Seth Rollins has discussed clashing with NXT trainer Terry Taylor during his early days in WWE and how this almost cost him his job.
Rollins discussed his time in NXT with Stone Cold Steve Austin on his Broken Skull Sessions. The former WWE Universal Champion discussed the advice he got from Dusty Rhodes to have the confidence to be himself and how this rubbed some people in the company the wrong way:
“One person who it rubbed the wrong way, and maybe this is some leftover heat from me shunning him during contract talks, is Terry Taylor. He ended up coming over from IMPACT to work with developmental and he and Hunter go back a long way. He was a mentor to Hunter. Hunter brought him in and he was meant to coach the elite class at FCW/NXT and Terry and I just butted heads. A lot of that had to do with, Terry is a lot like me in that way where he has the confidence in what he did to get to where he was and he was going to instill that in us. His approach was a little hard-nosed at first.”
“When you come into a new job, I understand that now obviously, you need to do that and put your foot down and understand that people need to respect you, otherwise they’re going to walk over you. I understand now where he was coming from. At the time, I was just like, ‘Yo bro, don’t get in my face, don’t try to tell me what I’m doing isn’t right.’ This was before the NXT Championship. ‘I’m going to get to where I want to go, you just let me do me and stay out of my way. Don’t try to change everything that I’m doing.’ I would challenge Terry Taylor in front of the class and he didn’t like that.”
Seth Rollins continued and mentioned how chipping away at Terry Taylor led to a confrontation with Triple H, with Rollins offered the chance to go back to his former company and do things his way there:
“I’m of the opinion that wrestling is an art form and is lots of great things. Terry is very old school in the sense that, he thinks a certain way works. Part of that ideology is shunning what is up and coming instead of embracing it. I was always like, ‘You have to understand, the business is changing. You have to go with it. If you go against it, it’s not going to help.’ I would challenge him in little ways every day to the point where I was insubordinate. Hunter took me aside and was like, ‘Look, I don’t see anything special in you.’ If you don’t want to play ball and don’t want to work with us, you can go back to Ring of Honor and do things your way, but you need to start doing things our way.'”
“I was like, ‘Oh man, my dream is about to go up in smoke here.’ I go back to Joey Mercury and sat down with him and he’s like, ‘You need to understand how to play the game. It doesn’t mean you have to change who you are, but you have to play a role all the time. You’re not just on when you want to be on, you have to be on all the time. You have to find a way to give them what they want while teaching them how you do things. There is a compromise and you have to figure out how you do that.’ He sat me down and talked me through that whole process.”
Seth Rollins managed to navigate the stormy waters in NXT and became the brand’s first NXT Champion when he defeated Jinder Mahal in the final of a tournament in 2012.