It was five years ago next month when Seth Rollins tore his right ACL, MCL and medial meniscus during a live WWE Live Event in Dublin, Ireland. Rollins, who was the WWE Champion at the time, had to relinquish his championship and found himself at home nursing his injury for half a year. If there's one thing this injury taught Rollins, it's that it only takes a second before things can change drastically in your career, as well as in your life.
Looking back on his journey since his comeback, Rollins mentioned that at first, it was hard to process that the once-powerful singles competitor was now at home recuperating. But now, he feels having that time off gave him some clarity to rethink what his priorities were and what goals he'd set his mind towards once he returned to the company.
"You know, it was a rough road; the comeback, the rehab, it was [hard] finding my place in WWE after that because you didn't know how you were going to fit it, or how you were going to perform," Rollins admits when looking back on his knee injury. "Once I got the wheels rolling, I felt like I was starting to make significant strides.
"The last few years have been good for me, both from a performance perspective and from a mental perspective. It was good to step away for a little bit. But, you don't want to do that when you're at the top - I was the World Champion at the time. It's a scary proposition, but in the long run, it made me appreciate things a little bit more, and it also gave me a different perspective on how I approach with WWE and as a WWE Superstar."
It's no secret that The Shield played a pivotal role for Rollins, Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) and Roman Reigns' careers not only as a collective unit but also as singles competitors. Each member cemented their legacies as Grand Slam Champions. But for a while, Reigns was the odd man out because of one thing: a proper heel turn. Well, that changed just two months ago at SummerSlam, when he came in and speared the Universal Champion at the time, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, and his opponent, Braun Strowman. From there, his distinctive gimmick took off with him forming an alliance with Paul Heyman - something Rollins knows a lot about - as well as reclaiming his former Universal Championship. It seems that Reigns' "Tribal Chief" persona has come full circle, and Rollins couldn't be happier for him.
"For anyone who knows Roman Reigns for as long as I have, you're going to know this isn't new," he noted. "Roman had to struggle for a long time to kind of closet this side of him. He is an alpha and he sees himself in this light and in this way. He's kind of just got a different lease on the situation, You're seeing the true Roman Reigns right now. Obviously, physically, he took his time off seriously, he's in the best shape that he's ever been in. His in-ring performances have followed suit. I say kudos to Roman Reigns for finally taking the bull by the horns, instead of riding the bull."
You can watch Seth Rollins' full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.