Seth Rollins: WWE's Universal champion on beating Brock Lesnar, facing AJ Styles, and taking on Johnny Gargano
The 33 year old talks about his delight at finally getting a showdown with Styles in a WWE ring
It has been quite the 2019 so far for Seth Rollins.
The WWE superstar has since the beginning of the year won the Royal Rumble, won the WWE Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35, and has since successfully defended his title against AJ Styles and Baron Corbin.
While the 33 year old was in Saudi Arabia earlier in June as part of the WWE Super ShowDown event in Jeddah he spoke to The National to discuss finally facing Styles, Lesnar, and who he hopes to face from the NXT brand in the future.
• WWE Super ShowDown as it happened: The Undertaker beats Goldberg as Saudi Arabia's Mansoor wins 50-man Battle Royal
On finally facing AJ Styles at Money in the Bank
Despite Styles having been on the WWE roster since January 2016 he and Rollins had never had a singles match in the company.
The pair had crossed paths on the independent scene previously and Rollins had previously admitted he had wanted a showdown with his old rival in a WWE ring.
That changed in May at Money in the Bank when Styles was the first man to challenge Rollins for his Universal title, with the champion retaining.
"It was one of those that was a double-edged sword in a sense there is so much talent in the ring and the expectations are so high that the bar is set so high," said Rollins.
"You put extra pressure on yourself to deliver and you wonder if you will able to exceed or meet those expectations.
"But the fact AJ Styles and I had not had a singles match in 13 years and to go out there and to be able to have a match like that with one of the best in the entire world is really special.
"It was a great way to kick off my Universal Championship reign, which I hope will be filled with many successful title defences.
"AJ is a person I have looked up to for a long, long time so to be able to go out there, beat him, and get a handshake afterwards was a really special thing."
On the Curb Stomp counter into a Styles Clash
One of the highlights of the match came when Rollins went for his Curb Stomp finisher only for Styles to counter it into the Styles Clash for a near fall.
It was reminiscent of when a Rollins Curb Stomp at WrestleMania 31 in 2015 was reversed into a RKO by opponent Randy Orton, with the move giving Orton the win.
Orton famously was so pleased with how the sequence worked out that it took him a few seconds to regain focus to pin Rollins.
There was no repeat with Styles and Rollins laughed as he said: "AJ was a little more in the moment then Randy was, I think.
"Maybe I got to think it out (the Curb Stomp) a little bit as people are starting to counter more and more.
"It was a pretty cool moment. They nearly always come out of nowhere. When you counter it like that it is a really special feeling. You feel the energy come up from the crowd. It is a strange feeling but it almost gives you the oomph to kick out after whatever happened.
"That was a big one and kudos to AJ for being able to pull it off.
"He is still a strong dude and forty-something years old and I was happy I was able to withstand that Styles Clash and come away victorious after that."
On getting the better of Brock Lesnar
"It was really cool." he said of his victory at WrestleMania 35. "Not many guys in WWE history have been able to put Brock Lesnar’s shoulders to the mat and pin him in the middle of the ring.
"So, to be in that elite group and to have done that at WrestleMania is pretty special.
"Obviously he is still hanging around and is part of the WWE roster in some capacity and he has that Money in the Bank contract so I am going to have to go against him at least one more time before we kick him in the curb.
"He seems extra motivated when he is not the champion so maybe that is a good thing."
On match-ups in the future with Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream
"Adam Cole is someone I have never been in the ring," he said. "Gargano would almost be an AJ Styles situation again. We wrestled a decade ago and haven’t touched each other since.
"You have got Velveteen Dream who is always intriguing and Matt Riddle would also be an intriguing match-up. Or an old foe like a Roderick Strong or a Kassius Ono.
"There is a ton of talent down in NXT just waiting to strike so there are tons of match-ups that I would be looking forward to if the opportunity came about."
Updated: June 13, 2019 05:28 PM