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Gorilla Position #37 – Jack Swagger Interview (Sept. 16, 2015)

GORILLA POSITION – EPISODE 37
HOSTS: JAMES DELOW & ROB LEIGH
GUEST: JACK SWAGGER
DATE: SEPT. 16, 2015

DIRECT LINK TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD EPISODE

Report by Tania Leong, PWPodcasts.com reporter

TOP NEWS ITEMS

– Interview with Jack Swagger: Swagger talked about he competed in both football and wrestling at the University of Oklahoma, and in the end decided to join the wrestling team full time. Swagger also mentioned that Jim Ross and Gerry Briscoe were instrumental in him being in the WWE. He said that he is a life long wrestling fan and the first time he went through the curtains to a live crowd is a feeling that he will never forget. He went on to say that he was very humbled when he won the World Heavyweight Title and that it came at the right time in his career.

– Sting’s first match on Raw: It was a nice surprise on the night but was slightly disappointed when Sting’s opponent was named. The videos throughout the night showcasing Sting’s career provided a good history lesson for those not familiar with his work. Both noted that the match with Big Show was short but served as a slow introduction to Sting’s in-ring work.

– The Miz TV segment with the Wyatt Family: It was interesting to see Bray Wyatt in a different environment and made Bray more sinister. The Miz worked the segment well when he played scared and frustrated when interviewing the Wyatt Family. The Miz is much better in this type of role. The face off with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns was effective in selling the match at Night of Champions.

– Divas Champion Match: The ending was very predictable to setup the rematch at NOC. Both were having mixed feelings with Nikki Bella breaking AJ Lee’s record. The match was good and Charlotte led the match on most occasions.

– Night of Champion preview and predictions: Both James and Rob offered their views and predictions for all the NOC matches. They said that by the end of the PPV, there would be all heel Champions except for Charlotte. It means that there would be two Title changes, that being the Intercontinental Championship and Divas Championship.

TOPICS DISCUSSED (w/Time Stamps)

Introduction – 0.00

Introduction by James Delow

James mentioned that the podcast has have almost 100,000 downloads

James hyped his social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and his own webpage – 03.24

This podcast will include the Raw Review, NOC preview and predictions, and this week’s competition to win the ‘Best of WCW Nitro Volume 3’ DVD

Interview with Jack Swagger – 04.31

Swagger was in London for a sit down interview with James. He mentioned that he enjoyed learning about English culture when he’s in the UK.

Swagger talked about his journey to the WWE, which started at the University of Oklahoma where he was on both the football and the wrestling teams. He had to make a choice between the two sports, as he couldn’t do both and get a degree. As he had already won the Rose Bowl and the wrestling team needed a heavyweight, he decided to join the wrestling team full time. He was an All American academically and he also holds the record for the most pins in one season.

Swagger said that he has a connection with wrestling, which stemmed back to when he was child. He attended small wrestling tournaments in Oklahoma, which were three hours from his home, and his parents would drive him there on the weekends.

He said that Jim Ross and Gerry Briscoe were instrumental in him joining the WWE. Both Ross and Briscoe followed high school wrestling in Oklahoma and told him to finish school, get a degree and give them a call afterwards. Swagger did just that and joined the WWE’s developmental branch. He noted that developmental (NXT) has come a long way since he was there. When he was in developmental, Dusty Rhodes and Terry Pritchard were very influential on him.

When he debuted on the ECW brand, it was seen as a platform for younger performers to ‘see if they belong’. He said the feelings when he first went through the curtains on his debut, is one that he still remembers now and will never forget.

One of this first matches was with William Regal and he had a strange encounter with Regal before the match. He approached Regal and said ‘we have a match tonight’ and Regal replied ‘we do’, and walked off. Despite this, he said that Regal is more than happy and willing to pass on his experience to younger talent.

They talked about his MITB cash-in on Chris Jericho in 2010 where he won the World Heavyweight Champion. He said that he was very humbled to win the prestigious title and that he will always be known as a World Heavyweight Champion. He said that the title run didn’t come too soon but at the right time in his career. He said that there’s a lot of pressure and ‘a lot on the plate’ when he was Champion, and that you need to be ready and know what you are doing, ‘everything is elevated’ as the ‘best company in the world [is] telling you that you are the best in the world’. He also said that he would want to win the title again.

Swagger will be returning to the UK later in the year for the live tour.

Raw Review – 19.32

James thought Raw was entertaining and more effective than previous weeks’ episodes. Rob agreed that it was a ‘solid show’.

They commented that the show opened again with a prolonged promo from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

On a side note, James said that Kana did an interview with WWE.com where she said that her favourite wrestler is Triple H. He questioned whether this interview was done in kayfabe.

The match between the New Day and the Prime Time Players began with the New Day dancing with Triple H and Stephanie. Both were confused with logic behind this, as it added to the confusion with the current face/heel divide.

Rob noted that Big E was doing a snow angel in the middle of the ring, something that he had been doing at house shows.

They felt that the match was fun and all four had good chemistry. Titus O’Neill looked good and Xavier Woods is ‘astonishingly entertaining’ with his quips such as ‘No one touches my trombone’ and that Titus’ leg drop ‘was the worst in history’. This was so entertaining that Darren Young was seen smiling as well.

NOC prediction is for the New Day to retain the Tag Team Championship with some sort of interference and they want a strong showing from the Dudleys.

Rob noted that there are rumours of Jeff Hardy returning to the WWE but both Hardys are currently contracted with TNA however circumstances might change. Jeff also has two strikes with the WWE’s wellness policy.

They talked about the Jim Ross saying on his podcast that he believes that ‘the bells will not toll’ for the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32 but he also said that he hasn’t talked to the Undertaker himself. Rob said that sporadic appearances for the Undertaker might continue to work in the future and the quality of his match with Brock Lesnar shows that he can ‘still go’. Ross also said that it might be the end for Sting at Wrestlemania 32.

James mentioned that there was a poll on WWE.com about possible returning stars. The list included Jeff Hardy, Goldberg and Kurt Angle. He wasn’t sure whether the poll was done in mischief.

James said that Seth Rollins is a good actor and that he could be the standout performer at NOC if he could get a good match out of Sting.

They thought that the use of achieve footage of Sting was very effective in selling NOC such as mentioning that Sting has beaten nine former world champions.

They noted that during the backstage segment with Renee Young, Charlotte and Ric Flair, he mistakenly called the Divas title as the World Heavyweight Championship.

On a side note, Flair did a radio interview where he said that if Charlotte had six months of MMA training, she could take on Ronda Rousey. This was met with some funny comments such as ‘what has Charlotte done to make Ric hate her. Why does he want her to die?!’

They noted that there was a great reaction to the Paige and Sasha Banks match. James said that Banks entrance is superb and loves her work. They said that the match was solid and that Banks took a nasty bump from the German suplex. It was noted that according to Paige, the altercation in a restaurant was not filmed for Total Divas.

They were very excited for the NXT Women’s Title match between Bayley and Banks because of the emotional storytelling at Takeover Brooklyn. It should be recognized that although women has headlined Takeover before but this is the first genuine women’s match that will headline any WWE event and the first ‘iron person’ match in WWE history.

They thought that the Miz TV segment with the Wyatt Family was very good although the Miz ‘fluffed’ and called the PPV Hell in the Cell instead. The Miz played scared and frustrated vey well and that he is much better in this type of role. James thought that putting Bray in a very different environment made him seem more sinister and he has been most effective in months. The face off with Ambrose and Reigns worked. James thought that this was the best promo of his career as it was simple, serious and intense. However, Rob said that although the promo was good, Reigns was the weakest part of the segment. The face off reminded him of the Shield v Wyatts feud. Rob said that adding Jimmy Uso was a good addition to the story and questioned whether this would lead to Reigns turning on Ambrose.

At NOC, they think that the third member needs to be well known in order to surprise and to live up to the anticipation, therefore cannot be a new star. Rob said that Daniel Bryan would be ideal.

They thought that the John Cena v Sheamus match was a standard decent match, ‘you’re not going to miss anything if you didn’t watch it’. James noted that this was another lost for Sheamus as MITB winner and he needs to be built up again. Rob said that being the MITB winner, he doesn’t need to be built up. James hyped his interview with Sheamus on his YouTube channel.

James thought that this was Ryback’s best promo work during his segment with Kevin Owens, however his Elvis impersonation was ‘appalling’. They said that Owens is a very good mic worker and is able to be the irritating heel. At NOC, they predict that Owens will win the IC Title, making all the title holders heels, save for Charlotte. James asked whether the writers were NWA fans.

Both were confused with the Neville Stardust segment and thought that it didn’t achieve much. They didn’t know whether the match actually started. At NOC, Rob expects a win for Neville and the Lucha Dragons.

They thought the video about Nikki Bella’s journey as the Divas Champion was good. James said the interview that she did was Michael Cole was different in that she talked about herself being ‘self-made’. On the other hand, they were not invested in Charlotte because they don’t know much about her.

The match between Nikki and Charlotte was good. Charlotte led the match but Nikki held her own. Both think that Charlotte is very impression in the ring. They said the ending was predictable to setup the match at NOC where they think Charlotte would win the Divas Champion. James said although Nikki shouldn’t have taken the record but in a ‘real way’ even if AJ Lee ever returned to the WWE, she would have motivation and a ready storyline in having her record broken.

Both thought that Cesaro is great in the ring and that his vertical suplex on Rusev was very impressive. James thought the ‘wacky pin’ on Rusev was confusing but superb and he needed to check that Rusev’s shoulders were on the mat. They thought that Dolph Ziggler’s gift to Summer Rae only added confusion to the storyline. And he came off as a heel.

At NOC, Rob said they Rusev would win possibility a mistimed interference from Lana or Summer, and maybe a turn from Lana who will go back with Rusev. He added that the writing showed the story was written week by week therefore there are no story arcs.

They mentioned the Connor’s Cure Campaign that raised awareness for paediatric cancer research.

James noted that the Sting v Big Show match had in-ring introductions although it wasn’t a title match but Rob said that it was the main event. Rob said that Big Show was the perfect opponent for Sting as they are familiar with one another and he knows how to work with Sting. This worked as a slow introduction to Sting in the ring and he could face off with other wrestlers later. They thought the match as a ‘nothing match’ and that Rollins interrupted relatively quickly and for no reason. They also noted that the eventual tag team match with Sting/Cena v Rollins/Big Show ended with Rollins tapping out very quickly to a very sloppy Scorpion Death Lock. They said that they could see Team Cena and Sting vs Team Authority at Survivor’s Series or Cena vs Sting at Wrestlemania 32. At NOC, both predicted Rollins to retain both Championships with interference and/or Dusty finishes.

Competition – 67.00

Chance to win one of three ‘Best of WCW Nitro Volume 3’ on Blu-Ray.

You will need to look out for a special tweet on James’ twitter account with the DVD poster and retweet it.

Winners must be over 18 and live in the UK.

Competition closes on 22 September 2015.

Hype on the WWE and NXT UK Tours later this year – 68.30

James said that NOC could be watched on Sky Box Office and the WWE Network – 69.31

SCORE & REVIEW

7 out 10: I enjoyed the interview with Jack Swagger and learnt many things about Swagger. He had an interesting journey into the WWE and that he had easily became a football player instead. I thought James asked the right questions, which kept the listener interested. I was disappointed that we don’t know who will be on next week’s podcast.

I thought that James and Rob were correct about the audience not being invested in Charlotte and her character. This may make her potential win at NOC less impactful unlike Bayley’s win at Takeover Brooklyn where there was a solid and emotional storyline, and the audience was very invested in match as shown by their reaction to her win.

Their thoughts about Big Show being Sting’s opponent was valid and they do have history together, and it made sense to put them together in a match. And them saying the match was nothing special is also correct. I think that saving Sting as a special attraction at PPVs only would have been more effective and build anticipation for these big matches.

Also, their thoughts about the issues with the Ziggler/Lana and Rusev/Summer Rae storyline is spot on, especially when Rob mentioned that the story seemed to be written week to week. The story does seem disjointed and doesn’t do much to elevate all four involved.

Their commentary on the confusing face and heel dynamic in the WWE is correct and is quite obvious with several feuds such as Ziggler and Rusev, as well Triple H and Stephanie McMahon characters vs The Authority. The WWE needs to do a lot to fix this glaring issue and go back to having very clear faces and heels so the audience knows who to cheer for.

There was no news round up from Rob this week as he was actually on holiday. I usually lose a little bit of interest during this part, as I am not that familiar with the independent wrestling scene. This week’s podcast was good and had nice commentary but a more in-depth analysis of each match at NOC would have added value to the podcast. Hopefully, a more in-depth review of the PPV would follow next week.

DIRECT LINK TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD EPISODE

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