He played it cool for a while after fan backlash led to a heel turn (and while his fiancee announced her pregnancy). Recently however, Seth Rollins has returned to being a vocal advocate for WWE - and the modern wrestling scene.
In a new interview with talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy, Rollins talked about his Eye For An Eye match with Rey Mysterio at the July 19 Extreme Rules PPV. He admits to being skeptical about the concept when it was first pitched to him, “when the idea was presented to me, I was aghast.” But Seth says he studied up on things like First Blood matches, embraced the chance to work a long match with a legend like Rey, and is really proud of the final product. That includes the final scenes of Mysterio’s “eye” popped out of its socket, and his “vomiting” as a result.
He seems to imply that some of the criticism of the match comes from “haters,” biased fans of another wrestling company:
“At the end of the day, was it ideal? No. Did it catch people’s attention? Sure. It ended up on TMZ. I think we sort of accomplished what wrestling wants to accomplish and that is we told a very interesting story and there was some outside interest in the finish even though it was very weird – and that’s OK.
“I think pro wrestling can just be one-on-one, hold-for-hold wrestling or it can be storytelling like any other form of television and I think that when you start to look at it too critically, especially stuff like that… I dunno, to me it reeks of 2020 trying to pick everything apart.
“If you like the Lake of Reincarnation in AEW but you hate the eye-for-an-eye match… you know what I mean? Then where are we really at here?”
Personally, I enjoyed the match more than I expected to and though I made more than my fair share of jokes about the ending, it was the kind of dumb fun I love wrestling for.
But I also think you can take a critical look at the match, the finish, or any aspect of the story WWE told for reasons other than Rollins implies. Being defensive about these things isn’t unique to Seth though, or even to wrestlers. It would be great if everyone could take a “we tried, hopefully more people liked it than hated it, and we’ll keep trying” view of the response to their work, but it’s hard - especially in the modern world where every artist can read what any audience member who cares to share their opinion thinks.
Anyway, check out McCarthy’s entire chat with the Monday Night Messiah here. He also talks about who put the match together, and refutes the rumors that Vince McMahon was heavily involved (it seems he only helped decide on which ending to go with).