X-Pac 1,2,360 (Episode 38)
Guest: Bill Hanstock, Justin Barrasso
Date: May 24, 2017
Recap by: Christopher Gaspare
-Test almost joined DX.
-X-Pac thought Roode/Itami lacked intensity.
-Nakamura/Ziggler failed to deliver.
00:00: X-Pac and guests talk the importance of chemistry in wrestling.
28:38: The Bachelor, New Japan’s U.S. plans, and Anthem releasing Hardy contracts.
56:58: Sponsor Ad.
57:34: X-Pac and Bill talk wrestling fandom and negativity in wrestling.
1:08:29: The group discusses NXT Takeover: Chicago results.
1:48:54: The group discusses Backlash results.
Show introduction and X-Pac and guests talk the importance of chemistry in wrestling and of New Japan staying authentic when they visit the United States.
X-Pac has finally just got his suitcase with his gear and clothes back! And it was nicely folded. This week on the show had two guests, Uproxx.com wrestling writer, Bill Hanstock, and in the beginning of the show only, Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso. Barrasso recently wrote a column about on-screen chemistry in wrestling. He said it was obvious that Nash, Hall, and Waltman had chemistry for instance, but Hogan lacked chemistry and had a hard time clicking on-screen, at least for a while, with those NWO members.
There was discussion about how the NWO overextended itself by letting in so many members in and that eroding the chemistry. It’s brought up whether Bullet Club is doing the same thing, but everyone thinks it’s a good idea that The Elite is being more selective, much like DX did in the ‘90s. X-Pac said that management tried to shoehorn Test into the group at one point, but they rejected the idea. Jimbo wondered whether New Japan would be successful in the United States or if it would be like Dragon Gate USA. Bill said they brought over everyone in Dragon Gate too soon. X-Pac said that it’s important to remain authentic to your product.
In Japan, the Japanese crowd seeing WWE shows wanted to see the WWE product as is. They wanted Howard Finkel, not a Japanese ring announcer. He continued that fans in America want to see the New Japan rings, turnbuckle pads, ring announcer, Red Shoes, and so on, and that New Japan needs to try to deliver that authenticity.
The Bachelor, New Japan’s U.S. plans, and Anthem releasing Hardy contracts.
Ring of Honor’s Kenny King being on The Bachelor was discussed briefly as was Ric Flair’s 30 for 30 documentary. They returned to discussing New Japan and the announcement of a U.S. subsidiary next year and the new United States title. They went through a list of how they would like to see or who could be the first champion including Cody Rhodes and Jay Lethal. Finally, they discussed Anthem publicly releasing the Hardy contracts and contacts with lawyers online in an attempt to show they have the legal claim to the “Broken” universe. X-Pac said he’s rooting for TNA, but not in this situation.
Wrestling fandom and negativity in wrestling
The group discussed how the NXT crowd is unique and much more into the show than the Backlash crowd seemed to be. The Backlash show sold tickets quickly but slowed down once the card was announced, which shows a lack of enthusiasm for the card, at least on paper. Bill said though that the PPVs have largely been a success with few duds even if the weekly shows are lacking sometimes. X-Pac chimed in that even the weekly shows had gems. Bill explained that he tries to focus on the positive in his writing about wrestling because so many fans focus on the negative. Trying to remain positive, however, has led to claims he’s on the WWE payroll. The negative reaction to Jinder Mahal’s look was brought up, and X-Pac said he had done a lot of steroids but never looked like that. They all agreed that his look took a lot of hard work.
NXT Takeover: Chicago results
Everyone agrees that Roderick Strong and Eric Young had a “solid” match, and X-Pac said it was “good for Roddy.” Bill thought he would lose since this was the same story that Tye Dillinger had with Sanity. Bill thinks Sanity is losing too much, and X-Pac agreed saying wrestlers “have to get a win to remain a threat.” Bill said he thinks Roderick is on “the other side” of NXT now and is no longer simply an indie guy.
Everyone agreed that the UK Championship match between Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne was the match of the night. Bill thought it was “the perfect counterargument” to the recent Rip Rogers …dive controversy. X-Pac said it was the “perfect mix of wrestling, brawling, hard-hitting [and] enough flying.” They thought the ending was logical and the use of the dive was “great” at the end considering so many dives are “obligatory” now. Bill thinks “the stuff Pete Dunne does” outside the ring, such as biting the belt, is going to get him over. They didn’t have too much to say about the women’s match between Asuka, Nikki Cross, and Ruby Riot. Bill thought it was “booked perfectly” and “never let up.” It was agreed it was hard to follow the UK title match.
Bill and X-Pac agreed that the Bobby Roode and Hideo Itami match was the one fans were least interested in. X-Pac felt it was “paint by numbers.” He thought that Hideo’s “aggression [was] missing” and that they “never made [him] feel [Itami] would win.” Bill agreed, saying that Drew McIntyre is obviously the guy that will dethrone Roode. He wished Roode would have finally cheated to win since so far he’s only been “an opportunist” in his matches. Regarding the DIY and Authors of Pain match, they all agreed it was good. X-Pac claimed DIY was “running on all cylinders” and he’s a “believer” in the Authors of Pain now.
The group compared their favorite spots in the match. Bill said he doesn’t think WWE gets enough credit for putting on “wild, entertaining” matches that are “safer than they’ve ever been.” X-Pac joked that they are all “calculated risks,” but that they didn’t used to be so calculated when he was wrestling. Bill called the Ciampa heel turn one of the “best stories in years.” X-Pac was asked about Gargano’s and Ciampa’s prospects on the main roster, and he said he’d need to see more of them as singles wrestlers first but that DIY as a team could have been on the main roster. Jimbo praised Gargano and Ciampa’s use of social media to help tell the story.
The group started the Backlash discussion talking about Nakamura, which all agreed it was not would it should have been. X-Pac thought it followed the “Dolph Ziggler match template” and Nakamura’s comeback was “very bread and butter.” Bill thought the whole match was a “disservice” because WWE kept promoting “wait until you see this guy” but didn’t deliver. Bill, however, loved the Breezango match and thinks they made the most of the chance they were given. Regarding Sami Zayn’s win, X-Pac thinks Zayn should turn heel, but nobody also liked the idea. Bill said he anticipates Sami winning Money in the Bank. No one really liked the Erick Rowan and Luke Harper match. X-Pac thought they “worked hard” and it was a “tough spot” on the card, but ultimately wished they did not wrestle like smaller guys.
X-Pac seemed to expect more of the A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens match, but Bill tried to defend it by saying they are holding off because this is only the first chapter. He said he wants to see Owens cheat, however, because WWE books heels only as jerks and not cheaters. X-Pac said he knew Jinder Mahal was going to take the title in the first few minutes because the commentary was “getting [the audience] ready for Jinder Mahal winning.” X-Pac labeled it “well done,” “great stuff,” and thought “the timing of the finish was excellent.” Bill ended by saying Jinder is more legit than someone like The Great Khali.
Score and Review (7/10)
This look at the past weekend’s events was a nice breather from the stream of pretty strong interviews in recent weeks. It was nice to hear the group just simply talk to each other about the matches from both a fan and an analytical perspective. The conversation still maintained some focus and it was easy to follow most of the time. The amount of time spent on the different events felt right as well since Takeover certainly seemed to have more buzz coming out of the weekend. The run time is still a little hefty, especially for casual listeners, as this episode tops out over two hours again. For many, it might be worth skipping to the discussion of the Takeover and Backlash results.
Chris Gaspare is a teacher from Maryland who has been watching wrestling since 1989 when he saw his first WCW Saturday Night episode and quickly rented as many NWA and WWF VHS tapes he could find in local stores. He also attended Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and early ECW shows in Philadelphia, which really kicked his fandom into high gear. He lapsed in the mid-2000s, but returned to the wrestling fold a few years ago.
For more, check out last week’s recap of X-Pac 1,2,360 with Shawn Stasiak.