WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: MLW Radio #285 – why Braun Strowman should become Universal Champion, the intrigue of John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, Mauro Ranallo being on top of the world

MLW Radio (flagship) # 285

Release Date: June 27, 2017


Top Stories:

  • WrestleCircus in Austin
  • Mauro Ranallo is everywhere
  • Mayweather/McGregor on Raw?
  • Paige/Del Rio break up?
  • John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
  • Young Bucks merch at Hot Topic
  • The Roman Reigns problem
  • LaVar Ball on MizTV




Today’s episode is dedicated to Double J, Jackie Johnson, a friend of the show. Rich Bocchini joins MSL once again to fill in for Court Bauer. Rich’s show with J.J. Dillon has gotten rave reviews, as per MSL. He says the feedback has been fantastic, despite the fact there was only two days’ notice before it was released. They will be talking about the very first Clash of the Champions this coming week, and then Jim Barnett the week after.

MSL loves hearing Jim Barnett stories. Rich had a similar interest in him, saying anyone involved in territorial wrestling back in the day had dealt with Barnett in some form or fashion. He was a flamboyant gay man in a macho business. Rich adds that wrestling has always been open to and accepting of different lifestyles, evidenced by Pat Patterson. MSL says that all wrestling has ever cared about is drawing money, and in that sense things are always equal if you can draw. Barnett was a power broker who handled bookings for the NWA World Champion. Rich is excited to learn more about him with J.J.

Rich attended WrestleCircus over the weekend. MSL asks for Rich’s rundown of the event in Austin. 700 plus attended, along with a worldwide audience on Twitch, which is more of a gaming platform but they are big wrestling fans. Rich mentions that YouTube has stopped allowing wrestling to monetize, whereas Twitch’s platform permits it. He said it was a little bit of a long show and some talent were delayed getting to the event, which drew it out longer.

MSL was watching Raw last night, which the guys will get into later in the show, but he mentions Court Bauer’s tweet about praise for Shane Strickland. Ricochet responds to the tweet and says “who?”, which makes MSL wonder if they have heat. Strickland actually won the Ringmaster Championship at WrestleCircus Saturday night.

Mauro Ranallo has been announced as the new NXT play-by-play announcer. M says Mauro is on top of the world now. Rich agrees that he’s everywhere. He doesn’t mean it in a negative way, but Rich says that Mauro is a savant, a walking encyclopedia of combat sports and professional wrestling. It’s amazing the depth of knowledge he has, as well as the ability to recall things at the snap of his fingers. When Mauro first came to WWE and Rich was on Smackdown, Rich half expected him to come to NXT and bump him off that show rather that Smackdown. They both agree that NXT is a much better fit for Mauro.

MSL hopes wrestling will become more serious based on Mauro’s influence, and says he could be the saving grace based on his approach. Rich’s style is much different than Mauro’s, but he says that he is one of the best announcers for a big fight in the business today, and could very well be the glue that ties wrestling together with MMA in terms of “realness.”

M discussed announcing with Tony Schiavone a couple of weeks ago, and asks for Rich’s input on how an announcer can handle it when there’s a match or a game that’s not so great, but you still have to find a way to entertain people and keep them interested. Rich says people can see through it when you’re calling a match like it’s great when it’s not, and says that it’s difficult and almost an art. You can’t call the second match on a show the same way you would call a main event.

HBO’s upcoming mockumentary Tour de Pharmacy, delving into the underbelly of professional cycling, includes John Cena. Rich says the show seems pretty funny and will definitely check it out. Both guys are fans of Andy Samberg, and look forward to the show, which is somewhat of a sequel to Samberg’s tennis mockumentary.

MSL asks Rich if he’s seen GLOW yet, which he hasn’t, but learned that John Morrison appeared in the first episode, along with Joey Ryan. Reviews of the show have been great so far.

MSL also asks Rich about the Hulk Hogan sex scandal documentary that hit Netflix a week or so ago, which he plans to watch tomorrow. Rich hasn’t heard any reviews yet, but says it’s a fascinating story, essentially about how Gawker was brought down by the Hogan scandal. The guys will discuss it more next week.

Triple H wants Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to promote their fight on Raw, which MSL assumes won’t happen since their promotional schedules are probably very busy. This would be a great opportunity for WWE to get involved in the publicity of this fight, as per Rich, it’s the biggest fight since Mayweather/Pacquiao, which more than doubled anything a Tyson fight ever made. M says that the importance of Mayweather’s undefeated streak is the reason behind the huge pay-per-view numbers.

Rich feels that Tyson was larger than life during that era, and that it doesn’t feel like Mayweather has crossed into that realm, but he must be wrong based on the actual numbers. MSL follows boxing very closely, and says that the week of the fight the pre-order numbers they were getting made people wonder if they were wrong because they were so skewed on the high side (best case scenario 3 million buys, and it ended up doing over 4 million). We’ll have to see if Mayweather/McGregor can come close to that. M adds that they could use the help from WWE. Triple H has walked Mayweather to the ring before, so he’s obviously a fan, and WWE’s involvement would certainly be “best for business.”

Rumors of a breakup between Alberto Del Rio and Paige, which they’ve both denied. MSL doesn’t care about this stuff, but obviously there’s some interest there as it’s generating a lot of headlines. He asks Rich what he thinks about the public’s fascination with wrestlers’ relationships. Rich struggles to come up with an explanation, but just says that what’s been publicized of their relationship has been a “bad look.” M says the fact that they’re both “rebels” amplifies the interest. Rich adds that his gut feeling is it was too much too soon for Paige, who is very young, and hopes that a lot of the stuff we’ve been hearing about is a work. M doesn’t know what to make of it, but if it gets them exposure, so be it.

John Cena was asked if he would like to work with Roman Reigns when he returns, which he does, but he wants to prove WWE is still his yard and not Roman’s. M says fans are going to be very confused when this does happen with regards to who they’re supposed to root for or boo. Rich wonders if Cena proving he can still hang will get Roman over. Cena has the ability to elevate guys, and if anyone can push Roman to the next level it would be him, especially if Cena’s cast in an underdog role. M thinks that the match-up would probably lead to an end of the “Cena sucks” chant, simply because the fans hate Reigns so much. Everybody that’s hated Cena for so long probably hates him less than Reigns.

Macho Man’s widow is licensing non-WWE merchandise at Walmart. Roots of Fight also announced their first wrestling deal, releasing Andre the Giant merchandise in a similar arrangement with Andre’s family. The Young Bucks are now selling their merchandise at Hot Topic with no major cable coverage. Rich says this is a huge move and speaks to the strength of the independent scene right now. Rich says that these bigger indy companies are looking very similar to promotions back in the territory days. The products are accessible and an alternative to what WWE is giving wrestling fans. Rich adds that independent wrestlers can make a name for themselves, but will they give up the rights to their names if WWE comes calling. There’s no formula for WWE making guys change their names, with examples like Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe versus Finn Balor.

Sean Mooney pops in from the MLW Events Center. There’s a lot happening this week at MLW, starting with the J.J. Dillon show, who talks about Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, and Eric Bischoff. Bischoff on Wrestling is back looking at Netflix/GLOW, Cody Rhodes winning the ROH Championship, and Kevin Sullivan’s Helluva Deal is back as he and MSL talk about 1972 and the Florida territory. Also on Primetime, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Mooney will talk about great announce teams like Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan.

MSL asks what Roman is supposed to do about WWE sticking with the same storyline despite the fact that the crowd is going nuts for Braun Strowman injuring him. He draws the comparison to if people had cheered King Kong Bundy for hurting Hulk Hogan. M thinks Strowman should go over Reigns as WWE Champion, which would be WWE getting a gift on a silver platter, with a top babyface superstar falling right in their lap. Rich says it’s unfortunately all up to Vince, which means it’s probably not going to happen. Unless there’s a major change in the way they write the show, WWE knows where they’re going with these guys, and don’t seem to be open to the solution that’s right in front of their face.

Nobody thought Goldust would still be going strong 20 years after the gimmick was introduced. Both guys commend Dustin for still being relevant and having such an entertaining feud with R-Truth.

The guys discuss the awful segment with LaVar Ball, which was clearly done to promote the Big Baller Brand. MSL fills the non-sports fan in on the Balls, most specifically LaVar, who has drawn a ton of media attention. M doesn’t know what WWE was expecting giving Ball a live mic, and the train wreck probably gave them more attention than they thought they were getting in the first place. Rich says that Ball turns his stomach, and feels bad for his kids for the detestable way he’s carried himself. M says Rich is a babyface who likes babyfaces. He doesn’t have that innate darkness/spitefulness/hatred that is needed to make a good heel. Rich chuckles at this comment, and has nothing against Lonzo Ball, but the old man just needs to shut up, because it’s embarrassing. I couldn’t agree more, as I think that this guy is a complete jackass!

Big Cass turned on Enzo again after his fake apology. M says that the entire time he knew it would end with him taking out Enzo again, but his girlfriend totally fell for it, and she was furious with Big Cass and refused to watch the rest of the episode. Rich said the segment drove the turn home and made it that much more impactful. He almost felt like there are people rooting for Cass to boot Enzo in the face. M says that a heel these days will get much more support than they have in the past, but the way the team was portrayed, Enzo was the one that kept getting pinned, which would make fans agree with how Big Cass feels about him. Rich agrees that it gives Cass a leg to stand on, but on the other hand Enzo has always been there for Big Cass.

Samoa Joe manages to get the Coquina Clutch on Brock, and this main event will probably go down as the most intriguing B-show main events in quite some time. Rich says he might actually watch the PPV just for that match. Rich thinks it was really well done, making Lesnar seem vulnerable, and both guys agree that they want to see the match, even though it’s virtually impossible that Joe will win. M says that Raw was great through that segment, and that the last hour was forgettable. That does it for this week’s show.

Rating – 7 out of 10. The guys found a lot to discuss this week, despite there not being much happening in the world of wrestling. Once again, I reiterate that the best part of this show is still missing, as Court’s on another extended leave of absence that will hopefully end soon. To be completely honest, it’s hard to maintain the level of interest I have in this show without him on it. Bocchini is a great guy and he and MSL have meshed well together, but the interaction between MSL and Court is what has made this show great.

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.

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