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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: X-Pac 1,2,360 w/ Billy Corgan on buying the NWA brand, who he’d like to see join the promotion, his time in TNA (Ep. 63)

X-Pac 1-2-360

Guest:  Billy Corgan

Release Date:  November 15th, 2017

Recap by: Sean McGraw

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Recap:

Billy Corgan joins X-Pac, Jimbo, Denise Salcedo, Bill Hanstock, and TK Trinidad for this week’s episode. This week’s episode kicks off with intros and a bit of chit-chat before getting right into the news.

News:

 Jack Swagger is entering Bellator:

Swagger signed a six fight deal with Bellator starting in 2018. Swagger was a way better signing for Bellator than Ryback would have been. Swagger was a hell of a collegiate wrestler. X-Pac says Jack is a bad-ass, there’s no two ways about it. They wonder if he’s going to be in the Grand Prix tournament. Perhaps Sonnen could fight Swagger in his first fight – although people may think the fix was in (because they’re friends) – if Swagger faced Chael.

Neville never really left

According to PWInsider, Neville had outside projects that he was interested in and WWE wasn’t letting him go to do them. Neville got frustrated and left, but now he is coming back because he’s under contract. X-Pac is happy that it is appearing that Neville and WWE have ironed everything out. Bill brings up that as long as Neville wasn’t going to be released, it’s better for him to be working on TV and remain relevant. X-Pac doesn’t disagree but says it’s not always about the money that you can make on the Indies; it’s about your sanity. “When you get back there and they start f’n with you, and burying you, you can go crazy dude.” Creative satisfaction is highly underrated. It’s right up there with the money for anyone that’s really good at this.

India is in for a big surprise

Triple H vs Jinder Mahal is announced for India. The fact that Jinder lost the belt might make a difference because the people may want to see their guy holding the belt. X-Pac had thought that Jinder might be chasing the title over there, but that might not be the case. At the same time, just to do good business in India – which they’re going to do anyways – to build your title scene around one specific market is not a good idea. The fact that they reduced the two shows in India to one is not an indicator of the strength of the Indian market. It isn’t typical for Indian people to pay for certain things – like wrestling – and you have to train the people to pay for it.

The viewer base over there is bigger than over here but the revenue generating power is just a fraction. When Pac went there in 1995, every show was packed. The place was sold out well in advance but security people were taking money to let people in through the side doors. It was full before people with actual tickets got into the building – so much so that there was structural damage afterwards.

There is a lot of money in India. Sure, there are A LOT of people that are dirt poor, but with the sheer amount of people there, there are plenty of people that have wealth. There are a lot of the same dynamics in this country as in other countries; we just think it’s a certain way because that’s all that we see. “There’s the caste system there, and that’s just how it works there, but trust me, even like in this country and other countries, in its own way, we have our own frickin’ caste system.” It’s getting the product into the country and then getting the people that can afford it to like and invest in it. It’s similar to Mexico in that a lot of the poor people that go to the Lucha shows don’t know what WWE is. They have different show presentations based on the market that it airs in.

Triple H is going to be the 5th member of Team Raw

X-Pac can tell he’s bulking up a little more and getting his body back into ring-shape. If there is a replacement, it has to be a replacement of equal or greater value. People will see Triple H as an equal or greater value replacement to Jason Jordan (that’s an understatement). This is possibly setting up a Triple H vs. Kurt Angle match coming up at WrestleMania. When asked about the under siege angle, X-Pac made a farting noise with his mouth (I looked it up and apparently Urban Dictionary defines the action as “blowing raspberries.” It pretty much sums up what I feel about the angle as well).

Interview with Billy Corgan

X-Pac puts over Billy’s concerts that he performed over the weekend. It’s just Billy, a couple of lights, a guitar and a piano. He played 115 songs over four days. It was pretty mind-bending (It sounds like some awesome shows. I would have loved to see them).

X-Pac remembers when he was at TNA back in 2002. They were having money problems back then that Billy might have been one of the people they would reach out to. Billy remembers reading that in the dirt sheets thinking “Who, me?” X-Pac was the one who mentioned his name back then.

X-Pac asks how things are going with the NWA. So far they are going great. The fan response has been exciting so far. It’s the beginning of a long set of ideas for them and they are rolling out one thing at a time. They don’t want to try and compete with other people’s ideas of what a wrestling company needs to be in 2017 and they don’t need to repeat the mistakes that a lot of other people have made by trying to run before they can walk.

Right now, it looks like it’s going to run truly independent, so the idea of having satellite promotions works really well. If they get a national wrestling platform, a lot of energy would go into figuring out how to make that work because overall sports viewership numbers are down as people are leaning towards cord cutting and internet viewing. Corgan feels good about the immediate future of wrestling, but at the same time the traditional sit on the couch for three hours on Monday is getting harder to pull an audience for – they went through that at TNA. Maybe wrestling will become something completely different 10 years from now.

X-Pac likes Corgan hooking up with Championship Wrestling from Hollywood because of the promoter’s reach across the US. He’s in more than 100 markets and he’s doing it different. Corgan appreciates the fact that they are capitalizing on a market that people thought was dead as far as wrestling – wrestling working as a local affiliate. He’s done a good job of bringing it back one market at a time and developing market specific content. It’s kind of what the NWA is looking to do as well so the working relationship has been great. The independents need to figure out how to work together to compete with not only WWE but other sports as well.

Denise asks how to balance keeping tradition but also come up with new innovative ideas. NWA represents something to people over 35 – a certain type of style and performer. Build around guys who have size, it sells well, particularly to kids. People view content a lot different now though. A lot of people watch things on their phones and have short attention spans. It takes about 4 – 10 seconds for someone to make up their minds if they are going to keep watching something. You have to move at a 21st century pace but the tradition of the NWA is a bruising, big guy style and Corgan is happy to build around that.

X-Pac enjoyed the vignettes that Dave Lagana made and they made him really like Tim Storm. Billy plugs the “Ten Pounds of Gold” series on the NWA YouTube channel. A lot of people assumed that they were just going to discard Tim – X-Pac admits he was one of them – but Billy and Dave thought that Storm had a really interesting story. Tim is a class act. He has been a wrestler for 20 years and he knows the history of the NWA. Billy would be happy to work with Tim for many years to come. Billy likes the story and hopes that people will subscribe and follow along with the asymmetrical story that they are telling. Tim’s next match will be Friday, November 16, 2017. If you are following along with the NWA they will have cameras to give a documentary “shoot” type of feel to Tim’s day, but you can also see what will happen by watching the match the traditional way.

Denise asks how important the belt in the spotlight. When you connect the tradition of the belt that gets everyone’s attention, but you have to be careful because you can’t start suddenly acting like you have Jack Briscoe and The Funks and Dusty waiting in the wings. You have to rebuild the talent pool and what the belt means in popular culture. Anyone over 35 knows what the belt means with its historical lineage, but the belt hasn’t been taken care of in the last 20 years so they have to build it back up.

X-Pac respects that they haven’t presented Tim Storm as something he’s not. Billy says that’s the beauty of it. Not everybody is Jimi Hendrix or Ric Flair. You can tell interesting stories with all types of people. Who would have thought 20 years ago that people would get behind a 53 year old school teacher as the champion? X-Pac remembers Tim Storm being at TVs back in the day and says Storm looks so much better now than he did back then. Billy believes Tim when he says the NWA championship changed his life for the better. He’s peaking right now at 53 and he deserves it. He put his time in and he’s at the right spot and he’s earned it. Billy is happy to be in business with him and he’s a true professional.

Billy is working with Rick Rubin again on the new record that just came out. All Rick wanted to talk about between takes was wrestling – that’s why Pac brought it up. Rick has given Billy a lot of really good advice. He loves bringing back the NWA as an old school bruising style. Billy is a fan of Lucha and Japanese strong styles but when he sees two big bulls in the ring going at it, it takes him right back to when he fell in love with wrestling.

Jimbo asks if there are any Indy wrestlers that Billy is looking for. Oh yeah, there’s guys everywhere, it’s just a question of availability. He could blow a lot of money and sign a bunch of guys, but this is a long road with a 20 year plan to rebuild the NWA. They need to rebuild what the belt means, find the right talent, and be in the right place for what the marketplace is at the time. Anybody under 35 probably thinks NWA is just a rap group. Not everybody is available and Billy probably can’t afford guys based on their market worth right now. Hopefully they’ll find the right talent at the right time. Nick Aldis is a phenomenal talent and they have other people they are going to sign. X-Pac says Aron Rex AKA Damien Sandow would be a good guy to have in the NWA. Billy has talked to him. He wants creativity. He may not want to be involved in professional wrestling anymore.

Billy had a birthday party recently with a bunch of wrestlers there. One of them was Chris Nowinski and Pac mentions that he is donating his brain to CTE research when he dies. Chris actually told Billy to bring it up to Pac. Billy jokingly said he wasn’t quite sure how to bring up X-Pac donating his brain. It’s fantastic that Pac is doing it because it’s important research. The health of the wrestlers is very important. CTE is going to become a bigger issue for pro wrestling. X-Pac feels cognitive impairment and knows it’s not from the drugs. He just tries not to do any more damage to it. There are a lot of preventative things that can be done that aren’t. Billy says that’s the difficulty. From a young age we are told to get back in there and as athletes we want to get back in there. It’s a natural response to think you’re ok after a concussion going back to ancient survival instincts.

Denise acts if coming from another industry helps think outside of the box. It’s a combination of things. Billy came to in with a lot of ideas that weren’t built on knowledge of the business. After being in the business he was able to synergize the ideas. He’s also had outside the box ideas work and gotten pushback, which reminds him of things he’s heard from the music industry. Wrestling has an unlimited level of creativity. Now Billy has nobody in his way and he can sink or swim with his ideas. He’s also had ideas in TNA that were rejected because they didn’t fall in the normal way that wrestling is presented.

X-Pac says that Decay was really cool. Rosemary was not Billy’s entire creation. She is one of the most talented performers that Billy has worked with. Somebody in TNA brought up using a gothic wrestler. Billy didn’t want to do a Daffney retread in respect for Daffney. They handed Billy the responsibility because he “knew about this stuff” and had a strong opinion about it. He and Rosemary mapped the character out and built the faction around her. The wrestlers wanted a song like a Marilyn Manson song, so Billy called Manson and two hours later they were walking out to the song. They took off and it’s a shame they broke it up and didn’t get more out of the gimmick. X-Pac puts over Abyss and asks what it’s like to work with him. He’s a big guy and can work but he’s a thinking man’s wrestler. He’s a great agent and books a majority of their main events.

Bill asks Billy about Lucha Underground treating wrestling more cinematic. Billy loves it, its groundbreaking. It had some influence on the Broken Hardy’s gimmick. Wrestling is due for a renaissance and needs to look more like the television of 2017. NWA would like to get there, but they need to focus on what the core of the NWA is. You can’t just hand things like the broken universe to anybody – it takes a certain quality of performer to pull it off. It’s wasn’t a surprise that the Broken Hardy’s took off based on the strong reactions after the first week. Billy got pressure from TNA to kill it right away due to 50/50 reactions. The reactions were strong enough to keep going and pushing it crazier like adding fuel to an already raging fire. X-Pac was blown away by how creative it was. One of Billy’s favorite spots was the mist absorbing spot. Undertaker did that spot once, but it was probably parallel thinking. Pac doesn’t think it was stolen. Billy thought what was cool about it was – because with the man vs. woman dynamic – it was a way for her to get her comeuppance without any violence.  

Bill asks Billy about Rockstar Spud. Billy can’t believe Impact let him go. There isn’t anything he can’t do. Their loss will be WWE’s gain. When WWE finds talented people they tend to keep them in the building. He will excel in that environment.

Denise asks about Anthem. It’s complicated because of the lawsuit. The ownership was split up so everybody had to team up against Billy for the lawsuit to go away.  The minute the lawsuit was settled Billy was on the phone with Anthem and said there’re no hard feelings. The NWA is in constant talks with them about working together on various levels. Billy isn’t involved with them in any function other than maintaining contact of offering opinions to people who haven’t been involved in the wrestling business as well as possibly using talents. People in the independent view need to work together. Billy will work with anyone – including WWE – if it’s the right situation for the NWA.

Bill brings up the fact that around 40 talents have left Impact since Anthem has taken over. Billy says when someone is handed the keys to a company; they can take it in any way they want depending on their vision. When Dixie was in control the costs were out of hand. They were running at a loss. That’s not sustainable. The debt was borderline criminal and Dixie had hidden some of it off the books. Anthem has done a good job getting the budget straightened out. X-Pac likes that they brought the company to Canada. Billy says that’s a plus and they can take advantage of some Canadian tax breaks.  Does Billy see the NWA working with them? They are in constant discussions about ways to work together. The NWA is willing to talk to anyone who wants to be in business with them. The original TNA was a NWA brand. There is a history there that can be worked out. Working with other promotions is good for everyone. Wrestling should be about compelling matchups. That’s what MMA and UFC do really well. Bellator signed Jack Swagger and that should be really compelling for a wrestling fan. X-Pac and Billy both said that Swagger would make a good NWA champion.

Billy has been a huge wrestling fan since the ECW days and doesn’t understand why everyone is always surprised to find out. He’s been in the business for six or seven years and owns the oldest wrestling brand in the world. “I thought I’d taken that bullet years ago.” What was Billy’s PWG experience like? He was blown away. He’d heard of Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan). When he saw it for himself and saw the reaction of the fans he knew he’d seen a star. PWG- great atmosphere, great fans. PWG put it all together where you could really see that level of work in the hot house atmosphere all in one place.

Billy wants to bring back the feeling of the kayfabe era and the belief of the fans of the wrestlers. Wrestling is missing it right now. He sees it in Brock Lesnar and Lashley and in MMA. It’s there to be had in a contemporary way. Wrestling needs to get younger and attract younger fans. Wrestling has to start with kids at its core. Comic book movies are big now because the people read comics when they were young. If you don’t implant a level of imagination with kids when you have them in front of you on a computer screen you’re not going to get them when they’re 30.

Billy says that he believes TNA kept in contact with him so that he was there just in case they ever needed money and later they were hoping he would invest in the company, which he eventually did. Somewhere along the way he realized that he could really be a part of the wrestling business. Billy hopes to work with Sandow, Ryback, and Swagger in the NWA based on availability. There are also people being released form impact that he hopes to work with. NWA’s format won’t fit well with some talents and some people are excited about working with the NWA based on the Ten Pounds of Gold YouTube series that’s they’re producing. If someone has talent, it doesn’t matter what they look like, Billy is interested in working with them. “You send me talent I’m all for it.”

X-Pac ends the conversation by thanking Billy for helping him repair his relationship with his kids. Billy talked to Pac about his relationship with his father and it put a lot of things into perspective for Pac. Billy’s always there for Pac he loves Pac and Pac is a really great person. They do a roundtable of plugs and then wrap the show.

Rating 9/10

This was a fascinating interview. I am a huge fan of Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins so right off the bat my interest was piqued. So far I really enjoy the approach that Billy and Dave Lagana are taking with the NWA. It was interesting to hear Corgan’s thoughts on the scope of the wrestling business and how he thinks he can be successful. I think it’s very refreshing to hear a promotion have such a level-headed mind. I feel like too often in this business everything is hot-shotted. It’s nice to hear that Corgan has a “walk before you can run” mindset. I am also really digging the NWA’s approach by bringing back a little bit of that old-school feeling but in more modern ways like YouTube and Facebook. It was also really interesting to hear about some of what Billy went through during his TNA stint both the business side and creatively. This was an awesome episode. I am really rooting for Billy and the NWA to be successful.

Time Stamps:

00:00 – 23:45 Intros and News Discussion
25:08 – 1:19:12 Interview with Billy Corgan
1:19:13 – 1:21:11 Show wrap up and plugs

About Sean:

Sean is a media professional from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sean’s earliest memory of wrestling is seeing Kane on WWF television in 1998. Sean watched primarily WWF in the Attitude Era and dropped off just before the initial brand split. Seeing recap promos of the Undertaker building up to WrestleMania 20, he became hooked and has been an avid fan ever since. Sean’s wrestling preferences currently lean more towards NJPW/ROH/NXT but he remains a fan of it all. In his spare time Sean enjoys cooking, baking, and going to the gym.  You can follow Sean via Twitter @stmcgraw and Instagram @stmcgraw09.

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