RAW Superstar Seth Rollins was a guest on this week’s edition of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness. Rollins opened up on a myriad of topics related to his time in WWE including his chemistry with Dean Ambrose and his time in The Shield. Highlights appear below.
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
Rollins On His Chemistry With Dean Ambrose:
Our careers sort of paralleled each other in the sense that we both came up around the same time. We’re about the same age – like six months apart. We worked in a bunch of similar places, just never at the same time on the independents. I remember that we were in developmental and it was kind of an interesting situation. We got down there and they weren’t hiring guys from the indies that much. They were hiring ex-football players, or ex-athletes, or Jerry Brisco recruits, or body builders, or just these big guy that were not necessarily athletic and didn’t really understand or appreciate what we we do. I was one of the first guys to come after that phase. I was there and I felt kind of alone and after the first year they hired Joey Mercury on as a producer and Joey was like, ‘We’ve got to fix this. We’ve got to change this. This culture down here sucks and we’ve got to bring in guys who are passionate about the business. That’s how we get better.’
One of the first people he reached out to me about, to ask if I had any opinion on him was Ambrose. He had seen his promos on YouTube and Ambrose – if you go back and watch some of Ambrose’s promos, as Jon Moxley on YouTube, they are just captivating. He had kind of a Joker-esque thing to him, a Heath Ledger thing to him. They were so raw and guttural and his voice was one of those where you couldn’t not listen to him. I was like, ‘Yeah, dude. I met him once or twice and he’s great. He’s a full sized human being. He’s not 5’2” or whatever….give him a shot. Let’s do it.’”
When Joey brought him in and he got hired, we started working together and you’d think we were in the womb wrestling together. It was so easy and so perfect. It was like one of my wrestling soul mates. You know how it is. Sometimes you get in there and it’s like pulling teeth with somebody and you’re like, ‘This sucks.’ Sometimes you get in there and it’s like, ‘Holy crap! That’s what it’s supposed to feel like.’
We were having matches down in Florida that nobody down in FCW were even capable of. That’s not a nock on them, but we were so ahead of the curve, as far as what we were doing. We started to get a lot of attention from sort of the internet fans because of what we had done before and this was the first time they were gonna get to see Tyler Black vs John Moxley work together and it was so good that people couldn’t help but notice.
On The Formation Of The Shield:
I guess we debuted in 2012 at Survivor Series. I think they told us a few months ahead of time. Joey Mercury was the one who told us we were gonna get called up and we weren’t doing anything together…Ambrose was in flux because they were trying to find something for him on the main roster and they weren’t using him in NXT at all. I was NXT Champion and Roman [Reigns] had just kind of been introduced. He had his couple of debut matches where he was just squashing guys and stuff like that.
What I think happened….CM Punk was looking to help turn the main roster around. He saw that there were some hungry guys in NXT that sorta came up the way he did. He also saw that there was a lot of complacency on the main roster at the time, especially with a lot of the younger guys who were just happy to be there, and not trying to get better every week, and not trying to push storylines, not pushing the envelope for themselves and the company. It was starting to hurt the company overall. He wanted to get us in there: myself, Ambrose, and I think maybe Kassius Ohno.
The company loved Roman from the get go for all the right reasons. Whatever happened in those conversations I don’t know.
Rollins Talks The Shield’s Chemistry:
Ambrose and I had a ton of experience. Roman had only been to developmental, but he grew up in the business. He had such a passion and love for the learning side of it. It worked out perfectly. In the beginning, before we were making money, we were staying in the same hotel room. We were all staying in one room together. We’d get a minivan and we’d just get one room a night. We’d get double beds and one of us would rotate sleeping on the floor. We probably did that for maybe the first year almost. We were like, ‘We don’t know. We’re gonna save all our money.’ We ate together, traveled together, worked together, protected each other when the time was right, when we needed to backstage, in the ring, whenever. We were all on the same page. All of our goals was to be the best. We wanted to change the whole thing. We wanted to change the intensity level and bring everybody up with us. We really didn’t give a damn. If someone couldn’t keep up with what we were trying to do, screw ‘em. We were gonna do it and they were gonna fall off and we’ll find somebody else who wants to come up. It was just one of those things where we got the opportunities that were afforded to us, but we knocked them out of the park every single time. For me, that was always the recipe for success: the passion, get the opportunity, and don’t screw it up when you get the chance.
On WWE Wanting To Split The Shield Early, Matches With The Wyatt Family & Evolution:
That [split] was not our idea and we were not ready for that. We had just done the heel stuff and we came off this program with Punk where it was like Punk against The Shield. We did this 3 on 1 handicap match at TLC and we lost to him. They were ready to split us up then within the next month. That was the plan. We were gonna break up, and Ambrose was gonna turn, and it was gonna be like almost thrown away. I remember we went to Hunter, or Vince, or somebody that makes decisions and were like, ‘Listen, we can’t do this. This is not the right time. We’ve got so much more to offer. This is not the right time. We need to pull back on this a little bit.’
We ended up doing this promo on SmackDown called The Shield summit. We were bickering, bickering, and bickering. We ended up kind of duking it out a bit against each other and that’s what brought us together. From there we moved into a bit of a babyface run. We worked with The Wyatt Family in February, which they squeezed in because they thought they were gonna break us up. There was never a plan to work with The Wyatt’s. It was never gonna happen. They were like, ‘If we’re gonna break them up, we’ve got to get these matches in.’ The electricity of the two factions that had been so beautifully built over the last two years to go to war was insane. We had a hell of a six man tag team match with them. We had a few of them after that, but the first one at Elimination Chamber was off the charts.
Vince must have seen that there was more mileage in us, kept us together. We did WrestleMania, which was just a 30 second thing with New Age Outlaws and Kane. That was the WrestleMania in New Orleans where [Hulk] Hogan, The Rock, and [Steve] Austin opened up with the 40 minute promo or whatever, so we lost all of our time. It ended up with us Road Warrior-ing three Hall of Famer, which whatever. You always want to have time and have a great match at WrestleMania, but there’s nothing bad about going over too.
We worked Evolution for the two pay-per-views after that, which was awesome. Working with Randy [Orton], Triple H, and Batista was just awesome. I never thought in a million years that I’d get to be in the ring with Evolution. We worked with Randy a little bit, and maybe Hunter someday, but Dave was gone. It didn’t even make any sense, so to be able to have those matches with a couple of them back to back, and we did the turn right after. Those matches were crazy. Just being able to be in there and enjoy that process was a lot of fun.
Again, they didn’t tell us about the turn literally until the day of: Monday at RAW after the second Shield/Evolution match. They brought us all into Vince’s office and sat us down one hour before door time and were like, ‘Alright, this is what we’re gonna do.’ We were like, ‘We’re not prepared for this.’ We were like, ‘OK, I guess we’re gonna do this now.’
Seth Rollins Talks 'Perfect' Chemistry With Dean Ambrose, The Shield