Thursday, 1 June 2017

Seth Rollins - Building The Architect

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 526 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: May 29 2017

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

WWE's latest match compilation focuses on Seth Rollins, who in less than five years has gone from NXT star to perennial WWE main eventer and one of the company's biggest names. Promisingly, his best days may be yet to come; for the time being, Building The Architect focuses on Rollins' WWE adventures to date, with some candid comments by Seth himself between matches.

The first few matches are from Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental territory after OVW (but before the NXT revamp). These bouts include a clash with Hunico in the final match of the Jack Brisco Classic tournament, an FCW 15 title contest with Dean Ambrose, and his FCW title-winning performance against Leo Kruger. The Ambrose match is the best of the three, though all have their moments, and it's fascinating to consider that FCW was the equivalent of NXT during this era, because the thought of FCW ever expanding beyond its studio setting into major arenas worldwide, in the manner that NXT has in recent years, seems unfathomable.

Speaking of NXT, it's revealed through some blink-and-you'll-miss-it footage that Rollins was meant to be a contestant on a season of NXT during its "reality show" days, alongside Big E Langston, Bo Dallas, Hunico, Leo Kruger/Adam Rose and Damien Sandow. As it turned out, this season didn't happen, which has to be considered a good thing given that Rollins, Big E and Sandow all carved out careers on the main roster which wouldn't have been possible had this season actually happened. It's debatable as to whether or not Hunico, Dallas and Kruger would have had a greater chance of succeeding if this version of NXT had occurred.

Rollins did appear on NXT, though, becoming the first NXT Champion after the brand was relaunched from its home base of Full Sail University, taking up the form that we know today. Within a few months, though, Rollins had arrived on the main roster alongside Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose as part of The Shield, the faction which changed the WWE landscape forever and would make main event stars out of all three. Rollins still had to lose the NXT title, though, and that he did in the next match featured here against Big E.

I should mention at this point that most of The Shield's key matches were included on the 2015 DVD The Destruction Of The Shield (as well as Seth's NXT title-winning battle against current WWE Champion Jinder Mahal), so Building The Architect is light on Shield matches. There's a couple to savour, though: their match against John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback is underrated and really helped to make the three members stand out on the roster, as did their first WrestleMania appearance opposite Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show at WM 29, which has some great spots. The third and final Shield match comes against Cody Rhodes and Goldust from Battleground 2013, one of the better matches from that year which also features Dusty Rhodes' final significant on-screen appearance. Why the group's Extreme Rules battle against Evolution from ER 2014 is not here, I do not know.

We do see The Shield implode, though, through a major swerve that saw Rollins smash his Shield "brothers" with a steel chair. Since TDOTS covered much of the fall-out from that break-up, the next match here isn't until Royal Rumble 2015, and an awesome three-way against Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Not only was this probably the best match on the main roster in 2015, but it was also the match which truly made Rollins a singles star, and most likely played a part in his championship success later that year. After we relive Rollins vs. Randy Orton from WrestleMania 31, and that RKO, we jump ahead to the end of that card, where Rollins cashed in Money In The Bank during a Lesnar vs. Reigns match and became the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. That Seth was a heel was not evident by the massive pop which greeted this moment (largely because it meant Roman hadn't won the title when he "wasn't ready"; over two years later, Reigns is unfortunately still being booed every night), and Rollins had officially hit the jackpot.

The next match is Rollins vs. Ambrose in a Ladder bout from MITB 2015. I've written about how I didn't particularly enjoy this in a few previous reviews, so I won't repeat that here. Instead, I'll go straight to Rollins vs. Neville, which is a fantastic Raw match whereby Neville almost does the unthinkable and so very nearly dethrones Seth. Rollins proved there why he was The Man, and he repeats this against John Cena in a slightly overrated double title match from SummerSlam of that year, which has the stench of a finish involving Jon Stewart that still seems inexplicable in hindsight.

Not many people remember that Rollins and Cena battled again inside a Steel Cage on a live Network special from Madison Square Garden, but we're treated to that match here, and it's a really good clash between the two men who were arguably WWE's best in-ring performers at that time. Sadly for Seth, a devastating knee injury sidelined him weeks later, forcing him to vacate the WWE title. After a brief appearance at the 2015 Slammys to collect his Superstar Of The Year trophy, which is shown here, Rollins would resurface at Extreme Rules 2016 to Pedigree Roman Reigns, and their follow-up match from MITB 2016 here, which along with the post-match shenanigans created the unique distinction of all three former Shield members holding the WWE title within minutes of each other.

The DVD ends with three matches that sees Rollins on the losing side, which perhaps demonstrates how his knee injury reduced his profile somewhat in the company. The first all-Shield three-way on the main roster from Battleground 2016 was overshadowed by the Draft days earlier, but it's still very good. Seth vs. Finn Balor for the Universal Championship from SummerSlam is overshadowed even more by the ridiculously negative crowd reactions to the visual look of the title, and also in hindsight by the torn labrum injury Balor suffered minutes into it; despite these, it's still an exciting match. Finally, Seth's battle with Kevin Owens under No DQ rules from a November 2016 episode of Raw thankfully has nothing to distract the viewer, and it's a strong brawl with a finish that humorously makes a reference to the real-life fight between Chris Jericho and Sin Cara from around that time.

Because so many crucial Shield matches aren't here for understandable reasons, along with a few solo Rollins bouts of note, this DVD isn't the comprehensive collection of The Man that fans may be hoping for. It does, however, contain a lot of great action, and Seth's post-Shield career contains almost all of his singles highlights from the last two years. (This DVD was produced before Seth battled Triple H at WrestleMania 33, meaning this match isn't here, which depending on your point of view is either a good thing or a bad thing.) Seth's pre-match comments add a level of insight and honesty to proceedings, which round off the package nicely. As noted earlier, Rollins will be in WWE for a long time to come, so we'll likely get another DVD at some point in the future; for now, though, fans of the Architect will love this compilation, which provides sufficient evidence that Rollins really is The Man in WWE.

Overall Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

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