The blueprints behind 'The Architect' Seth Rollins' 7 coolest moves
By now, we know The Shield comprises three distinct elements. Dean Ambrose brings the unpredictable lunacy, Roman Reigns shatters foes with his punishing force and Seth Rollins is, simply put, The Architect of the group.
Don’t get it twisted. Such a moniker doesn’t mean Rollins carries around tape measures, engineering scales and CAD software from arena to arena. Rather, his CrossFit-conditioned body and the 20-by-20 squared circle are the only tools of his trade. Instead of laying out his brilliant designs on sheets of tracing paper, Rollins does so inside the ropes, unleashing captivating moves that few can hope to replicate. And inspiration? Heck, Rollins is way more likely to glean concepts from Y2J than I.M. Pei.
You get what we’re saying. As George Costanza would attest, there is simply no higher aspiration than to be an architect, and fortunately for The Hounds of Justice, they have one in Seth Rollins. With that in mind, WWE.com touched base with The Architect himself to learn more about the blueprints behind seven of his wildest in-ring designs.
Diving knee strike
Louis Henri Sullivan, the father of the skyscraper, preached that “form follows function.” Rollins seemingly took that architectural principle into account when deciding to make the springboard knee strike part of his repertoire. The move is one that requires precision and impeccable timing, but it is also pragmatic.
“I like to springboard and there were a lot of guys doing springboard moves when I started thinking of stuff to do — guys doing springboard clotheslines, springboard dropkicks, springboard cross body blocks,” Rollins explained to WWE.com. “And I was thinking, ‘What can I do that’s going to be easy for me, that’s not going to take a toll on my body and is going to look awesome and be the most effective?’ I came up with the concept of doing the springboard flying knee, and it seemed to solve those problems all at once. Plus, it finished a few matches for me, which is pretty awesome.”
Few moves bring the WWE Universe to its feet the way Rollins’ flip dives to the floor do. Though they look elegant and graceful, it’s worth noting that when The Architect takes off, he’s flying blind. Despite the controlled appearance, the somersault dives are high-risk moves, through and through.
“Flip dives are scary for me because I can’t spot my landing, whereas on a moonsault or a dive through the ropes — a tope — I can see my landing and see where I end up,” Rollins said. “But when I’m flipping, I’m just looking up at the sky, so I’m hoping that things go all right. Somehow, I’ve ended up on my feet more times than not, which is highly impressive, I’ll say so myself. And I’ve had a lot of luck with that. They’re fun, and they add a lot of excitement to the match.”
Reverse STO into turnbuckles
Seth Rollins is to turnbuckles what Frank Gehry is to corrugated metal siding — a big proponent, an apostle, even. One of the most unique ways Rollins incorporates them into his arsenal is with the reverse STO (“Space Tornado Ogawa,” the namesake of Japanese wrestler Naoya Ogawa). Grabbing hold of his opponent as if to set up for a Downward Spiral or Flatliner — depending if you’re an Edge guy or a Kanyon guy — Rollins yanks opponents face-first into the turnbuckles. He admitted to borrowing the move from independent wrestler Jay Briscoe.
“A guy my size needs to utilize the ring and all of its assets and you need to be able to have stuff to do to guys who are taller than you, smaller than you, bigger than you, fatter than you, all that stuff,” Rollins said. “It’s simple, effective and an innovative way to use the ring around you, and you can do that to anybody.”
Standing Shooting Star Press
Occupying the space between a half-gainer and a full-gainer is the Shooting Star Press, a feat so acrobatic and spatially demanding that it’s normally performed from the top rope. Not for Rollins. The Architect busted out a standing version of the move against Luke Harper on the May 4 edition of Raw. Though rarely seen in WWE, Rollins used the maneuver routinely prior to being signed to NXT.
“The Shooting Star Press off the top rope is a cool move that I always wanted to do but can’t for some reason,” Rollins said. “Taking off on two feet and moving in that direction was difficult, but I found that if I were on a run and coming off one foot, I was able to gain more momentum in that direction. It was something I practiced on mats for a very long time to make sure I wouldn’t hurt myself. A little trial and error, and bada bing, you have a cool little move you can do to anybody at any time on the ground.”
The turnbuckle powerbomb is another example of Seth Rollins tweaking a well-established maneuver. Why settle for splattering your foe spine-first on the canvas when you can toss him into the unforgiving turnbuckles in the corner? Superstars from Daniel Bryan to Cody Rhodes have felt the impact. And unlike the Japanese wrestlers whom Rollins first saw hit the move from a standing position, The Architect usually builds momentum, charging into the corner before sending his opponent flying.
“That’s one that’s been in my arsenal for quite some time. I’ve always liked it,” Rollins said. “I came up with the concept of doing a run into it. I thought it looked dangerous and was terrifying but it’s also super effective. It can be a great setup if I use it to propel my opponent out from the buckle, then I can take off from the ropes and finish it with something pretty devastating.”
One of Rollins’ most novel blueprints is for the aptly named Skywalker. Used against the likes of none other than John Cena, the move begins in a “Stone Cold” Stunner/Ace Cutter-type position before Rollins kicks up his feet and backflips over his opponent like a human pendulum, landing in almost a reverse DDT.
“Ultimo Dragon used to do it here in WWE, and he’s one of my all-time favorites,” Rollins said. “It’s one of those moves that’s spectacular, and I can catch anybody with it. A lot of people think it takes a lot to set up, but you just snatch the head and go. Right now, I’m in my athletic prime and it’s quite easy for me, so I’m going to continue using it to maximize its effectiveness, and hopefully over the years, as I turn into a grey, little old man, I can still keep doing it.”
Peace of Mind
Peace of Mind is false advertising. Rollins’ signature move delivers anything but peace to the unfortunate recipient. Dubbed “Blackout” when he used it in NXT, the move — a crushing, leaping stomp to the head — has been an arrow in his quiver for years. It wasn’t always the crescendo.
“I used it as a setup move for a while,” Rollins said, “but then one day I was at a Live Event and [WWE producer] Jamie Noble saw the move and said, ‘Man, kiddo, why ain’t that your finisher? That should be your finisher!’ And I was like, ‘OK, cool, no one else is going to do it, so that’s it. I’m just going to smash people’s faces into the mat and that it’ll be it, easy.’”