Cheap Heat Podcast – Pre-WM32 Interviews with Bray Wyatt, Sasha Banks, New Day, A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe (Apr. 1, 2016)

“Cheap Heat” Podcast on Grantland Sports
Hosts: David Shoemaker & Peter Rosenberg
Guests: WWE Stars at Radio Row
Release Date: April 1, 2016


Recap by Corey Freedman

Top Newsworthy Items

– This is the Cheap Heat WrestleMania special! The host are live in Dallas.

– Interviews on this show: the New Day (all three members), A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Sasha Banks, and Bray Wyatt.

– A.J. and Samoa Joe both mention that they can’t believe they are at WrestleMania weekend as part of the WWE.

– A.J. discusses his immense level of respect for Chris Jericho. He also talks about how amazing his reception at the Royal Rumble was.

– Samoa Joe talks about first going to NXT and how he was a bit of an experiment for the WWE (namely that they let him keep his name and gimmick).

– Sasha Banks talks about how surreal this whole weekend is for her. She also discusses her motivations to be the best in the world, which she believes she is.

– Bray Wyatt is hoping for a reset for his character. He talks about wanting to get back to their original message when they debuted (essentially that monsters don’t hide in the shadows, they exist in plain sight).

– The hosts offer up their predictions for WM32 and the main event of “NXT: Takeover.”

Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)

0:00 – Sponsor Ad
0:15 – Introduction
1:30 – New Day interview
16:45 – New Day interview ends
21:55 – A.J. Styles interview
36:10 – Interview ends
44:40 – Samoa Joe interview
56:42 – Joe interview ends/Sasha Banks interview
1:13:12 – Sasha interview ends/Bray Wyatt interview
1:31:15 – Sponsor Ad
1:31:35 – Return from sponsor ad
1:31:35 – WM32 predictions
2:00:59 – Show ends

Show Highlights

Introduction: The hosts are live in Dallas. Greg arrives to the podcast with the New Day.

The New Day: All three members of the New Day are here for the interview. Kofi Kingston supports Bernie Sanders. Big E. talks about how much better they feel as a group heading into this WrestleMania as opposed to last year. They talk about the huge crowd reaction they got on Raw in Brooklyn. Xavier Woods says that two cities have never been good to him in his wrestling career, until now. Those cities are Detroit and Chicago. Rosenberg talks about Kofi never having a true fit before until he joined up with the New Day. Kofi talks about how hard they have worked as a group. He says when Big E. and Xavier approached him to form a group, he wanted to make sure he could use his veteran role to lift the group up. He says it has been awesome to reap the benefits together. Rosenberg says he expects the New Day to have a real feel-good moment at WrestleMania. Xavier doesn’t have any expectations for crowds, they just go out and do their thing.

Greg asks if their perspective changes when the crowd starts reacting overly positively to them. Xavier talks about getting different reactions based on the regions the show is in, and he says that their focus is on making each other laugh and they hope that translates to the crowd. Big E. and Xavier talk about needing to be at their best and constantly reinvent themselves. They don’t have the luxury of just going out to the ring and “doing their hits.” Shoemaker brings up that other teams seem to be elevated by feuding with the New Day. Kofi says they notice that 100 percent. He says one of their goals is always to make the product entertaining, regardless of who they are working with. He talks about the League of Nations having a little more fun than before they worked with the New Day. Kofi says that even veterans of the Attitude Era work with them and tell them they had more fun than they ever had.

Rosenberg asks if the New Day’s rising popularity has more of an affect on Xavier because he plays more of the manager role at times. Xavier says it doesn’t because they need to continue acting the exact same. Rosenberg brings up the New Day cheating, which the entire New Day disagrees with. Xavier calls it “using effective strategy.” Xavier says that was not his actual trombone that he uses on Raw, as the WWE gave him one to use. He was supposed to give it back to a worker before their match, but decided to keep it at ringside (that’s how Xavier bringing the trombone each match became a thing). Xavier Woods mentions his YouTube video game channel “UpUpDownDown.” Stat Guy Greg told Xavier the story of him making the bad joke to him at last year’s WrestleMania.

Post-New Day interview: The hosts joke about Greg’s interaction with Xavier last year. The hosts are in the WWE Axxess space. Greg talks about the various exhibits in the room. Greg has met Mark Henry, The Miz, Darren Young, Brie Bella, the New Day, Jojo, and Sasha Banks.

A.J. Styles interview: Rosenberg brings up how he never thought he’d see A.J. in the WWE. A.J. talks about going to dinner with Samoa Joe and both remarking how they couldn’t believe they were here wrestling for the WWE. Rosenberg asks what his interactions with higher-ups like Vince are like, as they have mostly ignored them for their entire career. A.J. says he mostly spoke to Triple H. He thinks, perhaps, after the Royal Rumble Vince McMahon finally thought something of A.J.. Shoemaker brings up that it seems A.J. is getting some of the biggest pops on the entire roster. A.J. says even he is surprised with the positive reactions he has gotten so far. He jokes that it’s fun to have people in the audience (as opposed to some of the indie promotions). Rosenberg asks how different the Royal Rumble felt from his past work. A.J. can’t say how amazing that moment was enough. He found out around a week after the Rumble that he would be working with Chris Jericho. He was extremely excited when he found that out. He compares their career paths. A.J. talks about his immense level of respect for Chris Jericho. Shoemaker brings up that the Jericho-A.J. match is the only straight up (no belt or stipulation) singles match on the card.

Rosenberg asks A.J. about Ric Flair. A.J. thought their work together in TNA got cut off too soon. A.J. says that Flair taught him a lot about how to cut a promo. A.J. says that The Rock talked to him first, which totally surprised him (e.g. he already knew who A.J. is). A.J. praises Shane McMahon’s table spot on Raw, and mentions how Shane is clearly not just some promoters son with no talent. Shoemaker asks about the physical difference between a WWE ring and other promotion’s rings. A.J. says he worried about getting thrown out of the Rumble because he hadn’t felt the ropes before. He continues that there are some subtle differences (ropes, ring size, etc.) but in general it’s the same. He says the NJPW ropes were cables, not actual rope. A.J. says nothing is different with his family as far as seeing him in the WWE. Greg brings up A.J.’s new theme music. AJ told the WWE he wanted something with a smidge of a country feel, but he is more of a rap guy personally, and that is how his theme came together. Rosenberg describes it as “redneck gangster Christian rap.” A.J. is a big fan of the rapper Lecrae.

Post-A.J. interview: Dipperstein joins the show and says he was never a fan of A.J. before he came to the WWE, but has certainly enjoyed him since. The hosts discuss which matches will be on the pre-show. The first match is the Ryback vs. Kalisto match. All the hosts agree that Kalisto will retain, as they won’t change the U.S. Title on the pre-show. The hosts like the idea of a babyface win to open the show. The next match is the Usos vs. the Dudley Boyz. Rosenberg thinks the Usos will win to appease the children in the crowd. They also bring up the Divas tag match on the pre-show and Rosenberg thinks Brie will get the pin.

Samoa Joe interview: Shoemaker talks about seeing Joe at a dinner around WrestleMania weekend last year. Joe tells a story of Jim Ross telling WWE higher ups that they needed to sign Joe. Rosenberg brings up the development of NXT as a brand. Joe gives credit to former NXT members who were championing Joe to Triple H before he eventually signed. Joe jokes about how Hunter thought he might be offended by them having him go to NXT first. Joe had seen NXT and talked to many people involved in NXT so he was totally cool with the idea. Joe says that Brooklyn was probably a bigger crowd, but this is certainly one of the biggest events he’s been apart of in America.

Joe talks about driving with A.J. Styles last night. He says he and A.J. both remarked at how they couldn’t believe they were about to perform at WrestleMania weekend for the WWE. He talks about the validation potential that working this weekend creates. Joe talks about how the WWE has changed a lot, and he points to the fact that they let him keep his name and character. He says he was a bit of an experiment for the WWE, and he hopes it has worked out in their favor. Joe talks about how great the WWE merchandise department is.

Shoemaker jokes that he assumed the WWE was going to change his name, so when he debuted in a Samoa Joe shirt, he thought Joe was just wearing his own shirt. Joe praises the NXT crowds. Rosenberg brings up that he expects to see Joe on Raw soon. Joe says he has heard plenty of rumblings, but he doesn’t know anything for sure yet. Joe says the first pro wrestling he ever watched was UWFI. He says that is where he learned a lot of his style from.

Sasha Banks: Rosenberg had to interview Bernie Sanders as Sasha Banks was approaching to do their interview. Sasha Banks hates the pressure put on by people saying their match will steal the show, but “she is Sasha Banks and she is the best.” Shoemaker jokes that Sasha knows pressure because the second match with Bayley had crazy expectations. Sasha says she just has to do her thing, and that she is ready for WrestleMania. Rosenberg believes the Sasha Banks character is so well put together. He asks how different the real person is from the character. Sasha says that the character is “everything she wished she could be as a kid.” Sasha truly believes she is the best female wrestler in the WWE.

Sasha talks about how amazing it is that she will be in this match with Charlotte and Becky Lynch because it could have been anybody else that was put in that position. Rosenberg jokes that the epitome of how the WWE fails with Divas is usually the match at WrestleMania. They all remark at how drastically different this years WM Divas match will be. Sasha never wanted to be like the old stereotypical Divas who wrestled in panties. Greg mentions that most people seem to consider Sasha Banks the best overall wrestler, not just female wrestler. Sasha says The Boss character really developed after being told she “was a good hand.” That was certainly not good enough for her. Sasha talks about knowing that as soon as she got the opportunity on Raw, she just had to do her thing. She says that some of her stuff with Team B.A.D. “sucked.”

Sasha believes this triple threat at WM32 will open some doors for female wrestlers. Sasha tells a story about going to a WWE event the day Eddie Guerrero died. She had made a sign for Eddie, and only found out he died because another fan walked up to her and told her. Rosenberg asks how much work goes into Sasha’s entrance. Sasha says she “just feels it.” The hosts make their Divas Title match predictions with Sasha. Greg says Sasha is going to make Charlotte tap. Rosenberg thinks Charlotte should retain and Sasha should chase her for a while. Shoemaker predicts Sasha wins. Sasha, of course, predicts the she will win.

Bray Wyatt interview: Bray jokes that he doesn’t respect you if you pick against Sasha Banks. Rosenberg asks if Bray is down that he isn’t slated for a big moment on this show. Bray jokes “how do you know I’m not.” He says it has been cool to see how much response the lack of a clear direction for Bray at WM32 has generated. Bray says that when they originally debuted, he felt like they were Triple H’s project and Vince didn’t really get it. He tells a story about how a ton of people on Twitter knew Bray Wyatt’s name when they were showing the debut vignettes. Vince asked another employee how they all knew Bray’s name (when they didn’t say his name in the vignettes). He says that is an example of the power of NXT.

Rosenberg asks about working with his brother Bo Dallas. Bray says that Bo has natural movements that remind him of Barry Windham. He reminds everyone that Bo is only 25 years old, so his time will come eventually. Bray wants a reset for his character. He talks about recapturing the message from the original vignettes. He talks about the idea they originally presented that “monsters are real and they are right in front of you.” Rosenberg actually mentions to Bray that he got tired of hearing him talk so much and that he just wanted to see Bray beat the crap out of people. Bray says it worked so well in the beginning because he had so much to say. He had been held down in NXT and was ready to burst out.

Bray talks about an idea Dusty had for their debut to walk directly out of the Titantron. Dusty had a big impact on Bray’s life and career. Bray describes Luke Harper as his second in command and jokes that he is always grumpy. He described Braun Strowman as an excited kid when he joined the group. He jokes that Erick Rowan is the redheaded stepchild. The Family refers to Braun as “evil Bray.” Bray tells a story about driving with Luke Harper and he joked at the time that nobody would have helped them if their car broke down because they both look like lunatics.

WM32 picks: Rosenberg tries to defend himself for having picked against Sasha Banks in front of her. He justifies it by saying he posted a pic of himself in a Sasha Banks shirt on social media before. The hosts bring up the rumor that they are going to redo the Divas Title to look more like the WWE World Hvt. Title and call it the Women’s Championship. The hosts are ready to make their official WM32 predictions. Greg, Shoemaker, and Rosenberg think the League of Nations will win. Dipperstein predicts the New Day will win. Greg picks Tyler Breeze to win the Andre Battle Royale. Shoemaker says the only way this match is interesting is if the Wyatt Family wins. Rosenberg would like to see Mark Henry win. The hosts all predict A.J. Styles will beat Chris Jericho. The host all unanimously choose Kevin Owens to retain the IC Title. Shoemaker says the only other option is to have Ziggler win to allow Owens and Zayn to feud without the Title. Dipperstein would like to see John Cena interfere in the Shane-Taker match to set up a feud with Taker. Greg keeps going back and forth on this, but today he thinks Shane is going to win. Dipperstein predicts Shane will win via outside help. Shoemaker predicts Shane wins because he thinks it is the only logical pay-off for this whole angle. Rosenberg is alone in picking Undertaker to win.

All the hosts agree that Brock Lesnar will win over Dean Ambrose. Shoemaker is the only host who doesn’t think Roman Reigns will win over Hunter. Rosenberg talks about how the WWE clearly knows to let things develop organically (like the New Day) but Roman is treated very differently. Rosenberg talks about watching WM3 recently. Shoemaker talks about the difference in booking between WWE and NXT. He says that nobody really cares who wins at NXT because they trust the booking. He compares that to the WWE where whether someone wins or loses seems to indicate the future booking of that person. The hosts predict the NXT main event. Shoemaker and Greg pick Joe, and Dipperstein and Rosenberg predict Finn Balor. The hosts talk briefly about autographs.

Score and Review

Score (10): Aside from Dipperstein and Rosenberg doing truly repug Bernie Sanders impressions, this was a must-listen. The hosts have several current stars on the show as they head into WM32 weekend. They also offer their predictions for WM32 and the NXT main event. Not much else to say, this should absolutely be included in your preparations for Sunday night.

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