- Furthermore, though the Shield was a union of equals, Seth never saw himself staying level with Roman and Dean forever. He wanted to take over, he wanted to dominate, he wanted to combine his in-ring skills, resourcefulness, and strategic manipulative genius to maneuver his way into seizing control over the future of the company. He's been talking about changing the face of WWE forever from the very beginning of his days as a consummate babyface in the FCW/NXT developmental system. So why not grab minions he can more easily exert his ways over instead? Two simple reasons. One: assembling goal-oriented equals united by cause was a much safer bet for taking quick and decisive prominence, as they would be similarly competent and motivated to him as opposed to the lesser competent minions a typical ambitious heel would amass for comfort's sake. Two: blending into an alliance allowed him to better hide his megalomania for the opportune time as opposed to broadcasting it to the entire world immediately upon hitting TV.
The real reason for Seth's actions is that, after Batista quit and made "Plan A" (beating the Shield at their own game) impossible, the Authority went for "Plan B" - forcing an anticlimatic break-up of the Shield by getting Seth alone and blackmailing him to make him turn against his brothers; for added irony, they could have blackmailed Seth by threatening to fire Dean and Roman, which would probably be Stephanie McMahon's idea (she had just used it on Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, after all). Seth is the perfect one to take out of the Shield to make it implode - he's The Heart of the Shield, its creator, (arguably) its most-talented member, its peace-keeper, its strategist, the one who had never acted against Dean or Roman and so the one whose betrayal would be all the more unexpected and thus devastating, and in terms of the Authority punishing Seth himself, they're making him betray his best friends, destroy the team he invested so much effort and belief in, work for the very people he hates, and turning everyone in the locker-room and the WWE Universe against him, leaving him alone, friendless, and unable to retaliate. Seth acts like a heartless bastard because he either doesn't want Dean and Roman to catch on that there's something fishy about his turn, or he can't let them suspect per the Authority's orders.
Without any hope of ever reconciling with his friends or indeed any hope in sight, Seth could very possibly be Becoming the Mask due to misdirected frustration and anger getting the better of him. Or (combining this with a popular fan-theory) he has begun working to destroy the Authority from within for revenge (and possibly to prove himself to Dean and Roman) - after all, the Shield's old "pal" Randy Orton has turned against the Authority because of Seth, and there's an upcoming match at Survivor Series (incidentally the pay-per-view the Shield debuted at - poetic justice, much, Seth?) where the Authority could be stripped of all its power if it loses; perhaps Seth is working behind the scenes as a particularly effective, subtle Manipulative Bastard?
- Seth, even from his time with The Shield, has shown a level of savvy uncommon to most wrestlers that are young to the promotion. He may be aware of one or more of the following things:
- Triple H will only allow his 'anointed one' to go as far in his career as he thinks is appropriate. If Trips senses that someone's going further than he would like, he'll put the kibosh on it. (Example: Randy Orton in 2004)
- The other wrestlers in the Authority are, at the end of the day, wrestlers - who would target him for his championship as soon as he won it.
- Most importantly, he shares a similar career background with wrestlers that the establishment - Vince in particular - has historically not favored in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
- Psychologically speaking, someone who has engineered betrayals in the past will always (if only subconsciously) be wary of someone doing the same thing to them. And given that Triple H already has severe Chronic Backstabbing Disorder in the first place. So Seth purposely needled Randy Orton, whom he knew was paranoid at getting betrayed by Trips for a second time, helped that relationship fracture to the point where Triple H and Stephanie thought it necessary to have Orton removed. Now that everyone is gone, Rollins still has enemies, but the list of people who can stab him in the back unexpectedly is pretty short.
- Jossed with extreme prejudice with the last Raw segment of the year.
- Or maybe it wasn't jossed. Maybe the conclusion was the only thing that was wrong. Maybe Sting's goals and Seth's goals were separate but aligned anyway. By helping kill the Authority, Sting pissed off Triple H enough to where Hunter would want to fight him at WrestleMania (which ultimately was Sting's goal for coming to WWE). But they all knew it wasn't a permanent kill because the Authority were still Vince's family and Vince still wanted to give them an out to get back into power. That out? Convince the poster boy himself, John Cena, to bring them back. Knowing that if he spearheaded those efforts Hunter would be that much more grateful and indebted to him, Seth jumped on that, took his friends from Team Authority along with The Big Show in his 150th businessman heel turn, and pestered Cena for the next month into bringing them backeventually succeeding in doing so with his declaration of Eviler Than Thou on the last Raw of 2014 wherein he held the futures of his predecessors as the ruthless opportunist Big Bad at the soles of his feet (Hunter's authority vs. Edge's health) and forced Cena's hand. It paid off in immediate dividends with that triple threat match at the Royal Rumble, which he was able to use the experience of for what he did at WrestleMania.
The Shield was unique in that, again, they were a group of assembled equals. There was no such hierarchy to where one member was higher or lower than the other. Whoever had the hot hand stood out as the leader figure in popular eyes, which all three accomplished at one point or another during the Shield's run, but they all had the same amount of say in decisions and they all discussed their plans together. Sure, ego almost broke them up at one point between Ambrose and Reigns, though Seth himself took care of that, but that fact is still there. But even in a group like this, it was inevitable that there would be a point where the three could no longer climb up the mountaintop on the level together. Why? Because three men can't all be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. (Two could for about 12 years, but they were two separate titles.) And if they tried to keep climbing together when that was in their reach, inevitably that ego would creep in, the Shield would implode and lose momentum and then all three members' place on the mountain would be uncertain.
Seth had no intention on leaving his future to chance like this. He knew all along that once the Shield reached that plateau, he would personally implode the group in order to advance his career because You Can't Fight Fate, after all. His Rage Quit during the second of their six-man wars with The Wyatt Family was a testing of these waters not because they'd reached that plateau, but because Dean and Roman's ego-based breakdown around that time wouldn't allow them to get any further. Their reaction would determine his next course of action. If they had continued to fight along themselves or decided to disband then and there, the Shield was over and he'd have to continue on his own from there. But when they called him out together, he knew they were just a pep talk away from getting back on the road to that plateau gone as far as they could go.
Once they received the pep talk and made the decision to stay together, then became better received with the fans than with Corporate Kane, it was gradual HeelFace Turn time. Which worked out better for him, as he could harness the skills and consummate facedom of his developmental days as well as use the cause of justice as a motivator once again. They became such thorns in the Authority's side that Triple H was forced to bring back Evolution to deal with them.
And once the Shield took advantage of their unity vs. the individual egos of Evolution and they handily beat the three former multi-time world champions in two straight epic pay-per-view encounters, to the point that Batista quit rather than rely on another of Hunter's promises, he knew the Hounds of Justice had reached the plateau.
He also knew that Triple H would pick up on his Machiavellian nature before anyone else did. He also knew that Triple H would want a new protégé to help enforce his reign, as the Game was getting tired of Randy Orton's failures to get the world title back just as much if not more than Orton himself was.
So he waited for Triple H's call and offer. When it came, he accepted it. He became Plan B. He set aside his emotions for the sake of his future. He said goodbye to his brothers with the crack of a chair and earned himself their eternal hatred.
- Seth did create The Shield.
- Seth made a deal with Sting to have the Authority (really, just Triple H and Stephanie in particular) deposed once Vince came back into the picture.
- Seth had the abortion of the Shield mapped out in his mind all along.
Now, if you've gone through all those, let's talk about his title reign. Much like with his complete idiocy in dealing with Randy Orton heading into WrestleMania, which turned out to be just another setup, Seth once again took up a guise of cartoonish incompetence. He wasted little time retreating into the typical shell of overprotective Dirty Coward that had plagued so many of WWE's villainous world champions, expending the Authority's resources and ultimately their patience in retaining his championship against Orton, Ambrose, and even Reigns. Between name-specific move bans, interference from Kane, reversed decisions, and every obstacle planted before his enemies in the shows between title defenses, the Architect's overt reliance on the Authority over the span of the next few months was once again pissing off even his stablemates. He appeared to be more and more inept every week that went by. Even the triple powerbomb spot in the four-way match at Payback 2015 which proved that Seth still had a piece of the Shield in his heart despite his treacherous ambitions ultimately made him appear incapable of self-sufficiency as a world heavyweight champion.
With Orton long out of the inner circle, Lesnar no longer on friendly terms, and Big Show being focused on his own goals ever since his deployment to stall Reigns put him out of action, all Rollins had to back him up was J&J Security and Kane. Yet, despite being dispossessed of the physical title belt and coming a technicality away from no longer being champion at all, Rollins blamed and alienated them to the point they're no longer on Seth's side. The alignments of the Authority were more fragile and shakier than they have ever been, yet the guy who needed constant backup to keep the treasure that he stole from a beast and a soldier was insisting that he could get it back from his revenge-crazed brother all by himself.
And though it was by the skin of his teeth, he backed up his claim. He defeated Dean Ambrose to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship without the Authority's help. Seth Rollins stepped up to the plate once put to the challenge and he proved that he was more than just out-of-control ego and possessive greed, he was a true championship talent.
And now, Hunter and Stephanie, feeling validated enough to put the investment of their resources to the ultimate test, have reinstated a suspended Beast Incarnate and locked Seth into the ultimate pressure scenario: to retain his title, he must cement himself as a wrestling god by being the first man to take down Brock Lesnar since Triple H himself back at WrestleMania 29.
Those who've seen Seth Rollins in his independent and developmental days, as well as his top performances on the main roster, know that the Standard Bearer is easily capable of rising to the occasion and producing big time in the ring without having to rely on help from a pack of minions like he has for the majority of his title reign. This is now being openly acknowledged, and with rumors of a face turn and falling out with Triple H coming in the not-too-far future, one can't help but wonder if Seth has secretly been using his title defenses to irritate the Authority into self-destruction.
However, even the knowledge of his true abilities is not enough for one to ever call him a favorite against the likes of the Conqueror of the Streak, the One in 21-1, the Human Cheat-Code known as Brock Lesnar. The reality is not only could Seth Rollins be walking out of Battleground sans a world championship, the high chances are that's exactly what's gonna happen.
The way he's isolated himself does him absolutely no favors in his situation. One would argue that, with Brock's suspension always a finger snap away from being lifted, it almost doesn't make any sense. And assuming begging to take back the corporate assistance he abused for so many months would even work, he'd be right back to square one without a guarantee they'd even be effective against the Anomaly that is Lesnar.
Still, Seth's history has proven that he is too deviously sharp to leave an opponent like Lesnar to effort and chance. Which brings up the question. What if Seth's out to once again pull something out of the hat that no one in WWE land would think to anticipate from him? What if he has an endgame in store that would allow him to reshuffle the deck and completely cement his place of leadership in the Authority and in WWE as a whole?
If that's the case, then he no longer needs to be able to pull a miracle and beat Brock Lesnar by himself. Only to stand up to and take the Beast to the limit to the best of his ability, valiantly staving off destruction just long enough to provide the opening for his ace in the hole to come to fruition. He'd still not only become the first man to pin or submit Brock Lesnar in 27 months, during which CM Punk, The Undertaker, John Cena, and even Roman Reigns tried and could not do so, his ace could potentially change the entire complexion of the Authority. Gone would be the Teeth-Clenched Teamwork that has characterized the vast majority of Hunter and Stephanie's underlings, instead making way for a solid unit sharing Seth's vision for the future.
Even Hunter and Stephanie themselves would have no choice but to recognize that the users have been used. And whether they deferred to Seth's wishes and acted as his political power brokers or they turned against him to try and take back complete control, the future would not be stopped.
The future would become NOW. And the future would be ushered in, not by Roman Reigns, not by John Cena, but by Seth Rollins.
The man called the Architect will have successfully played God over this company.
BELIEVE IN SETH ROLLINS.
- Safe to say, this has been Jossed. Seth's incompetence was played straight, he was turned into a pawn, and finally, he got hurt. What possibly comes next once he returns? See below.
- Jossed, he's come back and has basically called out the WWE Universe for only supporting him because he got injured, CM Punk -style.
- Interestingly, now that Triple H has turned on Seth Rollins and screwed him out of becoming the WWE Universal Champion, it does appear as though, just months after returning, he will finally become a face character.
In character, Rollins has been all but abandoned by Triple H, who immediately started looking for someone else to back as The Authority's main man as soon as he got hurt and ended up settling on Sheamus, the same man who almost cashed in on him and ended his run, as soon as the man actually did the deed at Reigns' expense. It would be an absolutely nonsensical move for him to come back and still support the Authority when he returns, almost bordering on a childlike devotion to the Helmsleys which would destroy anyone's ability to take him seriously again. Meanwhile, Reigns and Ambrose, among others, are feuding with the Authority, including Sheamus and his "League of Nations" alliance. If Seth is coming back as a face against this same group yet doesn't interact with Dean and Roman in any way, there will be a elephant so large it takes up the entire space of the room.
We can almost certainly expect a moment about two months before SummerSlam 2016 in which a recovered Rollins makes his return via run-in to rescue Reigns and Ambrose from an Authority beating, has a steel chair in hand, doesn't use it to stab either man in the back, and has a staredown with his brothers. This could then be followed up on a future show with a promo in which Seth describes how he chaired his brothers in the back to prevent being caught up in the fallout of a future stable collapse over the WWE Championship, admits that insisting he didn't care about them was just to keep himself walled up from everything outside his own ambitions and yet he almost cracked a couple times ("You're no brother of mine!", Payback, the Wyatt match), and confesses that seeing Dean and Roman's support of each other even after fighting for the title made him realize that it was all a mistake by proving to him how much stronger the Shield truly was compared to other stables and alliances in WWE history, includingespeciallythe Authority and Triple H, who had manipulated and misled him the entire time by turning him into a pawn even as the champion. This makes clear his intentions to fight the Authority for even if Roman and Dean still don't trust him enough to reform the Shield.
Roman and Dean will quickly maintain that they don't completely trust Seth but are taking this on a wait-and-see approach. He will "incidentally" help them (and vice versa) against Authority attacks over the next couple of months while being set up in separate SummerSlam matches against Triple H, Sheamus, and another Authority-backed wrestler. Finally, on the last Raw before the show, Seth takes a bullet for Ambrose or Reigns during a high-numbers beatdown, at which point they see that he's for real and promptly jump into hell with him. The show end with the Authority walking tall, pleased with themselves, but the Hounds of Justice finally reconvening at last via their symbol of excellence: the united fists.
SummerSlam is a clean sweep. The Shield members win all three matches. The Sierra Hotel intro opens the next night's Raw, possibly with a new theme song in tow, and the three Hounds come out together through the crowd but still dressed in their individual outfits, declaring that they remain both their own men and united as one force, as this is a new chapter in the history that they intend to write. The Authority makes a six-man tag, the Shield's official reunion match, as the show's main event. The Shield win and stand tall. The story goes on from there.
- Jossed, see above.
So why is Seth still Stephanie's favorite? One possible explanation is that the two were having an affair behind Triple H's back. Following Finn's vacating of the Universal Championship, Triple H seized his opportunity at the Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match to 1) avenge his WrestleMania loss to Roman Reigns, 2) position one of his favored NXT prospects (Kevin Owens) at the top of the company, and 3) punish Seth for the affair by disowning him in a very public venue.