WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins delivered an emotional message to the crowd during the June 20 episode of WWE NXT.
Rollins defeated Bron Breakker to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Tuesday night. Rollins’ return to NXT was a special event because he was the original NXT Champion.
Rollins issued a statement to the crowd in an NXT Digital Exclusive, explaining that he returned to NXT because the championship deserved respect. He mentioned other world champions and emphasized that he wished to be a part of their legacy. (With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.)
“I’ll tell you what, the reason I come down here to NXT and defend the World Heavyweight Championship is because I love it, and this title deserves that respect because champions like Harley Race, Ric Flair, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, and Mr. Five-Time Booker T took pride in taking the heavyweight title to every city and town in every single country that they could, and putting on a fight to raise the prestige of a world heavyweight champion.”
“If I can even lace those boots for two seconds, if I can be a part of that lineage, then I’m doing something right, so thank you guys for giving me the opportunity,” Rollins remarked. “Thank you to Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and everyone else who has held a title like this before me for giving me the opportunity to fill your shoes.”
Rollins went on to say that performing in front of the NXT audience for the first time in years made him emotional. He emphasized the importance of fans in his career and referred to them as the “proving ground” for everyone in NXT.
“Now I want to tell you guys just a little story. So when I was asked by Bron Breakker to come down here and defend my title on NXT and I accepted, I had a lot of people asking me, ‘Seth, does it feel nostalgic? Are you getting emotional?’ To be honest with you, it had been so long since I’d stepped foot in an NXT ring, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do so much all across the world that my honest answer was no, it wasn’t hitting me like I thought it would. Until I got out here. [Fans chant ‘Welcome back] That right there, all of you, you guys embody the same energy that I left NXT with a decade ago. You guys are still the proving ground for every single person back there in the back, you guys and your vitality, your love, your energy is what has made me a visionary, it is what has made me a revolutionary, it is what has made me [fans chant his name],” Rollins said.
The video is available here: