The WWE Universe is still reverberating from the Curb Stomp heard around the world at WrestleMania 31. Seth Rollins finally cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which he retained in a Fatal Four Way against Randy Orton and his former Shield brothers at Payback. We caught up with Seth ahead of his title defense at this weekend’s WWE Network-exclusive Elimination Chamber to talk Brock Lesnar, The Shield, Kevin Owens, Ring of Honor and the end of the John Cena era.
How does it feel to be carrying the world’s biggest sports entertainment promotion?
“Well, you put it like that it sounds a little crazier than it is! Life’s been hectic, it’s a busy schedule, gruelling matches every night, but I really wouldn’t want it any other way to be honest with you.”
Dean Ambrose has won a few against you but you always win when it matters – why does he think it’ll be different on Sunday… and why won’t it be?
“Ambrose is a confident performer, like you said he got a couple of wins under his belt against me, but when the chips are down, always bet on Rollins when it comes to Rollins versus Ambrose.
“I assume he thinks things will be different, but you look at the deck and it’s a little stacked against him. There’s really nobody that performs better in big match situations than me. That’s over the last two, three years, even if you go deeper into my career. Any time it’s a big match and there’s a lot on the line and I’m the guy who needs to hit the home run, I do it. I think Elimination Chamber is another one of those and actually every title match is one of those, and I’m looking forward to it.”
How do you feel about Elimination Chamber being exclusive to the WWE Network?
“It’s gonna be awesome. It’s a huge event. Two big chamber matches. A Tag Match chamber match for the first time, you’ve got the IC Title match – we’re going to get a new champion, guaranteed. You’ve got Kevin Owens making his debut against John Cena, which is something a lot of us as wrestling fans never thought we’d see in our entire lives. Then you’ve got myself and Dean Ambrose, which realistically is the future of WWE right there before your very eyes. It’s a pretty interesting time all around for the in-ring stuff, and it’s a bright new future with the way our content is going to be presented moving forward with the Network special. It’s absolutely the future, not just of our product, but all entertainment. Our generation of kids and adults have a very short attention span and we want what we want now.”
My favorite moment from Payback was when it seemed that you, Dean and Roman might join forces – which of those two will do the sensible thing and line up behind you and The Authority?
“It’s hard to say because they’re two very different personalities who are both still pretty hurt about what happened I think. You look at Dean Ambrose and he’s really the most unpredictable performer on our roster at this point. It’s ridiculous to try to assume what he’s going to eat for breakfast, let alone what he’s going to do with me and The Authority. Roman Reigns is obviously a stubborn young man in his own right and he’s got a vendetta against myself – maybe for good reason – I’ve taken a lot from him over the past year. I would be hard-pressed to see Roman Reigns in a suit and tie, hanging out with me and Trips and Kane and Stephanie. In the near future I couldn’t even begin to tell you which one of them would fit in with us, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Kevin Owens made a hell of an impact and seemed to impress The Authority – are you concerned they may move on to the shiny new thing?
“No. You know, Kevin’s great. I’ve known Kevin for years and years and years. He’s an excellent talent. There’s a reason The Authority sees big things in him, there’s a reason the WWE Universe sees big things in him. But Kevin Owens is Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. So I’m not terribly concerned at this point in time. I think I earn my keep quite well. Maybe down the line we’ll have to consider other options, but that’s definitely not the case right now.”
John Cena has been beaten by Daniel Bryan, destroyed by Brock Lesnar, taken to the limit by Neville and embarrassed twice by Owens – is it the beginning of the end of the age of John Cena?
“The end of John Cena is an interesting prospect. I think that John has given this company and this industry so much for the last 15 years that it’s gotta be taking its toll on him, physically speaking. He’s not a young man anymore and you get in there with guys like the names you’ve mentioned, all hungry, young, exciting performers with styles that he’s not accustomed to. I think that throws him a little off. He likes that challenge. I know John, he loves a new challenge and he looks forward every day in his whole life. The end of John Cena? I don’t know, but definitely the beginning of a new era in WWE for sure.”
Brock Lesnar’s suspension must be coming to an end soon, and he’ll be after one person and one thing – any thoughts on his return?
“The suspension is indefinite, luckily, so we’ll see how long it lasts. But I’m sure Lesnar’s got his eyes set on the prize, I don’t know why he wouldn’t. And I would be glad to give him a rematch, when the time is right. When the situation calls for it. Until then he can sit on the sidelines and enjoy his time at home.”
Which would you prefer at WrestleMania 32 – you against Brock or a Triple Threat with you, Dean and Roman?
“They both sound like WrestleMania main events to me, so to be honest with you I couldn’t care less. It doesn’t really matter who’s standing on the other side of the ring in that scenario. If you’re main-eventing WrestleMania you’ve done something right.”
Ring of Honor had some great news about being broadcast on Destination America from June – what do you think about the future of that promotion and its connections to the WWE?
“Great for Ring of Honor. It’s tremendous any time our wrestling industry continues to grow. That’s awesome for them. They were a breeding ground for a lot of talent that now exists [in the WWE]: Kevin Owens, myself, Sami Zayn, obviously Daniel Bryan, Cesaro. They have proven to be a valuable asset when it comes to cultivating great talent as far as moving guys up to the bigger ranks. It’s great – I’m super thrilled for them and I hope they can sustain and hopefully we see more talent coming out of there and into NXT and eventually into WWE. It’s a good time to be a wrestling fan, that’s for sure.”
What did you think of Samoa Joe turning up at the NXT special event the other week?
“I was very thrilled for Joe. He’s a guy who was an idol of mine growing up, someone I watched when I was in my formative teenage years. He’s someone whose style I emulated when I first started. There’s definitely pieces of Samoa Joe in the Seth Rollins repertoire so it’s cool he’s part of the company now – something you thought you’d never see. Like I say, it creates a lot of super-interesting match-ups, so it’s a great time to be a professional wrestling fan, a great time to be a WWE fan for sure.”
Your finisher now is the Pedigree – were there any other moves out there you were eyeing up as contenders?
“I’ve used a lot of ‘finishers’ in my career. There’s a few in the tank that are still there, but the Pedigree seemed like it made the most sense moving forward based on my current standing with The Authority and Triple H. You look at Triple H’s career and where he’s at. It’s not like he’s going to be in the ring forever, at some point he’s got a billion dollar company to help run. It’s a cool way to let his legacy live on I guess a little bit. It’s a move that has been effective for years and years and years so it’s cool to help bring that to the next generation.”