Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: March 7, 2018
Guest: Luke Harper
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
- Luke feels him and Rowan are maybe meant to be together as a team
- Luke Harper felt being in the movie helped him deal with the injury
- Harper wants to be part of WrestleMania this year
- Sam wants Raw to be on the USA Network
- Sam thought Roman’s promo work was excellent
- Sam will be attending ALL IN
Subjects Covered (with timestamps)
06:55-Luke Harper Interview/Getting A Movie Role
11:40-Dealing With Injuries
33:00-Watching The Movie Back
43:15-State Of Wrestling/NXT
60:00-Raw Women’s Division
1:15:20-Roman Reigns/Paul Heyman
1:24:00-Ronda Rousey Segment
Luke Harper Interview/Getting A Movie Role
Sam Roberts says it’s Thursday and you know what that means, Luke Harper. Here’s the thing, you’re a movie actor now, in Mohawk, Sam watched the whole thing just so he could get to those credits and see what he is billed as just so Sam could see if he is a real actor or just a wrestler in a movie. My friend, you are a real actor.
Luke Harper said that is correct, if he was Luke Harper the whole movie would be ruined as his first name is dead so they would have to reshoot it and retag him as Harper.
Sam asked how he ended up in this movie? It’s called Mohawk and it’s in the 1800s and the American’s are in the forest hunting down the Mohawk tribe.
Luke was contacted by talent relations who is the director of the film and sitting next to me and does a much better job at explaining how he got me.
The director said he grew up as a fan of pro wrestling and when they had written it, there was a big hulking soldier and they didn’t have anybody in mind and then they thought it would be cool if a WWE superstar would be available.
They reached out and they sent a list and when he saw Harper’s name on it he thought this will work out perfectly, they had a Skype conversation/interview/audition and right after that it was go.
Luke said he was hurt at the time, he had a legit brace on, the brace he wears was written in at the time so it worked out.
Sam asked if Luke knew he was on that list of potential movie superstars, when Sam got the thing saying he was around he was surprised to hear he was in a movie.
Harper said when they did reach out he assumed they had got the wrong guy and they assured him they wanted him but it’s weird to Harper too.
Dealing With Injuries
Sam asked when you are at home injured is it better for the brain to be busy and working?
Luke said maybe his wife should answer that one. He was there for seven months so it had to be a blessing in disguise as he was playing video games and watching WWE and UFC in his basement.
It’s brutal, you are watching your world go on and you can’t get in that world and you also know that’s how you make your living so it’s a mental hurdle. But once you realize “oh you have this house and family, “you can understand what you have at home and they make him way better for being out.
Harper is gone five days a week and then those two days are gone and it just winds and winds. To be out for six months and understand, oh. Then you are like man this is really cool.
Luke said he remembers saying at the end of the movie he wishes we could do the first scene over again as he knew so much more.
At the end Harper was honestly shaking out his brain, it was such a mental, he doesn’t want to say struggle but it was taxing, Luke was questioning himself and this and that. It was mentally hard and physically it was okay. It was very hard.
Sam mentioned how this is the first time Luke has worn tights due to the Bludgeon Brothers role he is now working with.
This is the first time when Harper couldn’t walk up to Walmart and just say ‘hey I need my gear,’ he is very sad. He also had to get in better shape as the gear is a little tighter, he had to tie his hair to hide the bald spot.
Sam asked what it was like, being back from injury but only wrestling in dark matches and never on TV.
Luke said he knew nothing, that becomes the mental struggle on its own. Being the dark match king gave him gratification of knowing he can still do this, being at home he questioned it a little more.
But being on TV is the goal and to not be featured or have an outlet was the struggle for him, then to get that outlet and to kill it, then to go back again was frustrating as he knew he belonged there.
At the time Harper didn’t want a Wyatt reunion, he wanted to do his own thing, so he didn’t want any part of that. Harper thought he got to a certain level where they noticed and it bought him another turn with this Bludgeon Brother concept.
Sam thinks it’s one of these things, you saw it it’s either going to go really well or really poorly.
So, you see it on paper and think ‘well, I look great in that picture, but we put the gear on and go show Vince and he says good, I’ll see you later when we do the vignette so he came personally to do that which was awesome and he was hands on.’ To go from not being featured to Vince being hands on was kind of like 180.
There was a few weeks ago they had a match with two locals and Harper was really fired up and forgot Rowan had a move to do and threw this table right in his path.
Luke got to the back and saw it back and was like ‘I am so sorry and he said no that was awesome.’ Right then Harper knew maybe we are supposed to be together, anyone else could have got pissed but he just waited his turn.
Sam mentioned the guy who did the scream, wondering if it’s difficult to keep a straight face?
Luke said when they got to the back and someone said ‘hey man what about that scream, Rowan turns to me and goes why did you do that and I go I don’t know, he heard it and thought it was me. I watched it back and told him that wasn’t me, I said I don’t think I can get that pitch.’
Sam says Luke must be optimistic about where he is right now?
Looking at it, he was in the same position last year but didn’t get what he wanted, which was that WrestleMania spot. Again, him and Rowan have placed themselves in that position to potentially make an impact at WrestleMania so again, that’s the goal.
Watching The Movie
Sam asked if it is difficult to watch himself? Harper said he needed to see it before the premiere, he got sent it watched it with his wife, just seeing it he thought it was great and it’s not difficult to watch, to see it go from just being in the woods to that is really cool.
When he got the call, he thought they needed a big guy to kill a few people and then die, Harper was flipping the script sheet and got to like page 80 and was still alive. It wasn’t cookie cutter for what a guy like him would do, he has a moral compass and it wasn’t just an evil person.
The director added that they wanted people to be entertained but it is a historical movie so they have to treat it with respect and he understands the weight that is on him to tell a story like this.
It was something they talked about, the fact they told a story about a near extinction so they couldn’t play it up as camp. When you have a movie that is essentially a thriller you have to walk that line.
State of Wrestling- NXT
Before the top five stories there are a couple of things Sam wanted to give honorable mentions to. He is aware of what the Velveteen Dream is doing in terms of Twitter and building a story between him and Ricochet and he loves what he is doing.
Sam is a big advocate for guys using social media to push their story and recently we had Miz and Baron Corbin do it. When you use social media, people think it is real.
Social media is just as fake as wrestling, and it shouldn’t trick most of us but it certainly makes it so we suspend our disbelief a little more, we care because this is how we communicate.
You can say NXT isn’t seen by as many people as Raw but Twitter is, it is the perfect place and Sam is through the roof, he loves the idea of Ricochet’s first big match being at Takeover against Dream, that is a dream match.
Let’s just say, we watch NXT, where is the title match going, probably Aleister Black vs Almas, you are looking at the finale of the Dusty Tag Classic and hopefully they can figure a way to make an unsanctioned Ciampa vs Gargano match. To also have Dream vs Ricochet, you are looking at show of the weekend right there.
As far as the rumors go, as of this recording it was just talked about that Werdum from UFC is going to be meeting with WWE to work a deal where he can do both UFC and WWE, it isn’t a bad idea to get that UFC star power.
Sam thinks it could work out beneficially for both brands, if he is doing both at the same time, can this WWE guy win in UFC, business wise it is good.
Monday Night Raw may move to Fox and move to broadcast TV, here in America that is very big deal that it would be on broadcast and not cable for the first time.
The traditionalist in Sam hates the idea of it not being on USA, he hated it before, since he was a little kid WWE has been on the USA Network. For a guy who wants to see this company as big as possible it is tough to see a bigger deal than this and it would likely shorten Raw to two hours.
The last rumor is talk of a Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship being added, it’s a good idea to develop that brand if you want it to tour. He thinks the Hurricane posted about this, in WWE and Sam spoke to someone about this in WWE about having a trio championship and he thinks that is the way to go.
We will start with Fastlane, it was a little strange that they gave us the Fatal Fiveway on SmackDown, on one and he can see how it would get us excited and it’s not giving it away as John Cena is a huge element in that match.
In two weeks SmackDown has done a good job of making Cena a huge part of that match. The story they are telling it has added a tremendous amount to Fastlane.
SmackDown did a good job especially coming off a Raw where everyone is talking about WrestleMania, it feels like it isn’t just a speedbump, it feels like if you watch Fastlane the picture for WrestleMania will become much more clear.
You had the women’s tag on SmackDown, first of all, Carmella was great this week, she is coming into her own in terms as her character and wrestling as her character, you get a feel for who she is whilst she is doing these matches which you don’t get for everybody.
Some of the matches were maybe placeholders and we will talk about the women in a minute. Sam personally believes there is no way AJ leaves not being champion.
John Cena on Raw set up a scenario with a triple threat and you heard the way the crowd reacted, it is obvious that AJ Styles vs Nakamura is a match that the WWE Universe has wanted for at least nine months.
As soon as AJ won that was the first thing people asked for, Sam can’t imagine a WrestleMania where it isn’t a one on one. Cena is a character who has already fast forwarded, at the end of Fastlane this plan is going to be scrapped.
If he had to put money on something he would put the Undertaker match back on the table but he is loving the story that is being told.
Coming off the six way he is not sure where Dolph or Corbin end up. AJ faces Nakamura and Cena goes on to face Undertaker.
As Sam was watching SmackDown he got the sinking sensation that we are going to get a Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn match. Unlike every other match between them, for the first time this should be the start of Sami Zayn’s run as a heel.
Owens is too valuable as a heel so between Fastlane and ‘Mania tell the story and make it clear that neither are good guys, Sami Zayn is the badder of the bad guys.
Sami has been so good, it is the best work he has done on the main roster and him getting a cheap victory to beat Owens at ‘Mania is the story we all need and want to see.
Coming off WrestleMania Sam would separate them again and would set Zayn on the course to be a real bad guy and have him as the first opponent for whoever is the WWE Champion.
You have you women’s title which Sam loves, but doesn’t think there is any question that Charlotte is going to win. Fastlane will be the moment that Ruby Riott proves if she is a leader, we watch her as a leader and we accept it, but she hasn’t displayed what she can do.
You have Rusev vs Nakamura, they obviously want to keep him as a bad guy so you put him in there with a guy like Nakamura, who can make him feel like a bad guy.
It is a nice victory for Nakamura to get before WrestleMania. Finally, the tag match will be the last time we see those two, after WrestleMania that New Day will break up and then you turn Usos into underdogs against Bludgeon Brothers at ‘Mania.
Raw Women’s Division
We move on to story number four which is what happened on Raw with Asuka, Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss. The story right now is that Asuka has beaten Nia Jax twice now and Alexa is encouraging her to beat up Asuka and is on her side but that is just because she wants her to damage her WrestleMania’s opponent.
We saw a sympathetic side on Raw with her crying on Raw and a side we want to cheer for when she wouldn’t tap out, we had Alexa with her getting sympathy for Nia Jax. What is the story here, there isn’t a clear story for Charlotte.
It has been mentioned multiple times that Alexa Bliss has to worry about Asuka and that she has the champion for WrestleMania. We have seen graphics for other matches, what have you not seen for Asuka and Alexa Bliss, we have seen no graphic and at no point has she actually challenged Alexa Bliss.
At the Royal Rumble she didn’t get to pick a champion and she hasn’t picked a champion since then. At Fastlane you have Charlotte beat Riott but she is going to go through war leaving Riott looking strong and leaving Charlotte looking special. As so as that match is over, whose music hits, Asuka.
She comes out under the nose of Stephanie and Kurt who are distracted and challenges Charlotte, walks out, points at her, points at the sign, it’s Asuka vs Charlotte.
This is the match, there is no way you can convince people that any story has been told that Alexa has the ability to beat Asuka and Charlotte is the start of the division, that is the dream match.
Then there is panic going on Raw, Stephanie and Kurt can blame each other which continues their story. That leaves Alexa Bliss with the match we want to see, Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss. No triple threats, no fatal fourways, the women are represented in these ways.
And, in the ultimate grudge match you have Sasha Banks and Bayley, if you want more women you have room on the pre-show. You want Carmella heat, Asuka has to lose the streak at some point, she wins the title and Carmella comes out and cashes in to beat her.
Carmella leaves WrestleMania as the champion and Asuka loses in a cheap way and the feud moves on between them and maybe a year from now we get a charlotte and Asuka rematch.
We move off WWE for story number three and talk about ALL IN, Sam hopes to be covering it plenty because it is an amazing feat for professional wrestling, it is the challenge that Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks accepted, it is being funded by them and mysterious investors.
Everyone in the Elite will be involved, it should be the marking of what can happen in wrestling outside of WWE and Sam loves that it is being put on by wrestlers. So, what is the news, it was announced where it will be.
Just as suspected it was announced it will take place in Chicago and Sam is already planning on being there, he is not worried about media, Sam is going to go to that show.
Roman Reigns/Paul Heyman
Let’s move to segment two, the Roman Reigns segment with Paul Heyman and Heyman delivered what he was doing brilliantly.
But, the best promos are there because there is an element of truth that find a way to tell a story, it forces this thing that it is storytelling and Heyman’s promo about Lesnar, it didn’t make any sense.
He talked about what it takes to be champion and the pressure, you can’t cut that promo for a guy who only defends once every three months, you got called out for not showing up, your champion is getting called out and your response is you need to sacrifice.
Brock isn’t sacrificing, maybe it was done so Reigns has something to work off of, but as a fan Sam is saying it isn’t true.
Sam got a weird feeling when WWE started promoting, why as a fan should he believe that there will be a face to face encounter next week. You told us last week it would happen and it didn’t happen, Sam wishes that was acknowledged more.
They want the ratings but that damage was already done, when Brock didn’t show up him no showing becomes a thing. They should have had the commentators say if Brock shows up, now we are tuning in to see if he shows up at all.
The audience wants an answer from Brock, why didn’t he show up two weeks ago. If you are this guy who takes the honor of being the champion and answers to the championship, then why didn’t you answer when the championship wanted to be answered too.
Sam just wishes that Roman had sunk his teeth into it a little more, all the bitch stuff got a little weird to me, it was a weird choice and he wishes Roman had gone after him.
He should have said that Paul was right, it does need to be displayed, it needs to take precedence, it needs to be on Raw every week and it isn’t.
When a number one contender gets announce for WrestleMania it needs to be on Raw and it wasn’t, is it because he is scared of the Big Dog? What Heyman said applies more to Roman Reigns than Brock Lesnar.
It isn’t a special treat when Roman is at the live events, he is at them, you don’t see him for 35 seconds every two months, you see him work his ass off every night. Hopefully we will hear that and less of the bitch stuff.
Ronda Rousey Segment
Finally, story number one is the Ronda Rousey segment and it wasn’t as bad as people say it was. Sam doesn’t have a problem with her angry face, some people are saying she can’t act but that isn’t fair.
Her timing needs a lot of work, when she announced she wants Steph as her opponent it needs work. But so, does Kurt, we may see some greatness from him again but Sam does not want to see Triple H get the advantage over him as it doesn’t prove anything.
No part of Sam believes Kurt Angle can beat up Triple H, he wants the ECW Angle to show up, your boss punched you in the face and you’re an Olympic Gold medal wrestler, you need to get in his face.
Bring up that you made out with his wife before, let’s talk about Triple H holding him down, is it true? Who cares! We want him to get angry and be afraid of Kurt Angle, when he would come to the ring with a mouth guard and be foaming, he is not far away from that.
Sam wants to believe that he is the last guy you would want to stare at across the ring. Sam loves that he got some offense, and could have used not having any offense by Triple H this time, he has had no authority on Raw, everything he has done has been undermined but that never gets brought up.
He had every reason to fire Braun but he was told not to. It is right under the surface but let’s get ot it. With Ronda, whilst she needs some help on those promos leading to WrestleMania, her on Raw was better than Royal Rumble, but she should be doing MMA moves in the ring, it should look like she did in the UFC, not doing Samoan Drops.
She could just punch her in the face or lock the arm or lock her in an ankle lock or choke her out, wouldn’t that be cool? What if we saw Ronda as someone who wasn’t so friendly, what if she choked her out?
We need a lot more aggression out of both Rousey and Angle, Sam has been surprised over the last week and is still hearing that WWE has dropped the ball by putting Ronda in this match, Sam completely disagrees.
At some point we can see an amazing match with her and Charlotte but Sam doesn’t think she will be ready to anchor a headline singles match, she needs to be in this tag match to hide her weaknesses and highlight her strengths.
Sam wants to see her against Charlotte once she knows how to be a pro wrestler. She isn’t coming in for a one-off match, she is on Raw every week before ‘Mania, she is signing a full time long term deal which means we are going to see those matches and build to them.
Right now, it makes sense to have her involved with Triple H and Stephanie. They put her in a high-profile tag match and Sam still thinks Strowman should be the guy and doesn’t know where he is going to be.
He was missed out last year because he was between stories, he is the most, long term valuable person in the company. People want to see him get these hands on Triple H, he has done well with Alexa Bliss and he could have a great dynamic with Ronda Rousey.
Triple H can still kick ass, he is still ready to go and have a headline WrestleMania singles match, Angle is not so much, which is why Strowman should be in that match.
This match could get people very excited and Sam hopes it does, we are in a good place as far as the build towards WrestleMania goes.
Getting the chance to hear from Luke Harper is quite a rare thing as he doesn’t often do interviews or podcasts which made this good to listen to. He was promoting his movie and the conversation was mainly about that, so it would be good to have him back for a full wrestling conversation at some point as the bits we got were very entertaining.
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