Sam Roberts Wrestling Show
Release Date: October 5, 2017
Guest: Bret Hart
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
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- Bret Hart offered to work in creative for WWE
- Bret claims Vince McMahon was going to run WWE from jail
- Bret believes Eric Bischoff was the worst and killed the wrestling business
- Sam thinks Enzo Amore is doing great work
- Sam wants to see a Shield triple threat at Royal Rumble
- Sam does some fantasy booking for Smackdown Live’s run to WrestleMania
Sam welcomes everyone and promises he has a great show ahead this week. He said he hasn’t picked up his Virgil action figure yet.
He mentions that the Bobby Lashley interview was re-tweeted by Impact Wrestling. It was a clip which saw Lashley talking about a potential return to WWE.
Sam said fans killed TNA on social media for sharing the quotes. But he points out that eventually every wrestler wants to be in WWE, and nobody looks at ROH poorly when one of their talents leaves to WWE.
Sam said his buddy who runs an independent company called House of Glory asked him if he was interested to speak with Bret Hart and, of course, he said yes.
Interview with Bret Hart
Sam welcomes Bret to the show and said that the last time they spoke was around the time he was getting back into the WWE world.
Bret agrees and said one big part in that was the DVD that WWE did on him, which he called a peace-making DVD.
Sam said he was wondering about what Bret thought of his legacy, because that is something he always focused on during his career. The Hitman agreed with him.
Bret said he never wanted to look back at his career like it never mattered or that it was irrelevant. He said he gets offended by anything like that, as he always thought that he did the work, especially when it was filmed. That’s sort of a marker for life now, nobody erases that, or they shouldn’t anyway.
Sam asked if Bret was a day-to-day sort of guy who focused on every match. Bret said that he wanted to raise the bar, to have the best match ever, every night. Especially for a big one like an Iron Man or at Wembley.
Bret stated he wanted to do so well that when someone else is in the same shoes 10, 20, or even 100 years from now, they’re not going to be able to top what he did.
Sam asked how Bret felt about his legacy and how it’s maintained, now that he can actually look at his career as a package.
Bret was pleased with how his career and legacy is, especially because most people, analysts or experts on wrestling will still throw his name around in the sort of top five wrestlers of any era.
Bret thinks the Network has been like a huge blessing for people that lost out on it, as they can go back and watch any match or any PPV.
Changing the industry
Bret added that he believes he changed the industry a lot, saying if you compare it to 1988, it’s completely different.
Bret said in 1988 it was all about muscles and how big your arms were, guys like Warlord and Hogan, everything was about how jacked up you could look in the ring and how ridiculous and obscenely ripped with muscles you could be.
He believes that if you really look back at those days, like Warrior and Hogan, the wrestling wasn’t so good. We watched the five best Hogan matches and they’re all the same. His work is the same. His performance levels are very limited. His promos are the same and a lot of guys were doing the same old stuff every night. Bret believes he changed that.
Sam mentions how his first WWF Championship in ’92 was a shock to fans because a wrestler like Bret Hart wasn’t really in the WWF Title picture.
Bret agreed, adding that it was a long shot. He thinks if they’d told him like in June, he would have been knifed in the back and had that idea been shot down by so many wrestlers, they would have killed it.
Hart believes the only reason he thinks he got the belt was because Vince took a big chance. He revealed that he turned up the day he won the title and had no idea that’s how it would be.
Sam wondered how somebody like Bret works under those circumstances, because he is a guy who obviously cares about the long-term and wants to know those details.
Bret said there was never any guarantees about anything. All he did was survive. He just always wanted to hang on to the job.
Sam felt they were really slow to get behind the Bret Hart train, but when Vince did get behind the train the fans had been wanting them to do something with him.
Sam moved the conversation on to life after wrestling and if he ever thought about sliding into a role of an agent or a producer in WWE?
Bret said that he hesitated on that for a long time, but revealed about four years ago he made a pitch that he would like to give them ideas in the writing of the show or booking the matches and creative.
He said that WWE came back to him and asked, “what about the schedule?” Bret said he doesn’t want to be on the road every day but offered to be flown in for TV events. They thanked him for the idea. It was Vince and Triple H and he just went home.
Sam then asked if Bret would make the move to Orlando and try to help in the Performance Center, which he didn’t rule out, saying it isn’t impossible, but stated that he enjoys where he lives right now.
Bret said that realistically, WWE probably wants more from its agents with the likes of Mike Rotunda and Arn Anderson being with the company full-time every day, which is why he thinks WWE didn’t call.
Hart then gave an example of how he could help, going back to the WrestleMania when Brock Lesnar faced Triple H. Bret referenced his classic 4/10 line and said he had tons of ideas for the match that would have made it stand out more than what it did.
He then gave another example from the Iron Man match with HBK, saying they only saw each other on the day of the show but they thought out lots of circumstances.
Sam intervened and said the match was one of the main reasons he became such a big fan and it made him click and realize he loved actual wrestling.
Back to the Iron Man match, Bret said that it is crucial to plan it out as you can easily lose the fans attention due to the length of the match. He said Pat Patterson came up with the idea to kick Tony Chimel and take him out in a stretcher. He believes Lesnar and HHH needed something like that to make it stand out.
Bret then admitted he has a hard time with today’s wrestlers as nobody sells anything, nobody tells a story. He said he prefers to watch wrestling where people sell as it’s easier, everyone is high sport monkeys today.
Sam asked if that means he is not a fan of what’s going on in New Japan right now. Bret admitted he isn’t fresh on it. He did say that he enjoys new stuff and he sees a lot of that from the guys in New Japan. He always applauds the guys who bring new things to the table.
Sam asked if Bret thinks a problem is that there are big matches on TV every week, meaning PPV matches aren’t as important.
Bret said he liked it the way it used to be when people would be kept off television or would only appear to wrestle a few times in the build. He then gave the example of how every time he turns on the TV, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are wrestling. He said it’s hard to get sick of matches between them but it happens because it is so frequent.
Sam then asked which wrestlers he likes right now. Bret said that the Canadian guys are his favorites.
The Hitman also gave high praise to Randy Orton and particularly John Cena, saying he is a fan of Cena’s work ethic and ability to work with younger guys.
Sam then mentioned Bret’s book and the story about how he had to carry Davey Boy Smith through their match at Wembley, asking if it gave him a major confidence boost because nobody even noticed.
Bret said he always thought that Wembley in particular, that day, when they pulled that match off and even though he did all the thinking, something was going to change. A month later he was WWF Champion.
He went on to say that match, and the Iron Man match, were both meant to be to push his opponents, especially when it came to Shawn.
Bret didn’t like the way he was being positioned and felt like after the match, with the crowd response, he proved the old king was still in the company.
Bret said he believes ’97, even ’96, he was in his absolute prime, never better. Because of that he believes it’s a shame that the Screwjob happened, because he never got to work with Shawn or Steve Austin again.
Bret looks back at ’97 and the matches he had with Austin, even the Screwjob was a good match until the actual screwjob. That was all planned the way the match happened was planned, and they still had 25 minutes to go. He believes if the Screwjob didn’t happen, it could have been their best match together.
Sam asked if Bret is glad that Wrestling with Shadows exists, especially considering how big of a year that was in his career.
Bret thought it was a great documentary, it was really well filmed. He said he is so grateful for it, even if the Screwjob hadn’t happened, as it was just such a magical time in his life and his career. He wanted it to be a capsule.
The Hitman thought the business had taken a bit of a slump after Hogan and the steroids. He said he always makes the comparison that he was the guy who pulled the sword out of the stone sort of thing.
Hart admitted he was never the biggest draw and doesn’t pretend that he was, but he was the man who stabled the ship.
Hart thinks he got the belt because he was a guy who had never done drugs and didn’t get hurt. He also revealed that they were actually talking about Vince going to jail and running wrestling from there. Bret said that it was a sinking company and he stopped that during his run. Bret revealed that Sgt. Slaughter once told him that he saved wrestling.
Blade Hart’s Memories
Sam mentioned that it’s also funny about Wrestling with Shadows, as he pictures Bret’s son as a little kid and sees him today and he is a man.
Bret said he has always been really grateful with the film, especially the way it ended, getting the shot of Vince limping out of the dressing room.
Sam then asked Blade Hart (Bret’s son) if he had any memories of the Screwjob. While Blade said he was young, he did remember his mom chewing out Triple H and him just being sad to say goodbye to the wrestlers.
WCW/Eric Bischoff Thoughts
Sam than asked when Bret regained his enthusiasm for the business? Bret said he thinks WCW would kill any kind of joy in your life and admitted he started to hate money, even though the money they paid him was insane.
He said that he’d be off and then they would pay for a first-class plane and car, and then just before he’d leave, Eric Bischoff would tell Hart he had the day off.
Bret then gave a damning report saying WCW was so bad they would kill any hope in anybody, adding that he doesn’t have anything good to say about Eric Bischoff or anything he ever did. Talk about a Midas Touch, he had the opposite.
Bret said that Bischoff could kill a career and wouldn’t even know it. You could have passion and a genius for the business and he wouldn’t have a clue. He was the worst loser, maggot that ever got into wrestling.
Sam pointed out that he thought that after what happened to Bret, he’d want to go to WCW and shove it up Vince’s ass. Bret agreed.
He said he’s heard Bischoff’s quote, which is why he got pretty hostile about him, about him going to WCW as a broken toy who didn’t have the same fire. Bret said he could strangle him when he hears that, as it’s so not true.
Bret said to look at wrestling today, it’s a monopoly, so the wrestlers themselves have no leverage of any kind they can’t say “oh I’ll go to WCW.” It was so much better for the wrestlers then, they had a bargaining table and no longer do. That’s all Eric Bischoff’s fault. He killed the wrestling business, he was the worst.
His WWE Return
Sam said thank god that he could tie a bow on it, by coming back to WWE doing the WrestleMania thing just so there is some closure.
Bret believes that coming back and making peace with Shawn was a big step on his behalf and was something that took Vince by surprise. He said that before he saw Shawn again, he thought he was probably going to regret it three or four months down the line, that Shawn isn’t going to change. Bret was happy to be wrong.
This brought an end to the interview.
State of Wrestling
Sam started out talking about the new Cesaro t-shirt, saying he really wants to buy it and thinks it is a great shirt.
Sam said it is interesting that after he talked about it, WWE is going full force with this idea of a different format for Monday Night Raw, which he thinks is the best way to do it.
Sam points out that some people believe the change is because of Monday Night Football. He admits that may be part of it, but he really thinks it was more to do with the flow of the show.
You are not going to tune in to Raw late, and if three hours is too long, people are not going to tune in at 9, we are starting at 8 when the show begins so we aren’t missing anything. But, after two hours of wrestling, that’s when people start to kind of feel okay with missing something.
Sam feels that the Enzo storyline that is going on right now is probably the best use you could have for him. Some people think he is being buried, but he isn’t. You don’t put a championship on a guy, and put him in the main event segment of Raw two weeks in a row to bury him. You are taking the final segment of Raw and half of it is Enzo with a microphone, allowing him to excel in what he is good at. When Enzo went around from cruiserweight to cruiserweight with an individual and specific insult, that isn’t a guy that is being buried.
To bury Enzo would be to take the microphone away from him, put him in the middle of the show and have a guy squash him.
Sam said that everyone thinks they know what is going on behind the scenes, that’s why people like him can do podcasts, because we all read the internet and we’ve all been watching for long enough that we see the patterns and we use that to figure out what is going on. Then fans say “this is why that is really happening,” and WWE is turning that into a storyline, leaving all of us falling into kayfabe.
Sam also believes that Enzo is not a heel. As long as they keep that microphone with him he will never be a heel. That’s because every insult was funny and clever and a bad guy has to point out something. He has to tell the New Day their act is tired, that is what a bad guy does. They give an opinion that is unpopular.
Instead, Enzo is saying he saved 205 Live, and guess what, a lot of people believe he is right. That’s why Kalisto is going to 205 Live, because fans know him and there has been time invested in that character.
Sam brings up the Corey Graves stuff on Twitter for example, Graves said he had failed as a father when his son said Enzo was his favorite wrestler. Enzo replied saying he failed as a wrestler, that’s why he is behind the mic.
Some people felt that was over the line because of the concussion issue, but Sam loves the idea that Enzo said no, he is not a failure of a father, he is a failure of a wrestler. That to him that is in the bounds of story.
Yes, it is personal because Graves wanted to keep wrestling but at the same time as a wrestler who is in the ring, Enzo needs to not let commentators get the last word on him.
Why would you let a commentator, regardless of who he is, one up you? He thinks the Enzo character should be hitting Graves back hard, and if Graves is going to dip into the TV world on his Twitter, then Enzo should respond.
Monday Night Raw
Sam thought the stuff that was being done on Raw with The Shield is great. He is hoping this leads to where he proposed it should lead, which is that the Roman story needs one more chapter before Brock Lesnar.
What needs to happen here is that The Shield comes together. It is also a great use of The Miz, as The Shield can beat them without him losing his title or his steam.
Sam predicts we will see Shield together at TLC, and then the group enters Survivor Series together. Come December they will start to break down by questioning who is “the guy.”
Sam believes that at the Royal Rumble, they should be involved in a triple threat and that this one will mean a lot more. It isn’t necessarily about a rivalry but just who is the guy. When the group is together there has never been a clear leader of the group.
This is where Roman needs to get his last big moment on the way to WrestleMania, by beating both Rollins and Ambrose.
Hell in a Cell
Sam thinks that Hell in a Cell, on paper, is kind of a one match show. This is all about Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens, but he truly believes Usos and New Day will steal this thing.
There is a benefit to the show being a one match show on paper, as No Mercy suffered from too much hype. The fact that this is a one match show means people will not necessarily be expecting the greatest show in the world and could have their minds blown a little bit.
Sam looked over the whole card. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin against the Hype Bros. This is an easy one, Gable and Benjamin go over and the Hype Bros continue their story of leading towards breaking up.
Dolph is in a very interesting spot right now. The story is different to the Nakamura one, but it does feel very similar. It feels like every time they bring a high-profile guy to SmackDown, Dolph is there to take the first loss.
Sam said he gets what Dolph is saying in some of his promos, but some of his entrances have worked better than others. Ziggler is in a position to make Bobby Roode look a certain way, so he thinks Bobby will win that match.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev, this is to Sam, the moment to cash in on the build that you have given to Randy Orton. There was a time when Rusev wasn’t just funny, there was a time when Rusev said “Crush” and it wasn’t “oh that’s hilarious,” it was him driving a tank to WrestleMania and he may actually win.
Sam thinks he has to beat Randy Orton in order for this to work, so he would have Rusev win the match, it doesn’t even have to be clean.
Then you’ve got your title matches. It starts with Baron Corbin and A.J. Styles. Sam wants to see Styles in the WWE Championship match at WrestleMnaia, but we are a long way from that yet so he thinks A.J. will come out with his championship.
He predicts the women will have an amazing match. People forget before there was a Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks match, she had an amazing one with Nattie. He believes they will try and steal the show.
In terms of predictions, Nattie will probably win this match and Charlotte will win in a rematch at Survivor Series. Nattie will get one more month with the title.
Sam said he would imagine New Day will keep the titles. He doesn’t like seeing the titles go back and forth all the time, but as he said, he thinks this is going to be the one.
Kevin Owens should win this match. While he gets that there is marketability in Shane, Sam thinks he can afford to lose all his matches and Kevin Owens needs to look like a big star coming out of this. He should then move into the main event.
Sam then said if he was in charge of Hell in a Cell, then Nakamura comes out as champion. He doesn’t feel the Jinder thing is working, unfortunately.
He added that he likes Jinder, but thinks it is a little bit over. You should still keep Jinder as a fairly main event level bad guy, but he felt the Asian jokes were a mistake.
Following on from Hell in a Cell he feels Nakamura and Kevin Owens should begin feuding, leading us into a Royal Rumble match for the title.
Then at the Royal Rumble Sam thinks A.J. Styles should win, then we lead into WrestleMania with Styles vs. Nakamura.
Sam would have Jinder getting the United States Championship, maybe at Survivor Series, with chicanery. He defeats A.J. Styles and then Jinder can do his gimmick and hold the United States Championship hostage. You then need to find a great patriot to come out and take it back, but you’ve also freed up A.J. Styles and can then build him back up with a Royal Rumble win.
Sam is excited to see Kenny Omega hit the ROH ring again for the War of the Worlds tour. He has to imagine, even though he didn’t know if anything’s been announced for the Final Battle show, that Kenny Omega has to be part of that too.
He also thinks it’s good on the Young Bucks for turning a negative into a positive. WWE sent a cease and desist letter saying Young Bucks couldn’t do the Too Sweet gesture anymore because they own it. So, what did they do? They put out a t-shirt with their hands blurred out and it becomes the number one selling t shirt of the month within a day.
That was a very good episode, with the interview being one of the strongest Sam has done this year. As usual, Bret wasn’t shy about sharing his opinions and that’s what made it so compelling to listen to. It was honest and that’s exactly what you want from a podcast guest. In terms of the State of Wrestling, it was fun to hear Sam do some fantasy booking and get his thoughts on Hell in a Cell ahead of the show.
Subjects Covered (With timestamps)
00:00- Sponsor Ads
01:35- Show Begins
13:50- Bret Hart Interview
18:30-Changing the Industry
32:02- Modern Wrestling
36:10- ’90s Wrestling
45:00-Blade Hart Memories
1:01:00- End of Interview
1:11:41-State of Wrestling
1:14:20- Enzo Amore
1:25:00-Monday Night Raw
1:30:09-Hell in a Cell
About the Author
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