WWE likes to call all of its main roster wrestlers "superstars." But not all of them live up to the grandiose title. Seth Rollins, however, does. The former WWE Champion is at the top of his game and the height of his popularity, inspiring rabid appreciation from fans. Appreciation so rabid, in fact, that a Seth Rollins autograph session in Chile recently escalated into a literal riot, so intense that Rollins had to flee the scene.
The signing, held at a mall in Santiago, attracted a massive amount of people. They crammed into a store too small to accommodate them, and jostling for position quickly turned into shoving. It took the crowd about ten minutes after the autograph signing commenced to go from impatience to rioting. And the store's merchandise was the first to suffer, being grabbed and redistributed.
Things got so out of hand that Rollins left the scene. He exited not only the store, but the whole mall entirely.
Rollins held the autograph session to promote two upcoming wrestling matches in the city. Hopefully the matches themselves are met with more decorum than the Seth Rollins autograph session.
Rollins' name may not be familiar to people who don't follow professional wrestling. The sport (or "sports entertainment," as they refer to it) has waned in mainstream popularity since its heyday. But even though the WWE isn't the launching platform for mega-celebrity that it once was, its champions do inspire hardcore fan loyalty.
Seth Rollins rose to his dominant position in the WWE as a member of The Shield, a three-man stable whose storyline formed the backbone of wrestling's narrative from 2012 to 2014. At the end of his Shield run, Rollins made a heel turn by betraying his two partners, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Reigns went on to become the only wrestler more despised by fans than John Cena. And while Ambrose is currently basking in limelight, even his popularity can't touch Rollins.
Rollins was taken out of action by a severe ACL injury incurred during a match against Kane in Dublin, Ireland. It was months until he wrestled again. But when he reappeared, sneak-attacking Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, the audience reaction was deafening. The absence only made the wrestling world's hearts grow fonder.
Seth continues to be one of the biggest names and biggest draws in the industry. Most of his fanbase is tamer than that particular crowd at the Seth Rollins autograph session in Chile.