Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Recap By: Matthew Wilkinson
- X-Pac Still Gets Checked At Every Airport Following His Arrest.
- X-Pac Has No Desire To Stop Wrestling.
- X-Pac Wants One More WWE Run.
- Sam Thinks This Is Mojo Rawley’s Last Chance
- Sam Thinks Matt Hardy Will Freshen Up His Broekn Gimmick This Time
- Sam Thinks Absolution and Riott Squad Should Be One Group
Sam welcomed X-Pac to the show and the two men exchanged pleasantries as X-Pac explained that he has just finished a tour of Australia, which was amazing. He felt the Australian fans were given a hell of a show each and every night and he thinks the fans are starting to get better wrestling other than WWE. He doesn’t like long flights and was anxious about the 15-hour flight for over two weeks but he didn’t find it too bad in the end.
Sam wondered if he feels the need to step it up even more when he is on shows with young stars such as Ricochet. Sean Waltman said he brings it no matter what the show is. He brings out several tricks and moves that he doesn’t always do in shows such as his recent tour. He enjoys doing that.
It must be a good thing for X-Pac, Sam believes, as kicking is in style right now which wasn’t the case before and X-Pac believes that is because nobody knew how to do it properly. He said that slapping the leg is something he has never done but his kicks always make the same sound anyway, but didn’t give away his trade secrets.
Sam noted how he saw pictures and X-Pac is in brilliant shape right now, Sean said that he’s always been in that shape, but this is the first time he has used nutrition and diets so it is more obvious.
Sam asked if he still gets worried when he goes to airports after what happened when he got arrested and Waltman said that he does, every time. Sam felt that the media didn’t cover the fact he was cleared of all charges in the same way that they did when he got arrested. X-Pac thanked Sam for sticking his neck out for him during that period.
X-Pac said there were no winners in that situation, he didn’t win a prize, nobody gave all the money back that he lost or the damage to his reputation. He remembered when the word came out that he really didn’t do it and he got a text from Hunter saying congratulations, Sean said congratulations for what, not being a f**k up?
Sam mentioned they were talking at No Mercy and X-Pac said he was going to keep wrestling after previously saying he would slow down. He said that is the case as people still want to see him and he’s not embarrassing himself in the ring. He still enjoys wrestling and when it’s stuff like this tour of Australia, when you are in the ring with really good guys it’s when the magic happens.
Sam wonders how it works with him wrestling people who watched him growing up and X-Pac digs that. He treats them like peers and they treat him like that, which he loves.
Sam mentions how talent like the Young Bucks have figured out how to make money on their own which X-Pac finds really cool. Being The Elite, that show is great, in Sean’s opinion and he thinks them trying to get a 10-000 seater venue is great, he loves them taking a chance on themselves. It takes a lot of guts to do that, but those things, when they pay off, they pay off big. The fact that guys now believe in themselves enough to not take that call and make guaranteed money in the so-called big time, that’s impressive.
Sam asked how Austin Aries was on the tour, as he is a guy who just left the land of opportunity. X-Pac said he is looking great in the ring. He told a story of how Aries spoke took a shot at the quality of the ring they were working in on the recent tour as he turned heel on the ring.
Sam mentioned the recent autograph story and X-Pac said that Austin did have a point with what he was saying. While he thinks he would have done it more politely, X-Pac mentioned how the signings and merch is how they make a living, so fans wanting free things at the airports isn’t cool and Aries made a point about it.
Sam brought up the stories about X-Pac doing pranks that involved poo. He said he only did it a few times but they were big ones.He added that it’s hard to complain about people discussing it, as he bragged about it a lot back in the day, which he finds hard to admit.
Sam mentioned how he was a different person then and X-Pac agreed, saying he was someone with their head up their arse. He doesn’t think he was a bad person but he did some really shitty things that he isn’t proud of now looking back, though when you are young and trying to fit in that is what happens to be accepted.
The thing is, with the Mark Henry thing, X-Pac claims he wasn’t even there for that, but he still gets associated with that. He said he once got a lock and chain and locked Adam Bomb’s stuff to the ceiling and he wasn’t happy about it.
Sam wondered if he got away with things due to who he hung around with. X-Pac said that was probably the case.
Sam asked if X-Pac saw the War Games match. He had and really liked it, though he wishes there was a roof on the cage.
He said he loved the roof when he was in the War Games match, as he got slammed onto it and then put back down on the mat and it looked great.
The match that stood out the most for X-Pac was the Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream match. Black has really upped his game since he has been there, from his first match to now it’s amazing. When he got to the end of the match and did his comeback, the way it flowed that wasn’t one of the stronger parts of his game when he first got there.
Sam mentioned how he wonders if Dream can work on the main roster, as character driven wrestlers haven’t done so well so far. X-Pac said he hopes that doesn’t happen, as there is something authentic about the character that really works.
Working for WWE
Sam asked if a goal of his to do something with WWE in terms of backstage or developing talent? X-Pac said he is pretty good right now but he would be interested, he would do pretty much anything they asked me to do. He said if he could pass their physical he would love to go finish up in WWE. He believes he could do it right now.
State of Wrestling (Mojo Rawley Turn)
Sam said we were all a big part of history this week, all of us. There are moments in the world of pro wrestling when you look back on it and say do you remember where you were?
Do you remember when the Macho Man told Hulk Hogan, you’ve got lust in your eyes brother? Of course, you do, do you remember where you were when Shawn Michaels made the boyhood dream come true and then lost his smile, we all remember.
This week we’ve got one, the millennials got our next, barber shop window moment, for the rest of time people will ask you when Mojo lost his hype? Where were you, when there was no more hype bro, Mojo Rawley turns on Zack Ryder this week on SmackDown.
Sam thinks we all expected Ryder to turn on Mojo, that’s where we saw it going, to see Mojo mid-promo when Zack is talking, Mojo made something change.
This was the right move because as much as they try with Rawley, Ryder is the more popular of the two. They give Mojo the Andre the Giant trophy, nobody remembers that, but people remember Zack Ryder on top of the ladder with the Intercontinental Championship.
That should be part of it, right? Sam wants to hear Mojo say he won, he was hyped and told all of you to stay hyped and you never did. No matter how hard I asked you to stay hyped you wouldn’t, then he goes and wins the Andre the Giant memorial and what do you do? You don’t even remember. When you think about WrestleMania , you talk about the Hardy’s returning, you talk about Cena proposing but you never talk about Mojo, what about me?
Sam feels like this will be Mojo’s last shot, there is not much else for him to do, he has had every opportunity in the world. He’s had singles matches when Ryder was injured, they certainly tried to push him as singles and SmackDown did more with the Hype Bros than they did with American Alpha, so you can’t say they haven’t tried with him. Now he gets the heel turn, he has the story of the end of the Hype Bros. It’s all about him and now is the moment.
This only benefits Mojo because had Zack turned he would have been a bad guy for about a cup of coffee. This is the best possible outcome for Mojo so we will see where it goes.
Big news that broke this week, if you remember a few months back Cody Rhodes was on this podcast and it was right when he was in his argument with Dave Meltzer on Twitter. It has inspired him to turn around and do something new, he was arguing over filling a 10,000-seater arena, as Cody has been on this push of ROH.
It’s interesting because for a long time Cody was saying he wasn’t interested in signing anything exclusive with any organisation because he had done that, then he turns around and says he has an exclusive deal with ROH. That’s when he starts to push his role in the Bullet Club. So, Cody and the Young Bucks believes in this 10,000-seater idea, but it didn’t seem like something that ROH wanted to do, they have figured out what works and something that they do well.
How it is they make money, so the last thing they want to do is throw everybody off base and say they are now doing these big buildings. Number one, they are not used to getting 10,000 people to a show, a big show is like 3,000 people, if they do that it’s a huge success and number two, if they do 10,000 seats because of what it looks like, the expectation becomes that this is where they do their big shows.
NXT did its first few big shows at Full Sail, where they tape NXT, he thinks the first one that took place outside was the first one in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center. They were planning on blacking out most of the building, it was probably the peak of NXT so far, but they ended up selling out the whole building.
But, after you saw what it looked like, TV was fine for Full Sail but when a big event was happening after that you had to do it in a big arena, otherwise it feels like a step backwards. That might be something that ROH is worried about.
If you are ROH, you can’t do a 10,000-seater once, people will expect a PPV within the next six months to be in a 10,000-seater venue. Sam doesn’t think that’s something they wanted to commit too. But, because those Bullet Club boys are so damn goal oriented and ambitious, it wasn’t good enough for them, so Cody and Young Bucks announced they will fund a show themselves, on their own.
Obviously, they will have the permission from ROH, as they are on exclusive deals with them and ROH would be smart to let them do this as surely the ROH Title would be defended. You are going to have a lot of ROH talent on the show, but since you don’t have ROH as the promoter, they are not continuously expected to sell out a 10,000-seat arena.
Really, anything that Cody and Young Bucks do is a free commercial for ROH, they benefit from everything that these guys are doing.
In the old days of wrestling, the traditional mentality is to over-promise and under-deliver and hope that people forget what you promised, but that’s not the game they play. The reason that they are different is because they make the fans feel like they are inside the joke. The Young Bucks have a sense of gratitude towards the fans, as they have had all this success and it has been crowd funded. Sam would imagine Cody is pouring with gratitude. He stepped out of the umbrella and has become a bigger star on the indies. By the way, when he does get back to WWE it is going to change things for him.
Sam loves that they are doing this. He doesn’t think they would be doing this if it wasn’t possible.
WWE is competition, for the last 15 years we talked about how WWE needs competition, how it’s never been as good as when WCW was running head to head. What they are doing with this show and how the wrestling world is taking shape is becoming a world into itself.
Let’s say ROH folded, we are now creating a model where even if it doesn’t exist, guys can still figure out how to make a living outside of WWE. That is the huge thing, that’s what becomes competition for WWE. It’s not a Monday Night War, but guys have a choice.
There is nothing stopping these guys going out and making their own money. Now you don’t need someone else to put the ring up because Cody is printing a blueprint for you, people can promote their own shows now.
There is 150,000 ways to do it which suits different guys, but Cody and the Young Bucks are demonstrating that you don’t have to assume your fate lies in the hands of anyone else.
One big thing to come was when Cody phoned in to Sirius XM and said he would want to wrestle Daniel Bryan at the show.
If Sam was putting on a show and trying to sell out 10,000 seats, he would want to wrestle Daniel Bryan. It’s really going to be interesting with Bryan in the coming month, because if you listen to the interview it’s clear he wants to wrestle in WWE, he said that on the podcast. The only reason he would wrestle outside of WWE is if he was not allowed. If that’s the case, Sam could certainly see him wrestling Cody Rhodes.
If it is a Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan match, not only does Sam think it will sell 10,000 seats, he will fly to watch the thing. To see Cody vs Bryan Danielson, when there is no handcuffs, we would see souls leaving bodies, it would be guys that for so long wanted to show everything they could do and that would be the match they could do it.
Personally, Sam would far prefer Daniel Bryan to wrestle in WWE but that’s because he is a WWE fan.
There are three matches he wants to see, Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar, Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, and an iron man 90-minute match between A.J. Styles and Bryan, those are the matches Sam wants to see in a WWE ring.
If Bryan does not wrestle in a WWE ring again, as much as it would be a tragedy, wrestling Cody Rhodes in a moment that would be monumental for independent wrestling would be incredible.
That’s another thing Bryan made clear, WWE wants him to wrestle, they just can’t let him right now. We will see.
Speaking of live shows, the WWE business used to revolve around live shows, that was the mark of success when you would wake up before Monday Night Raw, at noon it was wrestling superstars.
The purpose of these TV shows was to announce that live shows were coming to town, it was designed to sell people on a live event.We watched TV hype up Undertaker vs Ultimate Warrior, it never happened on television but it did on the live shows.
WWE put out an unreleased DVD and it had some of these matches such as Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre the Giant. Now it’s not so much, there is more money in merchandise and sponsorship or network subscriptions.
The live events are more like, here are the big TV stars come and see them live. But, that said, it all changed this weekend when WWE went to Greensboro and put on Starrcade. The reason the money can’t be guaranteed on live events is because people always know what is going to happen at them.
People have been asking why wasn’t Starrcade on the Network and it’s because it costs a lot of money to put it on. Personally, Sam thinks it should have been on, that’s what the Network should be about, the documentaries are great the Kevin Owens 365 was great as was the Goldberg 24. The Owens 365 was so good, as you get a sense of how much the opinion of Vince McMahon means to them. It was interesting and a side of things you don’t get to see, but you could get away with charging more for the big four or five PPVs and throwing on some of these live events.
Instead of shaping things like everything is a PPV, Sam loved the Beast in the East. The set is lower in scale, it’s awesome and you can get away with charging more for PPVs if you knew every few months there would be a live event on the Network.
Something like Starrcade makes the Network feel more exclusive. Seeing the two cage matches that were old school was really cool to see.
Listening to the crowd reaction on Raw was really interesting. Roman Reigns was getting a lot more cheers than before we were without the Shield. Did you hear the reaction that The Miz’s theme song got? Lots of cheers, he is so good.
The Kane and Strowman stuff was a little bit been there and done that. It doesn’t sit well with Sam to watch Kane beat up Finn Balor on a regular basis just to watch Strowman beat him up. Kicking the crap out of Balor doesn’t do anything for Kane, as he has that notoriety that we know he can do it. Sam is interested to see where it is going as he can’t see them dragging this out to the Royal Rumble, so he doesn’t know where the pay-off comes.
The only reason the crowd was lackluster when Matt teased Broken Matt is because we have done that since WrestleMania. That wasn’t the first time we have seen it, it was the first time he has done it repeatedly, but in order for Broken Matt to really get a reaction, he is going to have to morph into the character.
It’s good because Sam loves Broken Matt and it meant Bray Wyatt got a win. It’s interesting that the original character happened because Jeff was injured and now it’s happening again.
Matt Hardy deserves a lot more credit than people are giving him for his wrestling brain, he will change it up a little bit to recapture some of the magic.
Elias had a great match and he is severely underrated. Sam likes the idea of Samoa Joe as Roman Reigns’ opponent, it will be interesting to see who Broken Matt has a rivalry with, maybe Bray.
It’s clear they are building tension between Shane and Daniel Bryan, it’s a nice story arch they have going on there. You have got to give props to what A.J. Styles did with the Singh Brothers, the Styles Clash, it looked cool and it was amazing.
We should talk about the women. We’ve got the Riott Squad and we have Absolution, when the Riott Squad announced themselves as that and not also as the Absolution. It’s just two squads of women that are kind of the same thing and it sucks for the Riott Squad. Sam loves all three women, but because Monday comes before Tuesday, every episode feels like that they are a rehash of what happened the night before?
This was a terrific episode with a really engaging and interesting interview with X-Pac who is one of the most open and honest wrestlers to speak to. Both men clearly have a lot of respect for each other and that could be heard in the conversation which felt very natural and organic.
Subjects Covered (With Timestamps)
00:00- Sponsor Ads
06:42- X-Pac Interview (Australia Tour)
19:57- Being Arrested
23:50- Independent Wrestling
28:34- Austin Aries
33:03- Playing Pranks
42:27- War Games
51:04- Working for WWE
59:04- State of Wrestling (Mojo Rawley Turn)
1:45:09- Raw/ SDLive
About the Writer
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