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411’s WWE Broken Skull Sessions Report: Seth Rollins on Feud with The Fiend, Earning Brock’s Respect, The Shield

September 27, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Broken Skull Sessions Seth Rollins

411’s WWE Broken Skull Sessions Report: Seth Rollins

-I am doing this during Extreme Rules and during Niners/Packers (Go Niners), so as a warning, my mood may change depending what happens in the game. (Post Game Note: I hate football!) Shameless plug as I took a look back at Mind Games as it celebrated a 25th anniversary. You can find that review here. Spoiler: Shawn/Mankind ruled! Now, let’s see what stories Rollins and Austin have to share. Let’s get to it!

-Original Air Date: 09.26.21
-Run Time: 1:44:17

-Stone Cold welcomes us to the show and he tells us his guest today is The Drip God, Seth Rollins!

-They make small talk about Rollins’ trip to Austin’s ranch which is in the middle of nowhere. Rollins is from a small town and Austin tells him he enjoys the privacy. Austin mentions they have only had a few conversations, so Austin breaks out the IPA. Rollins is a man of hops and calls himself The Hop God. They toast and share a drink and Rollins puts over the beer as a treat.

-Austin congratulates Rollins on the birth of his baby girl and we gets some Instagram pics. Rollins says he never imagined himself as a parent, but he loves being a dad. He never imagined what a father/daughter relationship would be like, but it is the best. He finds himself smiling on a regular basis a lot more than he did.

-Austin asks if they planned on having a baby and Rollins says yes, but kind of laughs. He says Becky always wanted kids, but they were both on top of their profession and didn’t know about finding the right time. He says the pandemic gave them time and says it was planned. He apologizes to Vince for taking Becky away for 9 months. They gave it one shot and Seth jokes he apparently had the right stuff and they toast to that.

-Next Austin brings up the marriage and Rollins says it was a formality. They wanted to do it a year earlier but couldn’t get into Hawaii. Things opened up and they got some family in and got it done. Austin asks about the proposal and Rollins goes over the story of how he proposed as the sun was setting in Maui. He didn’t have a plan and there was a nice beach so he told Becky it would be a good place to take pictures. She turned around and Seth had the ring out and was on one knee. Obviously she said yes, and the lone person on the beach happened to be a photographer and she asked if she could take a picture and they okayed it. The show the picture and it’s the one that was shared all over the place. Austin laughs that he proposed to his wife in a deer stand in Texas. Rollins laughs and says romance is all about perspective.

-They discuss working in an empty arena and Rollins mentions is sucks falling when no fans are there. You do take pride in your performance as you had to remember that fans were watching at home. He loves the adrenaline of having the fans back and he missed having the built in response. During the PC Era the feedback was the internet or Vince and neither is always accurate.

-They discuss The Drip God character and the reactions he is getting. Seth thought he would be booed more that he has been, but there has been more of a split. He and Austin agree that any reaction is better than no reaction. Seth doesn’t know what this character is yet as it is just taking off in his head. He has having a hell of time with the character and Austin mentions that fans can feel through the screen when someone is having a good time.

-Austin goes through some of Rollins’ accolades and laughs as the one thing that stuck out is he has the Worst Match of The Year for 2019. Austin mentions he has also won this honor. Rollins: “According to whom?” Austin says we won’t say his name, but mentions The Observer. Austin then says his was a scaffold match with PN News, Terry Taylor and Bobby Eaton. Good Lord! Austin: “we had no business on a scaffold.” Austin and Rollins toast to being Worst Match of The Year. Rollins says his vision for what that match was going to be was different than what he was told to do. As it was happening it was boos piled upon boos upon piled. Then the reaction when the audience didn’t get what they wanted. He says it sucks, but it was the catalyst for the character he has now. Rollins can put a positive spin on it now, but back then he was ready to strangle Vince. He had to be held back by Tyson Kidd and it took Paul Heyman to talk him down. “He was Paul Heymaning me.” He and Vince had a conversation the following night and it was civil and they worked it out. In his head, Rollins is convinced the match wouldn’t be on that list if they did what he had envisioned.

-We go all the way back as Seth started wrestling at 14 years of age and we see a very young Seth which gives both a chance to make fun of him. Seth says his dad, and uncles were big into “rasslin” and mentions people like Hogan, Flair, and LOD. They would watch old WrestleMania tapes and then the internet came around and people shared backyard wrestling videos. Seth had a trampoline so they went to Home Depot and built a make shift ring and they had a backyard federation that would get 100 people attending on a good day.

-His parents got him into organized sports as a kid and when they divorced they got him a trampoline. He used it all the time and learned how to control his body. Then they ran a show where they gave away the secrets of wrestling and Seth watched that to learn. Then ECW came up and they modified to include their style. He was able to hone in with the trampoline work, but he also knew he needed to find a school as he knew he needed train. He was going to Indy shows and setting up rings and doing some camps.

-He found a school run by ROH and CM Punk was the trainer. He says it was the best school in the country and he had to move to Pennsylvania. He had a try-out with Punk and made the class. He didn’t have the money to put down and they told him he couldn’t attend without paying. He didn’t want to go back home, so he got a job and found another guy in Chicago, but he was told he needed to find others to bring with him as it didn’t make sense to train just one person. Seth was able to find some dudes and that started him off. He was willing to put in the work and credits his parents for supporting him.

-Austin asks about the transition to ROH. Rollins credits Gabe, who is in NXT now, and says he liked the style of ROH. They had Punk, Bryan, McGuiness, Strong, Low-Ki and AJ Styles and were doing the style he liked. He was 16-17 and wanted to do what was cool. He wanted to be the work-rate guy like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. He loved the high flying, hybrid style. Gabe was also running FIP and he got booked down there as a try-out. He worked 2 shows and after the first match against Jay Briscoe he was offered a $150 a night contract with ROH.

-Austin asks how he came up with his style and Rollins puts over Hayabusa and he did Phoenix Splash. He took stuff from Punk and from AJ Styles and then some stuff from guys like Hogan and Warrior too. He then tried to innovate a bit on his own and would try things. If it didn’t work he would get rid of it or tweak it. He says he isn’t creative as far as drawing, painting but he has had a keen eye on how things works as far as putting a wrestling match or move together.

-Austin says Tyler Black could work his ass off, but wasn’t a character. Rollins says he didn’t have a character and just did rasslin promos about the next town and show. He mentions working in ROH with Joey Mercury and he asked Seth if he thought about New York. Joey got him an in and he was told to send in some stuff for them to watch. Dave Lagana put a package together and sent it to Johnny L. At the same time TNA was calling and Seth says he agreed to a verbal contract with TNA. Jim Cornette called and bitched him out and told him to wait a minute as he would never get over in TNA. He cussed Tyler out and told him to wait until he can see what WWE wanted. He still had no offer from WWE and was about to sign a contract with TNA, but was ignoring their calls until the final minute. Eventually, he calls one more time and leaves Johnny a message that he was about to sign with TNA. Johnny calls back and says to wait until morning and Seth feels bad as he has Terry Taylor waiting with the TNA deal. Johnny gives him an offer and it’s a chance, but not a guarantee, but Seth was cool with it. “Cornette was like, oh thank God.” Seth mentions some people are not Cornette fans and he has some heat with Jim over things he said about Becky. Austin loves Cornette and Seth credits him for helping him a lot.

-Next is FCW and Seth walked into this sweat box warehouse in Tampa, FL. He expected something like what they have now with The PC. Most of the other guys were athletes that didn’t have a pro-wrestling background. Dr. Tom is there and nobody told him that Seth was coming down, so he called WWE and bitched them out about it. He then let Seth in the ring and they did man in the middle drills. Seth was shocked this was WWE as nobody else knew how to wrestle and it blew his mind. He thought in his head that he had downgraded.

-Austin throws to footage of the NXT Title Tournament Finals in Aug 2012 and it’s Rollins vs. Jinder Mihal. This match crowned the first NXT Champion. Austin and Rollins discuss the match as they watch and Austin being a fan while watching is always a fun part of these shows. Rollins hits a Buckle Bomb and Curb Stomp to become the 1st NXT Champion and Dusty Rhodes presents him with the belt.

-They discuss Dusty Rhodes and Seth says he gets emotional watching the video and talking about him. Dusty always told him (doing his best Dusty impression), “Seth just be yourself, baby.” Dusty never fit in any mold and told Seth to stay true to himself. Looking back he was 25-26 when he won NXT Title and he didn’t know who he is, but in that moment he had all the confidence in the world.

-Next we move to HHH and Rollins says HHH was close to firing him in NXT. That Dusty advice was a double edge sword. He needed the confidence to get where he wanted, but it rubbed some people the wrong way. Terry Taylor came back to WWE and is a mentor to HHH. Taylor and Seth butted heads and some of it may be due to the issues with Rollins not signing with TNA. They also butted heads as Rollins didn’t like being told what to do and didn’t want to be changed. He would challenge Terry and always question him. He believes wrestling in an art form and Terry is old school. It got a point Seth was insubordinate and HHH pulled him aside to tell he wasn’t special and could go back to ROH and do things his way. Seth realized his dream was about to go up in smoke. He talked to Mercury who told him he needed to learn to play the game and compromise where he would do what they want, but show them what makes him special. Rollins told HHH he was the right guy for this brand and he was ready to do what was needed. A few months later he is NXT Champion!

-The Shield: Seth says he and Ambrose weren’t friends, but they both were top stars on the Indys around the same time. They decided to put them together and they had matches light years ahead of what FCW was doing and it was like what you see from NXT now. They had great chemistry from the start and their matches started to blow up a bit. Roman was an outlier and passed the eye test and you knew WWE was banking on him. They weren’t friends, but were three guys they wanted to use in some capacity. At the time Punk was in a program with Ryback and Punk needed some heavies. “You look at Punk and you look at Ryback and it looks like one can eat the other.” They were pitched as his security team and were given turtlenecks and tactical pants.

-They show The Shield debut at Survivor Series and they beat the piss out of Ryback. Austin says it is what it is and you have to make sure you deliver in your first appearance. They triple bomb Ryback through a table and Rollins says the adrenaline was through the roof. It took a week before they were given a name as a group. They got such a good reaction they were removed from being Punk’s security guys within a few weeks and it was a loose association. Soon they knew they needed a better look and they went with the tactical vests and tight shirts to show off their physique. They had the entrance through the crowd like Sandman and a different promo style with looking directly in a hand held camera.

-They immediately started traveling together and Rollins calls Mercury the ghost member of The Shield. He would help them where needed and offer ideas. Rollins talks about attacking Orton and Ambrose is one of the safest guys around, but Randy didn’t know that. Ambrose hits a safe chop block, but Orton panicked as he didn’t know it was coming and he was hot when they got back to Gorilla.

-Austin wants to talk about competition between the group. Rollins says it was a healthy competition and they noticed halfway through the run that Reigns was supposed to be the focus. They were instructed to put in Roman moments (called Roments by Seth) to make him shine. They never went into business for themselves as they knew if the group did well, they would all be fine coming out of it.

-Austin passes out more beers and next they show the heel turn as Plan B is revealed. Rollins decks Reigns with a chair and Ambrose eats one as well. Rollins jokes that there are still people out there that haven’t forgiven him for this. Rollins says it was nerve-racking and it was sprung on them hours before the show. They wanted to break them up in Jan/Feb and do Ambrose/Roman at Mania XXX. Rollins was either going to be left off the show or the ref for their match. The fans started to turn them face and the The Shield wanted to wait on any kind of split. Rollins then talks about Mania XXX and says their match against The Outlaws and Kane was cut short because Austin, Rock, and Hogan talked for 35 minutes. Then Daniel and HHH went out and did 35 minutes. Nice! They went to the Evolution feud and then were told tonight was the night for the split.

-Money in The Bank: Photo of Rollins with the briefcase on top of the ladder with Ambrose laying in the middle of the ring. At this point Rollins says it was the first time in his life he had a character and personality he could wrap his head around. He says that after The Shield turn he came out the next show in his Shield gear as that is how last minute the decision was. He says winning MITB felt almost as good as winning his first World Title. It meant the company was saying you are going to be the guy one day.

-Austin and Seth discuss getting the character to go with your work-rate. He didn’t know anything about promos until FCW as what he was doing before was rasslin promos about next Saturday night at The Coliseum.

-WrestleMania 31: Seth Rollins cashes in during Brock/Roman Main Event as the WWE finds a creative way to get out of the Roman/Brock match. That stadium and set looked fantastic! Massive pop for Rollins as the heel leaves Mania with the WWE Title, but the crowd doesn’t care as it wasn’t Roman. Rollins calls in the best cash in of all time. Austin: “You want to have great matches but it’s moments. It’s all about the moments.” Seth says that he has seen it some many times that it is like an out of body experience. It was so surreal and happened so fast that he couldn’t soak it all in. That feeling is all you dream off and he says how it happened was his idea. Seth says someone told him that moment was to them what Hogan slamming Andre was to their dad. He says he doesn’t feel that is true, but to that person it was. He puts over Austin’s moment with Bret at Mania 13.

-Rollins’ reign ends during a live event in Dublin as Seth destroys his knee giving Kane a powerbomb through a table. They finished the match and Seth says he didn’t know what was going on because he was still able to pick up Kane and move him. He was thinking it was just a sprain and in the back it started to swell. They put him in a brace and it felt okay. “Maybe I can do a tag match tomorrow night.” The MRI comes in and it’s a tear of the ACL, MCL and his meniscus. He was told he was out 6-9 months and in a weird way he was sad, but a weight was lifted off him. He had been running hard a long time, but he also felt he was letting everyone down including the fans and Vince.

-Austin asks what Rollins was doing with the time off and Seth wanted to take a break, but he couldn’t and ended up watching the shows every week. His goal was to get back for Mania in Dallas and he realized 5 months is tough. He tried, but the injury takes 6 months and there is no real way around it. Austin asks about the return and how he felt. Rollins says he was given 2 weeks notice when he was cleared and called back. He says mentally he wasn’t ready, but he was excited. In retrospect, 6 months isn’t long, but it seemed like forever and he also questioned if he was physically ready. They wanted him to wear the brace and he wasn’t comfortable with it. He was a heel when he left and the fans cheered him like crazy when he returned.

-Extreme Rules: Roman beats AJ Styles and Seth returns to lay out Roman and the crowd goes crazy. Austin tells Seth that is back as a fully baby and Seth jokes “you would think so.” Austin asks if he thinks he should have come back as a baby face and Seth the fans hadn’t accepted Roman and weren’t ready for it. He thought he would be a face, but the company wanted him as a heel. He notes that AJ was the babyface in that match with Roman and Seth says he knew he would be cheered and pushed to return as a face, but again, it was shot down. They had an easy story to tell and they didn’t tell it.

-Seth covers the MITB show where he beat Reigns for the WWE Title, but then Ambrose cashed in on him immediately. He talks about the Network Special that made him look like the babiest baby face of all time as it detailed his return from his surgery and for whatever reason he felt he just didn’t have a place. “I don’t want to boo him, but he wants me to boo him.” He says it was depressing and he lost confidence as you are trying to figure out what the fans wants with what the people in the back want. It was a tough spot for him.

-The turn does happen and that leads to his Match with HHH at Mania 33. Rollins likes the match, but notes it didn’t sit right with him. The program started in the Fall and they had a long stretch where HHH wasn’t on TV and then they had to ramp things back up just before Mania again. He calls it a mess and then brings up tearing his MCL again when Samoa Joe debuted on RAW. He was afraid it was the ACL, but it was the MCL and they told him it would heal in 4 weeks and he would be good for Mania. He talks about the Match at Mania and says HHH and Steph were incredible, but he wasn’t comfortable in his own skin.

-Seth says his saving grace as a baby face was getting into a team with Ambrose. He mentions that getting to that point he had to apologize for that chair shot that broke up the group and the fans needed that catharsis. They show the RAW in Boston where Ambrose and Seth reunite and the crowd pops huge. He says it was a good time to put it all together.

-Next they discuss the group disbanding for the last time. Seth says it The Shield was a vehicle to create 3 stars and that’s what it did. He mentions John Moxley and says all three of them are at the top of their games no matter where they work. He doesn’t mean this as disrespect to him, but nobody in the group is Marty Jannetty and he feels they are the greatest faction of all time. He doesn’t know if any other group has every member being Hall of Fame worthy as a group and a single. He notes that may be possible with The Horsemen and really, you can’t say that as people like Roma and Mongo were added to The Horsemen in later years. “We are all Ric Flairs in this situation.”

-They discuss the IC Title and Austin calls it the worker’s title. Seth says it always had a special place in his heart and mentions Perfect, Hart and Shawn holding it. He loved holding the title and he pitched to have that run. He had a conversation with Vince during the summer after the Mania match with Hunter. Vince asked him what happened to Seth Freaking Rollins? He knew what Vince was trying to do and had all the respect for him, but they got into a heated discussion. Seth told him if he gives him to the ball, he will take it to the house. “It’s not me….trust me.” Vince respects when you stand up for yourself. That is when he started pitching the idea for the IC Title run as a face. He knew the work-rate would get him over. He puts over the Triple Threat Match with Finn and Miz at Mania as he feels it is one of the best pure wrestling matches to open Mania.

-Austin loves hearing about guy’s relationship with Vince. Austin would get heated with Vince and knew Vince respected you if you gave your opinion. They both agree you have to pick your time and place with Vince. You have to build that relationship and do what you can to earn trust. Austin: “If you have been there for 10 years and haven’t said shit, you fucked up.”

-WrestleMania 35: Seth says it took some time to get good business done with Brock. “In a shoot he can take anyone in that locker room.” Seth says it took a cold pack of Coors Light after the Mania match to earn Brock’s respect. Seth goes back to their first match at Battleground and nobody remembers it because Taker’s return overshadowed it. Brock didn’t know about Taker returning until the day before and he asked Seth why he wanted to do so much stuff because the crowd was only going to remember Taker returning. Brock just wanted to tell a simple story and get to the end. It crushed Seth and he wondered why Brock didn’t want to work with younger talent. He then realized that Brock was all about business and it took him a while to understand.

-Flash forward to Mania and they are working for the Main Event spot, but so is Rousey/Becky/Charlotte. The call is made to go with the women in the Main Event spot and Seth says it hurt him. He thought it was his year as a World Title Match with Brock at Mania is going on last 99 out of 100 times. It doesn’t happen this one year when it’s his wife who is the biggest baby face in the company. He knows it was the right call. The Main Event at Mania is still the one thing that has eluded him. He is proud of Becky and happy for her, but he was torn over the personal disappointment. The initial card had them going on before the Main Event and Brock wasn’t having it. He made the call and pitched to Vince to have them go on first and the change was okayed an hour before the show. He was happy with the match, and knew Brock loved Coors so he had a bucket to thank Brock after the match.

-WrestleMania 35: We see highlights from the match and Austin asks where “Burn it Down” came from and Seth said it was Vince. He did something with the video game and Vince saw it and wanted to work it into Seth’s entrance. Ref gets bumped to let Seth hit Brock in the balls and a bunch of curb stomps later it’s a new champion. Austin and Seth put over how great Brock is at selling and Seth laughs it’s when he wants to be. Austin agrees. Austin loves that Seth hooked the leg as it is a respect cover.

-Seth loved the run as Universal Champion and says they did a bunch of weird stuff in the middle before having the Worst Match of the Year. He loved the SummerSlam match with Brock and I agree. Match was amazing as it was the first real Seth/Brock match and Seth is proud of it as he got the crowd to stay with him when fans in Toronto usually turn on faces. They have a discussion about getting to the top and the fans turn on you. Rollins: “That’s why The Yankees are the heels.” He admits he isn’t a tough guy or a bad ass and they also didn’t have a bunch of great heels lined up for him.

-Austin asks about Becky and Seth being paired on screen and Austin says he was never comfortable with it. Seth says Becky covered from it, but he didn’t. He was proud of getting booed at the start of SummerSlam and the fans cheered him after taking a 20 minute ass kicking. Austin laughs again about bringing up the match with The Fiend at the start of the show.

-The Messiah: Seth said it came from The Fiend match and the conversation with Heyman. The character started to catch and then the pandemic hit. Rollins brings up that Steve was there for Austin 3:16 Day on that first RAW from The PC and Austin sighs as he says it sucked so bad. Rollins: “The Steve Austin character doesn’t exist without a crowd.” Austin agrees and says he is crippled without a crowd. Rollins says that at Mania with Owens he started to talk more to fill in down time and then people started talking lower in promos to make it more like a movie. They couldn’t do what they were used to doing.

-The Drip God: Austin says Seth has come into his own with this character. He feels Seth is a world class worker with a world class character/gimmick. The Messiah character he was very serious and dressed in black. He was looking at evangelists and cult leaders, but also seeing a lot of one dimensional characters on their show. He asked where was Ric Flair and the guy that can do any segment you need. He left at Survivor Series and came back at The Rumble with a different character. He gives Becky credit for the suits as she dresses like a psycho path in real life. He was looking to find what Seth Rollins would do if he lost his mind. It still has elements of The Messiah, but the door is wide open. Austin can see that Seth is just having fun now. Rollins jokes when he wears 8 million shirts a night he can be on Austin’s level. Austin loves that Seth can go anywhere with this character because he is so out there and it will make sense.

-They talk about Rollins’ Black and Brave wrestling school. They name comes from Tyler Black and his tag partner in the early days, Merrick Brave. We see a photo of them in those younger days. He ended up with a bad neck injury and thus was left to being a trainer. Rollins called him up to start a school and they just decided to name it after their tag team name. He puts over Merrick Brave as the guy that runs the ship and Seth says he tries to get there as much as he can.

-More small talk to close as they discuss Seth’s coffee shops. Starbucks brought a rise to people popping up with small coffee shops and Davenport didn’t have one, so Seth opened one next to the school.

-Austin mentions Seth is only 35 and then brings up he had to retire at 38. I always forget Austin was that young. Rollins still wants that Mania Main Event and he won’t be satisfied until he gets that done. His priorities are changing now that he is a dad and he has a few years left on is deal and he wants to see that through. If it all ended tomorrow he would be pretty satisfied and all he wanted was to leave the business better than when he started.

-Austin congratulates him on everything again and thanks him for coming out to the middle of nowhere. One more toast and Austin wants to see him in the Mania Main Event and we are out.

-As always this are a lot of fun to watch. Austin is a fan and you can tell he enjoys shooting the breeze with his guests. You do have to be ready to roll with him though to make things enjoyable and Rollins was more than happy to play ball. Some good insight from Seth and they covered all the high points of his career. Thanks for reading!