes so much in his own propaganda, it immensely infuriates people.
Subsequently, Rollins performed a parody of Cena’s open challenge...with one small difference: Per Authority orders (or so he said), his challenger had to be under 6’feet tall and under 200-something pounds. He almost hoisted his own petard, though, because he faced Neville, who took him to the limit in a highly competitive match.
He, however, regained his title cleanly by landing the last big move (as it was that kind of match). It was productive booking, as it made Rollins almost hoisted his own petard (which is something people wanted to see due to him making a mockery of the open challenge), made Neville look near main event ready, and gave Rollins a clean, hard-fought victory.
In essence, Rollins elevated Neville to his level and got more over himself by beating Neville. Good job, WWE.
Then, it appeared last night Rollins would add a bigger win to his resume via defeating Randy Orton (even though it should have been Cesaro). Unfortunately, though, WWE revisited their back to their bad habits, as their WWE champion again was an afterthought in the midst of the main event segment.
Instead, the focal point was on Sheamus and Orton’s feud (as Sheamus ruined Orton’s opportunity to become champion, tried cashing in the Money in the Bank and then Orton ruined Sheamus’ opportunity). And, to make matters even worse, Randy Orton already wrestled a match before that match, which meant Seth Rollins was the fresher wrestler.
Once more, Seth Rollins looked like a complete and utter joke.
There have been many successfully booked pusillanimous and/or perfidious antagonists. These were villains, like Seth Rollins, who lacked the capability to out-wrestle the top-tier protagonists; and, since they were physically incapable of doing so, they went as low as you can do by doing any dishonorable tactic they could.
But while wrestlers like Edge and Ric Flair took shortcuts to win, they were still credible champions. It was because they were masterly at cheating, discovering creative, slimy, and innovative ways to cheat. Their tactics thus drove the protagonist fans wild, as Flair and Edge (at times) were so great at cheating that they were nearly impossible to defeat.
Conversely, from a character perspective, Seth Rollins does nothing well. He has no forte; he either retains his title due to help or luck. If a wrestler does nothing well from a character perspective, the heat is not entirely on him. It is additionally on the company, for keeping a title on someone they evidently are not fond enough of to go over their top-tier main eventers in a convincing manner. Furthermore, it is devaluing the credibility of the WWE championship because the champion is a total fluke who wins in lucky manners and lacks an attribute which allows him to triumph over other main eventers.
And it is a shame, as Seth Rollins is a tremendously gifted wrestler in every facet.