Every wrestling fan likely has dreamed of being the WWE World Heavyweight champion at some point.
Every wrestling fan, at some point, has wanted to know what it was like to be Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or The Rock and what it was like to walk even a city block in their shoes. Seth Rollins is one of the very few fans who was actually able to turn that dream into reality, doing it at WrestleMania back on March 29. It took a lot of hard work for Rollins, once just another wrestling fan in Davenport, Iowa, to make it to that point.
But once he won the title, the hard work was just beginning. The WWE World Heavyweight title belt features a massive main plate that is emblazoned with the WWE logo. It also features two side plates that can be removed and customized for whoever the current champion is. On the night Rollins won his first WWE World Heavyweight title, the side plates of the former champion were removed and replaced with the logos of Rollins. When those side plates were put on the title, it officially became Rollins’ property, but it also meant that wherever he goes, he’s Seth Rollins all the time, and that days when he gets to go home and simply be Colby Lopez (his real name) are few and far between. The workload for a champion is hefty inside the ring and in front of a television camera, but it is just as cumbersome outside of that realm. Traveling for weeks at a time and sitting down for media appearances and interviews, much like the one he conducted with philly.com, make up the bulk of his time outside of the ring. The day after winning the title, Rollins flew from San Jose, Calif. all the way to New York to appear on the Today Show first thing in the morning. He then flew back to California to appear on Monday Night Raw as the company’s new champion.
The day Rollins spoke to philly.com was the first time in two weeks he had been back home in Davenport. He spent no more than 24 hours at home before heading back onto the road for another two weeks of travel. Even on the one day he got to sit on his own couch and sleep in his own bed, he spent most of the afternoon conducting phone interviews with media outlets from around the country. The work truly never stops when you’re the top man in a multimillion-dollar company.
“It’s been a little hectic, of course,” Rollins said. “The life of a champion usually is, but not anything that was unexpected for me. I think the one thing that’s maybe been a little more hectic than I thought is just the emotional side of things,” he added. “You travel so much, you’re never home, you’re living out of a suitcase, doing a lot of interviews, talking about a lot of different things, you lose track of time and sometimes you lose track of yourself a little bit. It’s nice to be home at least for one day to kind of just be me for a little while, hang out and just enjoy the life that I’ve comfortably made for myself as champion.”
Don’t confuse Rollins’ sentiments as complaints. In fact, he enjoys the hectic lifestyle that comes with being the WWE champion. It’s a spot that’s meant for only a select few, as some tend to shy away from the workload. “There’s plenty of people that absolutely want to be at the top and then they get close, and then they kind of see what the work is that they’re having to put in and they think twice,” Rollins said. “That’s just how it is. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not for everybody. It really isn’t, and I don’t want it to be for everybody. If it were for everybody, then it wouldn’t be special. It’s cool to be the man and to be able to carry that torch, and to do it well. I think that it takes a special person, and I’m excited to be that guy.”
No matter what Rollins does outside the ring, however, he still has to deliver when he’s inside it, and he takes great pride in doing that night in and night out. Although wrestling (or sports entertainment) has pre-determined outcomes, the pressure Rollins places on himself to have good matches and to put on good shows is very real. He will be tasked with doing this once again at Battleground in St. Louis on Sunday night when defends his WWE World Heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is the one from whom Rollins took the title from at WrestleMania and is undoubtedly his toughest challenge to date. Despite every reason to have some trepidation about walking into a match against a man the likes of Lesnar, Rollins is undaunted and confident that he will come out of the match unscathed and with his title intact.
“I am very much looking forward to the opportunity,” Rollins said. “People might say, ‘Hey, you’re crazy. You’re going to Suplex City whether you want to or not,’ but I’m looking forward to it. I love the competition,” he added. “I love the energy that Lesnar brings to the ring. … If you’re not in St. Louis live this weekend to check this out, man, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity because there’s so much electricity in the ring when he’s in there and you throw me in the mix, obviously in my opinion the top superstar in WWE, it’s going to be crazy. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the entire world responds to Sunday.”
If Rollins were to somehow vanquish “The Beast” at Battleground, life wouldn’t necessarily get any easier. The pressure of being champion would still exist, he’d still have to fulfill numerous media obligations, and his travel itinerary would not get any lighter. Not to mention, there’s a locker room full of other superstars looking to one day have their logo on the WWE World Heavyweight title. Until then, Rollins will still proudly carry the torch for the WWE.
“It’s hard,” he said with a chuckle. “Not only is everybody gunning for your spot on television, but everyone is gunning for your spot in real life. And when I say everyone, I don’t just mean everyone in WWE — I mean everyone in the entire wrestling industry.”
“This is the Mount Everest,” he added. “This is as high as is it gets. This is the biggest title in the biggest company in our industry, so you’ve got to constantly keep up with the entire world. You’ve got to be one step ahead. You’ve got to work harder than everybody else is working. You’ve got to be in the gym when they’re not in the gym. You’ve got to be studying tapes and styles and always trying to improve. On top of that, you’ve got to be making media appearances left and right, doing things that not everybody else has to do. It’s just a lot of work, man. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of reward of being the champion, but there’s a lot of work.”