MLW Radio (flagship) #280: The Jinder Era Begins
Release date: May 23, 2017
-NXT TakeOver: Chicago strong in the middle
8:45 – TakeOver: Chicago
13:30 – UK Championship
21:25 – NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat
32:00 – NXT Championship
38:55 – NXT Tag Team Championship
46:10 – Backlash
53:40 – SmackDown Tag Team Titles
58:30 – Zayn vs. Corbin
1:01:00 – Women’s 3-on-3
1:08:35 – Owens vs. Styles
1:15:25 – Harper vs. Rowan
1:19:15 – WWE Championship
The Writer’s Room crew is taking over for MSL and Court this week. Robert Karpeles (@WWECreative_ish), the new host of Writer’s Room tells us about the new VIP only episode this week with special guest Lance Storm and introduces the former host Alex Greenfield as his co-host for this week’s flagship, where they review the week that was in WWE, including NXT TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash. Alex felt that NXT was the best show of the
Alex felt that NXT was the best show of the weekend and that the middle of the show specifically was very compelling. Robert says that it seems the NXT TakeOver show typically ends up being better than what WWE puts out the following night when they schedule them in the same location. Alex doesn’t understand why WWE forgets what makes the NXT talent exciting when they’re called up to the main roster. Then again, he does, because Vince doesn’t get what makes the show compelling. Robert points out that the fact that NXT tapes its shows all at once for several weeks, which leaves very little room for changes to be made over that period of time. Alex read in The Observer that changes were still being made up to 2 hours before the event for Backlash Sunday.
8:45 – NXT TakeOver Chicago. Robert doesn’t think Roderick Strong vs. Eric Young should be an opening match, as both guys are well-established stars, while Alex felt that it was a strong TV main event and feels there’s a lot more that could be done with Sanity. According to Robert, watching them essentially lose 1-on-3 to Strong isn’t helping the cause in establishing the group (much like how many WWE fans felt about the Wyatt Family). Alex wonders why the ineffective leaders of these cult-like groups still retain their followers. Robert says TNA made a similar mistake when they kept putting out factions with no real direction, which prevents them from having any success. Alex gives an opposite case of The Shield being booked correctly.
13:30 – UK Championship Match. Robert admittedly hasn’t watched much of the WWE UK program, whereas Alex is ready to mark out at a moment’s notice about the new talent, despite also not having watched much of the WWE product yet. He commends Pete Dunne for being a “disgusting, despicable heel in the best possible way” and thoroughly enjoyed this match, especially with JR and Nigel McGuinness on commentary. It was Robert’s favorite match of the weekend, as he exclaimed that Dunne and Tyler Bate told a great story.
21:25 – NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat. Alex really enjoyed the match despite not usually being a fan of triple threat matches, and finds both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot to be impressive. It was really clean, really strong, and got all three women over. Whomever finally beats Asuka will be made. Robert doesn’t give it as much praise as Alex, but continues to be impressed by Nikki Cross, who you want to watch when she’s on TV. Alex stresses the importance of character work, regardless of a talent’s physical skill in the ring, and says that each of the three of the women’s work in the ring matches their respective character perfectly.
32:00 – NXT Championship Match. Alex loves Bobby Roode’s entrance and promos, but isn’t a huge fan of the style he’s been wrestling, and ironically adds that it could have used a few more “flips.” The match typified a TV main event, just didn’t feel special, and left him bored and checked out. He’s not sure if it was the chemistry between the two guys, but it felt very disposable. Robert agrees with the disconnect between Roode’s character and his in-ring work. He refers to it as a mid-2000s “Triple H Light”, which is very different from a lot of the WWE product, but he is much more concerned about how Hideo Itami has been booked. The storyline of someone continuing to not get it done ends up becoming a reality, much like with Dolph Ziggler. Itami has been unlucky with respect to his injuries as per Alex, but it feels like WWE doesn’t know what to do with him, and Robert adds that Itami is a very talented performer that you can’t play fast and loose with. He should have been treated as special, instead of him overcoming setbacks and just losing again. The wins and losses don’t matter mantra is broken, which is a bummer for Alex because Itami should’ve won, and it was the wrong conclusion to the story. The man is incredibly talented, but his potential is endangered.
38:55 – NXT Tag Team Championship. Alex thinks the non-match content for this feud has been great, especially how the Authors of Pain have been able to build heat, with help from DIY. He says the Ciampa heel turn was the best he’s seen in years, and compliments the slow build of Ciampa’s rage towards Gargano. Some of the ladder spots were sick and terrifying, “turn your head away”, cringe-inducing. Robert was distracted and frustrated by the AOP in that style of a match, especially with the fake climbing up the ladder slowly routine. Alex finds that this is a problem with all ladder matches. It’s a suspension of disbelief question. Gargano & Ciampa carried AOP to a great match, but Robert was thrown off by the ladder aspect, and wonders whether or not it was a smart idea to get the best breakup of this tag team while it’s still in NXT.
46:10 – Backlash. The PPV didn’t make a lot of sense to Alex, who feels that SmackDown has lost a lot of steam over the last six to eight weeks. He found himself looking at his phone and looking at stuff online for most of the show (as I did, admittedly). Alex has officially cut bait on Ziggler, who took heat for most of the match, which didn’t make any sense to him. After years of being a supporter he just doesn’t buy the character. Robert thought the main event of Backlash was going to be Nakamura’s entrance. In terms of crowd response it was easily one of the high points of the night, while the match itself was awkward. Alex thinks they worked the wrong match, and that the level of parity didn’t make any sense based on the way that Nakamura has been built. Robert thinks it was a mistake to treat Nakamura like someone the fans have never seen before, and questioned why the announcers presented Dolph as a former Champion and unstoppable. A guy like X-Pac would have been perfect for the role of making Nakamura look great with a win. Alex agrees and thinks that whoever creatively constructed this match just didn’t do it the right way.
53:40 – Usos vs. Breezango. Alex enjoyed the hell out of this match and says that the Fashion Police vignettes have been stellar. He feels that it was a highlight of the show, but Robert disagrees, and expresses frustration with how most of the match was wacky comedy, which isn’t the best spot for the way the Usos have been presented. What could have been a fast-paced exciting match ended up mostly as a wild wacky schtick, which feels like wasted potential to him. Alex thinks the Usos will be overconfident next time around, when Breezango should be able to capitalize and surprise them. Robert hopes that he’s correct.
58:30 – Zayn vs. Corbin. Felt like another TV match to Alex. Sami tried as hard as he could to sell for Corbin, who both Alex and Robert have had mixed feelings about going back to his NXT days. Robert speaks of a few flashes where he was impressed with what Corbin was doing, and he has been incredibly critical of him in the past. He says that the end of the match was either a last minute change or it’s the start of something more meaningful for Corbin, and disagrees with Alex’s opinion about Zayn, but will come back to it later in the pod.
1:01:00 – Women’s 3-on-3 match. Neither guy understands what they’re trying to do with this match, nor did the finish make sense to them. The match was a call back to the Divas matches of the past, and despite having some potential, it made no sense with respect to how the women were positioned at the conclusion.
1:08:35 – Owens vs. Styles. Alex didn’t have a problem with the finish, as it will keep this feud going. There were moments in the match that were spectacular, but it felt like two of the best in-ring performers in the world were getting used to each other. It was a great TV main event, but there was a spark missing, and he’s not sure if it was chemistry, but it reminded him of Natural Born Killers from a style versus substance standpoint. Robert speaks of the added pressure on Owens and Styles after Ziggler and Nakamura disappointed, and predicts that their next match should be spectacular, much like Owens vs. Jericho recently. Alex suspects that they might just have been “trying s**t out” and agrees that the rematch should be better.
1:15:25 – Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan. Not much to say about this, other than Robert’s sense of humor is spectacular when recapping matches like this that generate no interest from WWE fans and help nobody.
1:19:15 – WWE Championship Match. Alex references how Orton made comments about indy matches days before wrestling a really boring match. It was an ironic piece of trolling followed by a match that proved the point opposite of his. That being said, there might be problems with this match, but he stresses that you can’t underestimate the power of a minority representation at the top of the card in WWE. He saw a tweet from an Indian fan that was heartwarming, and is happy for someone like Mahal, who has spent a lot of years working hard in WWE to get to this point. He might not be much more than a transitional champion, but in Alex’s opinion he’s ok with Mahal getting elevated. Robert is all in. He thinks that Jinder Mahal is pro wrestling, and that Smackdown has one of the most talented collection of wrestlers that you’ll see anywhere. Mahal is your old school wrestling, sports entertainment dastardly heel. He says that Orton could have gotten more support as the babyface if it weren’t for his tweets last week. Mahal can work other programs against guys like Sami Zayn without running the risk of damaging the brand because it’s so strong elsewhere with guys like A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens. He likens Mahal to JBL’s transformation and how valuable that character was to build storylines with the babyfaces at that time. The Singh Brothers add an interesting dimension to the character according to Alex, who says there’s a lot you can do with Mahal and Zayn, Mahal and A.J., or Mahal and Jason Jordan or Chad Gable.
Robert says that it shows that a guy that can be mishandled a few times and even released can still make it in WWE. Both guys are excited to see where WWE goes with this character, several of which Court tweeted several suggestions/ideas for the other day. They commend this “smart piece of business”, which carries very little risk based on the surrounding talent that they can bring into the fold to insulate it. Ultimately their review of Backlash ends on a positive note!
The guys close the show with their plugs, including Alex’s most recent VIP Lounge with MVP, his column in Total Wrestling Magazine’s new issue, and the Facelock Feministas’ interview with Jim Smallman of Progress.
Rating – 8 out of 10. It wasn’t easy to write this week’s recap, and that’s not a negative comment about Alex and Robert, whose free-flowing conversations are exactly what makes me enjoy their Writer’s Room podcast. Less of a news-like rundown that we’re used to with the flagship, and much more of what I love about their VIP podcast, as they run through PPVs, Raws, Smackdowns, and NXT shows from the lens of the creative team. They bring an in-depth insight into building characters and storylines and don’t hold back in expressing their pleasure or displeasure with the product. It’s a casual wrestling conversation that any fan would enjoy.
About the Author:
Desman (@Desman6) has been an avid wrestling fan going back to the very first WrestleMania and has attended four WrestleManias during his tenure as a WWE Shop card-carrying member of the WWE Universe. A financial professional by day, he spends his nights and weekends with his wife, rescue dog, and 2 rescue cats, watching WWE programming and listening to a number of wrestling-related podcasts. His true passions are food, film, and fights and he is forever fascinated by the business of professional wrestling.
For more, check out last week’s recap of MLW Radio.