Seth Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign, which began with his historic Money in the Bank contract cash-in at WrestleMania 31 and has since been heralded as being among the most memorable in the modern era, came to a sudden halt when he was injured during WWE’s tour of Dublin, Ireland this past week and was forced to vacate the title. WWE.com caught up with the former champion for an exclusive interview to see how he’s feeling just days after the injury, his thoughts on the future of the World Title at Survivor Series and how The Architect plans to rebuild.
WWE.COM: It has been a crazy few days for you, how are you feeling physically and emotionally?
ROLLINS: You know, overall, I think I’m in a pretty good spot. Physically, my knee doesn’t hurt. Like, one thing people don’t understand, a common question is, “How much pain are you in?” The ligaments don’t have nerve endings, so, that’s a good thing and a bad thing, but I don’t feel any pain, it’s just a lot of instability in the knee capsule. So, I’m doing a lot of compression to kind of reduce the swelling and stuff like that. Emotionally … could be better. Obviously it’s a tough spot to be in. I’m mostly just looking forward to getting the surgery done and getting better every day.
WWE.COM: If you could, walk us through the injury. How did it happen?
ROLLINS: Let’s see, we were in Dublin, Ireland, first night of the tour and I was in the main event. I was setting up to do something I’ve done a million times — flipping over my opponent while he was standing on the second [rope]. I landed underneath him and then picked him up for a Powerbomb. And for whatever reason, I just landed on the inside of my right foot, instead of flat with my feet and my knee gave. If you’ve seen the video, you know it looks pretty graphic. It didn’t feel as graphic though. It just felt like my knee dislocated and then kind of popped back in. So, I hustled back up and got underneath, made sure my feet were steady and delivered the Powerbomb. Then, I did a self-evaluation real quick to see what was going on. I realized my knee was pretty unstable and noticed that it felt like it was flopping around. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of control under it. I was able to move around enough to finish the match, hit a Pedigree and get the win. Afterwards, I just laid there and [tried to] figure out what was going on. Again, I wasn’t in a whole bunch of pain, I just felt like my knee wasn’t right. I wasn’t really sure of the extent of the damage until the next morning when I got the MRI.
WWE.COM: So, all of that considered, would you classify the injury as a freak accident?
ROLLINS: You know, it’s one of those things, that yeah, it’s a bit of a freak accident, but I was just talking to a friend of mine, who is a physical therapist and may be doing the work on my knee moving forward, and he kind of summed it up as a “complex accident,” as in, there are a lot of factors that led up to it and not just a freak thing, you know? And that’s just part of me going as hard as I have for as long as I have.
WWE.COM: Looking to the future, what are the next steps here in terms of recovery? You mentioned surgery is scheduled; will that be taking place in the coming days?
ROLLINS: Yeah, I head to Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday for a consultation on Monday and then Dr. Dugas will perform the surgery, which will basically be the reconstruction of my knee, on Tuesday. Then the journey begins and we start rebuilding the machine, if you will.
WWE.COM: Do you have a timetable on when you can begin rehabbing?
ROLLINS: Nowadays, rehab begins minimally the day and week of. Working on range of motion, working on stim machines, ice and getting inflammation down. So I’m going to be doing whatever I can as far as that’s concerned. We’ll see. You kinda gotta listen to your body and see what it gives you, but yeah, definitely as soon as I can get in there and start moving around.
WWE.COM: To transition, what do you see as the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Is there any Superstar you would like to see win it?
ROLLINS: No. You know, for me, over the last seven months I really put my stamp on that title as mine. I’ve defended it against literally everyone that has come at me and done it successfully, so for me to have to vacate the title like that, I’m not afraid of whatever happens at Survivor Series. Whoever happens to come out with the championship, as far as I’m concerned, they’re an interim champion and kind of just holding on to my title until I get back. They can look at it however they want, but for me, I’m the best and I’ve never lost my title. So, when I get back, I plan on picking up where I left off.
WWE.COM: Any thoughts for, or to, the WWE Universe as you begin this process?
ROLLINS: Well, you know, for someone who is as universally despised as I am, I was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of love that I received from all of the fans in the WWE Universe. All of the well wishes and, just in general, all the concern that everyone had for me as a person and as a performer. So, I don’t do this very often, but I would like to extend a thank you to them. Their support means a lot to me and it’s going to go a long way in my recovery and help me mentally get back to where I was at. So yeah, it’s very interesting to see how quickly people’s minds can change when it comes to something like that — it says a lot about the human condition. I’ll be back stronger and better than I was before. That’s a guarantee. You ain’t see nothing yet.