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WWE NXT: Could Seth Rollins Follow in CM Punk’s Footsteps?

Since NXT’s recent rejuvenation, the the former “C-brand” of the WWE has taken on new life that has seen it become more enjoyable than ever. No longer are we subjected to seeing the same already-established WWE Superstars compete against one another in front of a drained WWE crowd, but instead a group of inspiring rookies who perform in front a lively Florida audience.

Of all these fresh faces apart of the new-and-improved NXT is Seth Rollins,  who most members of the IWC may know as Tyler Black. Similar to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, Rollins is also a Ring of Honor alumni who made his way over to WWE in 2010. After two years of competing in WWE’s FCW developmental territory, he finally made his televised WWE debut this past June apart of the new NXT roster.

Of course, NXT is no longer available in the United States, but still is in other parts of the world. We Americans are still able to watch the program through uploads on the Internet, but hopefully it finds a home on a televised network sooner rather than later.

Nonetheless, I immediately took notice of Rollins upon his first match in NXT. I hadn’t watched any of his past work in ROH or FCW (I know, that was wrong of me), but I have throughly enjoyed what he’s brought to the table thus far.

Now that the inaugural NXT Championship tournament is underway, Rollins has already made himself a force to reckoned with as he advances to the semi-finals. His most recent matchups with Drew McIntyre have been nothing short of excellent, and scoring a victory over the former Intercontinental Champion certainly adds to his credibility.

Some may feel that Rollins partaking in the title tournament means he won’t be called up to television anytime soon, but that remains to be seen. He’ll be given more to time to improve on NXT before making his official main roster debut, which would only benefit him in the end.

As I watch Rollins each week on WWE’s Wednesday night show, I can’t help but feel like I’m watching CM Punk. Of course, not the current incarnation of Punk, but the Straightedge Savior during his time on ECW when he first broke into WWE in 2006.

The similar hairdos, in-ring styles, and charisma is simply unquestionable. That being said, it begs one question to be asked: Could we be seeing Seth Rollins form in to the next CM Punk?

Now, before I even begin, let me start by saying that there will never be another CM Punk. Seth Rollins can be his own person, but what I’m saying is that there’s a strong chance that Rollins could be following in Punk’s footsteps.

Can anyone else see Rollins making his entrance to “This Fire Burns”, Punk’s old entrance music? I know I certainly could.

Similar to Rollins, Punk started out on WWE’s third brand known at the time as ECW. He quickly rose up the ranks and within two years of his debut, the Second City Saint was World Heavyweight Champion.

Will Rollins rise to the top just as quickly as Punk? Probably not, but the paths to the World Championship could prove to be parallel over time.

CM Punk isn’t the only former Ring of Honor star to capture World Championship gold in a top wrestling promotion. Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, and most recently Austin Aries have all held World titles in either WWE or TNA as well.

Seth Rollins has all the tools it takes to become a major star in WWE, so it’s only a matter of time before WWE realizes that and moves him to Raw or SmackDown. Sure, his mic skills might not be his strong point, but his promos continue to improve each week that he cuts them on NXT.

Punk’s numerous tattoos and unique build is what made him stand out in front of the WWE Universe, while Rollins’ look is also one of a kind. With Punk now residing at the top of the company as WWE Champion, there’s always the possibility that he can help get Rollins the push he needs, similar to the way he orchestrated the respective pushes of Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder.

Time will only tell what the future holds for Seth Rollins, but I’m sure it consists of only brights things for this extremely talented athlete.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Seth Rollins and how his career could relate to that of CM Punk’s. As always, your criticism and overall feedback on my latest piece is welcomed and greatly appreciated.

GSM out.


Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, as well as listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Thursday at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.

About Graham "GSM" Matthews

Wrestling fan since April 2008, I’ve seen my passion for the product grow as each day passes.
  • Judas Thundersteel

    CM Punk left some footsteps? As far as I know, Rollins did derive some influence from CM Punk. Either in Florida for the FIP promotion, and/or ROH, Rollins had seen Punk perform, just as he was getting trained to wrestle. It’s also worth noting that both guys are from the midwest. Punk from Chicago, Rollins from Davenport, Iowa. Other than those tidbits and the fact Rollins worked in FIP and ROH, to even note footsteps and following in them, one must trace the actual footsteps being left. In the case of CM Punk, I think where he and Rollins differ is that Punk is a much more serious, extremely disciplined individual, whereas Rollins is much more youthful. When Punk came in ECW, he was already in his late 20s, whereas Rollins is in his early 20s. The success rate for Rollins is pretty good seeing as how Punk and a couple other guys have widened the door for indy standouts to carve a name in WWE’s hallowed halls.

    The time for success will be notably longer, and will test Rollins’ attitude. Not really knowing the guy, Punk on the other hand is a pretty brash, bold individual. To the point where he might even come across as a douchebag. I mean he somehow made a correlation between a TNA fan and a Cena fan, as well as insinuating that AJ Styles is jealous of him. Rather ridiculous stuff. I don’t know Rollins to be that kind of guy, so how he deals with any risk in lack of creative input, and backstage forces, will be more indicative of his future. Right off the bat he’s got great in ring ability, one that in this day and age, should be able to pop the fans a good deal. As well as looking rather interesting, and probably being a guy to make the chicks go wild. Moreso than CM Punk, since Punk at times looks like he got off of a grease pool. Obviously his need to develop mic skills is another thing that makes his path to be longer.

    I’ll be surprised if doesn’t debut on the main roster by the crack of 2013, which would mean he’d be in FCW for 2 years. More than enough to be polished and learned in the WWE style. As someone who’s seen his ROH work, he’s really more explosive than CM Punk. Their in ring styles are mighty different. Punk has more roots to the ground, with a striking style. Rollins on the other hand has a bit more high flying, but more notably, is more explosive than Punk. What that means is him being able to blow up like a bomb, excite more, than CM Punk. Leave jaws dropped basically. While CM Punk can leave mouths simply wet, there’s a difference.

    I don’t know about following some goat face trending loving schmuck, I think it’s more appropriate, and easier too, to say that Rollins is more likely to follow in a path. A road, trailblazed and paved by Daniel Bryan, CM Punk (as far as indy and looks), Dolph Ziggler (looks), and other names. Where wrestling ability is more on display, and more eyes are (or at least should) be watching. Recently Shawn Michaels reacted to this thought that Punk/Bryan is the Bret Hart/HBK of today. In the vein of say breaking out into the main event with just in ring ability and drive, other than looks? Sure. The door was opened by those guys, and I guess today, Punk and Bryan are widening that door hole. Lets hope Rollins fits through that door hole.

  • whataboutKaizar

    I think WWE officials and maybe even Punk himself see similarities in Mr. Rollins, which would be great for most (if not all) parties involved, but everyone should be real careful with the “next insert-any-name” approach when it comes to new talent.

    Austin once described himself as a gear working within very complex machinery. He knew his performance level would diminish with the years, consequently, his level of skill would not meet the expectations of a new generation. Those operating the machine would remove him form it and insert a new gear to keep it going.

    He did not mention two things:

    1) The Austin gear was a central part of that machine; it determined much of its output.

    2) The replacing gear would (and I venture to say, should) produce an output which differs from the previous one.

    The new generation should and will replace the current one, but a change of components should impact the machinery’s production and even functionality too.

    I sometimes fear pro wrestling officials might see the next HBK, Austin, Hogan, or whatever in a young athlete and will push him/her into replication, which should not be the case.

    Jericho said it perfectly during his feud with HBK leading to Wrestlemania XIX: “And pretty soon people where saying I was gonna be the next Shawn Michaels, and it was the ultimate compliment at the time. But not now. I grew out of wanting to be the next Shawn Michaels and I concentrated on becoming the first Chris Jericho.”

    • Graham Mirmina

      Exactly, and that’s the point I’m trying to get across. Not saying that Rollins is the next CM Punk, because you can’t replicate anyone, but he will be the first Seth Rollins.


    If I were WWE, i would let Seth Rollins have his old Age of the Fall ROH Theme! I’m also interested in Kassius Ohno and Dean Ambrose! Also, Antonio Cesaro

    • Graham Mirmina

      If Punk could use his old “Cult of Personality” theme from ROH, then anything is possible.