Burn It Down: Why A Seth Rollins Heel Turn Could Save WWE Monday Night RAW
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Monday night on WWE RAW, we got a glimpse of what Seth Rollins could do as a heel right now. And it was excellent. It was the best RAW segment in months, at least for one fan who has groaned every time babyface Rollins cut a promo throughout 2019. The Architect has been struggling in the role of the red brand’s top good guy. More than ever, we can see it’s time for a change. The Architect’s tirade against the RAW locker room was an eye-opening twist. Let’s take a look at why a full-blown Rollins heel turn could be exactly what RAW needs.
During Rollins’ town hall on RAW, he insulted the show and the entire locker room. First, he blatantly called the red brand the “C-show.” Then, he told his peers, “Last night at Survivor Series, you all sucked.” Rollins then targeted individuals; most notably, he bragged about beating Brock Lesnar before saying Rey Mysterio’s “stupid kid” wasn’t enough to beat the Beast. The entire locker room walked out on Rollins before Kevin Owens came to the ring. Finally, the Architect called Owens “a lazy piece of crap” and told him he’ll never be Seth Rollins.
In the span of a few minutes, Rollins went from coming across as a frustrated team captain to sounding like a self-righteous bully. Every line he spoke was appallingly rude and it was hard not to eat it up. Rooting against a jerk is a lot easier than cheering for someone who makes you want to boo him.
For most of 2019, Rollins has been positioned as RAW’s top babyface. But time and again, he’s just cringeworthy. It started at WWE WrestleMania 35, when he kicked Lesnar below the belt to beat him for the WWE Universal Championship. Then, Rollins boasted that he vanquished the Beast and called himself a hero, though he cheated to win. A monotonous, drawn-out feud with Baron Corbin make Rollins’ title reign even more unappealing. When it roped in Rollins’ real-life fiancé, Becky Lynch, some fans soured on both of them. The storyline showed that on-screen, Rollins and Lynch have zero chemistry.
As the summer rolled along, more fans turned on Rollins. Lesnar briefly took the title from the so-called BeastSlayer but the former champion whined about the loss. WWE also tried to make him “cool” by briefly pairing him with the Street Profits. But their segments just made Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins look dorky by association. An uninspiring feud with Braun Strowman and a controversial rivalry with Bray Wyatt completed Rollins’ fall from grace. By the time he lost the title to Wyatt, fans cheered the Architect’s defeat.
No single moment ruined Rollins’ run as RAW’s top good guy. It’s been a gradual decline but, at least in the short term, the red brand needs to change course. By leaning into Rollins’ on-screen arrogance, it seems WWE is doing that. Though the red brand doesn’t have a surplus of main event babyfaces, a Rollins heel turn could save the show.
Sometimes, the best villains are the ones who think they’re doing the right thing. If WWE continues in the direction we saw last night, Rollins would fit this description. Rollins’ diatribe to open the show was an attempt to “rally the troops.” Instead, he turned the locker room even further against him. Rollins is firmly convinced he’s the hero of this story. It’ll be a compelling moment when someone opens his eyes to the truth or he figures it out himself.
Despite Rollins’ warped perspective, he’ll still do morally questionable things. During his match with Kevin Owens, he grabbed a chair from ringside. Though he didn’t use it, he was clearly tempted to break the rules. But his post-match actions were even more revealing. After the Authors of Pain left Owens battered and bruised, Rollins attacked him. The Architect hit two Stomps on a man who was already down. Yet he still calls himself a good guy.
The mere hint that WWE is embracing the fans’ turn on Rollins is exciting. If nothing else, it means WWE RAW might feel fresh for the first time in months. RAW has unsuccessfully tried to frame Rollins as a lovable hero. Now, a show that’s fallen behind NXT and WWE Friday Night SmackDown needs some dramatic changes. Altering the top of the card seems like a fitting place to start.