When Seth Rollins calls himself WWE's Workhorse Champion, he isn't kidding.
Since winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in May of 2023, the “Visionary” has wrestled 25 matches, nine of which were broadcast on television or on a Premium Live Event, and kept his title reign alive despite drawing the eye of all four members of The Judgment Day, even Rhea Ripley, who likely wouldn't mind joining Chyna as one of the few female performers to hold a male title in the WWE Universe.
And yet, back in 2019, Eric Bischoff didn't believe that Rollins could be a “big-time player,” an opinion he recently admitted was thoroughly proven wrong on his 83 Weeks podcast.
“Let’s say this, in 2019 when I spent a moment in WWE heard a lot of conversation about Seth Rollins. You know, even before I got there, Seth Rollins was on, you know, the fan’s radar, the internet wrestling universe’s radar, and heard a lot about him. Eh, I didn’t see it, you know, and when I say that, I mean just in very little interaction professionally. I didn’t produce anything that he was involved in or anything like that. So I didn’t really work with him one-on-one to get to know him,” Eric Bischoff said via Ringside News.
“But just being around him and getting the vibe and seeing him backstage, I just never saw him as a big-time player. Clearly, I was wrong. He is a big-time player, and he is amazingly talented. He’s got a lot of depth. He’s got that willingness as a performer to let go of his own ego and, and to experiment, to work outside his comfort zone. That’s what makes good actors and actresses and wrestlers and any kind of performer is letting go of who you really are and becoming something else and doing it in a believable way. And I don’t think anybody does it as well as Seth Rollins.
“He’s so good at what he does and in a way, more diverse as a character than just about anybody that I can think of in the last 20 or 30 years. In some respects, you, you know, you see a little bit of Shawn Michaels or a lot of Shawn Michaels and Seth Rollins because physically he’s very gifted. He’s very talented, but he’s confident enough in himself to go so far outside of his, real self to be a character that I think that just, he’s got a bright future. I can’t say enough of it as far as the match goes. I guess I just, maybe, because I don’t know the backstory.”
Now granted, while Rollins was nearly as over as he is now in 2023, he was hardly a slouch in 2019, as in that calendar year alone, he won the WWE Universal Championship for the first time, the RAW Tag Team Championship for a fifth time in a tag team with Braun Strowman – fans recall how that turned out – and turned around and won the Universal Title again for a second time after losing it to Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules. Still, after watching Rollins cycle through a series of different identities between his current babyface one and the one before it, it's nice to see that even Bischoff realizes just how valuable the “Visionary” has become to WWE both on screen and in the locker rooms.
Kofi Kingston appreciates Seth Rollins but still wants his strap.
In WWE, Seth Rollins has a lot of names, the “Visionary,” the “Revolutionary,” the “Monday Night Messiah,” and even the “Architect,” but do you know what his fellow wrestlers call him in the back? Well, according to Kofi Kingston on The Bump, his fellow boys in the back simply call him “Captain.”
“I think the ‘Captain' is doing a fantastic job, number one as a leader, as a locker room leader over the years,” Kofi Kingston said via Fightful. “He’s somebody that has always had amazing matches, but has always been kind of like a pioneer in this industry. He’s kind of risen up through the ranks against a lot of odds. Now he’s at the top, so a lot of respect for him in that sense. We call him the ‘Captain' for a reason. He’s always willing to put the company on his back and put the industry on his back and represent to the highest capacity.”
While Rollins' WWE World Heavyweight Championship run has earned near-universal acclamation from fans of WWE interested in seeing the promotion's champions defend their titles more than once every few months, that doesn't mean everyone wants to see the “Visionary” hold onto his strap forever, as there's an entire locker room looking to take his title, including Kingston, who hasn't held a singles strap since 2019.
“So always a lot of respect there. But having said that, everybody wants a taste of that gold,” Kingston added. “I think he understands that. Being at the top, you always have a target on your back. So I don’t think he would be mad or anything if myself or Woods decided to pursue that gold. Becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, we’re real greedy. When it comes to gold, we want to hold all the titles. I’m talking about WWE Title, World Heavyweight Title, the Women’s Title, the Women’s Tag Titles. We want all the titles. 24/7 title. We want them all. We’re really greedy when it comes to accolades and gold and things of that nature. So yeah, I think Seth knows he’s got the big target on his back.”
Would it be cool to see Kingston unseat Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and unleash a second “KofiMania” on the professional wrestling world? Most definitely, but hey, Paul “Triple H” Levesque is the one making that call, not even his “Captain.”