Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast Ep. 52
Host: Sam Roberts & Katie Linendoll
Guest: Roman Reigns
Airdate: Oct. 20, 2015
Recap by Mike Booble
– Interview with Roman Reigns discussing the Raw during the blizzard following the Royal Rumble and closing Raw a couple weeks ago against Bray Wyatt, and the storyline involvement of his daughter. They also cover the crowd reaction after Royal Rumble and facing Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
– State of Wrestling covering Seth Rollins teaming with Reigns and Dean Ambrose on Raw and the long-term planning of the Roman Reigns character.
– NXT trip and their involvement in the new Breaking Ground series on the WWE Network.
– New podcast on SI.com.
Introduction – 0.00
Roman Reigns Interview – 4.15
Rumble fallout – 13.20
State of Wrestling – 35.26
NXT trip recap – 1:07.50
Contest winners – 1:22.10
Sign Off – 1:22.30
– Roberts opened recapping the events surrounding the last interview the two had just before the Royal Rumble in January. He talked about the backlash the interview received and how he didn’t feel this one would lead to anything like before felt it was still a worthwhile interview. The interview was conducted around two weeks ago.
– After intros, Reigns recapped the last time he and Roberts hung out, which was during the blizzard after Royal Rumble that led to a very unique episode of Raw. Reigns talked about how difficult it is to rearrange a show like that with little to no notice. He said it’s not like canceling a dinner reservation. You have to account for the ring crew, all the trucks, the talent and for the weather and if it will hinder the next show.
– They told a funny story about hanging out at a local pizza shop in Stamford, Connecticut where Reigns ate five pizzas all by himself. He talked about not having a lot of days like that where the talent gets to just hang with each other. Most of the sightseeing he gets to do is from the window of a car or bus and he really enjoys those rare days when he can explore a local city and learn what it’s all about.
– Reigns said even at events like WrestleMania in New Orleans there is so much going on that it’s impossible to see everything. He said there are over 100 superstar appearances at an event like that and how crazy that is to see in a rundown that’s handed to them the week before.
– Roberts asked about his diet on the road and how he stays in shape. Reigns said it’s like two-a-days in football. Most of the wrestlers get up early and workout and still perform that night. He said he focuses a lot on protein just to be able to maintain his cardio during a match.
– Roberts transitioned to asking how it felt closing the most recent Raw at the time against Bray Wyatt. Reigns said he’s always trying to push himself to the limit and always set a higher standard for himself. He likes to push everything to the max because you never know if you’ll get the chance again.
– Roberts asked if you leave a match like that in pain and Reigns said he didn’t feel right for a little bit. He said he has some chips in his elbow floating around and some abnormally swollen fingers which left him in some pain for a longer than normal period of time.
– Roberts asked if the crowd reaction would’ve been different during the Rumble if he would’ve become World Champ. Reigns said it was a tough question and admitted to saying “maybe” isn’t a good response but it’s the one he’s going to give. He said he didn’t know what the plans were and that essentially tomorrow isn’t promised. It was just an emotional roller coaster that went until Wrestlemania.
– Reigns said it was the best moment of his career winning the Rumble because in the back of your mind you’re guaranteed a main event slot at ‘Mania and he wasn’t sure he was going to get that because of the crowd and because of the momentum Daniel Bryan was building.
– Reigns said he has to go out everyday and bust his ass to prove he belongs. He said he disagrees with the model of one main guy on top. He said he’s a football guy and it’s all about the team, not just one individual. He admitted to Seth Rollins being the best in the world right now, but in character, saying it would bring him great pleasure to take him down.
– Roberts asked if 2016 was going to be his year since 2015 seems to not be heading that way. Reigns deflected a little to cliché answers saying he’s fortunate for the opportunities he’s been given and that he had a vision of how this would all play out. He said while it’s been a great career so far and he’s been able to check things off his bucket list, it’s not quite how he pictured it.
– They briefly transitioned to promoting WWE’s involvement in breast cancer awareness. The biggest takeaway was him touting that they’ve helped raise over $1.5M in the four years of the partnership.
– Roberts asked why he worked so stiff with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and if it was something talked about before the match. Reigns said no, we just went out and did it. He suplexed, which is what he does, and Reigns punched, a lot, which is what he does. He said he fears things in life but not a flesh and blood man. He closed by saying if they never had a match again he’s happy with the performance and can live with it.
– Roberts closed asking about the involvement in the Wyatt feud of his daughter. He said he wasn’t super comfortable with it and one of the reasons he agreed was because they had to use a PSA photo that’s already being used of him and his daughter and that they did it just to spark the feud but quickly brought it back to the ring and never really touched on it again.
– Roberts recapped the interview and said Reigns is not given enough credit for his performance against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. He said he went at him hard and that deserves a lot of respect.
– Roberts then talked about wanting to see Reigns be left alone to develop as a character on his own and not be forced into being John Cena 2.0. He referenced Shawn Michaels’s comments on Raw about not being the second anybody and how it was a great line and that WWE should follow that advice. He then listed a lot of world champions, illustrating the differences between them, from Bob Backlund to Hogan all the way to Austin and Cena and how no two were a like.
– The State of Wrestling began with Katie Linendoll and Roberts discussing the pseudo Shield reunion on Raw. Linendoll thinks they might have blew the reunion by just giving it away without notice but Roberts disagreed. He said they didn’t really have a reunion because it was still two of the top good guys in the company teaming with the top bad guy. There was no cohesion in the team and Rollins kept acting like himself and not being a team player.
– Roberts didn’t like that Ric Flair came out and had the ability to make matches a la a GM. He said it should’ve been obvious that if in a handicap situation it makes sense storyline wise for Ambrose to call Reigns to help and that that dynamic doesn’t need Flair as a go-between for Superstars. Linendoll felt that there were too many legends and that as more came out it took the luster out of each subsequent appearance.
– Roberts reiterated the need to build for the future and not rely on stars from the past. He championed his own thoughts from earlier about Reigns needing to be his own character void of most creative influence. They once again used the example of the New Day and how left alone can blossom organically into something people get excited to see. Roberts said by adding Reigns to the Susan G. Komen presentation in the ring that only Cena came across as a star and that Reigns might need to be a monster heel to get as far away from that Cena comparison as he can.
– Roberts said there is no foundation to the company creatively. He talked about the trap WCW fell into banking it’s future on veterans who made their fame in WWE before jumping ship. He said WWE wasn’t financially successful during ’94-’95 because they were getting rid of that talent that had been proven but no longer had that drawing power and building toward the future with Michaels, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and The Rock.
– Roberts said that even though Stone Cold is his favorite wrestler of all time, unless he’s going to contribute weekly on TV or wrestle, why have him come out at all. Let the younger generation build themselves.
– They talked about why NXT is a better show and taking out the fact it’s one hour instead of three, they said a lot of it probably has to do with Vince being hands off. That is the biggest difference in the two products and one is significantly better.
– After a brief discussion of the Instagram mishap involving Luke Harper and what, if any affect that had on his absence from Raw they talked about the diva’s division. Roberts said maybe Sara Del Ray needs to spend some time with those on the main roster because there is such a noticeable gap in performance of those who have trained under her and those who came through developmental before she got there. Roberts said the true test would be if in a year Del Ray could get Eva Marie to be better in the ring than Nikki Bella and if she can then there in for some trouble and that maybe all the main roster Divas should spend six weeks in intensive training at the Performance Center.
– Roberts and Linendoll talked about their trip to Orlando to film content for the new show Breaking Ground about the NXT roster. They talked about taking in a live NXT event and because of the intimate setting how much better it is than a Takeover special. They also disclosed that they will be doing a video version of the State of Wrestling for SI.com starting soon. They said instead of the free flowing formant currently, on the SI show it will be far more formatted, seemingly so people can listen to the segments they want.
– The show closed with them revealing the contest winner from a couple weeks back and reading a few of the funnier tweets.
7.5. The Roman Reigns interview right before Royal Rumble is by far the better interview. Reigns seemed very company focused in this one and wasn’t quite as forthcoming in this interview, but the story behind the Mania match with Lesnar was very interesting. Obviously the big takeaway is the SI.com content Linendoll and Roberts will be providing, centered around NXT and I find it fascinating in an environment where Raw is reaching historical lows as it relates to viewership, with the SI and ESPN partnerships, it seems to be reaching a wider audience than ever before. Clearly the future is in the NXT format and the main show is struggling to catch up.