Dean Ambrose gets a lot of love from WWE fans as the supposed “top” member of The Shield.
Hell, it’s clear those within the company view him as the member with the most potential as well. That’s why he’s the only member of the trio to hold singles gold, and that’s why he’s the lone representative of the group in the World Heavyweight Championship contract Money in the Bank match.
Ambrose is a very talented Superstar, so there’s certainly nothing wrong with him being praised for all he’s accomplished in such a short span. But Ambrose really isn’t even the brightest shining star of The Shield.
The Shield’s true biggest star, and the man who is outshining the group as a whole, is actually the trio’s smallest member, Seth Rollins.
That statement will result in a lot of backlash from Ambrose fans across the world. But it’s a statement that can be backed up by Rollins’ incredible performances so far, especially inside the ring.
Ambrose gets a lot of credit for being a superb wrestler (which he may or may not actually be), but it’s hard to pinpoint anything truly memorable he’s done in the ring so far in his career.
His matches against Kane have been just OK. Ditto for his short bout with The Undertaker. Meanwhile, his matches against Kofi Kingston were certainly good but definitely not great.
But Rollins? He’s been the most must-see in-ring performer from The Shield since day one.
Just go back to WWE TLC last December, when The Shield took on Team Hell No and Ryback in the trio’s first-ever televised match. The bout was a fantastic one (likely the best ever for a debuting talent or group of talents), and everyone performed incredibly well, especially given the pressure.
The shining star of the match, however, was Rollins, who quickly showed why he was such a touted indy prospect with his amazing athleticism and agility, his phenomenal selling, and his unbelievable risk-tasking.
The bump he took through all the tables near the WWE TLC stage was one of the nastiest bumps in recent history, a moment many fans will never forget and a moment that almost instantly solidified Rollins as a true maniac inside the ring.
But Rollins’ success as a wrestler only continued after that match.
He has been the main ingredient behind the success of The Shield’s tag team and six-man tag team matches. He is the driving force, if you will, that makes those matches flow smoothly.
Whether he’s hitting triple-team maneuvers, doing insane dives over the top rope or selling like hell for whatever babyface he’s wrestling, Rollins has made a habit out of being the most must-see in-ring performer of The Shield.
His selling—and the way he puts his body on the line—is nothing short of incredible to watch. He’s Dolph Ziggler-like in the way he takes moves and makes them look so good. Truth be told, he’s probably already the No. 2 seller in the company behind only Ziggler.
Want evidence? Re-watch his jaw-dropping match against Bryan from the June 10th edition of Raw.
Here’s what WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross had to say about it, per prowrestling.net:
@WWEDanielBryan vs. @WWERollins was one of the best bouts on Raw in many moons. This was excellent from start to finish, an announcer's dream really, and is a great match for NXT athletes or those wanting o make it to WWE Development to study. Both the winner and the loser improved their perception and enhanced their personas when this match ended.
In other words, Rollins vs. Bryan is one of the top five matches of 2013 so far, ranking only behind John Cena vs. CM Punk from Raw earlier this year, Punk vs. Undertaker from WrestleMania and perhaps Punk vs. Chris Jericho from Payback.
Yes, Rollins put himself in the same breath as the WWE’s elite with his performance against Bryan last month. But really, that’s only a small taste of what Rollins has done and will continue to do in the ring throughout his career.
He is not going to get the publicity Ambrose will get because Ambrose is a better talker (although Rollins is certainly a competent talker too), but he’s like Bryan was just a few years ago—viewed as someone who’s great in the ring but needs to evolve to become a top star.
Bryan did it, and Rollins very well could too.
After all, he’s the member of The Shield who’s stealing the show. Not Ambrose.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!