Despite traveling all around the world with World Wrestling Entertainment, Colby Lopez, better known as the professional wrestler Seth Rollins, has not forgotten where he came from. The 30-year-old wrestler is billed as being from Davenport when he approaches a WWE ring, and that is no gimmick. He was born and raised in nearby Buffalo, Iowa, and now lives in Davenport. Even after reaching the top of the wrestling mountain, he hasn’t been drawn to the bright lights that big cities around the country offer. That fact sometimes prompts strange looks from fans who question why he lives in Iowa.
“I always tell them it’s a great place to live. … Everyone’s very polite; there’s just enough to do; and traffic is at a bare minimum, aside from when the bridge is being worked on,” Mr. Lopez said. “It’s easygoing, chill Midwest life. And that’s kind of what I grew up with, and that’s what kind of keeps me grounded, keeps me balanced when I’m off the road.”
Mr. Lopez is fresh off six months of rehabilitation after tearing his MCL, ACL and meniscus in his right knee at a live WWE event in November. He was able come home and do a lot of things he wouldn’t have been able to do while on the road, but it came at a price. He was forced to give up the world title that he won at Wrestlemania 31 without officially losing it. He returned to work in late May and last Tuesday, during the WWE draft on “Smackdown Live,” he was selected as the first overall pick by WWE’s flagship show, “Monday Night Raw.” The draft allows the WWE’s two main weekly shows to recruit separate rosters of superstars as part of “the new era,” as WWE bills it.
“Over the years of the WWE drafts that we’ve had, there’s been less than a handful of No. 1 picks, so to be included in that group is very nice,” said Mr. Lopez. “The top echelon of the roster, there’s a plethora of guys to choose from — Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, all those guys. None of those guys went ahead of me, so to be able to have that feather in my cap is very nice.” Mr. Lopez will jump into the Rollins persona again tonight, when he squares off with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in a triple-threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, being broadcast live on the WWE Network’s Battleground Pay-Per-View at 7. Continue Reading
The name of local Black and Brave Wrestling Academy has an even bigger ring to it with one of its operators making it to the big-time of the World Wrestling Entertainment. Black and Brave Wrestling Academy is run by Colby Lopez, who wrestles in the WWE as Seth Rollins and wrestled in local Scott County Wrestling as Tyler Black. Lopez in joined by Marek Brave in the academy’s operation. The wrestling school is two weeks from finishing its sixth session and has graduated between 40 and 50 wrestlers, who train at QC Crossfit in Moline and wrestle with SCW at the Walcott Coliseum. Some of the school’s students wrestled during Thursday’s Quad Cities River Bandits game in a ring set up on the concourse in left field at Modern Woodmen Park. Lopez and Brave started the school as a way for people who were interested in wrestling to get their start.
While other professional wrestlers have wrestling schools, Black and Brave is the only school run by a WWE star. “I am partial to the way I came into the industry, as a fan from the Quad-Cities to being able to work my way from ground zero all the way to becoming WWE champion,” Lopez said. “I find that historically it has created the best superstars. It’s the way I did things, and this is how I know how to teach kids how to do things.” The school teaches the rigors of the business and introduces students to the life of professional wrestling. “It’s a nice punch in the gut with physical fitness,” Lopez said. “I think it’s a great avenue for people to get their feet wet in the independents before jumping into the WWE.”
The gym also gave Lopez a place to rehabilitate after tearing his ACL, MCL and meniscus in early November. He returned to the WWE ring in late May, just over six months after the tear. “I spent some of my rehab in Birmingham, Ala., some of it at Plaza Physical Therapy in Davenport. But, it was nice to have the school in session during the time I was off to be around the industry without having to be a huge part of it,” Lopez said. “I had my own space to do my own thing when I wanted to. It was nice to have home time to be able to sleep in my own bed and cook my own breakfast and do Quad-Cities things.” The average recovery time for athletes with a torn ACL is six to nine months. Lopez originally wanted to return by WrestleMania in Dallas, which was four months after his injury.
“My target was always to be back by WrestleMania; that was always ambitious, but it set the wheels in motion. It really pushed my work ethic,” Lopez said. “Anyone who watched my rehab knew I wanted to get back as soon as possible. That’s just how I do things. Six-and-a-half months is pretty good for that surgery.”
In one of the most impressive gatherings of professional wrestling talent in Wizard World history, fans can meet some of wrestling’s biggest names when WWE Superstars John Cena, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Sasha Banks, The Bella Twins and Becky Lynch attend Wizard World Comic Con Chicago, August 18, 19 and 20 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
The dates and times for each appearance are as follows:
Seth Rollins’ Thursday Chicago Schedule – August 18
4:00PM – Photo Ops – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
5:00PM – Autograph Signing – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
6:30PM – Q&A Panel
They will greet fans, pose for photo ops, sign autographs and more, at the largest and longest-running Wizard World show.
Please note: For complete schedules, check back closer to the show date at www.wizardworld.com.