Guest: Drew Gulak sits down with X-Pac
Release Date: March 7th, 2018
Recap by: Sean McGraw
X-Pac is joined by Jimbo, Denise, and TK. This week’s guest will be Drew Gulak.
X-Pac announces that this show had to be recorded a day early because he is going to be shooting a movie. He says he believes he is going to be playing a wrestling announcer with Eric Bischoff.
Hillbilly Jim is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
Hillbilly Jim was a super nice guy. By the time that Pac had gotten to WWE, Hillbilly was retired and working for Coliseum Video. They like Jim so much that they wanted to give him a job. Pac remembers the angle where Hillbilly Jim was in the crowd and came in to help Hulk. It worked like gangbusters. Pac thought it was funny that Hillbilly Jim was always sitting in the front row at these events. Pac always wondered how a hillbilly could afford those tickets. Congratulations to Hillbilly Jim. The only question is who would induct him. X-Pac says that Hulk would probably make the most sense, but how does WWE navigate that situation? Perhaps Jimmy Hart will be able to do it – we shall see.
Ric Flair is in a music video
Ric Flair is in a music video for a song called “Ric Flair Drip.” (As of the airing of this podcast) It has garnered 1.5 million views on YouTube. The video is hilarious but it is perfectly fit for Ric Flair. The video was good and Ric Flair looked really good in the video – his suits fit well. Good for Ric Flair.
A stunt goes wrong for a wrestler
Impact wrestling star Eddie Edwards was bashed in the face with a baseball bat inside of the ring. It was a stunt gone wrong. X-Pac watched the video. He says he’s a Sami Callihan fan and it was obviously an accident, but he doesn’t know what they were trying to do. X-Pac defends Sami for not firing back at Jim Cornette on Twitter. Sami didn’t come off well on Twitter but he’s a good dude and obviously didn’t mean to hurt Eddie Edwards. “How much legs[sic] does this have, as far as people caring? Alright, let’s get over it.”
X-Pac says that wrestlers in general think up these high spots in their heads and they sound so great but in reality they just don’t translate. “We need to think about how the fans are going to see this, not how it comes across in our brain.”
Cody Rhodes gets a venue for his event
The “ALL IN” event will be held in the Sears Center in Chicago, Illinois on September 1st. X-Pac says he’s sure that they will fill the arena. They are also holding a podcast convention that weekend. They are smart making it a weekend event with meet and greets and everything. X-Pac says he was asked to be part of the convention. He’s not sure if they’ll be able to do it, but it’s something he’d definitely like to do. X-Pac also teases that he even though he is in wrestling shape right now, he may be in even better shape for something by September 1st.
Drew Gulak Interview
X-Pac starts the interview by asking Drew about his background. Drew came up in CZW. Pac asks Drew if Drew did any of the Deathmatch stuff. Drew says not when he first started; he was told that he wasn’t allowed to do that stuff. He was much more of a technical wrestler which was closer to his amateur wrestling background from high school. X-Pac asks if Drew thought he ever needed the high flying arsenal given his size. Drew says he would learn it but he never felt he had to have it. He enjoyed the submission style more.
X-Pac says that when Drew mentioned that he started in CZW there was a bit of a disconnect for Pac. CZW is so crazy that it doesn’t seem like Drew would have wrestled there. Drew says he snuck by, but he did have a couple of Deathmatches. X-Pac amusingly asks if Drew got “juiced. “ Drew chuckles and says yes, he got good color. He had a couple of aspirin, a beer and some orange juice to bleed more and make it brighter. X-Pac says that Bret Hart would do a shot of brandy with the aspirin.
Did Drew have a hard time branching out and doing other things? Drew says that he was pretty fortunate because Joker and Sabian from Blackout took Drew under their wing and looked out for him. They helped him to get bookings. He also fell into Chikara which had a pretty regular schedule. Between CZW and Chikara he was working every other week minimum. Drew Gulak was his only character in Chikara.
X-Pac asks Drew about the slow motion spots. They were a Darin Corbin invention. X-Pac brings up a match that he had in a King of Trios with Darin, and Aricd Canon. When they started to get into the slow motion spot he was hot. He had never seen it before and the other two hadn’t smartened him up on it. Drew asks if Pac was hot because he wanted to be in on it. Pac says no it was because it was the opposite of everything that he felt was right. The second time that happened he was all in on it though and Tommy Dreamer even paused the match with a remote. Drew asks if the crowd went into slow motion too. They did. Drew says that the Chikara crowd really makes it.
X-Pac talks about meeting and being a little bit of a mentor to Matt Riddle. He told X-Pac that he was going to CZW to have a bunch of matches with Drew and that he was really happy about that. Drew says that the first time they met was at Drew’s WWE tryout. It was Drew, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Chuckie T, the TM-61 guys and Matt Riddle was also a part of that tryout (Wow. That is A LOT of talent in that tryout).
Gabe (Sapolsky) mentioned to Gulak that WWE really likes Riddle, but they weren’t ready to take him on at the time. They wanted him to train with Drew at the CZW Monster Factory. He is a unique wrestler because of his MMA background. It’s really cool to see him succeed on the indies. X-Pac calls him a prodigy. Gulak agrees and says he’s super natural, a real quick learner, he can do anything in the ring and he’s a hell of a personality. X-Pac agrees and says that the key for Riddle was that he just had to figure out that he needs to be himself.
X-Pac asks Drew how much of what he is doing now is himself. Drew says all of it. He definitely turns it up for the show. It’s cool being in WWE. It’s a collaborative process with so many people being in creative positions, but they’ve been very receptive to working with the wrestler’s ideas. Most of the words that come out of Drew’s mouth on TV are written for him, but he is given the freedom to manipulate them to make them sound more natural. He tries to do the best with what he’s handed. X-Pac says that’s good. Pac also says that it’s ok to speak up if he doesn’t like what’s been written for him. Drew says that he tries to do that if something really isn’t hitting home with him. You have to have a better idea coming back though.
X-Pac talks about the rise of writing teams in the industry and some of the older guys getting hot at the writers for scripting them. X-Pac says he had the mentality of not getting hot at the writers because they are only doing their job. Drew wonders if the writers were a foreign concept because back in the day it was more shooting from the hip with really only the destination in mind. X-Pac says yes pretty much. There’s something to be said for doing it that way because it’s authentic, but he understands that things change.
X-Pac steers the conversation to 205Live. Drew says it’s a good show. X-Pac says it’s been getting better. Drew says that it will continue to get better too. It’s still a new show. Pac wants to know how long Triple H has been hands on. Gulak says that it was Triple H’s concept coming out of the Cruiserweight Classic. As soon as they came over Vince said it was great and let’s take the ball and run with it. When the tournament for the championship started is when Triple H came back into power. Pac asks if Drew has noticed any changes. The format is changed a bit. The big thing is the longer matches and the shifted focus to the competition. X-Pac thinks that the longer matches speak to what people want nowadays.
Is there any talent that Gulak wants to see in WWE that isn’t there already? Joey Janela is someone who’s come through the CZW school and worked hard. He’s proven that if he has a goal and wants to achieve it, he will see it through. He has a lot of respect for having a positive attitude and going through wrestling school later in his career. Wheeler YUTA is another guy. He is a promising kid that reminds people of Ricky Steamboat. Penelope Ford and Brittany Blake are a couple of Drew’s female students. Blake is one of the toughest people he’s ever met. One day in practice she broke her leg and didn’t even know it. She came in the next day with a full cast on.
X-Pac asks if Drew knows how Ricochet is doing at the PC. Drew says he’s doing great. Pac and Drew agree that of course he’d do great. Drew says that Ricochet is enjoying it very much. X-Pac says that meeting him and getting to know him makes Ricochet that much better because he’s such a good dude.
This was a pretty short episode, but it was fun to listen to. I sometimes have to be reminded that people can have really interesting stories because when I saw that Drew Gulak was going to be the guest I didn’t really have much reaction. Just listening to this short conversation does make me want to go and start watching 205 Live to see more of what Gulak is about as a wrestler, especially now that Triple H has taken control of that show. I found the part of the conversation about bleeding to be a really interesting peek behind the curtain. I had never heard any of those tricks before. I also really enjoyed that this wasn’t a straight up Q+A and that it was more of a fly on the wall listening to two wrestlers have a conversation. I liked how Drew would come back and pick X-Pac’s brain on some of his experiences. Aside from the Drew Gulak interview I was excited to hear that X-Pac may have some sort of involvement in the “ALL IN” weekend festivities and possibly the show itself. I am really excited for that show because it’s close enough for me to attend. Overall, another good outing from X-Pac and crew.
00:00 – 28:46 Intros and News Discussion
29:39 – 53:31 Drew Gulak Interview
53:32 – 54:52 Show Wrap Up
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.