Birthday: May 28th, 1986
From: Davenport, Iowa
Billed Height: 6ft 1
Billed Weight: 217 lbs
Ring Names: Seth Rollins
Taj the Destroyer
Lopez (as Gixx) debuted in 2005 for Scott County Wrestling (SCW). He would win the SCW Heavyweight Championship, and spray-paint the belt black to mark “The Black Era” in SCW. He entered the Ted Petty Invitational tournament during his time with Ian Rotten’s IWA Mid-South territory, and defeated Sal Thomaselli. He was eliminated by Matt Sydal in the quarter-finals. However, he would later win the IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Championship.
He soon joined NWA Midwest, winning the promotion’s tag team championship with Marek Brave. The two successfully defended the championship against Ryan Boz and Danny Daniels, Brett Wayne and Hype Gotti, and Jayson Reign and Marco Cordova several times in early 2006. He also faced Eric Priest and A.J. Styles in singles matches.
When he attended WrestleMania 22, he told himself it would be the last show he sees as a fan.
Colby briefly appeared in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and teamed with Jeff Luxon on Impact (in October 2006). They would lose to the Latin American Exchange.
Independent promotions (2007–2010)
On May 25, 2007, while in a match with the Full Impact Pro (FIP) Tag Team Champions the Briscoes, Black’s tag team partner Marek Brave suffered a back injury that sidelined him for several weeks. Ultimately the injury would force him to temporarily retire. During this time Black pursued a singles career. He competed in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) where he defeated Joey Ryan on June 10th and former mentor Danny Daniels at the super-card Point of No Return ’07 on June 16th.
At PWG’s Life During Wartime on July 6, 2008, Black teamed with Jacobs to win the PWG World Tag Team Championship by defeating Roderick Strong and El Generico (who was a replacement for Jack Evans). At FIP’s event on December 20, 2008 Black defeated Go Shiozaki to win the FIP World Heavyweight Championship. At FIP’s event on May 2, 2009, Davey Richards was awarded the FIP World Heavyweight Championship by forfeit when Black was unable to compete.
At the Ring of Honor (ROH) pay-per-view taping of Man Up in September 2007, Black made his debut alongside Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher. The three attacked the Briscoe Brothers, hanging Jay Briscoe from the rigging that had been used during the ladder match earlier that night. Jacobs announced that the three had formed a stable called The Age of the Fall. The angle was so controversial that ROH decided to remove the footage from the pay-per-view that was being taped at the event. However, the footage was also heavily requested by ROH fans; it was shown on the ROH Videowire for the week of September 15. Later on at the event Black faced Jack Evans in a dark match. The match ended when Jacobs and Necro Butcher interfered, leading The Irish Airborne to help Evans. A six-man tag team match between The Age of the Fall and Jack Evans and the Irish Airborne ended in a no contest when Necro Butcher attacked the referee.
Black teamed with Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher against The Vulture Squad (Jack Evans and Ruckus) in several handicap matches. During early October, he would go on to team with The Age of the Fall against Jack Evans, Ruckus and Jigsaw in a 6-man tag team match at Glory by Honor VI Night 1. The following night, Black defeated Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne, but was attacked by The Briscoes following the match. He appeared with The Age of the Fall in their match against The Briscoes during the main event. At Final Battle 2007, Black and Jacobs defeated the Briscoes to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. They lost the titles one month later on January 26 to the No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards and Rocky Romero) in an Ultimate Endurance match (Which also involved The Hangmen 3 (Brent Albright and BJ Whitmer), and the team of Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson).
At Take No Prisoners Black challenged Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World Championship in a losing effort. At Up For Grabs, Black and Jacobs won an eight-team tournament to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship for a second time. The two lost the championship at Driven to the team of Kevin Steen and El Generico. Black had a second chance at the ROH World Championship at Death Before Dishonor VI in New York City, when he faced McGuinness, Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli in a three-way match. McGuinness retained the title. At Final Battle 2008, Black lost a number one contenders match to Austin Aries. Following the match, Jacobs turned on Black. The night got worse from Black when he was attacked by Aries. At Full Circle, Black was given a non-title match against the ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness on January 16 which he won. The following night, number one contender Aries refused to face McGuinness; Black faced McGuinness instead, but was unsuccessful as the match ended in a time limit draw. On June 26 at Violent Tendencies, Black defeated Jimmy Jacobs in a steel cage match to end their feud.
In September of 2009, Black had surgery on a bulging disc in his neck. On October 10 Black defeated Kenny King in a first round match; he then defeated: Claudio Castagnoli, Colt Cabana, Delirious, Chris Hero, and finally Roderick Strong in the finals. The succession of victories won him the position of 2009’s Survival of the Fittest. That then earned him a match for the ROH World Championship. On December 19 at Final Battle 2009, (ROH’s first live pay-per-view) Black wrestled ROH World Champion Austin Aries to a 60 minute time limit draw. Because of the controversial result, ROH commissioner Jim Cornette booked the two in a rematch on the company’s Eighth Anniversary Show. Cornette then set up a judging panel consisting of him and one person picked by each competitor. The hope was for there to be a decisive winner in case of another draw. Aries picked Kenny King, while Black chose Roderick Strong- whom he guaranteed a title shot should he win. At the event Black pinned Aries to win the ROH World Championship.
On April 3, Black retained the title in a three-way elimination match against Austin Aries and Roderick Strong at The Big Bang Pay-per-view, thereby depriving Strong of his championship chance in a singles match. He also retained at the following pay-per-view Death Before Dishonor VIII, on June 19th in a match against Davey Richards. Black turned heel at the August 20th tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, after news broke that he had signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). His new heel character involved him criticizing the fans who were labeling him a sell-out for signing with WWE (a feeling Lopez states was based on true feelings). He also threatened to take the ROH World Championship with him to WWE, and refused to put the championship at stake in a match with Davey Richards on August 28th (which he later lost by submission). On September 11th at Glory By Honor IX, Black lost the ROH World Championship to Roderick Strong in a No Disqualification match with Terry Funk as a guest enforcer. This was his final ROH appearance.
Florida Championship Wrestling (2010–2012)
On August 8, 2010, it was reported Lopez had signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. He would debut with their developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in September. Lopez had been offered a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and was renegotiating with ROH but Evan Bourne (formerly Matt Sydal) convinced him to join WWE. On September 14, 2010, Lopez (as Tyler Black) made his WWE debut in a dark match prior to the SmackDown taping, defeating Trent Barreta.
Lopez debuted for FCW on September 30th, using the name Seth Rollins, and lost to Michael McGillicutty. Rollins then faced Hunico on November 4 in the first ever ‘FCW 15’ match under 15 minute Iron Man rules. The duo fought to a 1–1 draw. Following this, Rollins, along with Hunico, Richie Steamboat and Jinder Mahal, participated in the FCW 15 Jack Brisco Classic tournament. Rollins qualified for the finals on January 13, 2011 where he defeated Hunico to win the tournament and become the first FCW 15 Champion.
On March 25 at a live event, Rollins and Richie Steamboat defeated Damien Sandow and Titus O’Neill to win the Florida Tag Team Championship. On May 12th Rollins and Steamboat lost the championship to Big E. Langston and Calvin Raines.
In July 2011, Rollins began a feud with Dean Ambrose. Ambrose and Rollins had their first match for the FCW 15 Championship in a 15 minute Iron Man match on the August 14 episode of FCW TV. The match ended in a draw with neither man scoring a fall, so Rollins retained his title. A subsequent 20 minute rematch for the title two weeks later resulted in a similar 0–0 draw. A second 30 minute rematch for the title on the September 18th episode of FCW TV went to a time limit 2–2 draw and the match was sent into sudden death rules, where Rollins scored a pin fall to win the match 3–2. Of note, an entire episode of FCW TV was dedicated to hyping and showing the third match in the series. On September 22nd, Rollins lost the FCW 15 Championship to Damien Sandow after Ambrose attacked Sandow late in the match- causing Sandow to win the decisive fall by disqualification and therefore win the title.
Rollins made his WWE TV debut in a video package that aired during the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in February 2012. He was shown working out with John Cena in Cena’s gym; Rollins was also featured in a speaking role. On February 23, 2012, he defeated Leo Kruger to become the new FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion.
NXT (The re-branding of FCW) and The Main Roster
When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW into NXT Wrestling, Rollins’ NXT television debut took place on the second episode of the rebooted WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University. He defeated Jiro while wrestling as a high-energy maverick. On the August 1st episode of NXT, Rollins was inserted into the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Champion. He defeated Drew McIntyre in the quarter-finals. Then on the August 15th episode of NXT, Rollins defeated Michael McGillicutty in the semi-finals of the Gold Rush Tournament. Finally on the August 29th episode of NXT, Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament to become the inaugural NXT Champion. On the October 10 episode of NXT, Rollins had his first successful defense of his title against McGillicutty. During the November 15 tapings of NXT, Rollins pinned Mahal again in his second successful title defense; the episode of the match aired on December 12 due to tape delay.
At the Survivor Series pay-per-view on November 18th Rollins, alongside Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, attacked Ryback during the triple-threat main event for the WWE Championship. This led to CM Punk pinning John Cena to retain his title. The trio declared themselves “The Shield” and vowed to rally against “injustice.” They denied working for Punk, but routinely emerged from the crowd to attack Punk’s adversaries, including Ryback, The Miz, and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan). This led to a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match being set up for the TLC pay-per-view pitting the three men of the Shield against Ryback and Team Hell No, which Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins won in their debut match.
During the January 2, 2013 episode of NXT (taped on December 6, 2012) Rollins, now part of the Shield- defended his title against Corey Graves. As Graves was about to win the match, Ambrose and Reigns attacked him to cause a disqualification so that Rollins retained his title. The Shield then fended off the entire NXT locker room but retreated from Big E Langston. On the January 7th episode of NXT taped on the same date, Rollins faced Langston in a no disqualification title match. The NXT locker room neutralized the other Shield members, and Langston defeated Rollins to win the title. The Shield later interfered in a number one contenders match for the NXT Championship between Corey Graves and the Ascension, triple-power bombing them both.
The Shield continued to aid Punk after TLC; during Punk and Ryback’s TLC match for the WWE Championship. On the January 7, 2013, episode of Raw, they attacked Ryback, which resulted in Punk again retaining his title. During the Royal Rumble event where The Rock challenged for Punk’s WWE Championship, match, a blackout occurred and the Rock was attacked in the darkness by unknown assailants, directly leading to Punk pinning Rock. The announcers blamed the Shield for the attack. The match was later restarted with Rock winning. The following night on Raw, the Shield attacked and laid out John Cena; Sheamus and Ryback suffered the same fate when they attempted to save Cena. Later in the show, it was revealed through footage played by Vince McMahon that Punk and/or his manager Paul Heyman had been paying the Shield and Brad Maddox to work for them all along. This culminated in a six-man tag team match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which the Shield won. Rollins wrestled his first singles match on the main roster on the March 11 episode of Raw, losing to Big Show via disqualification after the rest of The Shield interfered. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, The Shield defeated Big Show, Randy Orton, and Sheamus in a six-man tag-team match. The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack The Undertaker-who was paying his respects to late Paul Bearer but were stopped by Team Hell No. This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, where The Shield emerged victorious. Four days later on SmackDown after Ambrose lost to the Undertaker, he and the rest of the Shield viciously attacked Undertaker. The trio beat him down with chairs and power bombed him through the announcers’ table.
Continuing to sporadically appear on NXT, Rollins continued his feud with Corey Graves who had vowed to dismantle The Shield. After interference from the rest of The Shield, Rollins defeated Graves in a Lumberjack Match. On the April 29th episode of Raw, The Shield defeated Team Hell No and WWE Champion John Cena in a six-man tag team match. On the May 13th episode of Raw, The Shield suffered their first loss as team in a six-man elimination tag team match by disqualification against John Cena and Team Hell No (When Reigns and Rollins- who were already eliminated attacked Cena while he was performing the STF submission hold on Ambrose). The Shield still got the upper hand and finished off Cena. On May 19th at Extreme Rules, Rollins and Reigns defeated Team Hell No in a tag team tornado match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. Earlier in the evening Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston to win the WWE United States Championship. Rollins and Reigns made their first televised title defense on the May 27th episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch. Rollins and Reigns successfully defended the championship against Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton at WWE Payback and The Usos at Money in the Bank.