You may not cheer for him, and you probably don’t, but there is no doubting the incredible talent of Seth Rollins. Throughout 2015, The Architect proved his willingness to do anything to win and achieved milestone after milestone as a result. In 2016, you will see what happens when he returns from his injury with something new to prove. With a new hunger and, presumably, the full backing of The Authority, look for the Future of WWE to reposition himself at the top of the mountain faster than you can say “Seth freaking Rollins.” — MICHAEL BURDICK
#3 Seth Rollins
When discussing the best Superstars of 2015, the discussion must begin and end with Seth “Freaking” Rollins. In a year filled with remarkable performances from Superstars and Divas alike, Rollins started 2015 in the deep end, wrestling Brock Lesnar and John Cena, and only waded into further challenges from there. His statistics — a historic cash-in and dual reign among them — speak for themselves, but really what made this his year was consistency. Nobody got better and better, sometimes by the hour, sometimes by the minute. Nobody held a title with such gleeful malevolence. Nobody made it so hard to hate a guy so good. And, most importantly, nobody beat him for that big championship. Let’s see if anybody’s up to the challenge come 2016.
#25 Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose — WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match (WWE Money in the Bank)
Fittingly enough for the climax of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose’s brutal, two-year rivalry, this Ladder Match was complete carnage from start to finish. The two competitors made weapons out of ladders, chairs, ring ropes and anything else in reach. Every moment was more explosive than the next, leading up to the unbelievable finale when a literal tug-o-war for the title atop the ladder led to both Superstars crashing to the canvas with the coveted prize in their hands. The Lunatic Fringe lost his grip as they hit the floor, allowing Rollins to walk away with the victory by the narrowest of margins.
#21 Seth Rollins vs. Neville — WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (Raw, Aug. 3)
WE SAID: The very particular nature of Seth Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Title Open Challenge — Superstars taller than six feet or heavier than 200 pounds need not apply — yielded not only a challenger Rollins hadn’t bargained for, but also one of the most breathtaking defenses of his reign. Looking to make the most of the rare opportunity, Neville showcased his post-modern offense (corkscrew moonsaults, deadlift German suplexes and reverse ’ranas, to name a few) while racking up one near-fall after another. In the end, The Architect prevailed, but unlike gravity’s relationship with Neville, nobody who saw the match will ever forget it.
THEY SAID: “Honestly, the first thing I do when I think about that match is kick myself, because I had the WWE World Heavyweight Champion beaten if it wasn’t for my mistake. I had his leg on the ropes and I cost myself a historic moment, but I’m still very proud of the match and how far I took Seth. Under different circumstances it could have easily been a different outcome.” — Neville