The wrestling extravaganza will feature legendary powerhouse Ronda Rousey making her in-ring debut alongside Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, Jinder Mahal, Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt and many more. Get your tickets here.
Ahead of the show, we caught up with Rollins to discuss what it was like facing The Rock, good guys vs. bad guys and more...
What made you want to become a wrestler?
I was inspired at a young age by the pageantry. The WWE superstars were like superheroes to me. I was just captivated when I was really young and I never stopped. Some people grow out of it and I just never did. My heroes turned from Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, to Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, and then The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. And then I just decided that maybe I could be that hero for other kids.
Seth Rollins doing tai chi during a recent China trip. Image via AEG
We heard you've been doing other things besides wrestling — specifically martial arts. What's that been like?
I do crossfit but other than that I’m not a martial arts expert. [But during our recent China visit] we got to go to a cool little kung-fu center and learn some tai chi, which is something I’d never done, and it was way harder than I expected.
Oh yeah, way harder.
It looks so simple.
Yeah, that’s what I said! But the grand master was teaching me some stuff and it just blew my mind how much hard work and passion goes into perfecting that sort of martial art.
What has your experience been like so far standing in front of millions of people to wrestle an opponent, and just being a WWE fighter in general?
It’s really an incredible experience to be a WWE superstar. We go out there on the stage, and you know tens of thousands of people are viewing it live or millions are watching it around the world. That’s fantastic as a performer. It's very fulfilling for me.
You get to travel around the entire world, meet people, experience different cultures and just inspire people to chase their dreams, or even just give them an escape from everyday lives through entertainment. That’s what's fantastic about being a WWE superstar. It’s more than just being a performer — it’s about being able to reach them, and reach human beings on a deeper level.
Image via AEG
Were you nervous the first time you stepped into the ring?
Yeah, I would say so. I was probably nervous for the first ten years. You get butterflies to a certain extent, and even now I still get them for the bigger shows. I get pretty nervous if we’re going out there and I know that millions of people are watching. There’s a lot of pressure to have a good match, to not screw up, to put on a good performance. I think that’s what most of us live performers live for: that pressure at that moment.
"It’ll go down in history as Seth Rollins and The Shield powerbombing The Rock through a table."
You play it off really well though. You don’t seem nervous.
That’s when you can tell you’ve made it. You know you’ve gotta be confident. That’s half the battle. You’ve gotta go out there and act like you’re confident and people just buy your shtick. So if you can do that, that’s half the fight.
What’s the best thing about being in WWE?
We had a great moment at a live event the other day. Roman Reigns and I were able to bump fists with a local fan at one of the shows and you just know it was the moment of his life — or at least for that week. And to me that’s the best part. You get to give people those moments, and you get to give kids those moments. It was how I felt sitting in the front row watching Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, and all the magic that I felt being there at that event. Now I get to do that for other people, for future generations. It's pretty incredible to know that you can inspire people on that level.
Image via AEG
What was your experience facing The Rock?
Oh man, The Rock is on another level. Obviously, he’s an entertainment conglomerate himself. When it comes to movies, television and still being part of the WWE family, he’s got so much going on, not to mention that he’s a dad and a husband. He’s incredible. I don’t know how he finds the time in the day.
He came back to WWE a few years ago and I was fortunate enough to get to work with him. I think I was able to beat him up a few times actually. I don’t know if he ever actually got any licks in on me, so I think it’ll go down in history as Seth Rollins and The Shield powerbombing The Rock through a table. But he was awesome, super easy to work with and a lot of fun. He’s an energetic person when he’s hyped up. You end up getting hyped up too. They don’t call him the most electrifying man in entertainment for nothing.
Image via AEG
Do you enjoy being a heel or a babyface?
I like both. There’s a lot of fun in being the bad guy and being able to antagonize fans and at the end of the day to set them up so they want to see you get your butt kicked. That’s the bad guy’s job — to set things up for the good guy, so to do that is fulfilling in its own way.
On the flip side there’s nothing like having 70,000 people on your side, chanting your name, using your favorite catchphrase. You get goosebumps from that.
It’s cool being on both sides. I’ve been fortunate enough to be decent at both so I like them both. It’s hard to pick just one.
"There’s a lot of fun in being the bad guy."
Do the fans cheer more for the bad guys or the good guys?
Oh the good guys, yeah. Most of our fanbase is kids, so they’re rooting for the hero, they’re rooting for the protagonist most of the time. There’s always a select, little group of fans that like the bad guys. I think more often than not, it’s the good guys winning out.
People say that The Shield was the best group during your first appearance on WWE. Is there any chance that they will come back together again?
I think so. The Shield is now and forever, so myself Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are brothers united. Ambrose is on the shelf right now with injury, but when we're all healthy and in the same place at the same time anything is possible.
Rollins during a recent China visit. Image via AEG
Additional contribution by Phumelele Simelane and Tom Smith. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.