Sports

WWE's Seth Rollins on Fighting Dean Ambrose, Their Summerslam Match, and What Daniel Bryan Taught Him About Life

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Have you seen the parody video of LeBron James turning on Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade using footage of you betraying The Shield? Oh yeah. I watched it many many times in multiple incarnations. It was quite, quite comical. [Laughs] I may have retweeted a couple of them. It was so funny. It was funny, right when it happened, when he announced he was going to Cleveland, there was like a short version of it, and like a week later, someone had done a full on long version where LeBron James is beating Chris Bosh to death with the chair or whoever it was. So it was pretty funny. I loved the changing of the facial expressions through every chairshot. I twas quite amusing.

It was like something out of South Park. Yeah, it was really good.

So does that make you the LeBron James of The Shield then? I would think so. Maybe the LeBron James of the WWE, you know what I mean. I like to fancy myself as a guy who can do it all, and Lebron is that way in the NBA. He can play any position on the court, he can guard anybody, he score from anywhere on the court and I like to think that I'm that kind of guy. In The Shield, I was sort of pigeonholed as the high-flyer of the group, but realistically, I was the guy who put all the players in their place to get the most out of everybody. And to achieve as much success as we did, is a testament to I think myself, I know, and to the other guys to and how talented they were, but without a guy like me putting everyone where they needed to be, I think it might not have been quite what it was.

Do you think The Shield had run its course? You know, we did all we had to do. There was really nothing left for us to conquer as a group in WWE. We had disbanded and destroyed, dismantled the greatest group in the last decade in WWE, Evolution. Granted, they're 10 years past their prime as a group, but we dominated. And it wasn't even really close, it was a clean sweep at Payback in the elimination match and we had got to them before that even, and so it was time. We had to take the next step, and I had to take the next step and there wasn't anywhere else for us to go as a group. There's no six-man tag team championships, so as cool as that might've been, this is where we're at now and I'm really happy on the path I'm on. 

Did you ever think that you and Dean Ambrose would have as much chemistry in the ring as you have or that your feud would develop this much heat? Ambrose and I, we made good friends, but we make better enemies, I think. And I don't know why that is, there's just some people you get in the ring with and there's some sort of strange electricity that really hits the spot, and for whatever reason, he and I [have that]. Like I said, good friends, but better enemies. And I think people who may have been disappointed that they didn't get the match they wanted at Battleground can look forward to Summerslam. I don't know what it's going to be like yet, but I wouldn't mind having another match with Dean Ambrose scheduled for Summerslam, because if past encounters have told us anything what we're capable of, I think the wrestling world is gonna be... well, they're gonna be blown away.

So are you personally disappointed that the actual match didn't happen at Battleground? Not at all. Not one bit. 

Because it builds things up more for Summerslam? For me, Summerslam is the biggest event of the summer. It's our second or maybe third arguably biggest event of the year and a match of the caliber of Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose, the first time you've seen two members of The Shield interact in the WWE, in the universe really, in any form or fashion as far as any kind of a one-on-one contest, I think deserves the biggest stage it could possibly get, bearing mind the timing of everything. So I think with Summerslam, I'm absolutely looking forward to that opportunity.

Dean is a beast on the mic and is famous for his promos. Do you have to work harder to keep up with him promo-wise? We're each doing are own thing. He's a master with the microphone. For whatever reason, he just has a knack for drawing audiences in with voice and his words and his storytelling as far as how he speaks. If you've followed my career, you'd know that. [It] hasn't been how I've made my way to where I'm at. It's always something to work on, you know, as a performer, as an artist. You're always performing [and] trying to get better, you're always looking for ways to improve. And having to keep up with him on the microphone is one of the ways that I've tried to improve. And splitting from the Shield has really offered me the time to stand in front of a live audience and talk to them about the situation and I feel like that's definitely helped me out. And hopefully if Ambrose and I can go back and forth on a microphone at some point here in the near future that'd be nice for me as well.

Looking ahead, way ahead, like say WrestleMania 31 or even WrestleMania 32, are we ever gonna see a triple-threat main event between the former members of The Shield? That's far away that I have no idea about that. Right now I've got this [Money in the Bank] contract, I've got Dean Ambrose jabbing at me, trying to make sure I don't cash that in, so I'm trying to fight two wars right now [while] looking ahead to WrestleMania. Ideally, I'd like to go into WrestleMania 31 as the World Heavyweight Champion. And with [WrestleMania 32], the same thing. So whoever the top contenders are at that point, if I am the champion, let's go. Otherwise, I'll always have that [Money in the Bank] briefcase, at least for the next 300 days or so, and I'll be able to have that in my back pocket if need be.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.