The Taz Show, Bodyslams & Beyond
Guest: Mike Johnson
Release Date: Oct. 13, 2015
Report by: Sean Sumey, PWPodcasts Reporter
– TAZ GIVES HIS BREAKDOWN OF RAW: Taz goes through each segment and match and lets you know what, if anything, blew wind up his skirt.
– PWINSIDER’S MIKE JOHNSON IS ON THE SHOW: Mike offers juicy little tidbits.
– TAZ TAKES LISTENER CALLS: Not nearly as many calls as other shows, but still some interesting topics are addressed.
(00:22-00:58) Show intro
(00:59) Taz opens the show and after taking Columbus Day off, he assures his listeners that he will be live the rest of the week. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson will be on the phone today for his weekly report. The Taz Show will soon have video feed for the daily show. They have made signs for inside the studio. This past weekend, Taz was all over Maryland because his son had lacrosse games. Taz is not a helicopter parent. Taz dislikes it when parents carry their kids’s bags and interfere with other people trying to coach them. Taz’s son attended a high-profile lacrosse camp this past weekend. Taz stayed at a separate hotel from his son to give him some space and allow him to enjoy himself. Taz was hoping he wouldn’t be recognized. As Taz was walking past the kitchen, one of the employees recognized him and ended up being from Philadelphia. Taz gave a shout-out to Troy and said it ended up being a funny situation.
(09:36) Taz takes a call from Raj in North Carolina. Raj was watching New Japan and noticed that A.J. Styles is getting more cheers than anyone else. Taz agrees, but doesn’t know if they will push A.J. over Tanahashi.
(11:07) Taz continues his story about Maryland. He doesn’t understand why Maryland drivers drive so fast. Taz believes that something must have changed since the last time he was in Maryland because everyone was flying by him. Taz thanks fans for all the birthday tweets and mentions that Joey Styles is to blame because he told everyone that Taz loves it when people message him.
(13:05) Taz takes a call from Matt in New Jersey. Matt asks about WWE’s first One Night Only pay-per-view and wants to know if Taz considers that show an ECW production because it had a lot of the original roster and had an ECW feel. Taz said no. Taz said the entire production was funded by WWE and had WWE’s fingerprints all over it. Taz did not enjoy that time because he felt like they were prostituting ECW and what the original roster accomplished. Taz also didn’t like TNA trying to re-create ECW. Taz takes it as a compliment that other promotions tried to get the rub off the ECW brand. Matt wasn’t around for the original ECW pay-per-views so he isn’t as familiar with ECW. Taz acknowledges that it is very difficult to be original and come up with ideas. Taz said he doesn’t know what he would do if he was a promoter to try and create original ideas.
(18:40) Taz goes back to his weekend events. Taz jokes that he might block Joey Styles on Twitter. Taz puts Joey in the same category as Jim Ross and Mike Tenay as being able to announce any event, not just wrestling. Taz believes a 4-year-old could announce golf. Taz walks the listeners through what it is like to be a wrestling announcer. Taz mentions the storylines, the excitement levels, the vignettes that are shown, and the time constraints that they have to deal with in WWE. Taz compares wrestling to baseball where the announcers have plenty of down time to talk about the background of the players and different statistics. Taz mentions how in football, they use a guy with binoculars as a spotter. Taz said that as an announcer in TNA, they had a button that allowed direct communication with the producer. Taz said that if he wanted to talk about someone hitting a nice dropkick, he could hit the button and ask the producer to show a replay of the dropkick. Taz said the button would cut out the feed to the viewers so only the announcers and the producer would know. Taz said WWE did not have that and he was told, “They talk, you listen.”
(26:02) Taz thought the Royals were going to beat the Astros but he was wrong. The Cubs beat the Cardinals and took the lead in the series. The Cubs were cranking home runs left and right. The New York Mets were dominant against the Dodgers 13-7. Taz said that he used to go to Mets games and the stadium was half-full. Now, Taz says a lot of New Yorkers are wearing the blue and orange hats. Taz said that growing up, Mets fans were always treated as red-headed step children. Taz thinks that the playoffs are exciting, but doesn’t like the sweatshirts that they have the coaches wearing. Taz thinks the shirts look like they were made by grade schoolers.
(31:46-33:05) Taz does a live read for Square Space. Use promo code TAZ to get 10 percent off your first purchase.
(33:13) Taz takes a call from Adam in Connecticut. Adam did not like the Roman Reigns segment on Raw. Adam felt that Reigns should not be on the mic that long. Adam also feels that Reigns and Braun Strowman are both too green to be in a longer match. Adam would rather have seen Reigns and Luke Harper. Taz agrees with Adam on those points. Adam feels that the finish of the match was done to protect both men. Adam uses the term “lazy booking.” Taz disagrees with that term. Taz said if a promotion is trying to protect both guys, they are not being lazy. Taz points out that no one can sit on a writing team that is supervised by Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Stephanie and still be lazy. Adam says Strowman shouldn’t be in singles matches yet. Taz agrees and suggests Strowman should be in dark matches to allow him time to adjust.
Taz feels that Reigns got lost during his promo. Taz doesn’t think it is a big deal because Reigns will learn from it. Taz puts over Reigns for having a great look but says he needs to work on the believability of his promos. Reigns’s family background won’t help him on promos. He needs more practice. Taz said Strowman was in over his head and the match was too long for him. When Taz saw the graphic for the match on Raw, he knew it was going to be rough. Reigns still needs to be led. Taz said that his matches with Bam Bam Bigelow were really good because of Bam Bam. Taz mentions ECW and the way Paul Heyman presented and protected 911. For the longest time, 911 only came in and hit the chokeslam. Taz remembers a match in Philadelphia where they booked 911 in a longer match with Ron Simmons. Taz said the match was a disaster and exposed how green 911 was. Going back to WWE, Taz feels they will recover and that both Reigns and Strowman will be okay.
(40:14) Taz begins his break down of Raw. Taz asked his producer, Brian, if he watched Raw. Brian said he only watched the first two hours because “we have to get up early.” Taz told Brian to stop saying “we” because he makes it sound like he and Taz live together. So, Kane opens the show talking to Hunter and Stephanie on speakerphone. Hunter and Steph were having travel issues. Taz thought it was funny because he can’t remember the last time Hunter or Steph flew commercial. Taz didn’t think that Vince’s black jet would have travel issues. Taz thought the angle was funny. Taz mentions how some fans were complaining that it was not believable that Hunter would call right when a match ended or that they were calling on a landline and not to Kane’s cellphone. Taz understands but reminds the listeners that the show is entertainment. Taz points out that if Kane was on his cell phone, you would only hear one-half of the conversation.
Taz reminds people that Raw was going up against Monday Night Football and MLB Playoffs and he is interested to see what the ratings look like. Taz then talks about Dean Ambrose coming out for a promo and being joined by Randy Orton. Taz is dumbfounded why Randy Orton would mention being from St. Louis when the Chicago Cubs were playing the St. Louis Cardinals in Chicago at the same time that Raw was in….Chicago. Taz thinks this would have made sense if Orton were a heel. Taz tells Orton that he is smarter than that. Taz chalks it up to Orton maybe not being a baseball fan. Taz said that a lot of fans probably didn’t understand why Orton mentioned sleeping in his own bed. Taz said that, as a former wrestler, he gets it because it is rare that you got to go home and sleep.
New Day interrupts the promo and makes fun of Orton for being in so many different groups. Taz enjoyed that. Taz points out that even Orton laughed at New Day’s promo. Kane makes it a tag match. Taz thought the announcers did a good job explaining that Orton and Ambrose were trying to one up each other. Taz doesn’t think the Garvin Stomp was the best move to do during that time because it required Big E to lay there so long. Taz put over the WWE production for showing the heat spot that occurred during the break. Taz didn’t like Big E. taking a big bump on the outside to his knee. Taz respects Big E. for going for it, but warns that it will take years off your career. New Day won the match. Taz puts over the Chicago crowd and says they are very demanding. Taz said that Chicago is one of his favorite cities to wrestle in. Taz doesn’t know if a tag match was the best choice to open the show. Taz would have preferred to have Kevin Owens open the show against Kalisto. Taz thinks the crowd would have been up for both guys and would have set a good pace for the show. Taz believes WWE wanted to start off the show with a lot of star power. Taz asks Brian if he understands what he is saying. Taz picks on Brian for not being a huge wrestling fan. Brian said he is getting hate on Twitter.
Taz wonders if the writing staff is intimidated or scared to go against what Vince might want. Taz said that he is not a yes man. Taz considers himself the realest man in the room. Taz then suggests opening Raw with the Dudleys facing Enzo and Big Cass. Nikki Bella then took on Naomi. Taz mentions the other ladies at ringside to include Sasha Banks. The fans began chanting “We want Sasha.” Taz liked how Brie Bella took over the chant by saying it on the house mic. Taz doesn’t believe the announcers knew Brie was going to get on the table. Taz said WWE likes to keep the announcers in the dark to add realism. Taz didn’t like that the announcers didn’t put over the bump that Brie took because it was a very dangerous bump. Taz thought she was hurt. Taz said it was a nasty bump and he gives Brie credit. Taz thinks WWE needs to be careful about having Sasha at ringside when the fans are going to chant for her and not pay attention to the show.
(1:00:18) Mike Johnson is on the line for his weekly report. Mike discusses Sami Zayn appearing on the EVOLVE show. Mike mentions how WWE and EVOLVE have been flirting back and forth for a while. Taz mentioned how he has known Gabe Sapolsky from the ECW days and could tell that he was a sponge and was going to have an impact at some point. Mike feels that Hunter realizes that the independents need to exist to help farm talent. Taz points out how Triple H came from the independents and knows the value of the talent having places to learn their craft outside of WWE. Mike compares it to Vince McMahon working with ECW back in the day. Mike also claims Alberto Del Rio is back in talks with WWE. Mike says that WWE is coming up on a tour of Mexico and could see Del Rio make a return. Taz would love to see Del Rio back in the company.
Taz asks Mike if he liked the way WWE booked Del Rio. Mike said he did, at times. Mike feels that WWE never gave Del Rio or C.M. Punk the full push they deserved. Taz seemed surprised that Mike felt WWE didn’t push Punk. Mike said he didn’t think WWE did as much as they could have with Punk. Mike points out Punk having a huge moment winning the title in Chicago and two months later dropping the belt out of nowhere when he was the hottest guy in the company. Taz disagrees and says that its all about TV time and money. Taz said that Punk made a lot of money and had a lot of TV time dedicated to him. Mike counters that Punk never main-evented WrestleMania and was never put on a John Cena level. Taz does agree with that. Mike says that in WWE, there is John Cena…and everyone else. Mike points out that the only time Del Rio was in a main event of WrestleMania was when he opened the show against Edge. Taz said he was in a similar situation because a lot of people felt he was going to be pushed in WWE and it never happened. Taz feels that WWE’s treatment of Punk helped fuel his anger and helped his character. Mike’s call then gets dropped.
(1:13:15) Taz continues his point about Punk and Del Rio getting pushed. Taz says that just because someone isn’t presented like John Cena, The Undertaker, or Brock Lesnar, doesn’t mean they aren’t getting pushed. Taz said there are different levels of being pushed.
(1:13:44) Mike is back on the line. Taz said ultimately the decision belongs to Vince. Taz encourages talent to take advantage of what opportunities they get and make as much money as they can because it doesn’t last long. Mike then mentions a recent New Japan show that is setting up their Wrestle Kingdom show. In the main event, IWGP champion Okada is defending against Tanahashi. Mike compared this rivalry to Steamboat and Flair. New Japan has their own version of the WWE Network and they brought over Matt Striker and Kevin Kelly to provide English audio for the shows. Taz said that Striker always finds a way to weasel his way into things. Mike then talks about James Storm in NXT. Mike said it is believed that Storm is still in talks with TNA. Taz said that his contacts in TNA are also claiming that Storm is still in talks.
Taz believes there is no way that WWE would put Storm on TNA without some sort of agreement or letter of intent. Taz said that TNA might do something like that, but not WWE. Mike claims that Billy Gunn is the go-between for Storm and WWE. Taz said that Gunn is a good person for that role. Mike thinks Storm will be on a deal similar to Samoa Joe where he can also work independent shows. Mike puts over Xavier Woods as the first TNA talent to transition to WWE. Taz and Mike talk about the amount of time Woods spent in NXT. Taz thinks Storm is a great addition to WWE. Taz realizes that WWE won’t allow Storm to drink beer during his promos and matches due to Steve Austin and their younger audience. Taz calls Storm a “plug and play” talent. Mike mentioned that C.M. Punk has his first comic book coming out soon. This will be a regular monthly series for Punk and will be in line with the Blade series.
(1:25:52) Taz mentions Paige winning the “Most Unconventional Superstar” award. Taz said this was a good use of product placement and was only done to promote Payday candy bars.
(1:26:53-1:28:09) Taz does a live read for Sleeper Bot.
(1:29:34) Taz talks about John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge. Taz said this is a great opportunity to introduce new talent. Taz said that fans get disappointed when they use talent that has been on the roster, like Dolph Ziggler. Taz mentions the guy who proposed to his fiancé during the match. Taz talks about fans who felt it was disrespectful to Ziggler for Cena to acknowledge the fans in the middle of the match. Taz said that he would not have cared because it would have allowed him to catch his breath. Taz liked at least four big spots in this match. Taz liked Ziggler’s DDT off the ropes and put over Cena’s bump. Taz also liked the AA false finish. Taz mentioned the superkick false finish. Taz also enjoyed the finish. Taz doesn’t like it when fans who have never wrestled use terminology as if they have wrestled. Taz thought Ziggler was going to win the match but he understands the booking.
After the match, Kane is on the phone talking to Triple H and Stephanie. Taz jokes about how he can’t get WWE as guests on his show even though he always puts them over. The Dudleys were in a match where they defeated The Ascension. Taz liked that the Dudleys utilized the Devastation Device and paid homage to the Road Warriors while being in Chicago.
(1:37:13) Taz takes a call from Mike in Pennsylvania. Mike likes Taz’s idea of Cesaro and Kevin Owens in a best-of series. Mike also wants to see Owens and Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. Taz likes it but says WWE would have to build up Zayn to the audience.
(1:39:06) Taz continues with his break down of Raw. Cesaro and Neville lost to King Barrett and Sheamus. Taz points out that none of the talent in the match were from America. Taz liked the match and thought it was totally cool. Taz liked the Braun Strowman video package. It reminded fans how devastating Strowman is. Taz reiterates that Reigns started out rough with his promo and it went downhill from there with his match against Strowman. Taz then turned his attention to Ryback taking on Rusev. Taz feels that Rusev has been losing a lot. Taz then mentions the real-life engagement between Rusev and Lana. Taz thinks WWE did the best they could by acknowledging the real-life angle. Taz thought it made sense to get Summer Rae out of the situation.
Kevin Owens then defeated Kalisto. Taz really enjoyed this match and liked the spots that Kalisto did. Taz didn’t like that Michael Cole said that Kalisto takes big risks and whiffed. Taz thinks it would have been better to say that Owens countered the move. Brie Bella and Alicia Fox defeated Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Taz feels that Charlotte needs to be pushed more. Taz said that since Charlotte won the Divas Title, she has been lost in the shuffle. Taz doesn’t understand why the focus is on Paige and Natalya instead of the championship. Brie pinned Charlotte. Taz doesn’t think it is a big deal but reminds listeners that it is Nikki, not Brie, who has a title match coming up at Hell in a Cell. The show ended with Kane taking on Seth Rollins. Taz said it was obvious that Corporate Kane was going to be replaced by Demon Kane. Taz thought the match was effective in building up their match at Hell in a Cell.
(1:54:01) Taz begins closing the show by briefly mentioning the Steelers defeating the Chargers on Monday Night Football. Tomorrow, Hump Day Promos will be about being the world’s greatest janitor.
RATE & REVIEW
6.0: This was a solid edition of The Taz Show. Mike Johnson had a good appearance and actually mentioned some rumors that haven’t been widely circulated. I think in the past, Mike has a tendency to play it safe and not want to give away big news. Taz’s break down of Raw was fair. Taz is typically pretty straight forward and will point out things he likes and doesn’t like with WWE. I wish Taz would be a little better with time management. Taz sometimes takes a call or a break in the middle of his thoughts. It almost seems like he isn’t in control of when he takes a call. Other than that, Taz really has an entertaining show that he continues to improve on. As always, I welcome all comments and critiques.