Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Guest: Alexa Bliss
Recap By: Matthew Wilkinson
- Alexa finds it easier to perform for big crowds
- Alexa thought she would have been fired if her character didn’t work with Blake & Murphy
- Alexa thinks she was an underwhelming draft pick
- Sam is pleased to hear Roman Reigns’ confidence
- Sam is excited for Woken Matt Hardy
- Sam thought Jason Jordan did an excellent job on Raw
Sam Roberts welcomes this week’s guest, Alexa Bliss onto the podcast. She is relaxing with her dog and pigs. Sam wondered if that’s a thing, as he saw Liv Morgan with one and Alexa says it might be, but she grew up in Ohio and always wanted a pig so now she has the chance she has to get one. Sam asked if that is a marker of her making it, now she has a pig. She said yes. Alexa spoke about NXT promo classes that she did with Scott Dawson where she always said she wanted a pig, so it’s full circle.
Sam wondered if Alexa misses NXT and the regularity and structure of things. Bliss said she misses the family feel of it and said she was in better shape then. However, she likes the independence you have on the main roster, she likes the travelling, and the opportunities they are given to meet the fans and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sam then asks what the difference is like when you show up on the main roster, after working lots of small venues such as Full Sail. Bliss said NXT prepares you for everything on the main roster and they probably over-prepare you from everything they have at Full Sail to NXT touring now, they are doing venues that are the size of live events.
Alexa found it harder to perform in front of a smaller crowd at Full Sail than a larger one. At Full Sail she could make eye contact with every single person and it’s very scary, it’s easier to do the bigger crowds as you can feel the energy, which is a lot of fun.
Alexa also noted that if someone in the crowd was making a mean comment about her she won’t hear it now, but at Full Sail you hear everything.
Working with Blake & Murphy
Sam points out that she came up on her own and not in a cluster like most of the other women on the roster. Alexa is glad she did it that way.
Because she spent most of her NXT TV Time as a valet for Blake and Murphy, Alexa didn’t get much time to wrestle. She established her character with them and said they’re proud of her for what she has achieved, though Bliss thinks she was the most underwhelming draft pick.
Alexa believes this is why people say she can’t wrestle, because she never got the chance and she knew she’d be under the radar on SmackDown. She said if she was going to be under that radar then she was going to kick down the door and take the opportunity, because in WWE, if you don’t run with that opportunity, a lot of times it doesn’t come back.
Bliss mentioned that she doesn’t do flashy moves or flips from the top rope because she is a bad guy, and her character isn’t supposed to do that, it’s supposed to be dirty and she should cheat to win.
Sam asks if she was aware how valuable the time with Blake and Murphy was, while it was happening. Alexa said from day one she knew it was her sink or swim moment because in NXT as a good guy her character wasn’t getting over and when she was told about the pairing she knew there had to be a character change. Bliss felt that if she didn’t run with it then she probably wasn’t going to have a job, so she began to portray the character.
She decided that if she wasn’t going to be in the ring, then having to portray this character was very important and given they had pitched the idea for 8 months, they knew what to do.
Bliss said that if it wasn’t for NXT she wouldn’t be anywhere near what she is today.
State of Wrestling- Cody Rhodes/ROH
Sam is interested how Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks balance promoting themselves and promoting the Ring of Honor brand. Meaning, everything that we have heard from Cody in the last week or two has been about the All In show, where they will be performing in front of 10,000 people. They will finance it themselves to make it happen. They will put on a Super Show in an arena people thought they wouldn’t be wrestling in front of, unless the WWE flag is flying.
Ten days until Final Battle, you have everyone talking about this potential show, but there’s not the same excitement that Cody Rhodes and Dalton Castle are competing for the ROH Heavyweight Title at Final Battle.
Could this have been timed poorly, meaning should this wave of promotion for this Cody thing have happened after Final Battle?
Now, the argument against this, no of course not, we want all this publicity coming for Cody while we are promoting Final Battle because then its promotion for the show. This is true, but then, nobody is talking about Final Battle, everybody is talking about Cody Rhodes.
Sam wishes that as we were promoting this Cody Rhodes thing, he should be taking a couple of shots in at Dalton Castle and reminding us of this other thing. On Castle’s Twitter feed, he is giving suplexes to dummies in Cody Rhodes t-shirts so we know that he’s all in, he’s onboard.
But at this point, 10 days out, we should be talking about the PPV more than the potential show and hopefully that is where the conversation will move.
Roman Reigns, ‘The Best Wrestler in the World?’
Corey Graves debuts his new show, Straight to the Source on the WWE Network and it’s a good show. The controversy started when Reigns told Graves that he is the best wrestler alive, he’s the best in the world right now. That’s a bold statement, it’s what he should be saying, not because it’s true, but anybody who is in the position that Reigns is in, should believe they are the best.
If we are expected to believe that they are the best, then they need to believe it, doesn’t that make sense? If they are sitting there and we are being told he’s the dude, we need to look at him and believe him. Roman is in this place now where he has a new-found confidence, he has convinced himself that he believes he is the best.
Listen to what Stone Cold says, if you don’t want to be the best you are in the business for the wrong reasons, we want to know that Roman wants to be at the top of the pile. That to Sam is a positive, and by saying that, he injects his name into the conversation, even if we disagree, we are having the conversation.
Now we start the conversation, is Roman the best? Somebody in the chat says he can’t talk so he can’t be the best.
Sam doesn’t think Roman can’t talk, he thinks there are situations where he is actually great at talking, but he isn’t the guy who is built for talking for 15 minutes, but what he did with John Cena looked really great and it developed into something really.
Sam doesn’t think Roman is the best, but does think he is better than most give him credit for and deserves more credit for the matches he has been in. The same thing happened to John Cena, the credit is given to the guy he is in the ring with.
The best wrestler breaks down too many categories, it’s not just in the ring, it’s not just promo, it’s not just entrance and it’s not just merchandise. There are so many categories interviews, match quality, fan reaction, all this stuff. For Sam’s money the best wrestler working right now is A.J. Styles. Omega and Okada are in the conversation, at one-point Shinsuke Nakamura was in the conversation. He’s not today, but that’s not to say he won’t be again.
He doesn’t think Cody Rhodes is in the conversation right now, but he is for being one of the best because he does have matches that are great and he has taken wrestling in a different direction. Sam would put Charlotte on that list and that’s a bold statement because he is not saying we have a male and female list, just make one list and she is on the list.
It’s hard to not put, with the matches they have had, not to put Kenny and Okada on the list. Where does Reigns fall? He is in the top 10. Roman is saying the right thing, you want to know that the guy who is at the top in WWE thinks WWE is the top place to be and that’s what he is saying.
If you are the best in WWE, you are the best in the world. Whether that’s true, or not, you want to know that every guy in WWE feels that way. A year ago, all of us would have been talking about Finn Balor being in the conversation as best wrestler in the world.
We kind of felt like it was heading in a direction of Balor is the next Styles. He beat Roman Reigns his first night out, and even if he is the best in the world, he is not being put in a position to prove that to us.
He could get back there, but he isn’t there right now. It seems like he is just getting beat by Kane so he can be beaten by Braun Strowman. Sam doesn’t think that most people would agree with Roman, but as he said, we need to believe that he believes it.
Woken Matt Hardy
A big thing that happened on Raw was the return of Woken Matt. Woken, not broken. First of all, TNA doesn’t own the word Broken, obviously, and the essence of the character wouldn’t be able to be performed if they owned the character.
If they do not own Broken, then WWE doesn’t own it. You would bet that Matt Hardy owns it, the same way CM Punk was that before and after. If you create something outside of WWE, they won’t claim it unless you sell it to them or allow them to own it.
Sam would imagine in an effort to create something they could own for all of time, they decided to change it and, actually, it is better as he can talk about being woke. It’s relevant, it’s what the kids are saying.
Connor asks how can they introduce Brother Nero, Sam doesn’t know if they have thought that far in advance. He doesn’t think they thought it’s going to be a monster because the Broken character was created outside WWE so it might not translate.
But, it’s undeniable, if you go to WWE’s YouTube channel, the video at the time of this recording has 1.3 million hits. Sam watched it thinking there is a chance it doesn’t work, as it wasn’t just Matt doing a promo on his own.
When he did it with TNA they gave him 20 minutes, they gave him an entire episode, it was all they had, so now you are like okay, we are taking this character and containing it.
Woken Matt Hardy is working and it’s working huge. The only reason when he first started doing the Delete thing is because he has been doing it subtly and Sam doesn’t think the fans caught on to it. What he was doing was bringing back this character that everybody has asked for, that’s the only reason it wasn’t as big as it could have been.
The reason why it works as well as it does is because Matt has the character back. He’s tweaked it a little, he is crying to create a differential so that people who were following the Broken saga can look at it as an evolution of what the Broken character was. That’s why Matt Hardy is a genius.
“Stay woke” is now this obnoxious thing that millennials say, and he has sunken his teeth so deeply into it that its him right now. Where does this leave Bray is the question, where did it leave him before? It’s not like he is in a spot where he is in such high regard. Woken Matt Hardy, because he can tell such bizarre stories and make us believe them, he can put Sister Abigail into his crazy world and make it work.
Sam doesn’t see any reason why Woken Matt and Sister Abigail can’t work. It’s probably the only context where it won’t be really bad to see him dressed up as Sister Abigail, why not? It could be really good. Everything they have done with Bray hasn’t quite worked. It would be re-treading stuff that was already done and would be like trying to repeat Broken Matt.
We should discover newness in the wokenness of Matt. In normal contexts it would be difficult for normal Matt to become popular in the current landscape. Matt isn’t going to allow himself to not prosper in this character. He has worked too hard on the character and getting it into WWE. He will not allow it to fail at all.
It’s important that as much stuff as possible happens live, let them be the characters that they are. We talk about Brother Nero. What if Wyatt is the new one?
Maybe it’s not the craziest idea for him to be a follower of Matt for a little bit. A lot of people say it would kill Bray, but everybody says everything that could kill him has happened and he is still standing.
First of all, how great was Daniel Bryan just losing his mind with the women? There is no way anybody told him to carry on that long, it was great. That’s what makes him so great, even if there is something he would rather be doing he is still going to have a good time.
Sam wanted to talk about the women’s division on Raw. It has more depth than it has in years, if not ever. You are looking around and the tiers you have is remarkable.
You have Nia Jax who is an unbeatable monster and even though she has been beaten, they have done a good job of keeping her a threat to the roster.
You have Asuka who is still undefeated, then you have Alexa Bliss who is a credible champion and doesn’t just seem like she is holding it till the real champion takes it.
Then you have Paige and her faction. They look like they have championship written all over them, specifically Paige.
You’ve still got Sasha Banks and Bayley that at any moment can be brought up. Then you have Mickie James and Alicia Fox who are both credible contenders. Dana Brooke is there too.
Let’s be honest, before Absolution debuted we were kind of left saying this is a record on repeat, but, we turn around and what happens, everything changes, its different now.
Sam doesn’t know who the title contender is going forward, it seems like Nia Jax is starting this thing with Enzo so maybe she will be outside of the story for a bit ,which makes sense. You save her for later.
You have Paige, who seems like she has an issue with Asuka so maybe they will have Asuka and Paige, but the last thing you would want to do is have either cancel the other out.
Alexa is in the middle, maybe you have a triple threat at the Royal Rumble. It’s possible. There is a lot of time before that, maybe something else happens before that.
Absolution is a serious faction, it’s interesting. When the draft first happened there was a conversation about star power, now, it’s not even close, on the women’s or men side, the Raw side is loaded with talent that Smackdown could use.
Finn Balor should be on Smackdown and go with the Good Brothers. Let them have a feud with the Bludgeon Brothers, who by the way, them wrestling is amazing ,but the gimmick still feels cartoony.
Maybe it’s the outfits, but their style and the way they beat the crap out of people is awesome. They need to evolve out of the cartoon stuff but Sam thinks there is a lot of potential. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have the Wyatt Family reform.
What if you have Anderson and Gallows re-join Styles and Finn Balor comes and they all betray Styles and you have heel Balor and The Club against Styles?
Right now, a lot of the matches for Clash of Champions are being made into triple threat matches because we have seen them all before.
Ruby Riott is awesome and the Riott Squad works. Sam doesn’t think it’s as good as Absolution, but that’s because Paige brings a lot of star power and can carry the group, whereas on the Riott Squad it’s three equals.
For the first time they defined themselves as different from Absolution, which is good. It’s weird, Smackdown used to be the place where there were multiple women stories at the same time and there aren’t now. The creativity behind the women on Smackdown is fading while it is heightening on Raw.
Nakamura had a great moment on SmackDown. It was short, but you watch him and anybody who knows what he can do is watching to find it.
It’s not a matter of rock star stuff, it’s the strong style stuff. Sam doesn’t know if it’s because WWE doesn’t think it fits or if it’s the right opponents, but seeing him come out and save Orton and kick Zayn and Owen’s butts got him excited for Nakamura.
Sam is actually looking forward to the tag match quite a bit and it has the potential to steal the show. Randy Orton is underrated at this point. Nakamura, Owens, and Zayn are all ready for main event spots and that is going to pour out at this show.
Bobby says he thinks Nakamura is great but he doesn’t want to hear him cut promos. It would be good to not have him cut promos, we just have to believe that he can beat the crap out of people. Here’s the thing, he has MMA experience and he can do it in real life. On paper, Sam doesn’t know if he needs to see it, but in execution, he really wants to see it.
The stipulation is that Daniel Bryan is going to be the referee and if Owens and Zayn don’t win they will be fired from WWE. Sam thinks that Bryan will not allow them leave Smackdown and this will really beef star the thing between Shane and Bryan.
The question is, where does it lead? Are we going to see a match? Sam doesn’t think so, so he doesn’t know what creating tension between them does long term.
It’s interesting that the way the story is being written, he is being forced to side with the bad guys. Shane has been doing bad guy stuff and all the stuff that Bryan is doing now is all because he felt put upon and was insulted that Shane was doing things without him, causing Kane to jump him.
In order to get where we are going after Clash of Champions, the idea is that Bryan has to allow Owens and Zayn to win and Sam doesn’t know if people want to boo him.
It’s Rusev Day, how great was that, did anybody see that coming? Rusev Day, that should be the name of the team, they beat New Day! It was amazing,
Sam doesn’t know how you cannot watch Rusev Day and not be entertained, he was so happy to watch them win. It makes you think WWE is listening to people.
One of the standouts for Raw was how well Jason Jordan did, it was interesting because Sam saw on his Twitter that a lot of people felt that Jordan was doing a bad job because he was getting booed, but he was doing a great job.
As usual, it was another solid episode of the podcast with a fun interview and a detailed State of Wrestling. Had the interview been a little longer it would have boosted the rating but the State of Wrestling made up for it. It was also good to hear Sam discuss things outside of WWE as well.
Subjects Covered (with timestamps)
00:00- Sponsor Ads
11:30-Alexa Bliss Interview
17:01-Working with Blake & Murphy
32:00-State of Wrestling
45:16-Is Roman Reigns The Best In The World
59:45-Woken Matt Hardy
1:12:30-WWE Women’s Wrestling
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