WWE's Seth Rollins agrees that his World Heavyweight Championship isn't quite on the same level as Roman Reigns' Undisputed Universal Title, but disagrees with the Raw strap's reputation as a "consolation prize."
Rollins, who defeated AJ Styles to become the first World Heavyweight Champion in May, said as much during a recent interview with Ryan Satin. The 37-year-old isn't trying to convince anyone that his belt is of the same calibre as Reigns', due to "how much equity" has been put into Roman's prize over the past few years.
Said Seth on his efforts to raise the World Heavyweight Title's profile (h/t Figure Four Online/Wrestling Observer):-
"You can't just come in and pretend that all of a sudden this title is that important, no one's going to buy that crap. The way I always saw champions that I looked up to and that I aspired to be were the champions that took the title to every territory or every town and defended it and then over time, people believed that it was a big deal. I came in when Cena was a world champion, and CM Punk was a world champion. I grew up watching Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, Triple H, these are the people who they did that for the world titles that they were wearing. So, I'm trying as I might to, kind of, fill those shoes and make this new World heavyweight Championship as big as it can be for myself and the rest of the roster."
WWE installed the World Heavyweight Title as a means of balancing Raw with SmackDown, where Roman has effectively reigned since 2020. Though it shares a name with the old strap, Rollins' WHC is not a continuation of the original, which featured in WWE from 2002 to 2013.
Reigns has currently been a top-level WWE champion for 1047 days. Becoming Universal Champion in August 2020, dethroning Bray Wyatt, he unified the strap with the WWE Championship by besting Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38.
Continuing, Rollins noted the differences between his run and that of Roman, who worked on a comparatively reduced WWE schedule:-
"If Roman was doing what I'm doing there wouldn't really be a need for a secondary championship. There wouldn't be a need for another world heavyweight title on Raw because we would have somebody who was doing those things. What he wants to do with his schedule and his title reign is not what I'm doing, somebody's got to fill that void. We did our best with the United States Championship for a little while to do that but it never really felt like a world heavyweight championship. There's got to be that person, there's got to be that spot for everybody to get to, to try to fight for."
Seth then directly addressed the idea that the WHC is a "consolation prize." Rollins doesn't share that opinion, saying that capturing and holding it feels like a big deal to him, representing a considerable amount of responsibility:-
"I just believe it was a necessity so I wasn't offended, I wasn't annoyed or anything like that. If you watched and followed and saw how Roman has built up the title that he has, it only makes sense, I guess, for you to use the word consolation prize but for me, again, it didn't feel that way, it felt like a big deal. Like I said, it felt like a big deal because there are so many guys who are able to be in the shoes that I'm in right now and the fact that it's me makes it feel like a big deal to me and I feel a lot of responsibility to represent them and the industry as well as I can. It feels sometimes with Roman's title reign because there really is only one challenger at a time and often every few months that we're in a bit of a holding pattern, a lot of guys are in a holding pattern."
Rollins' latest title defence came against Finn Balor at Money in the Bank 2023 on 1 July.