WWE fans have a new world champion and his name is Seth Rollins. Rollins had a very interesting road to the top and has offered up these stories on previous interviews and podcasts. Here are 10 of the more interesting stories from Rollins that you may or may not have known about.
Seth Rollins wrestled in TNA Wrestling before signing with the WWE – Yep, chalk this one up to another talent that the crack TNA scouting department let get away. Long before Rollins came to the WWE, he made a brief appearance in TNA. Rollins appeared as Tyler Black on an episode of Impact in October 2006. Even better, he was squashed. Black and partner were Jeff Watson were destroyed by the LAX. Add Rollins to the list of guys from CM Punk to Dean Ambrose that TNA let get away. To be fair to TNA they did make Rollins an offer, but he went elsewhere.
“To be honest, and no disrespect meant, but it wasn’t a hard decision to make. You have to want to test yourself against and WWE is the pinnacle of our industry. They were actually the last to make me an offer. I was renegotiating with ROH and TNA had made an offer, but when WWE came in, it was a no contest. I understand that I may have to sacrifice a little artistic integrity—and I don’t know if I will have to change my name but I’m excited about the challenge that lays ahead.”
Seth Rollins has had a few different ring names – Yep, you are probably well aware of Rollins’ previous identity to wrestling fans as Tyler Black. That isn’t a shock. But did you know that Rollins had a few name changes prior to Black? Rollins wrestled as Gixx, and Taj the Destroyer before (as well as God before debuting) morphing into Tyler Black. Could you imagine WWE champion Taj the Destroyer?
Rollins did not know about the plans to cash in Money in the Bank until the night of WrestleMania 31 – According to a recent report in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rollins arrived at WrestleMania planning to do nothing more than put Randy Orton over. Dave Meltzer reports that Rollins didn’t find out the plans for the Lesnar vs. Reigns finish until the segment with Ronda Rousey, Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie, so about an hour before his title win.
“The last 45 seconds of the match (Reigns vs. Lesnar) and that he was getting the title was said to be told to Rollins right at the start of the Rock & Ronda Rousey angle. It was at that point when Rollins, Reigns, Lesnar, Paul Heyman and producer Michael Seitz (Michael Hayes) went together into a room to go through the “new” finish and work out how they were going to accomplish it. The rest of the match had already been worked on and formulated.”
Seth Rollins name is a tribute to legendary singer and writer Henry Rollins – Seth Rollins was faced with the challenge most successful independent pro wrestlers face these days when signing with the WWE. Rollins tried to keep Tyler Black but spell it differently. He was told that he couldn’t and had to change his name. Seth came from a list of first names he came up with and Dusty Rhodes took a liking to Seth. Rollins came up with the last name as an ode to one of his favorite singers Henry Rollins.
“Seth Rollins is a little bit of an ode to an idol of mine, Henry Rollins. He’s the leader of one of my favorite bands, Black Flag. Seth is just a name that I liked.”
Seth Rollins was originally booked to wrestle Chris Jericho at WWE Night of Champions – This isn’t any kind of monumental face but just a fun tidbit you may not have known. Jericho wrestled Randy Orton and lost at Night of Champion while Seth Rollins brawled with Dean Ambrose. According to Jericho, he was originally scheduled to wrestle Seth Rollins until Vince McMahon changed his mind.
“Night of Champions, had a great match with Randy Orton. I really feel like the last couple weeks, between the cage match with Bray Wyatt and the match with Randy Orton at Night of Champions, were two of my best matches that I had on this run coming back. Always great to steal the show, and we did steal the show. Originally, I was supposed to work with Seth Rollins at Night of Champions. Vince changed it to Randy Orton and we had a really, really cool great chemistry. I love how he works. He’s such a careful worker. His timing is immaculate, his selling is great. He’s very over, he’s got a lot of moves that are over so it really makes it a big difference to be in the ring with a pro like that. And we had a great finish, I really enjoyed it. You know, it’s funny to hear some people go ‘oh, it’s so obvious that you were going to jump off the top rope and get RKO’d’. Yeah, sure, that’s exactly what you all were thinking. I really don’t buy that. Of course it happens, so you’re like ‘see, I told ya!’ But I think when you’re watching the match and the way that we built it and the way that it was, I think that was a great finish, a great surprise, and a great way for me to end my WWE run.”
Seth Rollins almost got fired in NXT – This was a well-kept secret for a few years until the WWE brought it to light in a Shield documentary on the WWE Network. Rollins was butting heads with trainer Terry Taylor as well as other trainers. Rob Naylor expanded on this in a Fighting Spirit column and said that some producers felt that Rollins wasn’t willing to listen or take direction, specifically Terry Taylor. Taylor reported this to Triple H and Hunter called a meeting with Rollins. Hunter gave Rollins the option to leave telling him if he didn’t want to be there than to go home. Rollins took this as a wakeup call and changed his attitude. This resulted in Rollins being the first NXT champion and receiving a public vote of confidence by Triple H. According to Naylor, a few of the coaches in NXT didn’t think Rollins would make it.
I think they’ve all been proven wrong.
WWE officials wanted to break up the Shield months earlier than when the split finally came down – Rollins talked a bit about this on Chris Jericho’s podcast. Dean Ambrose has also talked about this. When Roman Reigns speared everyone at Survivor Series 2013 and was the lone survivor and that was supposed to lead to a big singles push for Reigns and a split with the Shield. Tension within the Shield was teased at the time, specifically around the time the Shield lost at Hell in a Cell. Rollins and Ambrose felt that they had a big babyface run in them from the reaction they were getting at shows and went to Vince McMahon personally to propose holding off the breakup and turning babyface. It is funny to think of how things would have turned out if they used that Survivor Series to springboard Reigns and split the Shield back up in the winter of 2013.
The original idea for the Shield was much different than the Shield we saw debut at Survivor Series – Rollins told Jericho during the aforementioned podcast interview that the original idea was to make the Shield some kind of a security force for Punk. Rollins thinks in hindsight that they were brought up originally just to be fed to Ryback. Rollins said the original costume consisted of an “awful” turtleneck, the “kind your uncle would wear to a Christmas party.” They were also given nightsticks and big plastic riot shields with the words “Shield” on them. As they were doing their run-through Vince McMahon yelled over to them, “Oh you can’t kick his (Ryback) ass by yourself?” He told Jericho they felt ridiculous with the shields and clubs. He said they responded to Vince saying, “Yeah we can!” and threw their gimmicks down never to be seen again.