Seth Rollins is no longer Universal Champion.
Regardless of feelings towards Crown Jewel's problematic core, the fragile state of a once-powerful Fiend gimmick or the fractured condition of Raw's top prize, the veracious optimism that emerged from the news spoke volumes about the collapse of the Seth Rollins: Top Babyface project.
Long before a catastrophic Hell In A Cell left the entire company facing up to the detritus of yet another white hot character left shivering, the only thing Rollins was burning down was his relationship with the audience. Thanks to several bad programmes and even worse tweets, 'The Beastslayer' had become the biggest monster standing in the way of his success.
Programmes with Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman had washed away the stink of a woeful feud with Baron Corbin, whilst tumbling numbers in all the usual places suggested that Seth wasn't 'the guy' even if some people still liked him.
Cursed by Roman Reigns who was cursed by John Cena who was cursed by WWE once being receptive to their primary consumer, Rollins became the latest casualty of the company's main event hex in 2019.
But today is belt-less and new and one of the company's biggest weaknesses should provide him strength. In this world, nothing really matters other than the rightrightnow. Yesterday, last month, this year, any given moment on Twitter; they're all in his past. And he can curate a brighter future...
7. Back To Basics
Seth Rollins' 2019 Royal Rumble victory and subsequent headline tenure wasn't borne out of an imagined popularity or false run of form beforehand.
He wasn't necessarily to everybody's taste, but for those who liked or admired him, he was the one. There was a time in early 2018 where he could have 'The Man' had his future beau Becky Lynch not snapped it up later that year. Going long when it was required (and a bit more on that later) and shoring up the midcard ranks in both singles and tag battles, Rollins was at very least the steadiest of hands. It's an aesthetic that feels lightyears removed from what he's managed on top.
There's never been any less shame in being a midcarder in WWE - the tiers are too fluid to establish a genuine industry-defining time on top of the company unless you're absolutely 100% the man chosen to shoulder that. Seth, though he'd have hoped otherwise, was never in that spot. Enjoying life in the background for the first time in his career thus far could do so much for a character that's lost so much as a supposed "winner".