The Architect of Chaos: A History of Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules

Kyle Fowle

At the most recent Extreme Rules event, Seth Rollins went from the highest high to the lowest low. After a back-and-forth mixed tag team match that saw him and his romantic/tag/champion partner Becky Lynch take on Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans, Rollins secured the win after three vicious Stomps. The elation was short-lived though, as Brock Lesnar cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, hit Rollins with some suplexes and an F-5, and walked out as the new Universal Champion.

It’s one of the few blemishes on an otherwise sparkling record for Rollins at Extreme Rules. There are certainly superstars that fit the definition of “extreme” more than “The Kingslayer,” but Rollins always manages to shine at the event itself. He’s consistently part of the best matches, has been in the main event numerous times, and his win-loss record isn’t anything to shrug at. Let’s take a look back at some of Rollins’ best moments at Extreme Rules, and see just how he always steals the show.

2013: The Shield win the Tag Team titles

The year before, The Shield stormed into WWE and changed things forever. The faction of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins wreaked havoc on the roster. They were called “The Hounds of Justice” for a reason, doling out punishment as they saw fit. They put all of WWE on notice in 2012, but 2013 saw them rise to the top.

Earlier in the evening, Dean Ambrose won the United States Championship from Kofi Kingston. Then, in a fantastic, chaotic Tornado Tag Match—hey WWE, bring back the Tornado Tag! It’s fun!—Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins went home with their own titles, the WWE Tag Team Championships. This match is a hint of what Rollins would bring to Extreme Rules in the future: fast-paced offense and a truly killer instinct.

2014: The End of Evolution…and The Shield

After Triple H was attacked by his former bodyguards The Shield, “The Cerebral Assassin” decided it was time to get the band back together to stop “The Hounds of Justice” from doing whatever they wanted in WWE. Thus, Randy Orton and Batista were once again brought in to form Evolution. He quickly announced that the six men would square off at Extreme Rules to see who was the true dominant faction of WWE.

This one ranks up there with some of the best Shield six-man matches, but it’s Rollins’ performance that’s so memorable. While Reigns got the pin on Batista to secure the win, it was Rollins taking out Triple H and Randy Orton by diving off a balcony in the stands that changed the course of the match and gave all of us an image we can’t forget. This was Rollins turning into something else, finally finding another gear that would bring him into the main event as a singles star. In fact, it was just a few weeks later that Rollins would deliver the chair shots heard around the world, laying out Reigns and Ambrose and aligning himself with The Authority in an effort to define himself outside The Shield and become WWE Champion.

2015: The Reigning WWE Champion

At WrestleMania 31 in 2015, Rollins had his most iconic moment, cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase during the main event match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, and walking out as WWE Champion for the first time ever. Then Rollins’ old Authority buddy Randy Orton won the right to a title shot, and chose a Steel Cage Match as his stipulation, while Triple H made Kane the gatekeeper of the cage. 

The match is a bit of a mess, with Kane and J&J security getting involved, and Orton unable to use his RKO because of Rollins’ match stipulation, but it’s still Rollins defending his newly won WWE Championship against one of the company’s most decorated legends, and coming out on top. It also signaled that this was it for Rollins; He was now the guy in the main event, and he’s consistently been there ever since.

2016: The Return of Rollins

Rollins suffered a brutal knee injury during a house show in late 2015, forcing him to vacate the WWE Championship. A tournament was set up to crown a new champion, and at Survivor Series it was thematically appropriate that Roman Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose to claim the vacant title. Less thematically appropriate was Sheamus cashing in and winning the title from Reigns moments later, but you get the point.

Everyone was waiting for Rollins to return, but his injury was serious, taking months of recovery. Reigns eventually won the WWE Championship back, and then successfully defended it against AJ Styles at 2016’s Extreme Rules event in a match that tore the house down. But then, it was the moment we’d been waiting for. Rollins, decked out in new gear, appeared behind Reigns in the ring. He spun him around, dropped him with a Pedigree, and then held the WWE Championship he never lost over his head. Another iconic Extreme Rules moment in the books.

2017/2018: Tough losses

Even when losing, Seth Rollins still shines at Extreme Rules. His only two losses, other than the recent Brock cash-in, stem from circumstances out of his control. In 2017, he—along with 4 other men—lost the chance to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Great Balls of Fire when Samoa Joe ran through everybody and then choked out Finn Balor. Then, in 2018, Rollins’ quest for the Intercontinental Championship came up short thanks to Drew McIntyre helping Dolph Ziggler retain the title.

The losses hurt, but they also show that Rollins, no matter what, is always in a significant match. He’s been in the main event for a long time, a “top guy” for years now. Extreme Rules is his event. He’s won titles, defended them, challenged for them. He’s put together a seriously remarkable highlight reel of high-flying moves and returns to thunderous ovations. He’s the true king of Extreme Rules.

You can go back and revisit all of Seth Rollins’ Extreme Rules moments on the WWE Network.

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