#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
#19 Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton — Fatal 4-Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (WWE Payback)
For a match that had to juggle intra-Authority squabbling, personal rivalries reaching their, ahem, “Apex,” and the first official instance of The Shield against itself, it kept each ball in the air with a mix of intrigue (will Kane screw Seth over?), surprises (Dean vs. Roman!) and, ultimately, satisfaction (Seth retains!). Plus, we got a Shield mini-reunion, if only to Triple Powerbomb Orton through a table. Was it a tease for their eventual reformation way, way down the line? Hard to fathom. But for one night, we all believed again.
#8 John Cena vs. Seth Rollins — Champion vs. Champion Winner Take All Match (SummerSlam)
How gloriously screwy was this one? A textbook display of present and future standard-bearers beating the hell out of each other in pursuit of a dual championship, ultimately decided by the interference of a celebrity with a steel chair and an axe to grind. A lot of sports-entertainment fans tend to pine their hearts away for the halcyon days of the ’90s, but they should consider themselves satisfied: This was the most Attitude Era match in years, and we mean that as a compliment.
#1 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins — Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (Royal Rumble)
WE SAID: Triple Threat Matches commonly put the champion at a disadvantage, but Brock Lesnar is hardly common. At Royal Rumble, The Beast dominated John Cena and Seth Rollins with savage suplexes in their three-man war, and it took everything out of both challengers to chip away at The Anomaly. After going through the barricade, absorbing four Attitude Adjustments, getting slammed into the steel steps and eating an elbow drop through the announce table, Lesnar — who suffered a broken rib during the bout — brushed off the injury and dispatched Rollins with an F-5. The “This is awesome!” chant was never more appropriate.
THEY SAID: “If you ever wanted to see a clear demonstration of The Beast in action, watch how Brock Lesnar handles not only a 15-time World Champion in John Cena, but the alleged ‘Future of WWE,’ Seth Rollins, and he handles both of them with ease.” — Paul Heyman