Roman Reigns is the star attraction of WWE right now, but his road to becoming the company’s top man has never been easier. Back in 2015, the former Shield member’s meteoric rise to the main-event scene began when he won the Royal Rumble. Fans initially refused to accept Reigns as babyface, which gave Seth Rollins the career-defining idea for WrestleMania 31.
The night after the Royal Rumble, Rollins spoke to WWE executive Triple H about his plans to headline WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar. The architect at the time had a money in the bank contract, which meant he could face WWE World Heavyweight Champion Lesnar whenever he wanted.
In 2019, Rollins revealed on Edge & Christian’s Pod of Awareness that he suggested Triple H an interesting idea for a WrestleMania match. Instead of Roman Reigns ousting Lesnar from power, he wanted to cash in on his Money in the Bank contract to end the show as world champion:
“I just wanted to remind him that I have this idea on the table,” Rollins said. “I think it’s great and if it’s not the idea, it could easily be a contingency plan if the main event at WrestleMania doesn’t come together the way you see it. Simply, keep it in your mind.” Keep it.” Keep it.” Stay behind, you know? Yeah, I kept the idea and I firmly thought it was a good one. I felt like I was a boy. Then, I turned to him and said, ‘I want the ball.’ “[h/t Wrestling Inc. to transcription]
Triple H pitched then-WWE President Vince McMahon, who liked the idea and booked WrestleMania exactly as Seth Rollins wanted.
The show ended with a former member of The Authority spinning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship around the stage area after pinning Roman Reigns to win the title. The finish is widely seen as one of the most dramatic in the history of WrestleMania.
Why did Seth Rollins want Roman Reigns to win?
After The Shield split in June 2014, it quickly became clear that WWE officials wanted Roman Reigns to be a top babyface. While The Big Dog had major issues winning over fans, Seth Rollins put on some of his best performances during that time as a cocky villain.
With Reigns struggling, Rollins thought it prudent to project himself as the next world champion, rather than his former Shield mate:
Rollins continued, “I had a little bit of foresight in the sense that I saw how the momentum was building with Roman going to that WrestleMania.” “It was four years ago, but I remember going to the Royal Rumble, the fans were starting – it was the beginning of ‘Ah, we hate the Romans,'”
Reigns eventually won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship later that year when he defeated Dean Ambrose at Survivor Series 2015. His first stint as World Champion lasted only five minutes, however, as Sheamus redeemed his Money in the Bank contract to capture the title.