When Seth Rollins successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank title opportunity on Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 in March, many fans were shocked. They didn’t quite know what to expect from the 29-year-old now in such a high ranking position. Much like when Peter Parker became Spider-Man, the former Shield member realized with great power came great responsibility. Suffice to say a few months later the incumbent WWE World champ proved himself worthy of the gold. “Winning the championship at WrestleMania will go down as one of the greatest moments of my career,” Rollins reflected. “I made WrestleMania history. Then for me just being able to main event a pay-per-view with Dean Ambrose for the world title was really awesome. It was something I was proud of.”
Whether it’s on live events, Raw, SmackDown or the monthly big WWE Network shows/pay-per-views, Rollins delivers stellar performances. The Architect has stepped it up against a wide range of opponents such as John Cena, Cesaro, Neville, Randy Orton, Ambrose and Lesnar. You can also add retired host of “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart to the list. Now holding the United States title along with the WWE World championship, Rollins has made doubters into believers. He will get a prime chance to further solidify his unique dual reign at Night of Champions on Sept. 20 when he defends the U.S. title against Cena and the WWE World title versus Sting. “Everyone is a naysayer,” Rollins said of his critics. “Everyone has an opinion. Half the people love me and half the people hate me. A few months later and it all flip-flops, it doesn’t matter to me. I just go out there and do the best I can. I’ve been doing this a long time, so I know when things are going well and when they’re not. It’s nice to have people appreciate what you do though. Our fan base is super passionate and always has an opinion, and that’s awesome.”
The impressive athlete is earning the respect of his peers and the WWE Universe with each passing test. Tough transitioning to the top of the mountain can take some getting used to, as the successful Iowan will tell you. “It’s been difficult. It’s trying,” Rollins said. “The schedule gets a little bit crazy when you win the title. Everyone wants a piece of you. It was not anything I wasn’t expecting, but certainly a little more strenuous than I thought it would be. You have to go out there every single night. You’re the last match on the show and the last one to leave. You have to tear it up and make sure the people want to come back and see more. So it’s a lot of pressure, but definitely a place I thrive.” It’s hard to believe five years ago Rollins signed his first WWE contract after a great run in Ring of Honor. Given his track record and past matches, it was clear he had the potential to make it. However, the developmental system wasn’t always smooth sailing for someone who at times had a chip on his shoulder. Rollins eventually settled in and impressed decision-makers enough to become the first NXT champion. He remains proud of where he came from before the life-changing call-up, as well as the brand’s evolution. The champ even has a pick of who he would want promoted to the main roster next.
“I would like to see [NXT women’s champ] Bayley,” Rollins said without hesitation. “She is my favorite who is not up here and being used. So hopefully she gets a shot soon.” Among the most evident improvements with Rollins’ transformation into WWE World champion was his work on the microphone. He often kicks off a television show working alongside some of the best talkers including Paul Heyman, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Rollins is especially grateful to sit underneath the learning tree of “The Game.” “Triple H has been incredible to work with,’ he said. “Triple H is the ‘Cerebral Assassin.’ His best advice to me is to make sure you always, always come out on top.”
Rollins is appreciative for every opportunity to have come his way throughout his career. Among them was being included in the WWE video games. He is excited to be such a viable member of the roster with upcoming release of “WWE 2K16,” the latest installment of the popular franchise out Oct. 27 in North America and Oct. 30 internationally. “I think this is my third WWE game now,” Rollins said. “I do remember being pretty excited the first time I saw myself in the video game. It’s because I played them all growing up. So it was cool to finally be a part of a WWE video game series, which has had an insane amount of games over the years.” There is only one thing he was wondering. Why is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on the cover and not the WWE World champion?
“I’ve been hearing that crap about Steve being on the cover and not me being on the cover,” he said. “What I will say is it seems to me I’m not the only one unhappy about it. Everyone else keeps asking me and bringing it up, too. So I’m not the only one disappointed that I’m not on the cover.”