Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: July 13, 2017
Guest: A.J. Styles
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
- A.J. Styles was happy he lost his first WrestleMania match.
- A.J. loved his WrestleMania match with Shane McMahon.
- A.J. says he has learned 90% of what he knows in WWE from John Cena.
- Sam believes Kurt Angle will wrestle at SummerSlam.
- Sam felt that Reigns acted like a heel and Strowman like a face at GBOF.
- Sam doesn’t like the fact WWE is showing the Punjabi Prison on Smackdown.
Subjects covered (with timestamps)
05:58-A.J. Styles Interview
07:57-A.J. Styles’ First Year
15:30-‘Beat up John Cena’ Catchphrase
23:03-New Japan Pro Wrestling
34:19-Vince McMahon approval
50:22-End of Interview
56:45-State of Wrestling
1:01:00-Kurt Angle Texts
1:07:30-Alberto El Patron/Paige news
1:10:50-Austin Aries Released
1:45:47-End of podcast
Sam welcomes everyone to the show and discusses how wrestling never stops with stories and big moments constantly happening, which he will cover in the State of Wrestling.
He was live at Madison Square Gardens and said he was shocked that A.J. Styles picked up the United States Championship. Sam says it was fun to chat with him before the show as wrestling means everything to him.
A.J. Styles interview
Sam asks A.J. if MSG had any significance to him growing up. He admitted that it wasn’t a big deal until he got into wrestling and realized who had been here and how special it was.
A.J. points out that unless you’re with the WWE you can’t wrestle in Madison Square Garden. That is what makes it special.
A.J.’s First Year with WWE
Styles noted that his first year with the company saw him achieve a lot of things he never dreamed of. He said he is aware you can’t always be the main event because if you are, you become stale.
A.J. says he is glad he didn’t win at the first WrestleMania because he thinks people might not have been as behind him as they were when he was on top.
He thinks that sometimes losing is a good thing as you can create more stories from it with a comeback after you have lost.
Styles says he has a lot of goals that he wants to accomplish and Sam points out that people now look at him as just a WWE guy rather than a former TNA star or New Japan; A.J. agrees that it is very cool.
“Beat up John Cena”
Sam asks about his ‘Beat up John Cena’ catchphrase from his feud with Cena and asks if he got nervous that the punchline wouldn’t fully work. A.J. says he was. He also says he only needs to learn things once and if he realizes it doesn’t work straight away he will stop doing it.
Sam brings up the fact A.J. is a big family man and wonders if he is constantly thinking about matches when he is back home. Styles says that he switches everything wrestling related off as there is always something for him to be doing with his family.
A.J. says he has met guys who always stay in character, even away from the ring. He promised himself he would never be that way as it really bothered him.
He thinks there is nothing wrong with taking pride in your work, but at the end of the day he is just a guy, a normal husband and dad.
Sam asked what it was like working with Shane McMahon. A.J. believes they surprised a lot of people and that he loved it.
Sam points out that it was one of the main talking points from the show. A.J. gives Shane props for having a fantastic work ethic and he gives him a lot of credit for the match quality.
A.J. thinks it was perfect that they went on first as WrestleMania is such a long show. Sam mentions how the opener has to get the crowd ready for the night.
Styles thinks that he has surprised people lots of times, not just in wrestling, but in life and he is very proud of that.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Sam asks if there are any guys over in Japan who he believes should be working in WWE and he spoke about how it’s cool it is that they still see Bullet Club shirts.
Sam states how he managed to prove how good he was in Japan and wasn’t seen as a ‘TNA’ guy after that. A.J. states it was all part of a plan, he just didn’t know about it.
A.J. says you don’t understand just how big WWE is until you are part of the company.
Sam asks about when he realized he had to leave TNA? A.J. said he thought he would retire with them, but in his last year with the company he knew it was time to move on and bet on himself.
A.J. says a podcast dogged him over the fact he left TNA surrounding money, he pointed out that this is his job and he had done everything for that company so it was disrespectful for them to cut his pay.
Sam asked how A.J. felt when he heard that Shawn Michaels had been offered the WrestleMania match and rejected it. Styles said he respects him so much for retiring and sticking to it.
A.J. says he would like to have learned from HBK but says 90% of what he has learned in WWE is from John Cena, who he really put over. Styles doesn’t think Cena buries guys, but it’s on the guys to take what they’ve learned after working with him.
Styles says it takes two to have a great match and notes that he didn’t carry Cena in any of their matches.
Vince McMahon approval
Sam wondered when A.J. knew that Vince McMahon was sold on him and Styles thinks it was the Miz TV segment where he beat him up. He thinks Vince likes a tough guy to a degree, and whilst Styles admits he isn’t Brock Lesnar, he has always fought in his life.
Styles thinks the easiest way to deal with a bully is to crack them one time, as sometimes enough is enough.
Sam says he thinks Daniel Bryan has figured out what bothers A.J. and he likes to push him because they’re live and he can get away with it.
Sam wonders what A.J. is looking forward to. He states there is so much he hasn’t done yet and that he hasn’t been in the ring with Seth Rollins or Finn Balor yet.
Sam asks if we are seeing the best of Shinsuke Nakamura. A.J. says fans need to be patient as they are building up to something and he has a few ideas (hinting at a match) but says it is what the boss wants.
Sam mentioned the Money in the Bank segment and A.J. said that it was great and reveals they have only wrestled each other one time, which was the Wrestle Kingdom match that blew everyone away.
Sam asks what the favorite thing he has done and A.J. says one of the funniest things he has done is the Southpaw Wrestling. He is happy it is going to come back for another season.
Sam moved the conversation on to A.J.’s promo work and Styles said he now feels comfortable with it and has worked out who he is and wants people to invest in his character.
Before he ends the podcast, Sam wants to know if there is a strategy to how A.J. keeps himself healthy with the moves that he does. A.J. says it is about being smarter where you put these moves and listen to your body, if it isn’t feeling it then don’t do it, that is the same with working out. Sam says it is amazing watching his career unfold and that brings an end to the interview.
End of Interview
Sam thinks it Is amazing that the concept of MSG isn’t lost on someone like A.J. Styles and he thinks that is to do with WWE’s exclusivity on the building for wrestling.
Due to what happened on Smackdown, Sam thinks we might see a rematch between Styles and John Cena at SummerSlam. He thinks the argument could be made that the US Championship is possibly the most important title in terms of wrestling.
Sam reminds fans he is working on a live show for SummerSlam weekend and that it is always such a fun afternoon for the fans.
State of Wrestling
Sam says there is so much stuff he wants to watch, including the Kurt Angle WWE:24, and he thinks it is so cool that they got Dixie Carter to be part of the story.
He says how TNA is always ignored with former talents from the company, but he wonders if that is down to the talent, as the likes of Styles and Samoa Joe haven’t left on good terms and now they come across as WWE superstars.
Kurt Angle storyline
Sam admits he loves the soap opera side of professional wrestling and is looking forward to seeing the Kurt Angle text storyline continuing next week on Raw. He thinks it will be a hit as it hasn’t been positioned ahead of any other major storylines.
He isn’t against Dixie Carter being involved in the story as he believes she is one of wrestling’s great bad guys as people honestly dislike her, but he doesn’t think that will be the case.
Sam thinks the situation will somehow involve Stephanie McMahon, as they can build on the history that already exists between the pair and Triple H from the Attitude Era. He thinks the text will lead to Angle having a SummerSlam match and he isn’t against it being with Triple H.
He thinks Roman Reigns will face Brock Lesnar one on one at SummerSlam and he runs through lots of potential matches. Sam mentions how SummerSlam is a smaller version of WrestleMania, but you don’t currently have a special attraction match, though, Angle vs. HHH could fill that gap.
Alberto El Patron/Paige
Sam says this is more of a news story than a wrestling story, it just involves professional wrestlers. He says they were both in good spirits when Alberto was on the show a few months ago and said there wasn’t a negative vibe about them.
That said, Sam says where there is smoke there is fire, he thinks the fact this isn’t the first event of weirdness doesn’t help when Paige’s family is concerned.
He thinks it is upsetting given how good and young Paige is and the role she could be playing in making history with the women’s revolution. Sam wants to see Paige back in the ring and wonders if the fact she has grown up in wrestling makes her feel like a grizzled veteran already.
Austin Aries departure
Sam said he was shocked by the news that Austin Aries was released by the company. He noted that his partner has just signed with WWE and he has just released a book which WWE could have promoted; Sam notes it’s an odd time to leave.
He thinks it has been a strange year for Aries, who was brilliant on commentary, making the most out of an injury situation.
Sam added that even though he lost to Neville, he didn’t think Aries was a stale character and says he has never had a bad experience with him despite rumors about him having a bad attitude.
Sam mentioned that he pushed how good Raw and Great Balls of Fire was and he said it is frustrating he has been called a shill for working with WWE. He thinks if you didn’t enjoy Great Balls of Fire then you are simply watching the product to hate on it.
He thinks that you got things we don’t normally get at Great Balls of Fire, with lots of blood taking place.
Moving on to Raw itself, Sam questions what WWE can do with Enzo Amore. He says you could move him to 205 Live or be a good guy manager, but adds he would have to go away for a little while to do that.
Sam wants to see Big Cass add some real personality and a less generic theme song and added that his work with Big Show was fun this week. He thinks Big Show is a valuable resource right now. He is showing up when needed and it protects his character more.
He felt that Alexa Bliss count out victory was a let-down but said what happened after the bell more than made up for things and he left the match excited about it; which he wasn’t at the start.
Sam was excited about Bray picking up a PPV victory and thinks we should see Brock Lesnar as an evolving character. Right now, he is a true prize fighter, he isn’t collecting money hourly, he wants to win his match and go home.
He thinks it isn’t a problem that Samoa Joe lost after one F5 as he wants to see wrestler’s finishers do exactly that, finish the match. Sam thinks Samoa Joe is so much stronger now than he was prior to the match as Lesnar looked like he had just escaped.
Moving on to the ambulance match, Sam does not believe Roman Reigns can be the face of the company and attempt to murder someone. On the other hand, he thinks everything Braun Strowman has been doing lends him to being a babyface.
He does see it as a continuation of the feud as it has gone past good guys and bad guys but he thinks it comes across as both men portraying the opposite.
Sam enjoyed the little details of the bonus match with the wrestlers getting their gear on whilst they were entering the ring as it lent credibility to what was happening backstage.
Sam noted that it was one of the best PPVs of the year and certainly the best Raw PPV of the year, and the next night was a good episode of Raw.
He thought that the match between Finn Balor and Elias Samson was very good and he believes that feud is now blown off. He liked that there was a feud that was focused just on Raw, which is something that Sam believes should happen more if Raw is to be three hours as it is meaningful.
Sam questioned whether Bray Wyatt’s feud with Seth Rollins should have been on PPV as it could have been kept on Raw, which he thinks is crucial as SummerSlam will be stacked.
He loved the segment between Samoa Joe, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns on Raw as it felt real to him and was fun to watch.
Sam felt that the blue brand offered another good show, but once again felt that Raw was overall a better product for a second time since the brand split.
He is disappointed that the Punjabi Prison is going to be on Smackdown next week as he wants the structure to be something fans are anticipating and that should happen at Battleground.
Sam thinks Battleground has a lot to live up to due to Great Balls of Fire being so entertaining, he thinks it will take a lot and showing the prison a week before doesn’t help.
This brings an end to the podcast as Sam wishes everyone a good week.
As usual, another thoroughly entertaining podcast from Sam. His interview with A.J. Styles was very well done. It seemed like Sam was focusing on things that A.J. doesn’t normally get asked about which was refreshing to hear. The pair had great chemistry, and it was clear that A.J. was happy to be part of the podcast, which always helps. Sam’s rundown of Great Balls of Fire was also very interestin,g as well as his thoughts on feuds being used specifically on Monday Night Raw.
About the Writer
Matthew Wilkinson is from Bradford, England. He’s been a fan since the late 90’s with the Attitude Era and was then heavily invested again through the rise of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. He can be found on Twitter at @MC_Wilkinson1