WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: X-Pac 1,2,360 w/ Aleister Black on the importance of incorporating MMA into his style, his approach to merchandising, Enzo Amore to 205 Live? (Ep. 50)

X-Pac, 1,2,360 – Episode 50

Release Date: August 17, 2017

Recap By: Chris Gaspare


Top Newsworthy Items

– X-Pac says that Enzo wants to go to 205 Live based on his last conversation with him

– NXT was open to Black’s ideas for merchandise

– Black stressed the importance of studying MMA if wrestlers want to use the style in wrestling

Show Highlights

The group discusses Tozawa’s win, Baron Corbin’s loss, and their trip to NXT

X-Pac is joined by TK Trinidad, Denise, Jimbo, and Bill Hanstock from Uproxx.com.

X-Pac and the crew started by wishing Ric Flair a speedy recovery, and X-Pac noted that he regrets speculating on Flair’s health the other night on a different show.

The first topic was the surprise title victory of Akira Tozawa over Neville on Raw this week. The group thought it was “exciting” and that Titus’s presence has really added something to the feud. X-Pac also praised Neville’s “amazing” work during this run.

The possibility of Enzo joining 205 Live was brought up, and X-Pac revealed that Enzo wants to go to 205 Live per a recent conversation with him. While X-Pac agreed that he could stand out due to having a different in-ring style and his strong personality, he also said that it’s a “cut in pay,” which he always advises against. In general, he thinks the cruiserweight division needs more diversity in style.

The next topic was Baron Corbin failing to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. X-Pac hadn’t seen it, but once it was described to him, he asked “Who’d he piss off?” Denise explained the recent Twitter exchange with a veteran, and X-Pac said that Corbin made a mistake by not “doubling down” on his gimmick and DMing the guy rather than backing down. Still, he said “booking 101” logic says that Corbin will now beat John Cena at SummerSlam.

They next discussed their “field trip” to see a NXT event, where they interviewed this week’s guest, Aleister Black. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss received praise for their tag match against Black and Drew McIntyre, and everyone praised McIntyre’s work and “transformation” from his first run. X-Pac also mentioned that William Regal had asked him to talk to a few guys in the locker room while there, but he wouldn’t “name names.”  

Aleister Black on MMA and incorporating it into wrestling

The interview started by talking about Black’s tattoos. He said that he thinks tattoos “have a certain power” that they can give people. They discussed his Dutch roots, which a listener wouldn’t know by listening to Black, and how different he sounds from Bas Rutten.

They moved into Black’s wrestling fandom next. Black grew up not seeing the WWE product until he was about 16-years-old. He grew up seeing New Japan and WCW in the Netherlands. Black said there was no chronological order to what he viewed though. Mostly what stuck out to him through what he watched was that there was a lot of martial arts in wrestling. He trained karate and judo at a young age and moved into kickboxing. He stressed the importance of training in wrestling and not trying to transition too quickly from MMA into professional wrestling.

When Black started wrestling, between the ages of 15 to 18, he realized that his “strikes didn’t translate” into the ring. He then was forced to “dissect” his strikes and combine them with a “wrestling mentality” in order for them to be showy and still look effective. He sees a lot of “kids” throwing strikes nowadays because they see so many veterans doing it and getting a good reaction, but he thinks it’s important that they know what they are doing. He said that they should study and train in MMA to understand what they are throwing in order to be “authentic,” which he said is the most important thing in wrestling today. X-Pac agreed with him saying that “inauthentic” doesn’t work anymore with the modern wrestling fan. Black said that “who I am translates to 2017” in part because fans “see part of themselves in me.”

Black sees Sonya Deville and Matt Riddle as “two successful transfers” from MMA, and he heaped a lot of praised on Riddle, who X-Pac called “a prodigy.”

Black on previous companies he’s worked with and merchandising

They moved to talking about Black’s previous work in other promotions, and he said that WXW really helped him the most by giving him the work and putting him on the map. He said he was most excited some years ago when Chris Hero told him that PWG was interested in bringing him in since he was very much influenced by Revolution Pro in his early days. He said that PWG was “a fantastic place” and that “nothing compares” to them.

Black’s merchandise, specifically his shirts, from his indie days was praised. Black said that he felt coming into NXT that he didn’t need to change much. He needed to adapt his style to the WWE style, which he is in the process of tweaking now in NXT.

In terms of his personality and persona, he said that he tried to remain the same and that includes the merchandise. He showed the NXT people what he used to do for his shirts, and they loved it, especially that he used white shirts rather than black. He had used white to subvert expectations since most were black. He likes using symbols, such as the Eye of Providence and the All-Seeing Eye, because they “evoke reaction” in people. He is extremely excited about wrestling Hideo Itami at Takeover this weekend and said fans are “gonna see a fight.”

Score and Review (8/10)

Solid interview this week. Hearing Tommy End talk was a little disarming compared to his ring presentation, but the interview itself, which had focused questions and hit that sweet spot of becoming a conversation, didn’t do anything to harm End’s mystique which was a nice bonus. He’s definitely a good candidate for a return guest since the interview seemed to brush the surface of a unique talent. The audio quality was a little inconsistent throughout, most likely due to the interview being recorded on location, so you might want to wear earbuds.


00:00: The group discusses Tozawa’s win, Baron Corbin’s loss, and their trip to NXT
25:27: Sponsor ad
25:57: Aleister Black on MMA and incorporating it into wrestling
46:44: Black on previous companies he’s worked with and merchandising
1:03:54: Sponsor ad and plugs

About Chris

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 Drew McIntyre

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