For the last six months, no other WWE performer has been on the level of Seth Rollins. Every time he has a match, it steals the show, and last night’s Intercontinental title defense was the crown jewel on an otherwise supremely lackluster Backlash card.
Rollins was WWE’s workhorse champion when, in late 2015, he sustained a brutal knee injury in a house show match against Kane. In a way that kind of mirrored the recovery process we see often with athletes in other sports, when he first returned it took some time to find his groove.
For about 1-1.5 years, Rollins felt like a less confident performer, and this was the case both in the ring and on the microphone. In my eyes, the mojo reemerged when he reunited with the Shield (a storyline cut short by a Dean Ambrose injury). He had another partnership derailed by injury when Jason Jordan went down, and since then has been absolutely indispensable in the IC title scene.
The highlight of this stretch, and the moment where everybody watching knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Rollins was assuredly back as an A-lister, was a gauntlet match on Raw in which he lasted for over an hour with a combination of Roman Reigns, John Cena, and Elias.
Last night, FS1 producer Sharief Ali and I broke down the whole WWE Backlash card; we started by discussing Rollins at the 2-minute mark: