Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast Ep. 54
Host: Sam Roberts (no Katie Linendoll)
Guest: Xavier Woods
Airdate: November 5, 2015
Recap by Mike Booble
– Note: The episode was recorded hours before Seth Rollins’s injury news, so some of the content discussed may no longer be relevant for storyline purposes.
– Interview with Xavier Woods covering creation and rise of New Day, the creative direction of the group, and his future in the company.
– State of Wrestling where Sam covers Tatanka signing a legends contract, Batista’s comments on his latest run in WWE, and the perseverance of New Day.
– Sam breaks down Breaking Ground and potential direction of the show.
– Recap of Raw and the possibility of reinstating the brand draft.
Introduction – 0.00
Xavier Woods interview – 11.03
State of Wrestling – 31.19
Batista comments – 34.40
Breaking Ground – 45.11
Brand draft – 1:01.30
– Roberts opened the show talking about playing the new “WWE 2K16” video game. He talked about the differences and improvements from last year to this year, compared the game currently under 2K studios with how it was under THQ and his love for the Stone Cold Steve Austin story mode in the new game so he can “drop stunners on everyone.”
– Roberts then welcomed Xavier Woods by phone onto the podcast. They quickly talked about the YouTube video that shows Woods correcting a fans sign that had pictures of trumpets on it. He said that while done in character, the dwindling music program in schools nationwide, and the correlation of music to good grades is something he’s very passionate about.
– Roberts asked him about the journey from his role in the company to having a one-on-one match to open Raw with John Cena and if there was any shock. Woods said yes and no. He said it felt good to take the path but that when he was called up he was just randomly paired with R-Truth, destroyed by Rusev and at some point wasn’t sure how he was going to advance his career. That’s when he came up with the idea of New Day.
– Woods said him, Kofi Kingston, and Big E. all hang out, ride, and train together anyways, so why not put that chemistry on screen? Woods said the group works well because no one steps on someone’s toes. They do a good job of highlighting each others strengths for the betterment of the group. Big E. is the strong one who has flexible hips; Kofi has integrity from the crowd, they believe in him and he has that ridiculous clap; Woods is the cheerleader, but the brains and he entertainer as well.
– Roberts asked if he was hurt by the initial fan response to the group and Woods said no. He said no one knows how hard it is to make it to the main roster and how hard it is to build something once you get there. They had this vision the whole time for where the group is currently and that they did nothing different six months ago that they do now, people just seem to respond now.
– Roberts said they turned because New Day did something most don’t and that’s acknowledge the crowd. Woods said they like to take the energy from the crowd, turn that into something you want to do, and make it seem like it was the crowd’s idea.
– Roberts asked if a lot of what they do was scripted or if they have freedom to improv? Woods said they have freedom and that honestly most of the wrestlers do, they just don’t take the chance. He said he’s in an unusual spot because he loves wrestling, but also loves education which is why he’s pursuing his PhD. He has more than one passion so if it ultimately doesn’t work out he has something to fall back on.
– Roberts asked where the trombone came from and Woods said it was their idea. He said they had an idea that it would be funny to sing a song but that it would be funnier if he played it on a trombone. He got the idea of using an annoying instrument from Bill Alfonzo who used to carry a whistle. He hated that whistle and thought the trombone would give him the same kind of reaction. He said his ultimate goal is to be standing in a ring and go word-for-word in a promo with Paul Heyman.
– Finally, Roberts asked if anyone gets mad they don’t’ take their matches as seriously as some, incorporating a lot of comedy into them. Woods said no, using the Cena match as an example they like to have fun but at the drop of a hat can do some serious business inside the ring as well.
– Roberts briefly recapped the interview, echoing a lot of what Woods said, and moved right into State of Wrestling. He said it was the worst week for Katie Linendoll not to be on the show because Tatanka, her favorite wrestler of all-time, just signed a legends contract with WWE. Roberts thinks this will lead to more appearances on the podcast and ultimately culminate with his induction into the HOF.
– Roberts brought up the Batista interview that was released earlier in the week with Batista talking about his latest run in the WWE. He recapped Batista saying creative was hard to deal with because they wanted him to be a face, he wanted to be a heel and having no real direction to go and getting frustrated and ultimately leaving. Roberts said because of the mainstream exposure he’s getting he’s entering the place The Rock is in, almost a do-no-wrong where they can be critical and still be welcomed with open arms.
– Roberts talked about that being the case with a lot of guys. They try a couple things that don’t work, get jaded and bitter and just stop trying and only show up to collect a paycheck. He said it’s the same thing at any job. But at the end of the day WWE is a publicly traded company. Ratings and creative and things like that are important, but in the end they answer to the stock price.
– Roberts said New Day is an example of three guys who could have gotten frustrated at their lack of direction, but they stayed the course and through their willpower got themselves over.
– Roberts then began talking about the new show Breaking Ground on the WWE Network. He said at this point, two episodes in, it hasn’t been super-compelling, that they’re not going deep enough behind the scenes to really bring out the drama. It feels like they’re trying to find things to film, instead of just filming and finding the story that comes out. He does believe things are happening on TV, specifically to benefit the show. The obvious example of ZZ being hired. He doesn’t feel that he has any shot to make the main roster, but that along with his dad, it makes for great TV.
– Transitioning to Raw, he brought up a point he’s made before about pyro and the value it can add to a performer. Except for Bray Wyatt, only legends get pyro. Neville had it and they took it away. But more importantly that pyro, he pleaded with WWE to not have the same build to the last match with Wyatt and The Undertaker. He doesn’t want to see another build where it’s just Wyatt talking and Taker is never there.
– Roberts thinks the match at Survivor Series needs to be a 4-on-2 handicap match; Wyatt’s vs. Brothers of Destruction, Survivor Series rules. And the Wyatt’s need to go over clean, with no one on their team being eliminated. That will give legitimacy to the Wyatt’s winning and gives the Bray–Taker storyline some more backbone for a potential rematch at WrestleMania. But if is the direction they go, Taker needs to lose. He gains nothing from winning and Bray needs to have strong victories in big matches to cement his place in WWE.
– Roberts brought up Tyler Breeze debuting on Smackdown a couple weeks ago and the disagreement on that process he and Linendoll had. But, that got him thinking. He doesn’t think it hurt Breeze debuting on Smackdown, it actually raised the stock of Smackdown. He thinks this might need to become a regular thing. Have storylines start there and as they get bigger, move them over to Raw.
– In addition, he thinks they should reinstate the brand draft. They already have two separate, touring rosters, a draft would shake things up, give some new story ideas and allow them to continue to tour with two groups, but keep both shows fresh. Have one World Champ, One Tag Champ, have the IC Title on one show, the U.S. Title on the other, and build two capable rosters.
Overall 6.5. Nothing new in the interview with Xavier Woods. It wasn’t a bad interview, just nothing noteworthy came out of it. Most of the answers I’ve heard in other interviews, but I think that had more to do with a time constraints than anything else. Given a longer format I think Sam would get some very entertaining things out of Woods and/or New Day as a whole. When Sam champions something as hard as he does New Day, when the opportunity to interview that someone comes up, he usually hits it out of the park. Hopefully this leads to another, longer interview in the future. Woods is one of the most fascinating talents on the roster and has a viewpoint most don’t and that shines through, even on a shortened interview such as this.