It’s #TheShieldWeek at Juice Make Sugar, and we’re talking all things Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose. But like so many young stables that have come and gone before them, each of these guys has something to learn, and room to grow. For Seth Rollins, it could make the difference between a career in the midcard, and a reign at the top. Thankfully, we’re here to help them same way we would any other athlete: give him tape He Should Watch. And loving our readers like we do, we have some tape You Should Watch of the work that reminds us of his because what’s more fun than old wrestling videos?
HE SHOULD WATCH
Seth Rollins is the wildcard in The Shield. He doesn’t have the freakishly-strong physique of Roman Reigns, who has already been pegged a future world champion. And while he’s certainly on-par on talent, he lacks the natural charisma and “it factor” of Dean Ambrose. No one’s expecting Seth Rollins to be the breakout star of the stable. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
Rollins has displayed flashes of occasional brilliance in the year since The Shield debuted. That top-rope knee strike is a thing of beauty. His selling probably makes Dolph Ziggler worry about his spot on the roster…not that ANYONE wants Dolph Ziggler’s spot on the roster.
But if post-Shield Rollins is going to become anything more than a guy who sells all year, then takes a bunch of wicked ladder spots before failing to win Money in the Bank, he’s going to need an edge. He’ll need to make us care about him, and why he does the things he does. He’ll need to make us suspend disbelief, and wonder what’s real.
Like Brian Pillman.
Before Brian Pillman became The Loose Cannon, he was just Flyin’ Brian Pillman. He was a plucky underdog light heavyweight in WCW, in the days before American wrestling fans learned to respect them. He was also a Hollywood Blonde, teaming with a pre-Stone Cold “Stunning” Steve Austin.
And while he was solid in the ring, he was boring. There were always underdogs in wrestling, and WCW provided very little reason for anyone to care about this one.
So what was the difference between Pillman remaining a perennial Kofi Kingston, and breaking out of the midcard? A worked-shoot mental breakdown, and a trip to ECW.
Pillman convinced the wrestling world he’d lost his mind. He’d wander to the ring during matches in which he had no involvement. He’d cut bizarre promos. In ECW, he even threatened to piss in the ring, and called New Jack the n-word. No, seriously. Maybe he was crazy…
The point is… it made Pillman unpredictable. It launched him to an epic feud with his former Hollywood Blonde tag team partner, under the bright lights of WWE’s lighting rig.
There’s no telling how far Pillman could have gone in the Attitude Era. Thanks to an undetected heart issue that claimed his life at just 35 years old, we’ll never know. But for an exciting wrestler that can completely captivate an audience… the sky is the limit.
Rollins has the workrate. His promos are getting better, when he gets the chance to cut them. All he needs to stand out — to break through the glass ceiling that hovers over guys like Ziggler, Kingston and so many others — is that edge. That unpredictability. That special something that draws us to the edge of our seats when he grabs the mic and hits the ring, and then holds our undivided attention until the segment/match/show is over.
If Seth Rollins can embrace his inner Loose Cannon, he’ll have a real chance to reach his full potential as WWE Superstar.
YOU SHOULD WATCH
I enjoy Seth Rollins’ work. We all should, and there’s a lot to hope for regarding what he will be able to accomplish in the ‘E. The more I think about it, the more he reminds me of The Rocket. The Blackheart. The two-time Slammy Award-winner himself, Owen Hart.
Stick with me here.
For a long time, Owen was nothing. He was a solid hand on the roster, a high-flyer in the days before they counted. But for a long time, Owen was also really, really bland. He was overshadowed by tag team partners, and even his own family.
And then, something glorious happened. Owen Hart became unpredictable. When Owen was the sole Hart eliminated from the Hart Family Survivor Series team, it set in motion an incredible heel turn, and the Hart vs. Hart feud that made him a bonafide wrestling star.
His Wrestlemania X and Summerslam matches against Bret are among my favorites. One part of that is because they’re good matches that were part of an amazing feud. Another is the fact that It took a talented-but-struggling performer and made him legitimate.
From then on, it didn’t matter if Owen was teaming with guys like Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, his brother Bret, or even Jeff Jarrett. Even Yokozuna. All of them cast enormous shadows, which Owen always managed to get out from under. I just hope that, someday, we’ll be saying the same about Seth Rollins.