X-Pac 1,2,360 – Episode 45
Release Date: July 19, 2017
Recap by: Christopher Gaspere, PWPodcasts.com Specialist
Top Newsworthy Items
– Alex Riley would like to wrestle again, but he’s also invested in trying to give acting a shot.
– Riley is unsure if he’ll be in the second season of GLOW.
– Riley said that he can’t complain about Vince or HHH because they were “straight shooters.”
00:00: The crew discusses the Kurt Angle illegitimate son storyline and the AAA/Vampiro controversy
13:06: Alex Riley on his favorite wrestler and getting a role in GLOW
26:18: Riley on dating and his life during and after WWE
46:15: Riley on being physically built in Hollywood and the stress of acting
59:32: Riley on his current projects and future in wrestling
The crew discusses the Kurt Angle illegitimate son storyline and the AAA/Vampiro controversy.
X-Pac is joined by TK Trinidad, Denise, Jimbo, a returning Bill Hanstock from Uproxx.com, and special guest Rocky Romero. They start off with the breaking news that Shane McMahon survived an emergency helicopter landing at sea. They were all thankful he was okay. Bill joked it was the “least terrifying thing he’s done in twenty years.” X-Pac then told a brief story about how Shane was always a daredevil. He once went skydiving with Shane and Madusa Micelli and watched Shane do a moonsault out of the plane.
The crew then moved onto discussing the Kurt Angle/Jason Jordan segment where Jordan was revealed as Kurt’s “illegitimate son.” X-Pac stated that he thought “it could’ve been a shoot…especially if you know Kurt.” The rest thought he was joking, but X-Pac insisted he was serious. He thought there was a possibility it was a shoot due to Angle’s and Jordan’s ages and Kurt’s proclivities lining up.
They also discussed the blowback on Vampiro who tried to defend AAA’s decision to trick Johnny Mundo into bringing Taya Valkyrie’s title with him to a show, then stripping her off the belt to award it to Sexy Star. X-Pac said they could have simply been honest with her, but “it’s a lot easier for them to lie and bulls**t people.” He continued that Vampiro “asked for it” by trying to defend the decision. The company should have let her vent and see where the relationship goes. Romero chimed in that his time working in the promotion was “one of the most stressful times of his career.”
Alex Riley on his favorite wrestler and getting a role in GLOW
The conversation with Alex Riley began with how Riley put over X-Pac years ago on a WWE.com segment as his favorite wrestler. Riley said it was true. He thought X-Pac was “very real” and had more authenticity than most wrestlers. He said he believed whatever X-Pac said because whatever he said was in his eyes. X-Pac asked him about GLOW and his career right now. Riley said that after getting released from WWE that it was “mass confusion, but a good confusion.”
He said he learned from professional wrestling that you could give your life for something and never see any returns on it because you are at the mercy of someone else. He decided he didn’t want to “hang a mortgage on that” anymore. He’s chosen to pursue acting instead. He got a manager and about six weeks later, the audition for the role of Steel Horse in GLOW showed up on the manager’s desk. They watched a clip in studio, and Riley said he was lucky that the writing and dialogue was so authentic. He said he felt like a real conversation backstage. He said that he asked for feedback from the director, and the director was really relaxed about the wrestling segments. He accepted that they knew more than him and let them go. The director was much more involved with the other non-wrestling scenes.
Riley on dating and his life during and after WWE
TK said that she’d received a lot of questions about Riley’s marital status. He said he’s single right now. He had a great girlfriend back on the East Coast, but they broke up when he moved to Los Angeles. He said that he’s tried Tinder without much success. He misses the days of meeting someone more naturally at work or a bar. He was asked if women treat him differently at all after finding out he’s a wrestler, and he confirmed that they do: “They tend to back off.” TK gave him some Tinder advice before X-Pac returned to his career.
It’s been more than a year since Riley has been in a wrestling ring. He wrestled in NXT the day before he was released. X-Pac brought up that someone had mentioned him as a commentator. Riley said that his father was a commentator, so he always talked about sports when he watched them on television when he was young. He said that he tried it out, but his passion was to be in the ring. He would over-describe the feelings of the wrestlers when he was commentating which would reveal how much he missed it.
Riley said his release wasn’t “shocking.” He said, “We had talked.” He said that there was a point in his career when he was “in demand” so he knew what that feeling of “urgency” felt like, something he no longer felt. In hindsight, it said the release feels almost mutual because he wasn’t trying as much because he was tired of not being used.
Riley was then asked if there was anything he could do to change the outcome. He said there were plenty of things, as he’s someone to blame himself ten times before blaming someone else. One of the biggest things was handling his introduction to the business better. He said that when he played football and practice started, the drills started. However, in wrestling, when the whistle blows, there were no drills. Instead, people talked with one another. Dr. Tom Pritchard told him that drills wouldn’t help. He needed to talk to others. He didn’t know what to say or ask, so he became a wallflower. He said he occasionally got into the mindset of not trying as hard or not speaking up because he was frustrated with the company.
Outside of those few weeks though, he “busted [his] a** for that company.” He said after his release, he had “separation anxiety” and “life slowed down.” He didn’t know how to deal with not being an athlete anymore.
Riley on being physically built in Hollywood and the stress of acting
X-Pac wanted to know if being built might limit his acting roles or typecast him. Riley said it’s possible. He recently “killed” an audition for a movie called Deep Blue Sea 2, but they thought he was too “huge.” He said he thinks he’ll find his “niche” eventually. He doesn’t know if he’ll be in the second season of GLOW. He said that the only written material he saw before the job was the episode he was in, and he didn’t even see his scenes until it was released on Netflix.
At first, he had made a deal that he wouldn’t watch the scenes because he’d nitpick them the way he did wrestling matches. He was nervous about shooting the scenes, but he had a lot of good people help him, and overall, it was less stressful than anything in WWE was, considering it wasn’t live or rushed. He recalled a time in WWE where he had to film pretapes directly before he was opening RAW with a five to six minute promo. As soon as he got the pretapes finished, he had to rush to Gorilla position to get ready to go out. He said that environment wasn’t always conducive to strong performance always even though that situation ended up okay. He thinks someone has to be a bit nervous to act successfully.
Riley on his current projects and future in wrestling
X-Pac asked if he wanted to wrestle again. Riley hesitated before saying, “Yes, of course. What a job.” X-Pac said he’s a WWE guy, but there are other places for Riley to wrestle and make a good living. Romero joked, “I’ve made a whole career off of it.” Riley said that when he thinks about his life and choosing between acting, commentating, wrestling, etc., he realizes “how fortunate” he’s been even though he forgets sometimes.
Riley restated that after wrestling was over, he didn’t know what to do, but now he’s pretty invested in making it in acting. In terms of other projects, he’s in a movie called Glassjaw coming out this year, which he calls “a new age Rocky Balboa.” He’s planning on moving to Venice Beach to be closer to Gold’s Gym once his lease is up as well. It’s also pilot season, so he’s hoping to have some auditions for pilots. He’s still taking acting classes as well. He said he used to got to Dusty Rhodes’ classes whenever he had free time in WWE.
Towards the end of the show, X-Pac commended Riley on his attitude and how he doesn’t blame WWE like some released wrestlers do. He joked that he doesn’t because he’s not sure if the story is over and might end up there again someday. He also said that Vince McMahon and HHH were both “straight shooters” who would be honest if they did or did not have anything for him.
Score and Review (7/10)
Overall, this was a good episode. It’s unclear how much one could pull from an Alex Riley interview, but the crew did a heck of a job at it. The interview was fast-paced but still thoughtful and put Riley in a good light. The conversation about how to deal with life after wrestling was worthwhile as was the parts of the show where Riley and X-Pac put each other over. The episode flew by and was an engaging listen for around the house or in the car.
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.