Seth Rollins captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship last month at Night of Champions when he defeated AJ Styles. Their match was the culmination of an eight-man tournament that saw members of the Raw and Smackdown roster compete to become the inaugural title holder. Ever since winning the championship, Rollins has had a target on his back that has seen him hunted by Finn Balor and The Judgment Day on Raw, and Bron Breakker in WWE NXT.
In an interview with Daily Mail, Rollins made it clear that he knows the way in which he is defending his title is much different than the infrequent matches that Roman Reigns has for his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. While he appreciates what his former SHIELD stablemate has accomplished with his more than 1000-day run, he noted that he wants to be like the old-school World Champions he grew up idolizing. Rollins himself has twelve WWE dates penciled in for June alone in hopes of upping his and the new titles’ presence.
Some of the legendary figures that Rollins said he grew up wanting to be like were akin to the “NWA Champions that took the title around all the towns and defended it in every city.” Names like Ric Flair and Harley Race were quick to roll off his tongue but Attitude Era stars like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were also in his pool of workhorse champions.
Rollins also gave a nod of the hat to John Cena as someone who fit the mold of an active, defending World Champion. Somewhat surprisingly, he also put returning AEW star CM Punk into that camp. I say surprisingly because at the WWE Royal Rumble 2K23 release event, I had the chance to speak with Rollins for a few minutes and when I asked if he had an interest in Punk returning to WWE he flatly said no. He went even further referring to The Second City Savior as “a cancer” that he did not want back.
While The Architect did have a few nice words about Punk this time around, the same cannot be said for “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, who many have viewed as a “part-timer” for years, only coming in for big-money programs.
“I never really wanted to be a Brock Lesnar, that really wasn’t the type of champion I wanted to be,” he said. “I saw what that did to us as a roster and as a business and I didn’t like it, and if I ever was going to a champion and the guy at the top I wanted to be like the guys I idolized and not the guys I thought were not great for the business overall.”