Sam Roberts Wrestling Show
Release Date: February 22, 18
Guest: Jinder Mahal
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
- Jinder Mahal found out he was getting a push at WrestleMania 33
- Jinder learned a lot from Randy Orton and AJ Styles
- Jinder doesn’t believe he was pushed just before of WWE’s goals in India
- Sam thinks SmackDown needs a shot in the arm
- Sam is very happy to see Jeff Jarrett in the HOF
- Sam thought Rollins was incredible
Subjects Covered (with timestamps)
00:00- Sponsor Ads
08:00-Jinder Mahal Interview/Meteoric Rise
23:00-Losing The Title
45:00-State Of Wrestling/ SmackDown Live Problems
58:30-CM Punk/ALL IN
1:02:00-Single Branded PPV’s
1:19:00-Monday Night Raw/Seth Rollins
Jinder Mahal Interview/Meteoric Rise
Sam Roberts welcomed Jinder Mahal to the show and mentioned how his story was unbelievable and very sudden.
Jinder accepted he had a meteoric rise, because he loves hard work and it started with his physical transformation and then in the ring.
He remembers after WrestleMania, Road Dogg had said some things were going to start to happen and he thought maybe the US Title or the IC Title, that would be cool and he could finally be in a feud with someone rather than just one match at a time to make my opponent look good.
He got drafted to SmackDown and did that thing with Gronk and Mojo beat him which was cool because Gronk is one of the biggest athletes in the world and the next week he became number one contender.
They did the six-pack challenge and the Singh Brothers popped up and he pinned Sami Zayn, he has never been booed so loud.
Jinder believes he was ready and had improved so much and continues to improve, it’s not his goal to be just a one-time champion and he looks forward to holding it many more times as well as the other titles.
Jinder thinks his prime is still to come and believes he can be a top star for a long time, he is there physically and mentally and just continues to improve.
He has a great relationship with Vince and Hunter and they are the first people he goes to for advice so he is looking forward to what is next.
Sam mentioned the confidence situation and whether he was mentally ready, asking how he went from being in his spot to the main event.
Jinder said he absolutely had to learn about that, everybody wishes they could main event but when you get that spot it is very stressful.
He had a couple of matches before with Randy when he was in 3MB, real quick taking an RKO here and there, but he had never had a real match. Luckily, they had the European tour and he had triple threats with Randy and AJ Styles every night and learned so much those two weeks.
It’s a different ball game when you are in those main events, like those guys are so established they get reactions so easily.
When he was in preliminary matches they had to do so much so quickly just to get a reaction out of them because the people aren’t that emotionally invested into them.
So even changing the style from being a superstar to being in a main event is huge difference in style, he could take more time. Jinder sees things differently now, he watches his match back and see how he took a pause and pulled a face, that’s when people draw a reaction.
Jinder believes he got to work with great guys, getting to work with Randy who is the smoothest in-ring performer maybe that there is ever been.
AJ Styles he learned so much from, one of the last true babyfaces left and Jinder believes he is one of the last true heels. There is only a handful of left but it’s cool, now he is intertwined with Bobby Roode right now and he is another great performer.
Sam discussed how a lot of older wrestlers mention that people don’t like the heat in the modern era, but Jinder gets major boos.
Mahal said he loves it because that is the type of stuff he grew up watching when there were true heels, it made him cheer for the babyface.
With social media nowadays, deep down we all want praise but he has no problem, he is a heel and likes being Jinder Mahal ‘the worst champion’ it’s cool.
Vince likes old school, that’s how WWE got to where it is right now, they had such great heels and it’s a throwback and it doesn’t bother me getting booed.
It’s just entertainment and Jinder encourages everyone to enjoy it, he doesn’t go to the movies and comment on things, he loses himself in the movie.
Sam imagines that a positive comment from Vince McMahon outweighs a negative troll from an egg on Twitter.
If you don’t have the haters you haven’t made it is what Jinder believes, that’s what comes with being successful and he uses it as motivation.
He wants to prove people wrong and he wants to establish himself as one of the greatest of all time. If he was getting praised all the time he might become lazy.
Losing The Title
Sam asked if Jinder was worried when he lost the WWE Title because he has been in the position of being released before.
Jinder wasn’t worried at all, he didn’t get the push he made the push. Every WWE Superstar is in charge of their own destiny, that match he had with AJ was a great match, he came back to get a big hug from Vince.
He now gets these people saying it’s a demotion, no it’s not, it’s the United States Championship he is still in a main spot and it’s up to him to maintain that level. If he falls down the card it’s his fault, if he stays then it’s through hard work.
Sam asked if he wasn’t listening when people said he was just champion because WWE wanted to move into India?
Mahal pointed out that India was still there when he got released, it was there the entire time, they went to India when he was released too. He wasn’t even WWE Champion when they went to India, it doesn’t bother him.
It’s a business and they do whatever makes money, they have Indian guys in independent right now, he wants to see all of us rise.
Sam asked how much influence he has on his character, as his character isn’t a stereotypical Indian with the clothing and things, it feels far more educated.
It’s the modern day, for example with the Singh Brother’s, early in rehearsal they had stereotypical Indian outfits and Jinder said no, dress pants and dress shirt, this is better for now, they can’t be hokey.
Jinder has some input but guys like Vince, Hunter, they know what is modern and gets heat so it’s a mix of everything, an old school stereotypical character wouldn’t work right now.
Sam mentioned that Jinder flirted with crossing the line with his Nakamura feud and asked how he felt about the situation.
Maybe it was a little too far but we found out and then adjusted, Jinder doesn’t think he said anything that was too bad.
At the same time nowadays, WWE doesn’t want to offend anybody, it’s about entertaining people and he doesn’t want to offend anybody, it was just done in an entertainment fashion.
Sam asked if Jinder would be interested in wrestling Gronk and he said 100%, he is one of the most recognisable athletes in the entire world.
Jinder wants WWE to be even bigger and having a bigger presence in pop culture, period. He is not one of those guys who hates on people coming in, Gronk doesn’t need WWE, if he comes in it’s because he is passionate about it and he loves it, he doesn’t need it he can do whatever he wants.
Being a WWE Superstar and putting together a match is not easy, some people might underestimate it but he thinks Gronk would be a great WWE Superstar and it would bring a lot of exposure to WWE.
State Of Wrestling/ SmackDown Live Problems
We start with story number five, SmackDown needs a shot in the arm and it needs it bad. It is so hit and miss these days, they start by having really compelling stories like the Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan one was really compelling then they go weeks where nothing happens.
It used to be where Sam sat and watched Raw with his computer open, now, at least the last few weeks everything noteworthy has happened on Raw. The real issue for SmackDown is it has become a B show because it continuously borrows things from Raw, every time you see something.
He was shocked it didn’t open with a gauntlet match this week, it started with the Riott Squad. Absolution debuts and then the Riott Squad debuts and we talked about it then, the only way it works is if they are associated, because otherwise it is a knockoff.
That is the only good thing since Paige can’t compete, at least Absolution is a tag team with a manager and Riott Squad is a three-person faction. On Raw they announce you thought Elimination Chamber would be six, it’s a seven-person match.
The next day, hey, the three way is now a five way, it’s the same thing. You can do that, but the issue is that SmackDown is always a day after Raw, these ideas are thought of over the weekend and then they want to implement them on both shows.
But guess what, if you do it in the same week, SmackDown will always be copying Raw. You have Sami Zayn who is doing the best work of his WWE career right, the interactions between him and Owens don’t make sense at the moment, they are so good but they are floating in this grey area.
You are building towards a Nakamura vs. Styles match, it should be good news, the resurgence of the tag team division is just as big as the women’s revolution. They are creating megastars in the tag team division, people had written off Gable, and it has been amazing, yet you can’t tell me you are excited for another New Day vs. Usos match.
Sam believes it will get better when we lead to WrestleMania, there is so much talent and room for creativity, it’s almost like they are taking a break and letting Raw build up the Elimination Chamber.
They will throw together a Fastlane PPV, the last single branded PPV, he has faith that the ramp up to WrestleMania will be good, but it is having a dry spell.
It needs a shot in terms of creative storytelling and vision, somebody needs to be there going through that show and going what are people going to be talking about. After every show there is no reason why you can’t have at least two segments people will be talking about tomorrow morning.
You had good matches this week, but I can’t even go over the Shane and Bryan feud because nothing is happening, only a few weeks ago something was happening and a few months ago everything was happening.
Dolph was a bad guy who walked away, and now is back as a face but stil has the record scratch, why did he leave?
That should be a story though, he should act like he has ego and the one thing they agree on is he is at the back of the line and must go through the roster to earn a shot at WrestleMania.
Imagine if you spent a month and a half saying he has to win every match before he gets a title shot and gets met with impossible matches, you can have people interfere and then you have to beat them.
It starts with not the top talent but it goes all the way to the top, then when he finally makes his way back up, then and only then you get a title shot against Bobby Roode at WrestleMania.
CM Punk/ALL IN
Let’s go to number four, speaking of stuff happening, it’s the ALL IN show and CM Punk. Matt Jackson was tweeting with him and then Punk tweeted out that he was ALL IN but put up a graphic of the Chicago Cubs.
Sam doesn’t think he will wrestle at the show, he just doesn’t think that is the place he will do it but does think he will make an appearance, cutting a promo on somebody but he won’t wrestle a match.
The teasing is for a reason and that’s that he likes the Bucks and he wants to help them promote this thing. They are just dudes, we go to the Graves and Booker T thing, there was no reason but it was just funny. There is no real reason for this, but hopefully it’s in Chicago and he will be in the house and do something.
Single Branded PPV’s
Number three story of the week, single branded PPV’s are official. This was a story last week but it should be noted that single branded shows are happening at least for the rest of the year.
They sent out a schedule too and we are back to one PPV a month. Sam wishes there was one a week but that’s because he wants to do more pre-shows but, in reality one a month is fine.
It will make them more special and put a little more pressure on the storytelling as it will make getting the spots harder to get.
He hopes it’s not a thing where the undercard struggle to get on, it will be that Roman and AJ Styles will be on every PPV.
Sam has read the rumors and that every show becomes four hours, he thinks WWE still wants to make a big deal out of certain shows the ones that have Takeovers attached to them are the big shows.
They will be the long shows but could potentially be in stadiums. They are big venue; big deal shows and your Hell in a Cell’s and Backlash’s should be in an arena and be three hours.
You will have a difference between your big five and other ppv’s and that goes to wanting to make it special, the same reason why you don’t want 18 PPV’s a year is the same reason you don’t want each to be four hours.
Three hours is long enough, making a show four hours plus pre-show you are talking about shows, WrestleMania went over 7 hours. You want shows to feel special and tell the audience that you are looking at long shows, you aren’t doing two-hour pre-shows for Backlash.
Unless you fill the pre-show up but that would defeat the purpose, the point is to have less matches on PPV. Beyond the big four or five if Money in the Bank is that, you will have three hour shows.
Some of those shows you cannot have everyone headlined with a Raw main event. To make SmackDown relevant they have to.
Sam just hopes it doesn’t dilute the brands, it’s so easy for it to mean nothing, you have to keep them as separated as possible so the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series is special.
Let’s go to the number two story, this was a big one and a surprise, Jeff Jarrett is going into the WWE Hall of Fame, something Sam doesn’t think anybody saw coming.
He was a big star in the mid 90’s and he was the Intercontinental Champion and everybody who watched him fondly remembered him, one of the best midcard bad guys.
Sam always got bummed when he left the company and remembers watching with his parents and his mom was saying he was lip syncing.
Jeff comes back, has some time where he wasn’t great, but don’t piss me off Jeff Jarrett, Sam loved that. Bad guy Jarrett was great, he had amazing main event success in WCW and was the founder of TNA.
He made an impact in the world of pro wrestling so he absolutely deserves a spot and it makes him a bigger deal because he is such a surprise. It makes him closer to a headliner because nobody expected it.
The story goes when he left he was owed money from Vince and he was the champion, he said he was leaving, the contract has run out. He wanted all the money and then he would go and lose the match for the title, whether it’s money you are owed or not you don’t hold up Vince McMahon.
When Vince McMahon buys WCW and they do the simulcast and looked at Jarrett on the TV and makes comment and he says he has a new way to spell it, F-I-R-E-D and you think maybe it’s a bit and he never came in, the one guy who never came.
People believe that to be real heat, it’s interesting that he is coming in and you wonder what his role will be. Road Dogg has to induct him.
Some people are saying it’s because WWE paid for his rehab and maybe. Kurt Angle was a surprise, Ultimate Warrior and Sting, they do that regularly.
WWE and Triple H see the future of this company, WWE wants to be the curator of wrestling, they spent so long branding themselves as sports entertainment because they wanted wrestling to be associated for them.
They are going a step further and see the value in having copyright branding for all these guys, they want to own wrestling.
They want to tie up their loose ends and the people who are important and make sure they come to peace with them, it’s a healthy thing. It’s a positive direction for them, they have the means to take care of them and start a project.
Monday Night Raw/Seth Rollins
Let’s get to it, the number one story is the gauntlet match that started Monday Night Raw and the MVP performance of Seth Rollins. It gave Sam the feels that match did, he saw how long Seth and Roman were going and assumed that he got his rub, Cena will squash him.
Seth Rollins goes on to beat John Cena, crazy. It’s really interesting the amount that Cena is losing, and Sam is loving the idea that he is not the top guy anymore, ever since Roman beat him.
It proved that if there is good wrestling for two hours the fan base will latch on, the cut ins with Renee interviewing them and then the stories in the ring, with Roman to Seth and him showing why he wants to own Raw again.
In one match proving himself as someone who deserves to be a headliner, Elias coming in and being the future, Miz coming in and you remember Finn Balor and then Braun Strowman cleans this thing up.
Sam wouldn’t have been remotely disappointed if this went a full show, and he respects whatever writer came up with this idea. It got him amped up for the Elimination Chamber.
It reminds you in Sam’s humble opinion, that we have never had an Elimination Chamber match with this much talent in it. This roster is so jam packed with talent he has never seen anything quite like it.
You talk about the talent of the Attitude Era but you have seven legit main event level guys who could and should main event PPV’s and you could make an argument for other guys going in.
This is only half the roster, when you can fill a Chamber with all top guys and have a whole other brand, we have never seen a roster with talent like this.
It drove it home when there wasn’t one guy to come out that made you go, alright, let’s get rid of him. Any gauntlet match that can start with them three and then go for another hour is significant star power, you would think starting with them would blow your load but it didn’t.
Obviously, it’s the longest match in Raw history, it is ballsy. To take your number one show where you pay attention to the ratings every week we will just do one match, it was super impressive.
It was an amazing thing and made Sam really excited for the Chamber, he was going ‘oh now it’s these two but imagine if it was these other people’, there are so many combinations.
The reason Reigns isn’t being highlighted as much is because he will win the match. What’s beautiful about this is if you said any of those guys you wouldn’t be disappointed, except Roman Reigns, isn’t that ironic.
You don’t see that at every Chamber, you normally have three guys, you have added an extra guy and still anybody could win. It’s not crazy to think that Lesnar vs Cena, the story makes sense, he has to beat this guy who has beaten him badly before, that could be the story and it makes sense.
It’s another fantastic episode which continues Sam’s run of brilliant podcasts this year, all of which have been very strong so far. Jinder Mahal was a fascinating guest and you could really get a feel of his passion for the business from his answers which was great to see. It was also good that Sam didn’t shy away from asking about the controversial India rumors and Shinsuke Nakamura feud, making the interview a must listen.
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