PWTORCH LIVECAST – INTERVIEW THURSDAY
HOST: WADE KELLER:
GUESTS: SCOTT HALL & JUSTIN CREDIBLE
DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2015
LINK TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD EPISODE
Report by Mark Golden, podcast reviewer
“My message is this: ‘If you need help, and someone offers it to you, accept it.’ ” ~Scott Hall
SUMMARY WITH TIME STAMPS
0:00 – 2:00 – Wade opens the program by announcing a double header this week, with Scott Hall, and Justin Credible. Scott Hall is the first guest, promoting the new film “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts”
2:00 – Scott Hall talked about the film being very organic, without much in the way of production. It’s more like a home movie, and practically everyone can relate to it, as many people either have, or know someone who has, an addiction problem. He himself has battled personal demons, that started from an early loss that he dealt with relying on a diet of pills and alcohol. Hall encouraged anyone who needs help, to seek it out, and/or accept it. Scott thanked Wade, wished PJ his best, and quickly signed off.
6:30 – Wade pointed out that PJ has been with Hall through a lot, through his ups and downs. PJ said Hall has always been like a father figure to him. He said mental illness is definitely a root source of chemical dependency. Many blame the wrestling business, but eventhough it’s part of the atmosphere, everyone makes their own decisions, good, bad, or otherwise.
9:16 – Wade said that while Hall said he doesn’t want to be the poster boy for drug and alcohol abuse, he (Hall) discourages everyone from handling things the way he did, and to seek rehabilitation when necessary. PJ said he has seen Hall at his worst, and the PTSD can be debilitating. PJ mentioned that WWE is helping current and former wrestlers now more than ever. Wade said Hall doesn’t want to look back as much as he once did. PJ said they all are guilty of it, reliving their glory days, for the good and the bad, and it can be painful when you realize your salad days have long passed. PJ said that while he can still “go” physically, there are no doors open for him in the major promotions.
16:26 – Wade asked PJ how things differed in his heyday juxtaposed to today in regards to the schedule, the in-ring work, and drug and alcohol addiction being heavy then, and less frequent today. PJ said the road schedule was heavier then, but more physical and hard-hitting today. In the 90’s it wasn’t a sprint, it was a marathon.
22:12 – Phone lines open, and the first caller asked PJ at what time was it easier to get over. He said there was more opportunity to get over in the 90’s, conversely, today, Wade added that the announcers talk about everything other than the matches. The caller also referenced the low ratings right now. PJ basically credited oversaturation leading to a burn out, and overly scripted promos eliminating any sort of authenticity, as key factors to the ratings decline. The caller asked about Daniel Bryan and his brief meteoric rise. PJ said Bryan was the first organically over guy in a long time. Wade talked about how Roman Reigns was more or less forced on the fans, while Bryan and Owens were naturally loved by fans, as the WWE resisted going forward with them, entirely. PJ said WWE needs more realistic seriousness today to appeal to adult males, but instead they appeal to the youth demo, and it’s not working. Wade talked about the ratings drop being more significant now than at any time in over 20 years.
34:20 – Wade asked PJ if he thinks Vince is going to try new things because of the ratings. PJ said Kevin Dunn needs to be replaced. Dunn’s ideas are antiquated, but McMahon trusts him, regardless. Clearly, changes are in order.
38:24 – Next caller asked who is “the Kevin Dunn of NXT” Wade said there is at least one person (Canyon Ceman, Berkley Ottman?) whose name was reported earlier this year, but, while it’s not fair to compare NXT to Raw, based on a number of factors, but at the same time, the difference in quality can’t be denied. PJ said WWE could change their formats in a number of ways, and on a number of their shows, and could be inspired by NXT, as they are the most innovators at the moment. He said the wrestling audience is split, with the families, and the pro wrestling fans (i.e. those people listening to this podcast right now) and they could market that way. He said said politics and ego have bred bad habits that die hard, and that the “B-shows” could have something special going on. The caller asked if Shawn Waltman will be a HOF inductee? Wade said Shawn was pivotal in both the NWO and DX 2.0, and his jump to WWF being a real turning point in the Monday Night Wars. Wade said Waltman opened his termination FedEx while he (Wade) was on the phone with him. He said Waltman has made numerous contributions to the wrestling business. PJ said that maybe not next year, but he’s certainly a candidate.
50:59 – The next caller referenced a situation on Total Divas where Paige was reprimanded for not teaching Cameron some things, and subsequently, her matches were cut while they were on the road. PJ said it’s not out of the realm of possibility, as the backstage atmosphere is like “walking on eggshells” and because of his relationship with “The Kliq” he was immune to the politics, but he knows it was always rampant.
54:36 – Next caller asked about Brock Lesner (2002) PJ said he was always a natural machine. Good guy, but very intimidating, and very strong. PJ showed him some fundamentals at the time. The caller asked PJ to elaborate on the “walking on eggshells” comment. He said every little thing, from not shaking the right hands or a comment you make, could cost you in the long run.
59:06 – A caller commented on the Network, and enjoying the classic material and NXT more than WWE’s current product, and basically asked why NXT guys are oftentimes red hot, until they get “called up” and shared his concern for a wrestler such as Samoa Joe when he eventually moves to Raw. PJ said it can be attributed to the “big fish in a small pond vs the small fish in a big pond” factor, citing his main events for ECW vs working a 20,000 seat venue for a WWF event, and in his particular case, it was in reverse, as he started as an enhancement talent on WWF, and went on to main event ECW PPV’s.
1:04:10 – Next caller asked about the current ratings, and whether it’s fair to compare 1998 to today. Wade said it’s a valid point, but the ratings are low compared to just last year. They are high compared to other cable shows, but low compared to itself, across the board. PJ said it was a different time. It’s apples and oranges. Wade said that during a call with Vince McMahon during the Monday Night Wars, he asked Vince if he would be willing to move Raw to, say Tuesday nights. McMahon said he wouldn’t be too proud to be the first to blink.
1:08:20 – Next caller talked about NJPW being sharp and smart, and WWE should follow suit. Wade agreed, and said, as he and Steve discussed, that when the bookers back off and allow the wrestlers to tell their story in the ring (i.e. Sasha Banks vs Bayley) the fans get invested in it, as opposed to over produced, forced, boring storylines, which is essentially killing their viewing audience. WWE is so focused on gaining the casual viewer, thus alienating the wrestling fan. PJ basically said it’s not rocket science, and said “real” works. He said there have been times that he and others have “worked” promoters because their stuff was so white “shoot hot” – overthinking “old school” wrestling is killing the simple basics, and thus the state of the business today. PJ talked about a time when he worked a match with Raven, and Jason Powell called him later and asked if they were really pissed at each other, because of the little things they did that caused some to question the orchestration. It’s that piece of the puzzle that’s lost on today’s wrestler. Wade said that while HHH Christened this the “Reality Era” (which was quickly scrapped as though he never said it) it’s less “reality” than any reality show today.
REVIEW & SCORE
Score 8 out of 10: This was a very good show. Not a whole lot in the way of breaking news, but definitely an education for any and all wrestlers, fans, and students of the game. Lots of fun. If you love podcasts about the general mechanics of the wrestling business from a 20+ year veteran, this is a show for you.