PWTORCH LIVECAST TUESDAY
HOSTS: WADE KELLER & JASON POWELL
AIRED LIVE: OCT. 27 2015
Recap By Nick Gould, PWPodcasts Reporter
TOP SUBJECTS COVERED
– Raw viewership holds steady, still nothing to shout about.
– Don’t say it too loudly, but was Raw actually decent this week!?
– Don’t say it too loudly, but was Reigns not bad as well!?
– Turn Rollins? Turn Reigns? Turn both?
– Why does WWE not understand the concepts of consistency, long-term thinking, and of adapting its creative around its performers rather than the other way around?
– What’s left for Taker?
SUMMARY OF SHOW
– (0:00) Intro Theme
– (0:14) Wade welcomes listeners to the show, introduces himself, PWTorch.com, and the format of the show, as well as updating listeners on upcoming Livecasts this week.
– (1:09) Wade introduces Jason Powell from Prowrestling.net. Wade acknowledges the death of NBA coach Flip Saunders. The hosts discuss Saunders’s history with the Minnesota Timberwolves and their memories of him.
– (3:19) Wade moves on to discussing Raw. Wade notes that this week’s Raw was an improvement on recent weeks, although he feels that Stephanie McMahon and Triple H’s appearance early in the show was again troubling. He compares what he feels is the destructive impact of the nature of Stephanie and Triple H’s presentation as the faces of the company with the impact that Flip Saunders had as being the more positive face of the Timberwolves who attracted fans to the team. Wade points out that WWE continues to present Triple H and Stephanie as both heels and babyfaces, depending on the content of the segments they are in.
– (5:27) Wade notes that this week’s Raw was similar to a post-WrestleMania Raw, in that ‘new’ ideas and directions seemed to be taking shape. Jason grades that show as an “optimistic” B. Jason notes Triple H’s line about HIAC being the ‘showcase for the next generation,’ which he feels was odd given that the show was headlined by Brock-Taker, Kane challenged for the WWE Title, and the Dudleys challenged for the Tag Titles.
Jason feels WWE were forced into a somewhat ‘new’ direction on this week’s Raw due to being unable to use John Cena, Randy Orton, Taker, Lesnar, etc. Jason liked the tournament-style feel to the #1 Contender series, although feels this was a Band-Aid to cover the gaps left by the talent that was unavailable for Raw this week. Jason feels the same problems still exist with the overall presentation and structure of Raw as a whole. Wade comments on the ages of the participants in the Fatal Four-Way match, noting that the so-called ‘new generation’ are in their mid-to-late-30s. Wade wonders if it is believable to be talking about talents like Ziggler and Del Rio as ‘new.’ Wade feels Reigns and Rollins both had good nights, although still thinks that a character like Rollins (presented in the way that he is) should not be positioned as the WWE champion. Jason feels Rollins will lose the title sooner rather than later, likely to Roman Reigns, with a Rollins-Triple H match being prepared for WrestleMania.
– (12:06) Wade takes the first call of the show. D’rell from Georgia gets the honor of being first this week. He asks whether WWE have killed Dean Ambrose’s momentum by positioning him as Reigns’s cheerleader. Jason doesn’t have a problem with Ambrose’s role at present. He notes that Ambrose is a good talker, and so fills that role for Reigns, and adds something to Reigns’s situation by being a friend/coach/cheerleader, as it leaves open the possibility for some kind of angle somewhere down the line, which WWE can then use to re-position Ambrose as an unpredictable lunatic. Wade and Jason both feel that a long-form storyline building to the ultimate break-up of the Ambrose/Reigns partnership would mean much more than something that starts and ends within a few months.
D’rell then asks whether WWE can and will be able to develop and strengthen Rollins’s character by having him stand out more on his own rather than involving him with Kane, J&J Security, etc. Jason feels that WWE have spent so long positioning Rollins as being part of the ‘Authority’ storyline that he’d like to see it reach its natural conclusion. Jason likes that Rollins got a clean win over Kane at HIAC, although thinks that it was too little too late in terms of his overall presentation. However, he also liked the stare-down between Reigns and Rollins last night and is looking forward to that match-up. Wade notes the crowd’s positive reaction to the tease of a Reigns-Owens program.
– (17:05) Brian from Minneapolis asks whether WWE’s methodology is to keep building to pay-offs that ultimately never arrive, and bemoans the lack of long-term planning. He asks the hosts if they can give one example in the past five years where a long-term storyline was built successfully. Jason accepts there have been few to choose from. He suggests Rollins’s MITB win and pay-off at WrestleMania as one. Wade thinks Rollins-Triple H could be another as long as WWE don’t rush out of the storyline. Jason also points to Daniel Bryan’s journey to the WWE Title. Brian counters by saying that the Daniel Bryan storyline paid of for fans, but not for WWE due to the way they handled it. Wade argues that Vince McMahon always has an idea of where he wants his top six guys to be in six months time, although does accept that Vince isn’t shy about calling audibles along the way. Jason agrees, and thinks that the difficulty for Raw comes from Vince’s apparent habit of mapping out PPV cards, but not mapping out the stopping points (e.g. Raw) along the way.
– (23:35) Steven in Tennessee has two questions: Could wrestling benefit more from targeting the ‘hardcore’ fanbase? Given the crowd’s responses to Cena, and the likelihood of Reigns being Cena 2.0, when did Vince decide that his top guy did not need 100 percent of the crowd behind them? Jason feels that Cena has always handled the variety of reactions he gets very well, and so thinks that Vince hasn’t had an issue since then. Wade notes that Vince would rather have Reigns cheered as much as Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan at their peaks, but frames himself as being happy that Cena/Reigns are getting some form of reaction either way. Wade points out that the fan reaction to Reigns stems from his work (or lack of) in the ring and on the mic, also identifying C.M. Punk’s assertion that Reigns was anointed as the ‘chosen one’ when still in NXT and in how Punk was asked to help present Reigns in the best light when working with him. As such, Wade feels that Vince doesn’t prefer having Reigns booed, and feels that Reigns would be pushed aside if Vince found another performer he liked as much who got a stronger crowd reaction.
Jason goes back to the Hogan-Orndorff feud in the 1980s and notes that while some people at the time would have backed Orndorff over Hogan, the same feud today would probably see a 60/40 split in favor of Orndorff. Jason feels today’s audience would be more likely to see through an underdeveloped and overhyped performer, hence their reaction to Reigns. Wade thinks that the WWE needs to put out a good product, as both the casual and hardcore audiences will find something to like. Wade feels that there is no need to have to choose between which audience to target, as a quality, authentic product will attract and please a wide range of audiences. Jason is in agreement, although thinks that there is something to be taken from the ‘hardcore’ audience, in terms of WWE’s tendency to move away from things which the audience responded to organically in favor of what they want the audience to respond to.
– (36:47) Eric from Grand Rapids talks about seeing a spot on ESPN with Alberto Del Rio that presented him as a good father, and wonders how fans are then supposed to go to an arena and boo Del Rio. He asks what the hosts think is next for The Undertaker? Wade notes the strength of feeling he has against how WWE presents its talents in conflicting lights. Jason notes that he grew up on the AWA product, and that Verne Gagne worked with a lot of charitable causes. However, Jason notes that no heels were ever involved in promoting such work, unless they were there to participate in some sort of angle. Jason isn’t sure what Del Rio is supposed to be at this point, although feels that this is by WWE’s design. Wade feels disappointed in the Zeb Colter/Del Rio promo, particularly the lack of back-story or clarity of purpose. Jason feels Taker will be used in the build to Survivor Series and hopes that we see a traditional four-on-four match-up with Taker, Kane, and two others against the Wyatts. Jason notes that he doesn’t want to see the Wyatts damaged even more by just facing Taker and Kane, and is even more fearful of seeing WWE use Survivor Series as the beginning of a build to a Braun Stroman-Taker match at WrestleMania.
– (45:45) Xavier in Vallejo, California feels that this week’s Raw made sense, particularly in that the winners of matches at HIAC were presented as having been given a match on Raw to earn their way into a Fatal Four-Way match, to then earn the #1 contender spot. Xavier feels that this helped keep him invested in the whole three-hour show. However, he notes that Rollins reaction in the stare down with Reigns didn’t reflect his position coming off two big PPV wins. Wade wonders if Rollins fears presenting himself as a stronger character, particularly opposite Reigns, given this might accidentally turn the crowd to him. Jason feels WWE wants Rollins positioned how he is, and also feels that Rollins was deliberately and clearly portraying a ‘false’ confidence.
– (49:33) Wade moves on to a discussion of the Raw viewership numbers, noting that viewership numbers are largely unchanged, and so there has been no post-PPV bump. Jason notes that viewership this week dropped off in the second rather than third hour, although doesn’t recall anything that would have caused this. Wade feels the absence of Cena might have been a factor. Jason wonders what WWE are doing by not addressing Cena’s absence in any way or using it as a way to set up an issue for his return.
– (52:11) Carl from Stockton. He asks whether Triple H-Rollins will happen somewhere other than WrestleMania, and wonders why Reigns and Ryback have sounded better on recent podcasts than they do on TV. Jason feels the Rollins-Reigns-Ambrose triple-threat might happen at WrestleMania, although he isn’t sure that Rollins will still be champion at WrestleMania. The hosts discuss who would go into a Rollins-Triple H program as the babyface. Wade feels that many wrestlers come across better when not on TV/radio, although he does feel that the NXT approach to personalizing the wrestlers’s presentations means that they come across more authentic, and thus more relatable one way or another. Jason notes that Vince tries to present his wrestlers as characters, often distinctly different from the performer’s own personality, making the performer adapt to the Creative when it should be the other way around. Wade tells a story about how Vince made a comment at a press conference several years ago about how difficult it was to get his wrestlers to be good actors.
– (59:12) Mike from Brooklyn notes that he sees Big E. as the breakaway star from the New Day, and notes that he liked Raw this week, particularly as we didn’t see Cena, Big Show, or any other Monday Night War-era ‘casualties,’ which meant the show felt fresh to him. Mike asks whether we’ll see a double turn for Rollins and Reigns at Survivor Series. Jason doesn’t feel there has been any foreshadowing of a double turn, and doesn’t think WWE would do a double-turn without foreshadowing it. Wade doesn’t see a Rollins babyface turn happens this soon.
– (1:02:00) Wade wraps up the show with details of PWTorch.com, future Livecasts, and PWTorch’s social media presence.
– (1:05:14) Outro.
SCORE & REVIEW
8 out of 10 – Less, sometimes, is more! A shorter show than usual this week, but the Tuesday Livecast still scores a solid 8.
While half-an-hour shorter than the past few weeks, the Tuesday Livecast this week managed somehow to seem like it had more content than usual. I think the shorter show actually condensed the content of the show down in a good way, meaning that this week we got more detail on fewer topics as opposed to having lots of topics discussed in less detail. For me, that worked out well this week. A Raw that was perhaps best described as being surprisingly not awful provided relatively few glaring talking points, and so the discussion this week was perhaps more optimistic, discussing what the light at the end of the tunnel might look like when we get there, particularly for Reigns and Rollins.
Personally, I found the discussions between the hosts (beginning) at minutes 17, 23, and 52 respectively, really interesting. The points made about WWE’s approach to creative, and those regarding the difference in crowd responses between eras neatly summed up the relevant topics in a meaningful way, and so whilst we got less time this week, we got the same amount of quality, if not a bit more, from Wade and Jason.
Overall, I’d recommend making the time to listen to the whole of theTuesday Livecast this week. It’s concise, punchy, to the point and fascinating, particularly the discussions on the ‘business’ as a whole.