He soon joined NWA Midwest winning the promotion's tag team championship with Marek Brave. The two successfully defended the championship against Ryan Boz and Danny Daniels, Brett Wayne and Hype Gotti, and Jayson Reign and Marco Cordova several times in early 2006. He also faced Eric Priest and A.J. Styles in singles matches.
In 2006, he attended Wrestlemania XXII in which he told himself it'd be the last show he sees as a fan.
On May 25, 2007, while in a match with the Full Impact Pro (FIP) Tag Team Champions The Briscoes in Melbourne, Florida, Black's tag team partner Marek Brave suffered a back injury that sidelined him for several weeks before ultimately causing him to retire. Brave returned to competition in 2012. During this time Black pursued a singles career, competing in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) where he defeated Joey Ryan on June 10 and former mentor Danny Daniels at the supercard Point of No Return '07 on June 16.
At the Ring of Honor (ROH) pay-per-view taping of Man Up in September 2007, Black made his debut, alongside Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher, with the three attacking the Briscoe Brothers, hanging Jay Briscoe from the rigging that had been used during the ladder match earlier that night. Jacobs announced that the three had formed a stable called The Age of the Fall. The angle was so controversial that ROH decided to remove the footage from the pay-per-view that was being taped at the event. However, the footage was also heavily requested by ROH fans, so it was shown on the ROH Videowire for the week of September 15. Later on in the event Black faced Jack Evans in a dark match, which ended when Jacobs and Necro Butcher interfered leading The Irish Airborne to help Evans. A six-man tag team match between The Age of the Fall and Jack Evans and the Irish Airborne ended in a no contest when Necro Butcher attacked the referee.
Teaming with Jimmy Jacobs and Necro Butcher against The Vulture Squad (Jack Evans and Ruckus) in several handicap matches during early October, he teamed with The Age of the Fall to against Jack Evans, Ruckus and Jigsaw in a 6-man tag team match the following month at Glory by Honor VI Night 1 on November 1. The following night, Black defeated Alex "Sugarfoot" Payne, but was attacked by The Briscoes following the match. He appeared with The Age of the Fall in their match against The Briscoes during the main event. At Final Battle 2007, Black and Jacobs defeated the Briscoes to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. They lost the titles one month later on January 26 to the No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards and Rocky Romero) when competing in an Ultimate Endurance match also involving The Hangmen 3 (Brent Albright and BJ Whitmer), and the team of Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson.
At Take No Prisoners, ROH's sixth pay-per-view, Black challenged Nigel McGuinness for the ROH World Championship in a losing effort. At Up For Grabs, Black and Jacobs won an eight-team tournament to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship for a second time. The two lost the championship at Driven to the team of Kevin Steen and El Generico. Black had a second chance at the ROH World Championship at Death Before Dishonor VI in New York City, when he faced McGuinness, Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli in a three-way match, but McGuinness retained. At Final Battle 2008, Black lost a number one contenders match to Austin Aries. Following the match, Jacobs turned on Black, and Black was then attacked by Aries. At Full Circle, Black was given a non-title match against the ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness on January 16, and defeated McGuinness. The following night, number one contender Aries refused to face McGuinness, so Black faced McGuinness instead, but was unsuccessful as the match ended in a time limit draw. On June 26 at Violent Tendencies, Black defeated Jimmy Jacobs in a steel cage match to end their feud.
In September 2009, Black had surgery on a bulging disc in his neck. On October 10 Black defeated Kenny King in a first round match and then Claudio Castagnoli, Colt Cabana, Delirious, Chris Hero and Roderick Strong in the finals to win the 2009 Survival of the Fittest tournament this earned him a match for the ROH World Championship. On December 19 at Final Battle 2009, ROH's first live pay-per-view, Black wrestled ROH World Champion Austin Aries to a 60 minute time limit draw. Because of this draw, ROH commissioner Jim Cornette booked the two in a rematch between February 13, 2010 for the company's Eighth Anniversary Show. The booking saw Cornette set up a judging panel with himself on and one person picked by each competitor, in order for there to be a decisive winner in case of another draw. Aries picked Kenny King while Black picked Roderick Strong, whom he guaranteed a title shot should he win. At the event, Black pinned Aries to win the ROH World Championship.
On April 3, Black retained the title in a three-way elimination match against Austin Aries and Roderick Strong at The Big Bang! pay-per-view, thereby depriving Strong of his championship chance in a singles match. He also retained at the following pay-per-view, Death Before Dishonor VIII, on June 19, in a match against Davey Richards. Black turned heel at the August 20 tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling, after news broke that he had signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). His new heel character involved him criticizing the fans who were labeling him a sell-out for signing with WWE, a feeling Lopez states was based on true feelings. He also threatened to take the ROH World Championship with him to WWE, and refused to put the championship at stake in a match with Davey Richards on August 28 which he then lost by submission. On September 11 at Glory By Honor IX Black lost the ROH World Championship to Roderick Strong in a No Disqualification match with Terry Funk as a guest enforcer. This was his final ROH appearance.
Lopez debuted for FCW on September 30, using the name Seth Rollins, in a loss to Michael McGillicutty. Rollins then faced Hunico on November 4 in the first ever 'FCW 15' match under 15 minute Iron Man rules. The duo fought to a 1–1 draw. Following this, Rollins, along with Hunico, Richie Steamboat and Jinder Mahal, participated in the FCW 15 Jack Brisco Classic tournament. Rollins qualified for the finals on January 13, 2011 where he defeated Hunico to win the tournament and become the first FCW 15 Champion.
In July 2011, Rollins began a feud with Dean Ambrose. Ambrose and Rollins had their first match for the FCW 15 Championship in a 15 minute Iron Man match on the August 14 episode of FCW TV. The match ended in a draw with neither men scoring a fall, so Rollins retained his title. A subsequent 20 minute rematch for the title two weeks later resulted in a similar 0–0 draw. A second 30 minute rematch for the title on the September 18 episode of FCW TV went to a time limit 2–2 draw and the match was sent into sudden death rules, where Rollins scored a pinfall to win the match 3–2. Of note, an entire episode of FCW TV was dedicated to hyping and showing the third match in the series. On September 22, Rollins lost the FCW 15 Championship to Damien Sandow after Ambrose attacked Sandow late in the match, causing Sandow to win the decisive fall by disqualification and therefore win the title.
When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW, into NXT Wrestling, Rollins' NXT television debut took place on the second episode of the rebooted WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University, where he defeated Jiro while wrestling as a high-energy maverick. Rollins went on to win the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Champion by defeating Jinder Mahal in the tournament finals on the August 29 NXT (taped on July 26). Rollins earlier defeated Drew McIntyre in the quarter-finals and Michael McGillicutty in the semi-finals. On the October 10 NXT, Rollins had his first successful defense of his title against McGillicutty. During the November 15 tapings of NXT, Rollins pinned Mahal again in his second successful title defense; the episode of the match aired on December 12 due to tape delay.
During the January 2, 2013 NXT, which was taped on December 6, 2012, Rollins, now part of the Shield, defended his title against Corey Graves; interference from the Shield led to a disqualification so that Rollins retained his title. The Shield then fended off the entire NXT locker room but retreated from Big E Langston. On the January 7 NXT taped on the same date, Rollins faced Langston in a no disqualification title match. The NXT locker room neutralized the other Shield members, and Langston defeated Rollins to win the title. The Shield later attacked Graves and Conor O'Brian during their NXT Championship number one contender match, leading to Graves challenging the Shield to a match and Rollins accepting. They faced off in a lumberjack match. After the rest of the Shield disposed of the lumberjacks and interfered against Graves, Rollins won to end the feud.
The Shield continued to aid Punk after TLC; during Punk and Ryback's TLC match for the WWE Championship on the January 7 Raw, they attacked Ryback, which resulted in Punk again retaining his title. During the Royal Rumble event where The Rock challenged for Punk's WWE Championship, a blackout occurred and The Rock was attacked by the Shield in the darkness, leading to Punk pinning The Rock and retaining his title. The match was later restarted with The Rock winning the WWE Championship. The following night on Raw, it was revealed through footage that Punk and his manager Paul Heyman had been paying the Shield and Brad Maddox to work for them all along.
The Shield then quietly ended their association with Punk while a feud with John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus led to a six-man tag match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, which the Shield won. The Shield had their first Raw match the following night, where they defeated Chris Jericho, Ryback, and Sheamus. Sheamus then formed an alliance with Randy Orton and later Big Show, to take on the Shield, during-which the Shield's first singles match occurred when Rollins faced Show on the March 11 episode of Raw; Show won via disqualification as the Shield interfered and beat him down. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, the Shield defeated Big Show, Orton and Sheamus in their first WrestleMania match. The following night on Raw, The Shield attempted to attack The Undertaker but were stopped by Team Hell No. This set up a six-man tag team match on the April 22 episode of Raw, where The Shield emerged victorious. Four days later on SmackDown, the Shield's assault on the Undertaker resulted in him being triple-powerbombed him through the announcers' table.
On the April 29 episode of Raw, The Shield defeated Team Hell No and WWE Champion John Cena in a six-man tag team match. On the May 13 episode of Raw, The Shield's undefeated streak in televised six-man tag team matches ended in a disqualification loss in an elimination match against Cena, Kane and Bryan. With Kane and Bryan eliminated, Cena pinned Rollins and then Reigns was disqualified. Ambrose was disqualified when Reigns and Rollins attacked Cena. On May 19 at Extreme Rules, after Ambrose won the WWE United States Championship, Rollins and Reigns defeated Team Hell No in a tag team tornado match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. Rollins and Reigns made their first televised title defense on the May 27 episode of Raw, defeating Team Hell No in a rematch. On the June 14 episode of SmackDown, the Shield's unpinned/unsubmitted streak in televised six-man tag team matches came to an end at the hands of Team Hell No and Randy Orton, when Daniel Bryan submitted Rollins. Three days later at WWE Payback, Rollins and Reigns defeated Bryan and Orton to retain their tag team titles. Rollins and Reigns began feuding with their new number one contenders the Usos, and on July 14, during the Money in the Bank pre-show, defeated them to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
In August, the Shield began working for chief operating officerTriple H. At Night of Champions, Rollins and Reigns defeated the Prime Time Players. At WWE Battleground, a fired Cody Rhodes and Goldust earned their jobs back by beating Rollins and Reigns in a non-title match. On the October 14 Raw, Rollins and Reigns faced the Rhodes brothers again with the tag titles on the line in a no disqualification match; the Shield lost the tag titles after an attack by Big Show, ending their reign at 148 days. Tension was then sown in the Shield due to Ambrose being the only member left with a championship, while the Shield's lack of success continued with a loss to CM Punk in a handicap match at the TLC pay-per-view. At the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Rollins entered the Rumble match at #2; he had three eliminations and spent the second longest time in the match at 48 minutes before being eliminated by team-mate Reigns. At the Elimination Chamber event, the Shield lost to the Wyatt Family. On the March 3 Raw, the Shield lost a rematch with the Wyatt Family when the Shield's poor teamwork led to Rollins walking out during the match; Rollins claimed that he had enough of being the glue holding the group together. On the March 7 SmackDown, Rollins pointed out that his actions had united Ambrose and Reigns together despite their long-running tension; after venting their frustrations on each other, the Shield reconciled.
Rollins (left) posing with Reigns and Ambrose in May 2014.
They began a feud with 'Director of Operations' Kane, turning the Shield face in the process. During this feud, Kane was joined by the New Age Outlaws to battle The Shield in a six-man tag-team match at WrestleMania XXX, which The Shield won. The Shield then started feuding with Evolution. The two teams clashed at Extreme Rules where the Shield came out as the winners. In a rematch which was No Holds Barred and with elimination rules at Payback, the Shield eliminated all of Evolution without losing a member.
Singles competition (2014–present)
Rollins on his knees being confronted by his former teammates following The Shield's dissolution
On the post-Payback Raw on June 2, Triple H intended to continue Evolution's feud with The Shield, but Batista quit; Triple H thus resorted to "Plan B", which consisted of Rollins abruptly attacking Ambrose and Reigns from behind with a steel chair, thus turning heel. He then handed the chair to Randy Orton, who also assaulted Reigns and Ambrose. Rollins then stood over his former teammates with Triple H and Orton. Triple H promised that Rollins would explain his actions, but on the June 6 edition of SmackDown, Rollins instead stated that only he deserves to know why he betrayed Reigns and Ambrose. Later, he won the match against Dolph Ziggler, who interrupted his promo just before their match, and attacked Big Show during his match with Randy Orton. on June 9 Raw, Rollins was interviewed by Michael Cole, after the rest of the Shield had come out and made vow to keep on fighting Evolution. In the interview, Rollins stated that the Shield would not be a success without him, that Ambrose and Reigns were not his brothers, but just business partners.
Rollins hits Kane with a springboard knee strike to the side of the head.
As Seth Rollins
Avada Kedavra (Superkick, sometimes to a kneeling or seated opponent) – FCW
^Asher, Matthew. "Raw: Bryan's road through Hell continues". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 31 August 2013. "It appears as though The Shield is now Triple H's lackeys as they open tonight's Raw as makeshift bodyguards (Jerry Lawler called them "henchmen") for The Game as he makes his way to the ring."