As speculation grows over an imminent return of Bray Wyatt to WWE, Seth Rollins has said that working with The Fiend character was “difficult for anyone”.
While heaping praise on Windham Rotunda, whom he said he would like to work with again, he spelled out the difficulties for performers who worked an extended program with The Fiend.
They didn’t…come out of it better than they went in. It was very difficult to have a story with him where — aside from Randy, who obviously killed him — it was difficult for anyone. I think maybe Daniel Bryan might have escaped a little unscathed, but, I mean, everyone else pretty much met a dire end for their character. I mean, that was the end for the Seth Rollins character as you knew it: the Beast Slayer character.
Rollins was speaking in a wide-ranging interview with Ariel Helwani in the latter’s capacity as a correspondent for WWE’s UK broadcast partner BT Sport.
On never becoming “the top guy”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rollins spoke of having a chip on his shoulder, despite his success, in part because he believes he may never be “the top guy” while Roman Reigns is around.
I’ve never been the one on the marquee at WrestleMania. It was John; it was Roman. In some regards, when I was at Ring of Honor, it was Nigel; it was Bryan — and I was always the guy on the come-up or underneath. I was kind of the second, or the next big thing, type thing, you know? That always just eats at me. It eats at me so much. I don’t know where that competitive spark comes from, but it drives me insane.
I wonder often if, because I live in the Roman era, it’s just never going to happen. The only time I was even considered, I think, for the main event of WrestleMania was when Roman got leukemia and he was out from August until January, whatever, or February it was. I was kind of second behind in the babyface column and, you know, I got slotted in.
I feel like it’s one of those things. I’m like the — the best I can hope for is to be the Edge to his Cena, or the Savage to his Hogan. Sometimes I just feel like that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think I’m better than he is, or that I can’t perform or draw at that level. I certainly think all those things, but it’s not my sandbox.
On Jon Moxley
Rollins also spoke of his enduring friendship with Jon Moxley, noting that Moxley and Reigns had the stronger friendship in The Shield trio.
We have opposite schedules and different stuff, but our baby girls are close to the same age, and he’s not much of a texter, like, he’s an in-person cat…When we were in Cincinnati last time I was there, I popped in the house to say hi and all that — checked in on him. I do that periodically just to see how he’s doing and stuff, but I’m close with Renee, so we are always exchanging baby pictures and what is new with the kids.
He’s at the top of his game, doing his thing over in AEW, so nothing but the best…Between the three of us, and I can’t speak for any of them, but they were closer than I was with either of those guys as friends off camera, so I assume that they are still chill. I’ve never heard anything to the contrary but, yeah, I’ve always had a great relationship with those guys.
On the end of the Vince McMahon era
Rollins also spoke about hearing the news of Vince McMahon’s departure and his reaction.
I was in the airport. We were heading out to a live event. We were flying out on a Friday. The thing went out at like three o’clock central and I got the text. I was coming through the security line and I got the text: “Check your app for a note from the Chairman.”
I always thought, you know, Vince is older, so I thought at some point in my tenure in WWE — as I intend to be here for quite a long time — he would retire, be forced out, die on the job, who knows? But when it happened, it was so abrupt, I was not prepared…It got me emotional because I love Vince. He’s been like a father figure to me over the past 10 years.
On overuse of the “Freakin’” nickname
When asked about the “Freakin’” nickname and whether it might stay or go, Rollins responded that, even before McMahon’s departure, he had raised the issue.
I had gone to Vince specifically because I had watched something back on Raw and — maybe it was like a highlight on Twitter — and they just they said “Seth Freakin’ Rollins”, it had been a dozen times in 30 seconds…I’m like, “You got to stop that. You’re gonna turn people off. That’s not what we want, you know?” So, he was like, “OK, on the commentary, they can refer to you as Seth Rollins.”
On his trio of losses to Cody Rhodes
The 36-year-old also spoke about losing three matches in a row to the returning Cody Rhodes, admitting it was “demoralizing” but that he had not suffered. He also noted that the Hell in a Cell match with the freshly injured Rhodes may have boosted his reputation as a safe worker.
It really went a long way in repairing my reputation. I had gotten so much flak online for some injuries that had happened in matches that I was in, and whether they were caused by me, directly or indirectly, is a whole different can of worms. I think people were like, “Oh maybe he does know how to take care of people in the ring.”
On spending a year on the road with his daughter
Helwani noted that he had seen Rollins and Becky Lynch’s daughter Roux while visiting WWE shows over the past year and asked what it was like to be on the road with an infant.
Not that I took any of it for granted, but sometimes when you’re traveling with an infant it can be difficult, you know, especially when you’re doing it every week…In that year, she went to Europe twice, she went to Saudi Arabia twice — she was awesome, like, so good.
We were very lucky in that regard but, yeah, once we started the last month I’ve been solo on the road, and it’s just like, “Man, how lucky was I to be able to get to spend an entire year essentially on the road with my wife and my baby daughter?”
We had the help in the right places to facilitate, you know. Big thanks to my mom and our nanny and our bus driver. You know what they say, it takes a village, right? It definitely took a village, but it was awesome to get to experience all that with her.
On the attack by an audience member in November 2021
Rollins opened up to Helwani about the assault by a member of the audience at Raw on Monday, November 22, 2021.
The only thought I remember having is when he was on top of me and, kind of, they were, I mean, they were already pulling him away, but he had a handful of my hair, and I was just trying to kind of punt him off me with whatever foot I had underneath.
My instinct was to grab his head immediately just to control his head, and I have no Jiu Jitsu training at all, so whether I did anything right or wrong is completely instinctive.
I was thankful that he wasn’t armed in any way. That could have gone very badly…In the aftermath, I just felt bad for him, you know, when I kind of saw online what his situation was and that he had possibly been catfished out of some money and that you know his mental capacity wasn’t, you know, great.
I just felt bad that there wasn’t anybody in his life that could kind of help him out and, so, it was an unfortunate situation that I think was, you know, handled as best as it could all the way around.