On Thursday 6th March 2014 Seth Rollins sat down with Will Stephenson of the Arkansas Times to conduct an interview about his career and to promote the Smackdown taping that was taking place that day. While it is a standard job of any WWE superstar to be called upon to do media appearances what really stood out for me is the way Rollins answered some of the questions posed to him by the reporter. Rollins has come more and more to the forefront of the Shield recently by putting in some stellar performances in the ring. His handling of himself outside the ring shows potentially Rollins is more than capable of handling the media and if this interview is anything to go by we will be seeing him doing the media rounds much more frequently.
The interviewer asked Rollins a very strange question early on which I think Rollins handled really well as there are always reporters trying to get a story and it’s interesting why he chose to ask Rollins if he was violent as a kid. Lets face it, you wouldn’t ask a surgeon if they ever tried to conduct surgery on their friends as a kid. Rollins answer was brilliant in that he explained that he never got in fights, was a model student, and got good grades. He talked about playing around with his friends and wrestling in his back yard but reiterated he was a good kid who didn’t drink or smoke. The reporter is clearly trying to make an assumption about Rollins with the question but by answering the way he did he really exhibited role model behaviour and made it clear from the word go he wasn’t a play ground bully and was actually successful. Ask any wrestler about what they think any aspiring wrestler should do and they will always tell you to get good grades in school because for every guy who makes it in this business there are probably ten who fail to break into the big time.
One of the questions posed to Rollins was “Did you always want to be a wrestler?”, which I think for any journalist is a standard question that they all ask. I liked that Rollins began answering the question by explaining that he has always been a fan and explained that stars like Steve Austin and The Rock were his inspiration for getting into the business. He explained that he admired guys like loved Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The British Bulldogs, The Legion of Doom as they appealed to him in a personal way. What I really liked most in his answer though was when he talked about wrestling being an art form rather than just a product. It was great the way he explained that wrestling is a blend of sports and entertainment and that people really do not appreciate how much actually goes into a wrestling match or a storyline, both mentally and physically. He talks about how people do not grasp how much of an art there really is to wrestling, and I feel like I agree with him. When was the last time any of us can say we sat back and actually looked at the dynamics of what has gone into a particular match? The way Rollins put his answer across to the reporter was brilliant and was crafted to make fans and casual readers of the article appreciate there is more to wrestling than just putting on a match.
I really liked the question posed to Rollins about if the independent wrestling circuit is different to working in WWE. While this seems like another one of those standard reporter questions I think it’s one that guys can trip up on because it’s easy to forget your roots when you hit the big time. Rollins appears to be one of those guys with his head screwed on and who very much has his feet firmly routed on the ground. I really liked how Rollins talked about going from training in a shipyard to working Wrestlemania 30. He talked about how he spent a few years cutting his teeth in the Midwest, moved on to Ring of Honor, and then went down to Florida and relearned everything again. Rollins talks about the fact that while his pay cheques are bigger that isn’t what he’s in this business for and that’s really something that makes him stand out as being another guy like Daniel Bryan or a CM Punk, someone who loves the business and works hard to entertain the fans for the love of his job.
Then there was one question that for me is one that always rears it’s head from time to time, and again is one that I fell Rollins really answered strongly. The interviewer asked Rollins if people still ask him whether what he does is real or fake. His answer is nothing short of amazing and really counters any accusation people make about the product being fake. As Rollins asks “What is fake?”. There is nothing fake about what WWE Superstars and Divas put themselves through on a daily basis for our entertainment. Rollins hits the nail on the head when he talks about wrestling being an art form and how there is a mental and physical grind on performers. I think he sums it up perfectly when he says that “you can be the smartest guy in the world and not understand what it is to have a presence on stage. Being a character, executing a live performance, understanding what it is to connect with a crowd and elicit a specific response at a specific time using moves and body language and emotions. What we do is very complex. It’s underappreciated.” That is the kind of answer that as a fan trying to challenge people misconceptions about wrestling I would love to be able to think of and will certainly be referring back to in the future. The answer is strong, passionate and above anything else really shows just how much thought wrestlers have to put into their craft. We as fans sometimes do not appreciate how hard their job really is and are the first to criticise a match if it isn’t up to our standard but I can guarantee that a vast majority of us would pale in comparison to someone like Rollins who does this day in day out.
For anyone interested in reading the interview in full it can be found at this link. Not only has Seth Rollins proved he could actually be the most talented member of the Shield he has now shown that when he gives an interview he gives well thought out and constructed answers. I get the impression this is going to be the first of many media days for Rollins in his bright future and if he is given the chance to make it to the top of WWE, and there’s no reason why he can’t, then WWE have got themselves a fantastic ambassador when it comes to conducting himself with the media and promoting the product in a positive and appealing manner.