Becoming a professional wrestler was only a dream for former Davenport West High School student Colby Lopez in 2002. |
As he waited in line for WWE Smackdown tickets outside of what was then The Mark of the Quad Cities (now the i wireless Center) in Moline, Mr. Lopez was fooling around with his friends, emulating the moves of his idols, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels.
"I never even wrestled in high school," said Mr. Lopez. "I was just so focused on the world of professional wrestling."
Ten years later, Mr. Lopez is close to joining the likes of the Rock or John Cena on WWE Raw or SmackDown. This July, he achieved his life-long goal of winning the first-ever World Wrestling Entertainment NXT championship in Tampa, Fla., under his in-ring name, Seth Rollins.
He took out his final opponent with the finishing move that he's become famous for: the blackout, basically an elevated curb stomp.
"It's very exciting and just as humbling," said the 26-year-old who grew up in Buffalo, Iowa, and now has nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter. "I'm just one step closer to competing in WrestleMania, which has been my ultimate goal for awhile."
WrestleMania is the longest-running professional wrestling event in history, and it airs every spring on pay-per-view.
Before signing with WWE, Mr. Lopez was a heavyweight champion for Scott County Wrestling, which is now directed by his former training and tag-team partner, Nicholas Morrill.
Mr. Morrill said that the two originally met standing in that line for WWE tickets in Moline in 2002.
"I saw him messing around, and I thought he seemed like a funny guy with some good moves," said Mr. Morrill.
Scott County Wrestling hosts wrestling shows around the Quad-Cities every month.
When asked what advice he would give to teenagers who wait in line for his WWE shows, Mr. Lopez paused before referencing his life motto: "Keep your hopes up high and your head down low."