The WWE has been around as a company for quite some time, and the list of impressive performances is evergrowing. Whether it be in the ring or on the microphone, there are certainly ones that stand out above the rest and are remembered throughout time. On this past Monday’s episode of Raw, Seth Rollins might have just put down one of those performances to remember. In case you haven’t seen it, Rollins began the seven-man gauntlet match with Roman Reigns, who he defeated, which was followed by a victory over John Cena before he fell to Elias, which amounts to 65 minutes of action.
This is the kind of match that we’ve been waiting to see from Rollins ever since his face turn. He simultaneously got the fans to feel compassionate for him through brilliant selling (from all four men involved), as well as being in awe of just how amazing he is as an all-around performer. So that begs the question; where does this performance from Rollins rank among the all-time, hour-long performances in the WWE?
There have been seven 60-Minute Ironman Matches in WWE history, among them are competitors like Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Bret Hart, and Chris Benoit, and all of them stand out as memorable performances. In terms of quality, only two of those matches stand up to the match that Rollins had on Raw, and that’s Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle on SmackDown, and Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII, so let’s take a further look into those two bouts.
Although the match had to go into overtime to get to a 1-0 finish, Hart vs. Michaels was a very personal, heated rivalry, and this was a showcase of just how good both men were in the ring. A lot of people criticized this match for going too slow, but it was the first ever televised Ironman match (there were two featuring Bret against Owen and Ric Flair on live events prior), so it wasn’t ever going to be perfect, but a true wrestling fan can appreciate the work level these two put in on that night. In terms of pure in-ring work, we would take Rollins performance over this one, but he had a few advantages, namely he got to work with three different guys, rather than Michaels and Hart who had to work with each other in the first-ever Ironman match over 61 minutes. Although both are brilliant, we’ll take Rollins' performance on Raw.
The next is one we'd definitely put above Rollins' performance on Raw, because for 60 straight minutes, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar brutalized each other, in one of the most entertaining, hard-hitting, back and forth contests we’ve ever seen. It was contested on a random episode of SmackDown and had all the elements of great pro-wrestling that we love to see, including the drama. The final moments of this match had the fans on the edge of their seat, as Kurt Angle locked in the Ankle Lock, but Lesnar managed a 5-4 victory in the greatest SmackDown match of all time, and arguably the best Ironman match ever. We’d put this ahead of Rollins performance just because of how brutal it was, and because the stakes were much higher.
The final match we are going to compare Rollins’ performance too involved the man that he pinned second in the gauntlet match when John Cena battled Shawn Michaels on Raw following their clash at WrestleMania 23. The match came lasted approximately an hour, and it was arguably both men’s best match in WWE (at the time, Michaels no doubt surpassed it at WrestleMania with his huge bouts against The Undertaker, and Cena with CM Punk four years later), and it was easily the best-televised match in WWE history. It’s hard to choose between those two because this was a great rivalry, and the Rollins match was only part of a bout, but in terms of psychology, investing the fans and just pure wrestling, these are definitely on par.
So what is our verdict? We believe that Rollins put on the second best performance over 60 minutes in WWE history, and it wouldn’t surprise us if more matches like this were to come. So, even though Rollins came out a loser that night, he won over a lot of people and pinned two of WWE's top guys, so all in all, not a bad night.
So what do you guys think? Are their 60-minute bouts you’d prefer to this one? Does Rollins deserve a push? Let us know all your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
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