Seth Rollins Recalls Nearly Signing with TNA Before WWE

Posted By James Walsh on 02/09/19


Seth Rollins discussed his pre-WWE days and a memorable incident with Vince McMahon during his appearance on E&Cís Pod Of Awesomeness. Highlights are below per Wrestling Inc:

On joining Ring of Honor in 2007: ďI donít know if WWE ever was interested in me. Yeah, I never heard anything. I contacted them, I reached out to them so when I first signed with Ring of Honor, I signed a three-year contract. I signed with them and I was really excited to work there. That was a place that was, at the time, very renown for some of the best workers in the world and guys that I had been watching tape of now for 5 Ė 6 years. Youíre looking at Daniel Bryan, youíre looking at Nigel McGuinness, Austin Aries, Claudio was there, Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno was there and they were just the top indie at the time. So I was pretty stoked to be in there and try to learn from these guys.Ē

On getting contacted by Impact just before WWE: ďWhile this is going on, I also get a call from, I wanna say it was D-Lo [Brown] was the first guy from TNA, he was producing TNA at the time and he knew my [ROH] contract was coming up. I think he was the first one to reach out to me and ask me if Iíd be interested in going to TNA. And I was like, ĎWell yeah, Iím interested in making more money and moving up, so, absolutely.í Heís like, ĎAlright, well if you donít mind, Iíll put you in touch with Terry Taylor, who was doing all the hiring and the firing in TNA at the time. And so Terry calls me, and basically tells me he wants to offer me a three year deal to come to TNA for substantially more money, and far less dates than what I was having to do in Ring of Honor, and a much easier style. And so I was like, ĎOh, this sounds fantastic. This is great.í Mind you, I hadnít heard back from Johnny Ace yet. He hadnít called me, I couldnít get a hold of him, nothing. I get this contract from TNA and I basically agree to it verbally with Terry Taylor on the phone. I say, ĎOh yeah, it all looks great.í They fax over the contract. Before I sign the contract, I call Ring of Honor and let them know what Iím interested in doing with TNA. At the time, ROH is being booked by Jim Cornette. I donít know if you guys have any experience with Ďol Jimmy Cornette, but heís quite the trip and he lost his mind when I told him I was going to sign with TNA! There are so many expletives in the conversation that followed that I canít even repeat half of it. He was so irateÖ[Cornette] says, ĎYou know what? Just let me make sure theyíre doing you right. Send that contract over to me, send it to me before you sign it and send it back. Iím like, ĎShĖ Jim, alright, Iím just trying to make a buck, dawg. Sorry,í ya know?Ē

On getting his deal with WWE: ďSo I send him my contract, meanwhile, heís looking it over, and Iím like, you know what? Iím gonna call Johnny Ace one last time just to let him know donít worry about it. So I call him up, doesnít answer. I leave him one more voice mail and I tell him, ĎLook, I got this contract with TNA and if I donít hear from ya, Iím probably gonna sign it and end up going thereí. No joke, ten minutes later he calls me back. First time he calls me back in months. And he goes, ĎHi kid, uh, I just got your messages, sorry Iíve been so busy.í And he makes up all these excuses and stuff like that. Then heís like, ĎAh, you know what, I gotta talk to some people tomorrow but Iíll give you a call. If you donít mind, Iíll give you a call probably around lunch time tomorrow if thatís okay.í And Iím like, ĎAh crap.í So I hang up with him, Cornette gives the contract back to me, he changed a couple little things in it. So then in the morning, Iím trying to get the new contract back to Terry Taylor so they can re-write it and send it back to me, so they do all of that. And now Iím waiting on this call from John Laurinaitis at lunch, and Laurinaitis finally calls me back. Meanwhile, Terryís trying to force me to sign this contract and Iím no-selling him on the back end of this, like, not trying to answer his calls. Finally, Laurinaitis calls me back and he gives me the old, ĎAh, kid, you know we donít give out jobs, we give out opportunities. So we got an opportunity for you down in Florida, if youíre interested, itís just a developmental deal. Thereís no guarantees. Weíll talk about pay and stuff like that.í And Iím like, immediately, I mean, itís where I always wanted to be. I didnít give a damn Ė I didnít if it was a job opportunity, I didnít care what it was, I just did not care. Iím in! Iím done.Ē

On getting yelled at by Vince McMahon: ďOne time on SmackDown, I had this match with Kofi. It was when they were still taping SmackDown, I had this match with Kofi. And it was meant to be a get over match for me. Now, Kofiís someone that I have a lot of respect for and someone I would never Ė even in a match that is meant for me to look good in Ė I would not want to just squash Kofi. I just wouldnít want to do it. I would want to give him something and thatís just my nature. So we went out and had this Ė it was literally three minutes long probably, start to finish, bell to bell Ė three minutes long and I give Kofi a little bit, and made him look good, and then beat him. And I remember coming to the back thinking, oh, okay, that was alright. And Vince was furious about it! Like, furious! Just, ĎGet over here!í And heís yelling at me, and heís just like, ĎIf youíre gonna be my guy, youíre gonna be my guy, thatís not what I want!í And he shooed me out of the gorilla. I didnít understand, I didnít get it and Michael was trying to explain to me what Vince wanted out of the situation, and they ended up making me and Kofi have to go out and redo the match. And I remember the feeling when they told me that. I was so angry and embarrassed, and just ready to just walk out and not do it, cause I was like, never in my life! Never should this happen to me! But it was such a learning experience in retrospect that itís okay to screw up sometimes. That itís okay to try things and fail and learn from your mistakes, and as long as you improve your second time around, and donít make the same mistake twice, youíre gonna be alright.Ē