The fact of the matter is that this would be relatively easy to re-book (which is why I am)- and in a way that leaves the way open for Seth to turn or not depending on how the crowd feels about him. I am going to run it with a turn, then show a basic template for what I would change if I didn't turn him.
Y'see the thing that the 'Mania match left open, which they didn't want to build on (as well as Seth's own insecurities) was essentially Rollins cheated. So play on that. Build Rollins' character not as a generic babyface who wants to Burn it Down but shills the WWE product (WTF?!) or try to play upon the relationship between Seth and Becky (cause it did the latter no favours either), but use the idea that you have a generally honourable character who for a moment believed that the ends justified the means (that the title needed to be rescued by any means necessary). And with that comes a few principles:
- Seth is obviously going to be very driven to determine that he is the top guy, because he got there by shenanigans.
- He will have a nagging doubt about what happens when Brock makes his return.
- He will want to be the hero the fans deserve and bend over backwards to prove it to them, perhaps obsessing over it to the point where it breaks him.
- As an extension of point 3, he will want to show that his reign is a New Era and better than Brock's Reign of Terror (sorry Hunter...)
So everything before WrestleMania is kept the same but we then start afresh. Rollins comes out the night after 'Mania and thanks the crowd when he is confronted by Paul Heyman. Heyman also congratulates Seth Rollins on his win, saying Brock is now gone back to doing what he wants instead of entertaining fans, but points out that he had to cheat to get it back and that he hopes that compromising his principles was worth bringing the title back to Raw every week. Seth scowls at Heyman before walking slowly to the back and going to the office of the Raw GM, Kurt Angle (or whoever the face GM is).
The next week on Raw Seth comes out to the ring and says that Heyman was right. Seth did compromise his ethics to win the match and if he didn't who knows what would have happened. But he was damned if he was going to let that overindulged former champion take it back to Minnesota for four months while the product and the fans suffered. But that does not mean that there isn't an asterisk over what happened at WrestleMania. So, Rollins has put a proposition to Angle that the Raw GM has agreed to: Seth will take on another wrestler here who has taken Brock to the limit to prove that he is worthy of being your champion every PPV, and some more besides.
And with that you give Rollins a unique quirk as well as a group of wrestlers he can tear the house down with every PPV (no offense Corbin). It starts off that night...with Roman Reigns! They have a 20 min back and forth but Seth wins, after which they shake hands and Lashley, Corbin and McIntyre attack them. This of course brings out Dean Ambrose and the Shield chase them off, setting up the Shield Final Chapter Network special (cause you may as well...).
After that this this challenge continues with AJ Styles in Money in the Bank (oh, and while we're at it, Brock still wins the briefcase, because it's an interesting wrinkle). The night after MITB Heyman simply tells Rollins that he is on notice, but Brock is happy for this façade to continue...for now.
At SuperShowdown...Ricochet! Because why not tell the story of how he was overawed by his first World Title opportunity last time and that he'll not make the same mistake. This way, you can have Rollins and Ricochet have a 15min match that'll impress the hell out of the fans with Rollins shaking hands with Ricochet at the end. Then, at Stomping Grounds, step up Finn Balor (this'll ensure Balor gets out of the way before facing up to the Fiend). Rollins even goes so far to say that Balor doesn't have to put his IC title on the line. Again Seth wins and shakes Balor's hand.
But then Seth comes up against the first real wrinkle in this whole endeavour:
Y'see Daniel Bryan is next on the list but he cuts a promo on Raw saying:
Y'know Seth, out of all the people who have come up against the Beast, I'm the one who empathises with you the most. Not just because of the groin kicking but because, like me, you realised what you had to do. And that's what makes all this...sad. I never apologised for what I did because even though I had broken some code of wrestling. I realised that I was serving a higher principle: that to become the Planet's Champion the old bastardised Daniel Bryan had to die. And you did the same- you knew where that *points at title* should belong. And so when you kicked Brock in the plums at WrestleMania I thought to myself "Finally! A Kindred spirit who sees these petty rules and these petty fans for what they are". But you keep coming out here Seth, shaking hands and welcoming them to your reign while denying yourself the truth: that by doing so, you are just enabling these fickle slobs to continue to feed the corporate juggernaut that'll destroy our future and our families' future-
At the mention of family Seth throws a punch at Bryan and Bryan scurries before saying "I will make you understand",
So at Extreme Rules it's Daniel Bryan vs Seth Rollins though not in the main event (cause it'd be nice if Kingston had a go at it). Instead they have a nice 15min match before Bryan hoofs Seth in the balls again (cause why not) for a DQ and then beats the tar out of Rollins after the bell.
The next Raw Rollins wants another shot at Bryan and Kurt Angle has put the match for the SummerSlam main event: Rollins vs Bryan- No Holds Barred. Bryan says that he is willing to put things like rules and 'honour' aside to be the champion that the Planet needs but Rollins? Rollins is still a corporate stooge and so Bryan has decided that while he was content with hurting Seth at Extreme Rules, at SummerSlam he will take the title from him.
On the go home Raw they have a contract signing where Rollins does a babyface promo saying that he does everything for the fans. Bryan smiles at this and replies:
You just don't get it Seth? You sweat for them, you bleed for them, you come back from injury for them. And every time you do you sell a little bit more of your soul. A little bit more of your integrity. That's what the fans cost you. But do they repay your loyalty? Or are they just...fickle. I'm trying to save your self-respect. Even if I have to beat the shill out of you.
And so they have a barnburner of a Main Event at SummerSlam with Seth just scraping over the line.
We then move onto Clash of Champions where Kurt Angle says that Seth and him want to cast the net out further and so he has put together a Fatal 4-Way of who he considers to be the rising stars of WWE. This consists of: Murphy, Ali, Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak. Ali wins this and has a nice 15min match with Seth in the middle of the card (Kingston/Orton can main event- just make it a No Holds Barred Match to match the hatred of the feud). The idea of this match is to push the idea of Ali as a cool new character who people will want to see perhaps beating Seth. Ali therefore takes part in matches the weeks before to get him the momentum needed to look cool.
Now I am going to book this with the heel turn inserted.
At the next Raw Seth comes out and he seems a little...conflicted. He calls out Kurt Angle and...doesn't berate him but simply says that while he appreciates what Kurt has done in making his reign great to watch for the fans as well as showing him against some of the best new talent in the wrestling world...he doesn't know if he's being shown respect as the true World Champion (Note: it is important that he begins to use this phrase), as he has only been in 1 out of the last 3 PPV Main Events. Kurt simply replies that he was responding to Seth's wishes as best he could- to be seen as a worthy champion to the WWE Universe after the...way he won it back at 'Mania. Seth winces slightly at this and says it doesn't matter, for Seth has an idea. On the 20th anniversary of SmackDown, Seth Rollins will challenge Kofi Kingston in a champion vs champion match- with the person pinned losing his title (these words are important). On SmackDown that week Kingston accepts and they have a contract signing the week before, where we also hear from Paul Heyman that on the 20th anniversary of SmackDown, Brock will declare his intentions for the WWE going forward.
At the SmackDown the week before Seth goes into a promo that starts off about how this title means everything to him but then becomes a little...insecure, talking about how he has tried to bring a new era to the WWE and how he feels this match is important so that people can see how he has tried to make WWE better for all, while Kingston- no offence- has just been doing more of the same.
Kingston, of course, does take offence and runs down some of his amazing accomplishments before he ever got to be World Champion. But he says never in that time did he think that he had the clout to march into the GM's office and tell them what he wanted. Unlike Seth, Kingston says, he wasn't earmarked for greatness, but had to wait for 12 years for his chance to live the dream. He wasn't Triple H's darling, or part of the WWE Champion's bodyguard- he was a guy who had to graft. Kofi also points out that he loves his fans, and the Universe, but he is under no illusions about who he has to answer to the most as a champion and as a wrestler. It's himself. So he wonders if Seth is really trying to please the fans; or maybe settle some doubts in himself? Because if its the latter, this match, and this 'new era' Seth is ushering in, won't solve it.
Seth shoves the table away and gets in Kingston's face before holding his title up high and walking to the back. This all leads to the main event at SmackDown the next week, where they have a brilliant 20+min back and forth match. At one point, both men are down and then-
Yes just like WrestleMania 31, Brock comes in during the middle of the match! He then puts Seth on his shoulders for the F-5 when out of nowhere he is clocked in the head with a Trouble in Paradise! Brock staggers, is a bit groggy before being hit with another Trouble in Paradise! He falls to one knee and Seth lines up the Curb Stomp but Brock counters into another F-5 attempt. Kofi helps Seth to counter before Seth runs for the ramp and during the moment that Kofi turns around in disbelief Brock clamps on the Kimura and cranks it. Kofi screams in pain and Brock looks mercilessly up at Seth who...looks worried but doesn't want to get back in the ring. Brock leers at Seth, then just shrugs, rips Kofi's arm back and breaks it before hoisting Kingston up for a final F-5 and the pin.
Brock Lesnar is WWE Champion, as Kofi lost his title belt to him and Heyman screams at Seth "This is your fault Seth!" as Rollins walks to the back and Kofi is stretchered off.
Two days later at Hell in a Cell Rollins comes out to what I hope is a mixed reception at best. He puts his hand up and says that he has an update on Kofi and apparently he will make a full recovery. He says that he feel he owes the crowd an explanation. He knew that Brock winning the belt back (either belt!) would have been bad for business so he attempted to force a count out- forgetting that it wasn't a singles match anymore and so rules did not apply. He can only apologise therefore to Kofi and wish him a speedy recovery.
This prompts Big E to come out full of piss and vinegar. He says that he can't judge Seth for being nervous going back in to face the Beast- he's never faced him and doesn't know how he'd act in the same circumstances. But when a man makes a mistake he should own up to it and Seth just seems to want to dance around it. Seth left Big E's best friend to the tender mercies of a man who has no mercy- even though Kofi saved Seth's bacon. So he has a proposition for Seth. Since he is so akin to what the fans want, how about he gauges how the fans feel about Big E beating his body around the ring?
Seth says that he just wrestled on Friday and so doesn't have to defend his title. Big E says that's cool. This is for Kofi. They begin to brawl and Seth kicks E in the stomach to set up for a Blackout only for E to counter into the Big Ending, which Rollins barely avoids before scampering out of the ring.
So Seth is drafted to SmackDown and cuts a promo about how he has bent over backwards to try and accommodate the fans, to try and make the fans like him, but all they talk about are his rulebreaking or the other wrestlers they'd rather see hold the belt. He's trying to paint a masterpiece and people are walking by complaining about the brushes being dirty. Well he's Seth Freakin' Rollins and he'll make you appreciate him.
See the thing I want to convey here is that Seth is a person who doesn't want to confront his past actions and would rather bury them in a whole bunch of superfluous 'gestures'. But as Stannis said "a good deed doesn't wash out the bad" and so he's lashing out rather than reflecting.
So that takes us to Crown Jewel where Big E faces up to Seth Rollins only to be hoofed in the plums for a DQ, while in the main event Brock beats Rey (we're not doing the whole Cain Valasquez thing), spilling the feud over to Survivor Series which Seth wins with a roll-up with his feet on the ropes after taking an almighty beating. At TLC Roman Reigns steps up, claiming that while he will always love his brother, the championship belongs on the shoulders of someone who can take the burden, and that's not Seth at the moment. So in a TLC match, Reigns is interrupted by (who else?) King Corbin which sparks their feud.
And after that Rollins feuds with Braun Strowman at Royal Rumble, cause that's a nice once off match, where Rollins wins through some nefarious means before he runs into Goldberg at SuperShowDown, losing and setting up a WrestleMania match with a returning...Kofi Kingston who returns at the Rumble and eliminates Brock and now wants a piece of Seth.
And that's the way I'd book Seth's championship reign! If you want to keep him face its a simple matter of having him cut a reflective apologetic promo at HiaC then challenge Lesnar at Survivor Series brand warfare style so that he can confront his demons. He doesn't have to win that- just put in an amazing effort. From there he can be challenged by the likes of Nakamura and the Miz.
And that's article 93! Join us next time when we look at a bad WWE ripoff in TNA! See you then!
#1 Owen Hart vs Stone Cold @ SummerSlam '97
#2 December to Dismember 2006
#3 The Fingerpoke of Doom
#4 The Scott Steiner vs HHH Feud
#5 Ryback vs Mark Henry @ WrestleMania XXIX
#6 Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon @ WrestleMania XXVI
#7 The Jerry Lawler/Michael Cole Feud
#8 The Curtain Call
#9 Bash at the Beach 2000
#10 Royal Rumble 2014
#11 Warrior/Hogan II @ Halloween Havoc
#12 The Cena/Laurinatis Feud
#13 The Firing of Ric Flair From WCW
#14 The Brogue Kick of Doom
#15 Lesnar vs Goldberg @ WrestleMania XX
#16 Immortal Revealed @ Bound for Glory 2010
#17 Sting vs Hogan @ Starrcade 1997
#18 Triple H vs Booker T @ WrestleMania 19
#19 The Corre
#20 The Undertaker vs Big Boss Man @ WrestleMania 15
#21 Jeff Hardy vs Sting @ Victory Road 2011
#22 Road Wild 1999
#23 The John Cena/Kane Feud of 2012
#24 Hulk Hogan's Mancow Interview of 1999
#25 CM Punk vs the Rock @ Elimination Chamber 2013
#26 The Reign of Bill Watts in WCW
#27 The Claire Lynch Affair Part One And Two
#28 Triple H vs Kevin Nash @ TLC 2011
#29 The Cactus Jack Amnesia Angle
#30 Hulk Hogan Leaving TNA
#31 HBK vs Hulk Hogan @ SummerSlam 2005
#32 David Arquette: WCW Champion
#33 Katie Vick
#34 nWo Souled Out 1997
#35 The Vampiro/Sting Feud of 2000
#36 Once in a Lifetime, Episode II
#37 The Angle/Jarrett Feud of 2010/11
#38 The McMahon/Lashley Feud
#39 The Shockmaster
#40 CM Punk vs Ryback @ Hell in a Cell 2012
#41 Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper @ Starrcade 1996
#42 The WWE Championship Reign of Diesel
#43 Cena vs the Wyatts
#44 The Main Roster Run of Emma
#45 The WCW Run of Bret Hart
#46 John Cena vs the Miz @ WrestleMania 27
#47 The Lone Wolf AJ Styles
#48 Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger @ WrestleMania 29
#49 The Transition of Mike Awesome from ECW to WCW
#50 The Dolph Ziggler Conundrum Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five
#51 The Rise and Fall of Damien Sandow/Mizdow Part One and Part Two
#52 DDP & Jay Leno vs Hollywood Hogan & Eric Bischoff @ Road Wild 1998
#53 Triple H vs Randy Orton @ WrestleMania 25
#54 Lord Tensai
#55 LOD 2000
#56 Sid Vicious vs Scott Steiner @ Starrcade 2000
#57 Bret Hart vs Yokuzuna (feat. Hulk Hogan) @ WrestleMania 9
#58 Royal Rumble 2015
#59 The Crucifixion of the Sandman
#60 Brock Lesnar's First Year Back in WWE
#61 Bo Dallas' Main Roster Run
#62 Vince Russo vs Booker T for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
#63 Randy Orton vs the Big Show @ Survivor Series 2013
#64 AJ Styles vs Abyss @ Destination X 2010
#65 EV 2.0
#66 The Summer of Punk Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
#67 The Lex Express
#68 Goldberg's first WWE Run
#69 Paige's Main Roster Run 2014-2016
#70 Seth Rollins' First World Title Run
#71 Hulk Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter @ WrestleMania VII
#72 Sting vs Abyss in a Last Rites Match
#73 The Undertaker vs Big Show in the Punjabi Prison
#74 Ric Flair vs Hollywood Hogan @ Uncensored 1999
#75 Roman Reigns' Road to WrestleMania 32 Part One, Part Two. Part Three
#76 Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice @ WrestleMania VIII
#77 Muhammad Hassan
#78 Sheamus' World Heavyweight Title Reign
#79 The Ghastly Match
#80 Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton @ Wrestlemania 33
#81 Goldberg vs Steiner vs Nash @ New Blood Rising'
#82 The Lesnar/Angle/Big Show feud of 2002
#83 Aces and Eights
#84 Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar @ WrestleMania 32
#85 Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
#86 DDP & Karl Malone vs Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman.
#87 Triple H vs Sting
#88 The 1992 Run of the Ultimate Warrior
#89 Jenna Morasca vs Sharmell
#90 The Lesnar/Reigns Feud of 2018 Part One, Part Two, Part Three