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Continuing with our series of celebrity interviews as we’ve done in the past with athletes like MLB All Star Bronson Arroyo and Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford, I had the chance to talk to WWE superstar Seth Rollins last week. Rollins is part of The Shield, the hottest act to hit professional wrestling in years. Just a year and a half into his WWE career Rollins has already worked with legends like The Rock, Triple H, Ric Flair, and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Rollins is an avid fan of rock music (his last name is a homage to Henry Rollins) with a wide array of taste that includes everything from metal, to pop punk, to The Beatles. In our exclusive interview Rollins discussed his most memorable concert experiences and also hot topics in WWE like The Ultimate Warrior’s death, the TV PG product, Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania win streak, and the new generation of promising talent currently coming up through the developmental territory NXT.

Q: I did some research into music you’ve referenced liking, and it’s a pretty wide array like Metallica, The Devil Wears Prada, Pantera, Jimmy Eat World, and Black Flag obviously. What albums do you think would most surprise people that you’re into? Perhaps an album from the WWE’s favorite band Limp Bizkit, or something along those lines?
Rollins: No, heaven’s no, maybe when I was 14 or something like that. Maybe the Beatles, I’m a big Beatles fan, which doesn’t really fit into much of my taste you mentioned earlier. I own Beatles 1, and I’ve got a lot of Beatles on vinyl and stuff like that, so I really dig that kind of stuff.

Q: When it comes to concerts I was looking at your Formspring, and I actually saw you kind of rip a couple shows you’ve been to. So what are some of the best and worst concerts you’ve ever been to?
Rollins: Jeez, I forgot about my Formspring, I tried to delete that damn thing a long time ago actually. I don’t know, my favorite concert I’ve ever seen, it’s such a different vibe now because I’m old (laughs). I don’t like go into the concert, I watch from afar or side stage or wherever. When I was younger, my favorite show was an awesome lineup it was: Unearth, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and Lamb of God. That was probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, I spent more time in the pit and beat up more people than any of my other concert experiences combined, that was probably my favorite one.
As far as least favorite concerts, I really don’t like a lot of these festival shows for whatever reason. I’ve been to the Warped shows and stuff like that, and I just don’t like the feel of it, standing around in the sun all day, it’s hot as shit. By the time A Day To Remember is playing at like 9PM I’m just drained of energy. I’m not excited to be there, my feet hurt, and I just want to go home. I prefer the club shows to festivals and stuff like that.

Q: Have you gotten to meet any musicians at shows? Because I’ve seen other wrestlers who have been able to take advantage and meet some guys.
Q: Yeah, what’s awesome is being semi-famous, you get to meet other semi-famous people (laughs), which sounds silly. When I was a kid my favorite bands were like Korn and Metallica, then as I grew up I got really into the newer American metal scene, now I really like pop punk kind of stuff for whatever reason as I get almost into my 30′s. But like with Twitter you’re able to connect with these people kind of easy and it really helps a lot. Surprisingly, I’ve found out that a lot of guys in bands that I listen to are wrestling fans too, so we kind of have mutual interests. I’m good friends with Dan Campbell, Soupy from the Wonder Years, I did an interview with him not too long ago. I got to meet the Day To Remember guys, I’m still down for a meeting with Metallica. That would be pretty awesome. I’d love to meet James, Lars, Kirk, and those guys.

There’s a lot of musicians who are obsessed with wrestling. The members of Tool I know met some WWE guys recently, and obviously Billy Corgan obviously is a big wrestling fan.
Rollins: Billy’s got his own promotion right?

Q: Yeah, Resistance Pro. So when The Shield debuted did you get to talk to Jim Johnson [WWE’s head of music] at all about the theme song, and could you imagine any other theme song working for The Shield?
Rollins: We didn’t, when we were worried about the music. Because music to me is super important, it’s always been a big deal. I love music, I was always a stickler for wanting real music, like a real song. But when I heard Jim was going to our song, I was pretty excited because he’s got a good track record for entrance themes. I remember when we recorded the voice portion of it, that’s us actually doing the Sierra Hotel India, that’s me, Roman [Reigns], and Dean [Ambrose]. I remember recording that and then we got to hear it maybe the next week at television or something like that. It was awesome, it would be really hard to imagine now doing another song because we’re so used to hearing those words and the beat of the music coming down the stairs to it, so it’d be really hard to imagine doing something else. One song we get kind of fired up to is called “Wild Eyes” by Parkway Drive, who I’m a big fan of, the song is pretty gnarly and I think it would make a sick entrance theme actually.

Q: WWE’s product has been TV PG for about 6 years now, but at Extreme Rules you had a pretty great jump in the crowd during the six man tag. Do you see the product moving back into a more hard hitting unpredictable style like that, or do you think that was just a special match?
Rollins: I don’t think the PG rating has a whole lot to do with the style we bring in the ring. The company is now publically traded, and as you mentioned the programming is PG, but realistically a lot of the matches are still as hard hitting and fast paced and definitely more athletic than they’ve ever been. If you look at the talent roster now, you look at guys like Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, The Usos, and especially a lot of the guys coming up in NXT like Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, and myself. We’re just bringing a different element to the matches that I don’t think people are used to. So I don’t really think that the PG rating has much to do with the in ring content, as it does necessarily with the storyline content. Plus the company is just a little more keen on our safety these days too, they take extra precaution when it comes to injuries. They’ve really taken the danger out of the bleeding situation, they’ve taken the extra care to make sure that everyone’s healthier so we can be doing this longer. Realistically, that’s good for everybody. If you look at Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family too, their storylines are pretty edgy and sometimes borderline PG 13. I think it’s a good time to be a wrestling fan, I don’t think there’s any reason for us to move away from trying to be kid friendly.

Q: Yeah, I don’t think that being TV PG can technically stop you from having an edgier product. Because if you look at WCW back during the nWo days, or even during the earliest days of the Attitude Era, it was under the TV PG banner, it’s just all about what you’re doing under that. So it seems like [the product] is moving in a good direction. But talking about WrestleMania weekend last month, a lot of surprising things happened that month. The Undertaker’s streak ended on the actual show, then a few days later The Ultimate Warrior tragically passed away. What were the reactions from you and those around you when those events occured?
Rollins: It was really just a roller coaster of a weekend, because on one hand it’s WrestleMania 30. It’s the biggest event in the history of our sport, something to be really excited and happy about. The unpredictability of The Undertaker’s streak being snapped for the first time in 22 years, that was literally one of those moments where you’ll remember where you were at and what you were doing. I was upstairs in the family room, we had just got done beating the dog crap out of Kane and the New Age Outlaws for like 2 minutes, so we were riding pretty high. I was up in the family box with my friends watching the rest of the show kind of reveling in my success, then I remember the 3 count after [Brock Lesnar’s] F5. I literally stopped and my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe it, I thought for sure that was never going to happen. I thought that would never, I don’t know, talking about it now still seems surreal even though it’s been a little over a month. The sad part is, that is what it is, it’s part of the show.

We got to Tuesday night when I first heard about the Warrior, I heard about it through Twitter because Triple H was the first one to get the news, and he went straight to Twitter and put it up there. That was the first I had heard of it, there’s really no words for that. For a guy who after all those years had come back, and was in the middle of a personal and professional redemption, to lose his life at really one of his highest points personally is strangely inspiring, and at the same time very sad. A lot of people talk about his promo from Monday and how prophetic it was, maybe it was almost too much like he knew what was coming. He was at a beautiful place, I know that from talking to him over the weekend. Just from people who were close to him, to see how happy he was. At the very least, he was in a very good place personally, my thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and his daughters and stuff like that. I think for him, it might have been okay for him, I think he might have been alright with the way things ended, and that’s always important.

Published by Ash on May 16th, 2014
Filed in Interviews

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