What a difference a couple years makes.
It hasn’t even been a year since Roman Reigns stepped away from WWE to get treatment for leukemia. Before that, the “anyone but Roman” campaigns were quiet, but mostly because the company had beaten them into submission by making Brock Lesnar the only real alternative to Reigns.
One of the alternatives some fans used to wish for as WWE’s top babyface was Seth Rollins. Having comeback from his own serious, but not life threatening, injury and with screaming “BURN IT DOWN” a fun thing to do, Rollins was pretty popular. Plus, unlike his Samoan Shield brother, Seth had come up through the indies. He earned his stripes in Ring of Honor and NXT, and loved wrestling so much he opened his own school in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa. And he was on UpUpDownDown all the time. He loved wrestling and football and video games and attractive women... he was just like many of the folks booing Roman (except for the whole Crossfit thing)!
Well, The Architect got Reigns’ spot. But after his own experiences with WWE’s inability to book babyfaces, and some self-inflicted wounds from Twitter and media interviews, we now basically have an “anyone but Seth” movement. And while I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call Romey beloved, he’s consistently getting cheered outside of the main title pictures. He’s also crossing over a bit as a mainstream act thanks to bit roles in TV shows and movies.
So, in an intriguing twist of fate, Reigns is now publicly vouching for Rollins as top guy.
From an interview with Sports Illustrated:
Thoughts?“There is a lot to being the face of WWE. It’s not only about being in the ring. It’s about how you represent, and that is a 24-7, 365 job. You’ve got to be on all the time for 52 weeks a year. But I’m telling you now, my brother is legit.
I was so proud of him and what he did at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar. He obviously had one of those weeks where the Twitter machine and the Internet went nuts on him, but he bounced back and answered the call.
Is he passionate? God, yes. Is he blunt? Of course, that’s why I love him. He doesn’t sugarcoat, he’s very honest, and he is passionate, and he was born for professional wrestling.
Seth loves the WWE. That’s why some people misread some of the things he says or the ways he delivers it, but he does mean well. He’s a workhorse. Yeah, he’s a little live at the mouth sometimes, but he’s got a heart of gold, trust me.
Whether he’s on Raw or SmackDown, the WWE is in good hands with him as champion.”