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Monday, August 31, 2015

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Seth Rollins: The Greatest Champion of This Era

By Christopher Evans(@cool_calm_chris)

It's been a crazy couple of months for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Ever since winning the championship from Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31, the champion has been slowly creeping up on having one of the more memorable and meaningful championship reigns of the past decade. With his victory over former United States Champion John Cena at SummerSlam this past weekend, the former member of the Shield became the first man to win and hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship at the same time. So one has to ask the question, is Seth Rollins the best World Heavyweight Champion we've ever seen?

The obvious answer is no, but he has had a rather impressive reign as Champion that has been one of the more interesting title reigns of the past decade, if not the best.

Look at some of the best World Title reigns over the years, these were some of the most interesting and must-see periods in pro wrestling history. Take Triple H's title run in 2003, with a great heel run as well as a solid faction to help bring heat in the form of Evolution, the Cerebral Assassin had probably the best run of his career with the World Heavyweight Championship. During that time he put on some classic matches with legends like Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Kevin Nash, even Goldberg. During this time period The Game would hold the title for an unbelievable 280 (477 if you add up all 3 of his reigns from September 2, 2002 - March 14, 2003).

Another impressive championship run was in fact JBL's only run with the WWE Championship. Lasting just as long as Triple H's longest run with the World Heavyweight Championship, John Bradshaw Layfield's 280-day reign as WWE Champion in 2004 was definitely one of the most impressive runs with the championship in the modern era. Also aligned with a less memorable faction in his Cabinet, JBL stepped his game up and became one of the best talkers in the company at the time. His run helped Smackdown remain somewhat relevant after the departure of Brock Lesnar (originally Eddie Guerrero was the one to be the face of the brand, but he would crack under the pressure of making ratings).

Now many could argue "What about CM Punk, he had the longest WWE title reign of the modern era", while this is true and Punk did have an amazing run, there was one major caveat to his reign. CM Punk was on an historic run as WWE Champion, 434 days is pretty much unimaginable at this point for any champion to reach, but there was a major wall standing in the way of his reign.

With The Rock announcing that he would wrestle the WWE champion at the Royal Rumble (all the way in July on Raw 1000), fans knew exactly when CM Punk would be dropping the title and who he would be dropping the title to. While CM Punk's run as WWE Champion was amazing, it felt as though he was just a place holder for the title.

Seth Rollins however, has so far made it through each opponent, by some form or another, and has managed to get through even the largest of obstacles. In that time he's managed to have classic matches with almost everyone, from the 15-time World Champion John Cena to the Man That Gravity Forgot Neville. Seth Rollins has been gaining steam as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, so much so that many critics compare him to his mentor Triple H during his big push in 2000. If Seth Rollins can maintain this pace as WWE Champion, he could easily be remembered as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.



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