WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: E&C Pod of Awesomeness w/ Sami Zayn on what makes a great match, what he thinks every wrestler should do, putting El Generico to rest, Edge admits he doesn’t “get” Asuka

Daniel Bryan interview

Edge & Christian’s Pod of Awesomeness Recap

Guest: Sami Zayn 

Release Date: October 27, 2017

By: Jeff Indelicato


“For The Benefit of Those with No Time” (Top Stories)

  • Zayn feels that every wrestler should wrestle in a tag team, and under a mask to broaden their education/experience
  • Sami feels that what makes a great match are a combination of action, story, & the characters
  • His debut on Raw was one of the most special moments of his career
  • He felt he had been spinning his wheels, and is excited about his heel turn

“You Think You Know Them” (Recap)

Ad for What Really Happened 00:00 – 01:15

Opening Intros 01:15-39:40

Christian has a whole bunch of nothing with regards to opening up the show. He enjoyed his recent vacation though. They talk about how they just recently passed the 18th anniversary of their tag team ladder match against The Hardys, as well as the 16th anniversary of their singles ladder match against each other at No Mercy. This leads into reminiscing about how when working with someone you know really well, and are close to, you tend to hit harder, and that led to them getting knocked out and beat up during the match.

TLC was the most recent pay-per -view, and it was okay. Christian notes that in some ways it was good that there was only one TLC match, since you don’t want to water it down with similar matches.

Going through the card, they first review Asuka vs. Emma. Edge knows that he may get heat from the fans, but right now, he doesn’t really “get” Asuka. He thinks she’s fine & solid, though. Christian adds that when there’s a lot of hype attached to someone, it’s something that’s tough to live up to. He liked her body language, presentation, and persona. Edge comments thought that even the entrance is “Nakamura-esque.” What he really didn’t get was that this event featured the anticipated return of Kurt Angle, whose signature move is the ankle lock, and yet they used it in this match. In addition, it didn’t lead to anything.

Both guys dug the segments with Elias, and how he takes his time without rushing his promos. Edge adds that he likes how he also isn’t the best guitar player, as it adds to his heel character.

They both enjoyed the Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss match, but noted that the crowd was getting restless with the “we want tables” chant. Christian feels that that’s the trouble with having an event called Tables, Ladders, & Chairs and still not having any of that yet during the show. They put Mickie over as a great face.

A.J. Styles/Finn Balor was also good and really cool for the crowd. They liked how Finn added more of a grittier style to his Demon character. E & C also give huge props to A.J. for flying in from South America to make the show. They look forward to future matchups between the two.

Moving on to the main event, it was a cluster, but it also had its good moments. It probably could have been shortened, with the remaining minutes given to A.J. & Finn, but it was what it was. They were a little thrown off with the need for this to have a ladder, because in most cases, a ladder is used to retrieve something, so they would have liked to see something at stake and hanging in the balance. Edge puts over Kane, and remarks how it looked like he hadn’t missed a day. With regards to Kurt’s big return, they enjoyed it, but Christian wanted to see him wearing his regular attire and make his normal entrance. Overall, he wrestled well, and with the spots, it was a good way to protect him.

Ad for Zip Recruiter 39:40 – 41:40

Interview with Sami Zayn 41:40 – 2:02:00

They kick off the interview by talking about hockey, and how Christian plays fantasy hockey with Sami.

Moving on, the first time Edge met Sami was at a show in Toronto. Zayn remarks that when you’re in the independents, you don’t know if anyone is really aware of you, so he was blown away by Edge recognizing him. They talk about how much independent wrestling has evolved, and with technology, it’s so easy to get access to different organizations, which is good for the wrestling community. This leads into a discussion about how much has changed with regards to technology.

Zayn got into the business through an old friend from high school, who got him in touch with someone who could train him to be a wrestler. It wasn’t much, but it broke him into the business. He did that for 6 months, and from there would just learn on the job. There was one particular moment during a match with Super Dragon, where he was told that they had a good match, but his placement was all off. It was a simple tidbit, but it helped, and from there, he would continue to learn and move up the ranks in the independent scene.

Edge talks about how difficult it is to wear a mask in the ring, and commends Sami for not only being able to wrestle with one, but also believably convey emotion. Zayn thanks him, and feels that it was a good experience, noting that he thinks that every wrestler should work not only under a mask, but in a tag team early in their career. In his opinion, both offer good lessons, because you are restricted in some capacity. This then forces you to think outside the box. He believes that a wrestler’s character gets more depth working with someone in a team, and by doing that, it helps to build confidence.

Since he was El Generico when he got signed by the WWE, did he have reservations about taking the mask off? When he went to the Performance Center, he wasn’t sure if that’s what they wanted, so he created a list detailing out a character with a mask and one without a mask, while pitching a variety of different names. It was initially heartbreaking when he was told that he would not be wrestling as El Generico, as it was his creation.

In a promo class, he ended up cutting a promo putting the character to rest, and it ended up being more emotional than he thought, as he found himself crying on the way home. But in hindsight, he believes it was the right move, and that it took him to the next level. His time in NXT was invaluable, and it helped his growth as a performer.

We then move on to his final match in NXT against Shinsuke Nakamura, which he considers to be special, and is very proud of the structure. They talk about how you can still make a match great even if there is no initial storyline, by telling a story in the match. He felt so comfortable that night, and the initial reaction to both entrances gave him additional confidence. He mentions how you could see him smiling because he knew what they were prepping to do, and was looking forward to taking the fans on a ride. It’s a match that he won’t forget anytime soon, and one that fans still bring up.

He talks about a recent conversation that he had with Finn Balor discussing what the true definition of a great match is. According to the Demon, a great match stands the test of time. Christian adds that it’s about making moments, and agrees that if you’re good, you can make a story even if there isn’t one built into the lead up.

The three of them talk about how selling is a lost art. Sami originally didn’t think so, until a recent conversation with Kevin Owens led him to realize that it has started to dwindle. He admits that he’s sure he’s been guilty of it from time to time as well. Edge says that the moves are great, but he wants to feel for the wrestler. The fans then just become conditioned to chant “This is Awesome” or something else. Sami agrees and remembers back in the day, having a good match with Rich Swann, but realizing that they didn’t tell the whole story with regards to the appropriate structure. He realizes that what makes a great wrestling match is the equal blend of action, a great story, and the characters involved. If you lose one, it’s still good, but if you have all 3, it can be a masterpiece.   

Sami then debuted on Raw in a match against John Cena, which led to him injuring his shoulder. He originally didn’t know that he had done much damage, as his shoulder popped out, but then popped in. It wasn’t until after the match, and meeting with the medical team, that he realized it was more serious than expected. That being said, he’ll remember that night forever, and the ovation he received, along with Bret Hart introducing him made it very special.

This leads into a discussion about transitioning from NXT to the main roster and how difficult it can be for some wrestlers. Initially, there’s a disconnect, as the NXT fans are along with you on the ride, but that’s just a portion of the main audience. Therefore, when you debut on Raw or Smackdown, you’re a finished product, but the main fanbase has never seen you. This leads to them possibly rejecting you, when they didn’t watch you rise up the ranks or struggle. He remembers telling Finn that his injury and relinquishing of the Universal Championship was actually a good thing, as the fans could get to know him more, and see him overcome the obstacles that were in front of him.

The boys were surprised to see Sami’s recent heel turn, as they felt he’d become this generation’s Ricky Steamboat (meaning a wrestler who never turned heel). Sami understands, and actually had a similar fantasy of never turning heel, but he’s excited about the change. He mentions that Vince’s vision was super different to his thoughts about the heel character, as Zayn was questioning why he should still smile, but has realized that he didn’t see the bigger picture, and that Vince was right. They equate the character to being similar to a girl that you’re dating who has weird quirks, but you love them. Then, when you break up, those quirks become very annoying, and you hate them.

He felt that up until recently, he had been spinning his wheels, so this new change in character is exciting, and a challenge, since he’s still learning how to work like a heel. Edge advises watching those wrestlers who were good at playing both sides, like Shawn Michaels & Bret Hart. A good heel turn generally has to be a slow transition and can’t be too far of a departure right away, so it’s exciting to be challenged in that aspect.

They close out the interview by talking about the competitiveness between Owens and Zayn, and how they have used each other as the measuring stick for success in the wrestling business. Each one has always been happy for the other’s success, but at the same time, when you feel someone is your equal, and they are doing better than you, you want to work even harder to catch up. This has been charted from their eventual WWE signings, to their main roster debuts, and championship success.

Wrap Up & Close 2:02:00-2:06:00

The boys wrap up the show by talking about Sami, and how it’s cool to get his perception on the business. They really like his work, and look forward to seeing what’s next with his character. They encourage fans to follow the show on Twitter @EandCPod, E-Mail them at ecpodofawesomeness@gmail.com, and call their Voicemail at 929-367-8204.

Jeff’s Take:  7 Kazoos out of 10

Good episode this week. It was interesting to get Sami’s thoughts and hear his perspectives. I really liked his thoughts on wrestlers being required to wrestle under a mask and in a tag team. It makes sense, and something that I think wrestlers should follow. It was nice to hear some thoughts on NXT, his roster debut, and Kevin Owens, but I also felt it just scratched the surface of what the listener could learn. All in all, still a good listen. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @the_Indel or send me an email at indelpw@gmail.com. See you next week!

“5 Second Pose of Timestamps”

0:00: Sponsored Ad
01:15: Show Introduction/TLC Chat
39:40: Sponsored Ads
41:40: Interview with Sami Zayn
1:06:00: Wrestling with a mask/Moving to NXT
1:22:00: Match against Nakamura/What makes a great match?
1:34:00: Debut on Raw/Wrestlers transitioning from NXT
1:43:00: Recent heel turn
2:02:00: Wrap Up & Close

About the Author

Jeff has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was knee high to a grasshopper (little kid), after coming across the Wrestling Challenge episode after WrestleMania 7, and has not looked back. His passion has led him to winning wrestling trivia contests in his city, and even won him his Senior Talent Show by dancing to Shawn Michaels theme song. When not annoying others with wrestling talk, he loves spending time with his family and friends, and focuses on his other passion: movies.

For more, check out our archives of E&C Pod of Awesomeness.


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