Seth Rollins is the current WWE Champion. He’s the first wrestler to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase during a Wrestlemania main event. He has 905K Twitter followers. He had a feud with Jon Stewart. Seth’s birth name is Colby Lopez.
Seth/Tyler/Colby/heel in the ring/nice guy from Iowa outside the ring will be at Awesome Con this Friday. Bring a wand.
Brightest Young Things: Seth, how are you?
Seth Rollins: I am doing well, man. How are you?
BYT: I am fantastic. How long did it take you to get accustomed to answering the name Seth?
SR: Can you repeat that?
BYT: How long did it take you when you hear Seth in a room, to turn your head to like know that they’re talking about you. Also, how long did it take you to hear Tyler (before he was in the WWE, he wrestled in Ring of Honor as Tyler Black) and think that was you?
SR: It happens pretty quick and it’s not as crazy as you think it is. It happens and once you’re there, you’re there, you know what I mean?
BYT: Yeah, but how do you answer your phone these days?
SR: I say “hey.”
BYT: You really seem to love your home of Davenport, Iowa.
SR: Yeah, man, I mean home is home wherever you grow up generally speaking. Unless you’re one of those people who always wants to get out of a small town and do something bigger with your life, which I always did but I always wanted to come back, so home is home and its a great place for me to come back and escape the hustle and bustle of the life that I live as Seth Rollins.
BYT: But you’re never really off because you have the training academy down there as well that seems to be… is it year round?
SR: It’s not year round, its three months on, one month off. Go to blackandbravewrestling.com for any information there. I mean yeah, that’s work but it doesn’t really feel like work to me, I don’t know. It’s just a different vibe, I thoroughly enjoy that process of training and sending them off into the world and seeing how they come back. Its really a fun process for me. It is work, but I don’t consider it work really.
BYT: Yeah, but from an outsider’s point of view, which I am, it seems like you’re never not working. You’re never not traveling, it seems like an incredibly draining thing to do. And other guys, when they have time off, they don’t necessarily go and train younger wrestlers.
SR: I saw a quote the other day, I wish I could remember it exactly, but it basically said that there’s no such thing as “off time” or “work time” or any time really. It’s just life, you know, so I think if you just live and enjoy what you’re doing, then you’re going to be happy, and nothing will feel like work. Work is just a concept. We created the idea of work. So if you can get past that and enjoy what you’re doing and try not to fixate on the frustration of having to travel all the time and always be on the clock, so to speak. If you can just enjoy what you’re doing and you like it then like I said it never really feels like work and you don’t look at it from that perspective, because it’s really all about perspective when it comes to that sort of thing.
BYT: The amount of exposure wrestling fans now have to performers is unprecedented. There’s this weird connection now that didn’t exist 20 years ago, and I think wrestling fans get worried about you guys, just the amount of wear and tear one can take. The industry no longer has secrets.
SR: Yeah, there was certainly a huge leap probably over the past decade in how connected the fans are, via social media, the Internet. I was talking the other day just about how different the fan base is, and how knowledgeable they are now as opposed to how they were in 2000. If you want to know literally anything about Seth Rollins, all you have to do is get on your phone and type in my name, and within 5 minutes you’re fully educated about my entire life history. So that’s different from how we did things back in the day. Not to mention we have the network, we have how many hours of original programming every week. And we’re crossing over and doing stuff on other platforms and media, and on TV shows, and stuff like that, so the access is certainly unprecedented. And I’ve experienced that, but overall it is what it is, and that it’s part of life nowadays.
BYT: That leads to the next question: You are part of a last breed. The same breed as Colt Cabana and Phil Brooks, and all those other guys from the 2000s that came up through the indies. And you didn’t necessarily know every single thing that you were getting into, but now NXT exists and Tough Enough is coming back and there’s Stone Cold’s podcast and Colt’s podcast. Knowing what you do now, would you have done the exact same things? Would you have even wanted to be a professional wrestler?
SR: Yeah, I mean, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. When I was young I laid eyes on Hulk Hogan and I was fascinated by the performance that is what professional wrestling is. That took me over from a young age and it only progressed as I got older and stuff like that. I’m happy that I did it the way I did it. Everyone has their own path and stuff like that, but for me, I personally couldn’t have done it another way. I’ve looked at the way the guys kind of come in now through NXT, where they come in with no experience, for the most part. I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t live that life. I needed to struggle a little bit. I needed to wrestle in bingo hall back rooms and get paid in hot dogs and sleep on hotel room floors. I needed that to get to where I am now to be the performer that I am now. So I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about it.
BYT: One of the things about your academy that I was wondering is: where do you want these guys to go? Do you want to see them in NXT, or do you want to see them graduate to the indies? What’s the ultimate goal for making better wrestlers at The Black and The Brave Academy?
SR: The thing about it is everyone has their own path. So if there are guys that could come right out of that 3 months, which I haven’t had any yet, and it’s highly improbable that I would, that I feel like could be ready for NXT tryouts, I’d send them down there, and we can go from there. But, for the most part, I just want to educate them about what we do…There’s so many guys out there that run wrestling schools that really have no right teaching anyone anything about how to do our business because they never understood it, and were never any good at it to begin with. So I just wanted to start a place where kids can learn the right way, people can learn the right way how to do things, and really learn what this industry is all about. And wherever they go from there, if they never wrestle a match in their life, at the very least they’ll have a better understanding and appreciation for what we do as fans, so there’s that. But from my school they go out and they’re on their own, and they have my stamp of approval and they’re just out and trying to make their way on the independent circuit. I’ve asked students to do what they think is best: I have a couple students who have entered submissions for Tough Enough. And I have other students who are out doing indies around the country. To each their own and I’ll support each of them and their decisions and try to guide them along the way.
BYT: The more people learn about your real life as opposed to the persona, you seem like a very nice man, doing nice things, who loves where he’s from. Your Instagram after you won the championship was very lovely to see.
So, do you ever want to turn baby face, or it’s just not as fun?
SR: I enjoy what I’m doing now. If a time comes where it feels like a character change down the road I got no problem doing that, I’ve done both throughout my career. There’s good and bad, light and dark in all of us, so I really have no problem go either way, but I’m having a lot of fun doing what I’m doing now, so we’ll keep rolling with that and see how far we can take it.
BYT: Fair enough. What’s your sleep schedule like?
SR: I usually take it where I can get it. That’s kinda how it goes, you know, especially on travel days it’s pretty slim-pickin’s…My prime hours of sleep are like 4 a.m. to noon pretty much, and then you have to adjust that out when you have a 6 a.m. flight. It’s really wonky. It’s certainly not a normal human being’s sleep pattern, that’s for sure.
BYT: You are a crossfit advocate. What do you recommend to people that are just afraid of even trying crossfit?
SR: Just go in and check it out and try to keep an open mind. I think with really any fitness regiment, a lot of times you get started on your own and you don’t really have a direction, and you try to figure out how to do things. And then once you’ve figured it out on your own, you don’t really know anything because you haven’t been taught. The cool thing about crossfit is that it’s a group atmosphere. The no-pressure sort of scalability of it all. I think people have a stigma about crossfit that it’s so hardcore and that when you go in you have to give it everything you’ve got 100 percent of the time, and all this constant risk of injury nonsense, but it’s honestly about teaching proper movement patterns throughout life. For me, it’s gotten me in the best shape of my life as far as physically looking aesthetically, and size wise, and being injury free. I’ve been fairly injury free for the last two or three years and I haven’t been doing anything but crosstraining, and I attribute that entirely to my training regiment. If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot. The worst that could happen is you go in and don’t like it and you say, “Alright, that’s not for me.” But, give it a shot, check it out and try to keep an open mind when you go in.
BYT: Final question from a hardcore fan: What did you learn on the indies that helped get you to developmental, but then you had to forget when you got up to the main roster?
SR: So as an independent contractor on the indies you’re only really looking out for yourself as it comes to your brand. When you get to WWE that’s not necessarily the case, because your brand, as it is you, as I am Seth Rollins, is also part of a bigger picture, so you have to kind of shut that part of your brain, to an extent, that only works for you. And that’s just part of compromising a little bit. It has nothing to do with in-ring style, or moves, or anything like that. It has to do with the way you approach other people wanting to have input in your brand, in your situation. So, I think learning to compromise for me, as a person, was a huge step as far as making my transition comfortable and smooth going up from NXT to the main roster. I think people a lot of times want to think that there’s some sort of actual physical change you have to make, but thats not really true. It’s really a mental compromise that you have to make and understand that you’re not necessarily a cog in a machine or a piece of a puzzle, but there are other people who are involved and invested in you.
BYT: That makes sense. One more question since you’re coming to Awesome Con: What’s the one piece of nerd culture that you adore.
SR: I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I love it. I love Harry Potter. I’ve read all the books multiple times and own all the movies and have weird collectables and stuff like that.
BYT: Who’s your favorite character?
SR: Snape, of course.
BYT: That’s very appropriate. What’s the dumbest Harry Potter related memorabilia you own?
SR: I have a fake wand, I have a wand. I have an “elder wand” at my house.
BYT: Stupid question, but I’ve been wondering about this: Have you ever missed a flight due to the Money in the Bank briefcase or the championship belt on your person?
BYT: That’s nice to hear.