Seth Rollins recently credited a WWE Hall of Famer for being the reason he stepped foot inside a wrestling ring.
Shawn Michaels is widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers ever. He was known to delight fans as soon as he entered the arena. Michaels is also a pioneer, becoming one of the first “small” wrestlers to make it to the top of the mountain in WWE.
He was able to reach the pinnacle of the company at a time when the industry was dominated by 6-foot-7 monsters. Therefore, Michaels helped inspire the next generation of wrestlers, including current World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.
Rollins recently defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Bron Breakker at NXT Gold Rush. After his victory, Rollins embraced Shawn Michaels, and the moment was captured on camera.
Speaking on the Out of Character podcast, Rollins described what that moment meant for him and how Michaels inspired him to become a wrestler.
“He’s really the reason I felt I could do what I’m doing,” Rollins began. “I was never going to be Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, or André the Giant, the people I grew up watching were all giants. Shawn and Bret were the first two people that I was like, ‘Oh, I think I can do that. Maybe if I’m lucky enough to get to 6 feet tall, I might be able to do that.'”
“I don’t have to be a 300-pound, 6 feet 7 giant or whatever. To be able to share that experience with Shawn, and to be able to get any amount of respect out of him — for what I’m able to do, as a character and a performer — means the world to me. I am really at a loss of words to describe what that [embrace with Shawn] meant to me. It was very special, I was extremely humbled that I had any amount of respect from The Heartbreak Kid.” [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Seth Rollins on how Shawn Michaels has impacted the current generation of WWE Superstars
During the same interview, Seth Rollins spoke about the conversations he’s had with Shawn Michaels. The Visionary shared his belief that HBK doesn’t realize the level of impact he has had on the current generation of superstars.
“I don’t think Shawn realizes the impact he’s had on everybody,” Rollins stressed. “There are a whole generation of people, of my age, who aren’t doing this if not for him. All [of] us pattern our style on Shawn, Bret [Hart], and Eddie [Guerrero]. I don’t really think he fully grasps that, either, and how influential he was on this generation.” [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Shawn Michaels has clearly been a massive influence on today’s superstars, and it’s only fitting that someone like Seth Rollins paves the way for the next generation.
What do you make of Seth Rollins’ comments about Shawn Michaels? Sound off in the comments section.