Seth Rollins on His Deep-Rooted Animosity and Past Issues with CM Punk & Being Open to Mending Fences

As noted before, CM Punk made his official return to WWE at this past November’s Survivor Series WarGames 2023 event. Besides Punk’s return, this event was notable for an off-camera ringside incident involving Rollins reacting very angrily and vulgar towards Punk and needing to be held back by several people. This was later discovered to have been just a work and not a legitimate incident caused by Rollins.

A recent episode of the SI Media podcast featured Rollins as the guest. One of the topics discussed included Rollins thoughts on when he first found out about Punk’s return to WWE.

“When I heard his music at Survivor Series. When I heard his music.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about if he felt annoyed that he was not told beforehand of the plans for Punk’s return.

“Yes. Upon reflection, it’s easy to understand why something like that would be kept as close to the vest as possible. I understand why very few people knew what was going on that day, but in the moment I was extremely emotional. In the moment, after everything we had been through, and everything the company had been through with that particular person as well, and then the night itself, Randy’s return, all of it, it was a very emotional moment for me. Obviously, if you have any amount of social media, you saw how I reacted in the moment. It was a very raw, real, emotional response for me. Did I go too far? Maybe. It was what it was. I can’t take it back.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about if his reaction over Punk’s return was a “work” or “shoot.”

“Like I said, it was an extremely emotional moment for me. Everyone knows how I feel about CM Punk. I’ve not made it any more transparent over the past few years. Nothing has changed in that regard. In that moment, I was extremely emotional and you got a lot of real and raw emotion from me. I don’t usually get that worked up about much, but you caught me off guard and there was a lot of real emotion there. That’s probably as much as I can say on that without going too far.”

Rollins also stated that he regrets cursing a lot during his reaction moment.

“I regret that part of it because I do take my responsibility for our younger audience seriously. That part of it, to go too far, I wish I would have handled myself with a little more composure. I can’t take it back. I can apologize to our younger audience and their families if I offended anybody. It was what it was, a moment in time.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about the reaction by others when he got backstage after his outburst.

“My wife was there and I had a few people kind of corral me, I suppose. My wife is pretty good at understanding my temperament and making sure I’m level when I need to be. Kudos to her, she made sure I didn’t get into any more trouble. There were enough people there who knew that I would be upset in the moment and to take care of me and it didn’t get too chaotic.”

Rollins also stated that he did not see Punk when he went backstage.

“No. No, I lost him. I waited for a while, I’m sure he was somewhere doing interviews or whatever, but I didn’t see him.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about his comments this past January calling Punk a “cancer” and wanting him to stay away from WWE and his past issues with Punk.

“A lot of it is personal. A lot of it is stuff I don’t really want to get into. For the most part, I just think he’s been really selfish when it comes to his perspective on the industry. I think he’s been extremely self-serving, has played the martyr role to a tee and has, for someone who, when I met the guy, and look, I have a lot of good things to say about parts of my relationship with him. He helped me in places when he didn’t have to, whether that was for his own good or not, I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, it helped me get where I needed to go and do the things I needed to do. For a guy who, when I met him, made it seem like he was all about giving back to the business, he really turned into a pretty selfish guy and wanting to take more from the industry. Look, he said some really bad things about me. Talked down about me for years, and the company, for years. I’m talking some really bad stuff. Called me a bootlicker and crap like that. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I stand for. I’m a loyal person, and I felt pretty insulted by a lot of the ways he treated me, treated the place I work for, treated friends that I worked with. I don’t need to get into any of the stuff with Colt Cabana if you want to look at that kind of stuff, that’s out there. Just the way he treated people. The way I felt like he’s only looking out for himself, and then the way he talked about me and my friends and the people who are here putting the hard work in at WWE, trying to make this thing as good as we possibly can because we love the industry, truly love it, not just what it can do for us, we actually love it and want to give back to it and make it the best it could possibly be. I also felt like he’s a fraud in that sense, or at least turned into one at some point in the last decade. That’s the long of it. It’s a deep-rooted, I wouldn’t call it hatred, but there’s animosity there.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about the potential of there being days in WWE where he might feel that he does not want to work with Punk.

“Of course, and if you’re working with him on essentially intimate levels, the two of you trying to put a story and match together or whatever it may be, it’s not like you can just go out there and wing it. You could, but it’s not going to go too well, most likely, but you have to work with somebody. You figure it out. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, luckily we haven’t had to do that yet. I assume it’s only a matter of time, whatever venue it’s at, I don’t know, that’s not my decision to make, I just show up and do the work. It is what it is. You don’t like everybody you work with, I certainly haven’t liked everybody I’ve been in the ring with over the years, but I’ve always found a way to make magic out of it. If it is Seth Rollins vs. CM Punk, somewhere down the road, one way or another, it’s going to be magic.”

Rollins also gave his thoughts about if he is in any position in WWE to be able to turn down working with Punk in the company.

“It’s a negotiation. It’s a conversation. No one is forcing something on you, but I’m a businessman, for sure, I’m hoping to do business, if it’s there to be done. I’m open to mending fences, if that’s even possible. I know that might sound crazy, but I’m open to it. I’m almost 38, and I ain’t got time to hold all these grudges. I think it’s a lot of energy to hold that negativity in, and I’d like to put that energy somewhere else and make it positive. I’m open to all different facets of what this could be. There are certain conversations that go on, it’s not a cut and dry, ‘you have to do this.’ Sometimes, it is. I’ve been in positions where it’s like, ‘this is your job, I pay you the check. This is what I want you to do,’ and that’s just how it is. That’s okay too. If you don’t like it, you can skip it and we don’t have to do business. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to stuff like that. I think there will be a way to make it work for everybody. He says he’s the Best in the World, that ain’t the case, I’m the Best in the World. I’ll make anything work, no matter who it is.”

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