WWE Creative take a lot of criticism for being unable to build new stars. In the last ten years, not one professional wrestler has broken through the glass ceiling like a John Cena, a Brock Lesnar, or The Rock.
They have come close though. CM Punk gained a massive following after his infamous Pipe Bomb and subsequent WWE title run.
But at Wrestlemania he was treated as an afterthought while returning stars grabbed the headlines and the main events. He was so disgruntled, he left the business for other endeavours.
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Daniel Bryan forced his way to the pinnacle of wrestling until injury after injury derailed his momentum and standing within the company. But it's a safe bet that, if he had stayed healthy, WWE would have found a way to eventually "bury" him like so many others.
I don't believe that the creative team is responsible for as many "burials" as most internet fans like to think. But there are still plenty of occasions where the booking has me scratching my head. And that has been the case for large portions of Seth Rollins' current WWE World Title run.
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When analysing booking, you need to think about a long plan for the character. There needs to be a pay-off in the form of a heel/face turn, a huge feud, a championship changing hands etc. For Seth Rollins I believe the main pay-off of a slow burning face turn is already in progress. But before that happens, there have been a few missteps.
Seth is supposedly the top heel in the company. For a heel, wins and losses don't matter so much as for a strong babyface. The manner of victory is also less important. Plenty of characteristics that are synonymous with "strong booking" are not needed for a heel to be taken seriously.
This doesn't mean that WWE is trying to make Seth look wea,k but merely a guy you're supposed to hate.
But many fans feel that they have gone slightly too far in this regard and, intentional or not, have devalued Seth Rollins as a credible act.
While it is acceptable for a heel to be wiley, cowardly, and to take shortcuts in matches, they shouldn't have to depend on them to win.
When Ric Flair was on top of the business, he frequently used thumbs to the eyes, low blows, and rope pulls to gain the advantage. He never came across as weak; he came across as shrewd and effective.
He also often backed away from the oncoming babyfaces to make them look strong, but he rarely turned heel and ran, he would regroup and launch a sneak attack. This is how Seth Rollins should have been booked.
Instead, he is running for his life from Brock Lesnar and he is getting fluke victories from outside interference from celebrities, rather than by his own wit and cunning.
And in between times, he is losing cleanly on RAW week after week. He has not been booked as the focal point of the show to the degree that will make him a breakout star. John Cena is still the top attraction, and he is booked as such.
There would be no problem in booking John as the stronger wrestler of the two, so long as you allow the Champion to make up the difference with his cunning. Whenever John Stewart hasn't been involved Cena has gotten the win cleanly. So why should fans care about the World Title anymore?
It is an important thing to have a beatable Champion. It keeps the presentation unpredictable, and we are now at the stage where Seth could lose the title at any moment. That makes for exciting viewing, but with losses to the likes of J and J security, Seth doesn't just look beatable, he looks laughable.
Unfortunately, that means that there is no real heat on him. Fans don't hate him enough to pay to see him lose, and whoever takes the title won't be treated as a hero because if two retired comedy cruiserweights can beat him, then it's not an impressive feat.
If WWE does have an eventual face turn brewing for the former Shield member, then now is the time to start building him back up slightly. He is being allowed to unleash more and more of his incredible arsenal in the ring recently, and that will only make fans begrudgingly admire him.
He was made to pull double duty recently against two future Hall of Famers which is babyface booking if ever I've seen it. And these are steps in the right direction.
Also, his promo work needs to start subtly changing. A heel is most effective when his threats and brags are realistic. That is what generates heat. Claiming to be as great as Bruno Sammartino just makes fans roll their eyes; rather than make their blood boil.
Rollins' impressive ring work doesn't quite add up with his childish, petulant mic work, but when it does he will be a more effective heel, and better placed for a strong face turn.
If WWE sees him as a star, then when he has a truly marquee match with someone like Triple H for example, fans need to be expecting a clash of the titans.
Seth Rollins hasn't been buried yet, but unless Creative stop booking him to be so weak it could end up being just another instance where WWE came close to making a new star.
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