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Is Seth Rollins’ WrestleMania declaration a sly shift in character?

WWE may have subtly planted the seeds for a future heel turn for The Visionary.

“Finally, Monday Night Raw has a champion that wants to be here, a champion that is going to be here. And most importantly, a champion that is ready for a fight!”

Seth Rollins
Raw, May 29, 2023

When push came to shove, Seth Rollins may have shown his true colors.

After injuring his knee during a title defense against Jinder Mahal, Rollins’ status for WrestleMania XL became questionable. On this week’s episode of Raw, as many wondered if The Visionary would have to forfeit the World Heavyweight Championship, Rollins delivered a stunning proclamation.

“I don’t give a damn what the doctors tell me. I don’t give a damn how hard I have to rehab, how hard I have to push this knee. I will keep my promise. I will take this title into WrestleMania,” said Rollins.

In reality, Rollins’ bold declaration is a sigh of relief and good news as it appears Rollins will be ready to go for WWE’s most important spectacle of the year.

However, his refusal to surrender the World title is self-centered and hypocritical within the dramatic realm of WWE, a contradiction coming from a television character who pledged to be a fighting champion. And that could help reshape the landscape of Monday Night Raw, before and after WrestleMania.

When “Triple H” Paul Levesque, head of WWE’s creative content, introduced WWE’s new World Heavyweight Championship last April, Seth Rollins was the first person to embrace it. He said the title would push the industry forward, calling it a championship that was about more than politics and part-timers. The new centerpiece of Raw represented people who wanted to fight, all of which was a jab at the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his incredibly light work schedule.

Though Rollins’ character has lived up to his word about being omnipresent and constantly hard at work, the fact is that, at this time, Rollins can’t work. He can’t fight. And instead of pushing the industry forward, he’s bringing it to a standstill.

It seems safe to assume that Rollins will be out of action as he rehabs his knee in an attempt to defend his title at WrestleMania. But for the next ten weeks, there will be no world title matches for Raw, NXT, live events, or wherever else Rollins might have popped up.

As a character study, one could argue that Rollins is selfishly holding the championship hostage to bask in the glory of headlining WrestleMania as the World Champion. In that regard, his behavior is similar to Roman Reigns, as Rollins opts not to prioritize WWE’s well-being by relinquishing the title and the associated honor to another deserving individual. Instead, much like Reigns, Rollins is prioritizing his personal interests.

Such a portrayal of Rollins as a hypocrite might play a significant role in his pre-and post-WrestleMania storylines, as whoever he faces at WWE’s grand showcase could call him out for his perceived insincerity. And that could potentially pave the way for a shift in Rollins’ character. He might adopt a stance reminiscent of Roman Reigns, becoming more protective of his position and adopting a more selective approach in choosing when and against whom to defend the title.

Such a betrayal of beliefs could position Rollins as Raw’s top villain. Such a turn could also help rejuvenate his character, which may have become stale for some. Most of all, it could tack on extra time for Rollins’ championship reign, adding more value and prestige to the title as fans become more invested in seeing someone rise up to take down the deceitful champion.

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