WWE RAW Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins just spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated to promote Monday's RAW episode from the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California. As noted, WWE is billing two "epic main events" for the show - RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch defending her title against WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Asuka, and eight-man action with The Authors of Pain and RAW Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Murphy vs. Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and The Viking Raiders.
Rollins was asked about how much of a role he had in choosing to work with Murphy, Akam and Rezar, and what made them the right partners for Rollins. Rollins talked about the potential with AOP, and how Murphy had been flying under the radar. Rollins had major praise for all three partners.
"The opportunity was presented to me to go in this direction, and the AOP are guys who I've watched from afar for a while down in NXT," Rollins revealed. "I was really impressed by some of the tag title matches they had down there, but they came up to Raw and were vastly underutilized right out of the gate and an injury to Rezar that took them out for a period of time. It just seemed like the right fit at the right time. Obviously there is a ton of potential there. Potential is great, but if you don't take an opportunity to allow it to shine, then it's just going to sit there wasted. In our business, sometimes politics can get in the way of talent and potential. It was time to help some of the younger guys move up and get opportunities they deserve.
"Buddy is really self-explanatory. He called himself 'The Best Kept Secret in WWE' for a long time, and that's fairly accurate. He's a guy who was flying under the radar having really great matches on 205 and then on SmackDown, and he's someone I always thought was very close to being one of the most well-rounded guys we have. He's in great shape, takes great care of himself and he wants to perfect his craft. He's a student of the game, and in our era, there aren't a whole lot of guys like that anymore.
"In this new generation, this new crop of guys, a lot of people are entitled and think they've kind of got it all together and don't need help. Buddy is not that guy. He's always asking for help, he's always watching the show trying to figure things out, watching the matches, and trying to make himself better every day. You put guys like that with myself, with all the experience in the world, then hopefully we've got a recipe for success. I would say it's gone very well so far."
Rollins was also asked about Monday's opponents for the eight-man match, and what excite him the most about being in the match with them. Rollins also praised Joe, Erik, Ivar, and Owens.
"I can't say enough about my opponents for the match this upcoming Monday," Rollins said. "You just spelled it out right there, but these are guys who are well accomplished, well-traveled, extremely talented, and they're all hosses. They're all big boys. I'm looking at this as a coming-out party for our group. Those guys are established and everyone knows what they've done and what they're capable of. For us, the writing is on the wall. This is our first time together, so we need to look at it like this—if we don't come through in the clutch, then people could lose faith in us."
Barrasso asked Rollins why wrestling fans should go out of their way to watch Monday's eight-man match when there is already an abundance of wrestling-related content available at fan's fingertips. Rollins said the wrestling world is always clamoring for something new, and they will get that with this match.
"They're always clamoring for something new, right? The wrestling world, they want new, new, new, fresh, fresh, fresh. You're getting it right here with AOP and Buddy Murphy in a major spotlighted role," Rollins said. "You're getting them in primetime Monday night in a huge main-event match. This is the future of the business right in front of your very eyes, and you should tune in Monday night to get a glimpse of that future.
"These guys are hungry. There are a lot of hosses here, and it's going to be all-out. We've been building this up since November. If you love professional wrestling, you're going to get a hell of an eight-man tag team match."
Barrasso also brought up how Rollins is the face of WWE, and when you look around the pro wrestling business as a whole, you see all kinds of creativity, including Jon Moxley, the former Dean Ambrose, putting on his cutting-edge performances in AEW, which was as close as we may ever see to a Deathmatch from a major promotion. With Rollins constantly challenging himself, he was asked if he'd like to explore and take different chances as a performer, and see that happen throughout WWE in 2020. Rollins said he's already started by taking a chance with his "Monday Night Messiah" character.
"I'm always interested in trying new things," Rollins said. "To me, the matches are the matches. It's not really what you do, it's how you do it. I preach that when it comes to my wrestling school and when it comes to the guys I'm trying to help out on our roster. I think when the opportunities come along, you obviously want to try to capitalize on them.
"Look, we're doing this so often. There is so much content that WWE churns out from a pay per view perspective, from a live television perspective. There is so much we do, so everyone is always trying to come up with the next big thing or the next new idea to change the industry. That doesn't happen overnight. My model has always been consistency. When you go out there and you're passionate about what you do, that shines through and people will eventually appreciate that.
"As for taking chances in 2020, we already started by taking a chance in 2019 with the 'Monday Night Messiah' character. You look at someone like Drew McIntyre winning the Royal Rumble, you look at how things are setting up on SmackDown with The Fiend, you look at where the women are at, taking a chance with Rhea Ripley and Charlotte and weaving in NXT, so I think the company is taking more chances in different ways. I'm looking forward to seeing what these people who were given new opportunities can do to step up and take the business into the next decade. I'm always down for more chances and more character turns, but if you've got passion and you go out there and execute, that's what it's all about for me."