Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Guest: Roman Reigns
Recap By: Matthew Wilkinson
- Reigns believes all WWE talent are Vince’s ‘boys.’
- Roman didn’t understand why the whole steroid situation took place.
- Roman is ready to get physical at WrestleMania 34.
- Sam is happy WWE changed the women’s battle royal name.
- Sam wants to see Ronda Rousey on Raw every week.
- Sam is incredibly happy to see Daniel Bryan back in WWE.
Subjects Covered (with timestamps)
05:21-Roman Reigns Interview/WWE Travel
15:00-Working With Brock Lesnar
30:00-Ronda Rousey In WWE
36:00-Working With Vince McMahon
43:00-State Of Wrestling/ MSG House Show
1:10:40-Mark Henry Enters WWE Hall Of Fame
1:28:00-Daniel Bryan Returns
Roman Reigns Interview /Travel
Sam Roberts and Jim Norton welcome Roman Reigns to the show and ask about his recent time in the Middle East, asking what the fans are like.
Roman Reigns said it was excellent, they are very gracious, pretty much everywhere WWE goes is perfect because there is so much energy and excitement.
They get to travel around America and do domestic touring year-round but there are some places WWE only gets to go once or twice a year and you can definitely tell.
They are about to go, once WWE gets through ‘Mania into touring season and have South Africa, Saudi Arabia with the Greatest Royal Rumble of all time and Roman believes that’s going to be a huge Network special.
Sam asked how far ahead he plans things as they are constantly on the move, which he imagines must be quite stressful at times,
When they get the schedules most of the booking is a couple of months in advance, hopefully, things are subject to change with life and injuries but you have a general idea and don’t worry about it to the week of.
Roman says he chills out Tuesday and then he will start getting the loop ready on Wednesday. It’s not all just trunks and hip tosses, we are travelers.
Tuesday is one of the roughest days as that is a travel day, best case scenario he is home at 10/11 in the morning and he has two baby boys and they are very demanding.
He has been taught, when you are home, be home. With any job there is preparation to have a smooth transition but he tries to log in and be there whether it’s multiplication or trying to get my boys to learn how to share.
Roman is then asked how he feels about security when WWE goes to dangerous places that are known for being tough for tourists.
Roman stated that WWE has a great security staff and that is one thing people don’t realize, there is a lot of stuff backstage. Security is a huge part, they run the same schedule, they rent cars and make drives and have to wait till every talent is out of the building and it’s very demanding. They will do the midnight shift drive and then have to be up for 9.30 and 10 to work security for Vince, there’s a lot that goes into it and they are another key example.
Sam mentions how security tried to stop Gronk getting in the ring for his WrestleMania 33 angle until they were told it was part of the show.
Roman added that her name is Lisa and she is total badass, she didn’t know and she was doing her job. You would rather have somebody step up and come to your aid than think ah they are possibly okay.
Working With Lesnar
Sam mentions how he has been calling Lesnar out as a bitch, and Sam asked if he worries about him taking it out on him at a later point.
Roman thinks it’s all a part of storytelling, that’s the cool part of what they do, they can build a story through verbal confrontation but eventually it’s going to go down and get physical.
Reigns has been in there with him, and thinks he has set a record for Germans at this point. That’s what is cool about this, it’s very simple, get ready to hurt and get ready to bring it right back.
As R-Truth always says, we are not delivering the mail, this isn’t ballet, when you come near this ring it’s about money and physicality and you have to hold up. We have so many different forms of tough guys, if you look at Lesnar, that’s a tough guy, but then we also have guys who run around with dance pants on. Fandango was in the training room and rubbing Vicks vapor rub allover his body, he just said it takes a tough guy to do this.
Jim asks if Roman has ever suffered any concussions before.
Roman has been very lucky to protect himself and learn through developmental, being able to learn the basics on how to protect yourself, but he has experienced them through football. Football was done with him and that was a huge eye opener for him, it felt like it quit him when he wasn’t finished.
No disrespect to the CFL, they helped me feed my daughter for a year but it’s not the league it’s a league. It sounds disrespectful but the NFL is the NFL, when it comes down to it you can’t deny the attention that it draws.
Things weren’t panning out and Roman wasn’t playing as much as he thought he should. He thinks everybody has a path and that’s why he doesn’t judge people on what they have done before, it’s not what you have done it’s what you are doing.
He is grateful, you just have to protect yourself no matter what you are doing and know your techniques and protect your health, concussions are something we are eradicating. The key is to start young, hopefully these habits become stronger for our young athletes.
Sam mentioned the recent steroid allegations that Roman has been dragged into, they have turned out to be false but he wanted to know Roman’s thoughts on the entire situation.
At one point it’s like who is this, what did I do? Reigns was just sitting at home doing dad stuff then all of a sudden this happens. It’s a good lesson of where we are at, his Twitter is a billboard and some people want to use it in a positive or a negative. At the same time, he knows what he has done and you have to have a bulletproof mentality.
Sam then moved the conversation back to Brock Lesnar, asking if the pressure is more on the match or the build and getting fans interested in it.
The match is the match, it’s one thing to speak about it when you are five weeks out, it’s just going to be physical. If you saw what they did three years ago you have an idea of what they are going to do.
They’re both brawlers and aren’t scared to bang, the physicality along with a great story, which is important to get people to immerse themselves in it, what you will be able to take is that woah, if you can blur the line you’re doing the job right.
Ronda Rousey in WWE
Roman was asked how he thinks Ronda Rousey is doing so far and he said he has been busy with the other one but from what he has seen and the small talk she has done good.
She’s in a crazy situation where she will have to learn very fast and trial by error, she may have moments where she does really good stuff and bits where she struggles and you might see that. As long as she is having fun and progressing it’s a positive for everyone having her around.
There is a lot of different things for entertainment but the main thing is the travel. Roman doesn’t know their schedule but it seems like in MMA they train in the same places, WWE don’t have a camp, we have a new town. You constantly move, if she has a family she won’t see them as much there is a bunch of sacrifices to be made to do what we do.
Working With Vince McMahon
Sam asked what’s it like to be doing TV with Vince? He doesn’t do TV as much anymore but that segment was a huge deal.
Roman said it’s neat, they have gone on a transition over the years throughout our relationship, on screen and off. It’s always cool to see him around and anytime he is involved it’s cool, when he is involved you can see that passion that he still has. To be able to do it as long as he has and still has that passion it’s incredible.
Sam mentioned calling Brock Vince McMahon’s boy, and spoke about how many people believe that Roman is in the same position.
Whether you are somebody who is in a situation like Reigns or somebody who is new or has been around for a long time and not gotten the push, the bottom line is we are all Vince’s boys in his opinion.
What they do for him and this company, he has a huge respect for that, what we like to call the natural resource of our business. You can find lighting and sound guys a lot of places, to find people what we do is not likely.
Everybody is Vince’s boy and should have that relationship, are we all equal? No. Has Brock done a lot of stuff, absolutely. But when you are in that situation it is a matter of pride, what do you see in the mirror. When Roman doesn’t see that in a fellow talent it pisses hi off.
Sam mentions that WrestleMania is, April 8th, then he goes overseas, then a year from now WrestleMania is going to be in the MetLife.
Roman said it’s going to be a crazy two months, WrestleMania is obviously as big as explained, but WWE has a crazy touring schedule coming up, South Africa, Saudi Arabia which is going to be huge, he heard 60-70,000 people. It’s never been done before so it will be a great time.
They do South Africa, fly back for the television, do Saudi Arabia, back for TV then they have a two-week tour of Europe. It’s going to be pretty crazy, he will be jumping a lot of time zones and Roman guesses this is the time to enjoy the Eastern time zone.
State of Wrestling/MSG House Show
We start with number five and it’s more personal to Sam but it’s his experience with WWE at Madison Square Garden. He knows a lot of people saw the video he posted of him arguing with The Miz.
Sam went to the Madison Square Garden show on Friday night of last week and it was a great show and longer than most shows. It had a lot of special attraction matches. It had the main event, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns against The Miz and Miztourage.
Sam loves that it was the main event, especially for Finn Balor because it wasn’t that long ago we were seeing him lose to Kane on Raw and it felt like the bloom was off the rose. We felt maybe he wasn’t being looked at as positively, that is obviously not happening anymore. This week, did you see the shirts he put out?
He has shirts that say OGBC, that is amazing. Watching him in that spot as these are our top three straight up good guys is a nice spot for him and it’s working. He is living up to expectations and the triple threat at WrestleMania they will attempt to steal the show.
Sam did get into it with The Miz at ringside and is not afraid to voice my opinion at him, this was the first show since he started working on the pre-shows where he watched the full show in the crowd.
It was great just getting to watch as a fan and luckily, Sam was close enough to the ring that Miz saw my face with a thumbs down, booing. We boo the bad guys and he is a bad guy, that’s what this show is all about, we boo the bad guys and cheer the good guys.
He saw Sam and at one point he lets the Miztourage get beat up in the ring as he not only left the apron but left the ring and came to the guard rails, which is why he called him a coward. They went back and forth a little bit and Sam is glad they did, that was the proper main event.
Right before that was a cool match, the advertised match was John Cena and Nikki Bella vs Elia and Bayley. Very interesting to see Nikki Bella wrestling, he would take that to mean maybe she will be back for the women’s battle royal.
It’s not on Sam’s list but it is a big deal that they changed the name, it’s the right call and they thought certain things did not mean as much to the fans as they do and WWE decided to be like okay, we made the wrong decision and they fixed it.
Sam wouldn’t be surprised to see Nikki Bella, she is in great ring shape, the match ended up being them vs Elias and Sonya Deville.
That’s the right choice because you want Elias to be the bad guy against John Cena, he gets way more cheers now. Adding Bayley to the team with Elias even though they were on Mixed Match Challenge is seen as a good guy and Elias is so good that when he insults the local crowd you want to cheer for him.
You also had a triple threat between Kane, Brock Lesnar, and Braun Strowman. A lot of Lesnar matches have been 40 seconds, this went a few minutes, it wasn’t 30 seconds. There was offense and defense from Lesnar and of course he won and pinned Kane, but what was interesting was that Braun Strowman got the opportunity to look strong.
After the match he beat up a bad guy, he still had his moment to look strong and leave with his music playing, they are treating him like he is the next big good guy. There is no way he will not be WWE Champion as a good guy by WrestleMania 35.
Sam’s concept was give it a few months and let Miz beat Roman and then maybe around Royal Rumble you have Braun Strowman win, he will walk in to WrestleMania 35 as a babyface champion.
It is clear the company sees this as that’s the spot they are putting him in, he is head and shoulders above almost everyone else on the roster. When they are selling tickets they are going John Cena, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman.
That’s what makes Brock less likeable, he was pushed to the moon, WrestleMania 19 he gets his moment and a year later he is out of the company, Sam doesn’t think we will have that experience with Strowman and fans can’t wait to see what he achieves.
He should win the Tag Team Championships, allow them to have a run and when they break up allow them to feud, in May they are advertising a show for Braun Strowman vs Elias. After all that, you start talking about him as a contender for the Universal Champion.
Now we move on to story number four, which also took place off TV and number four goes to Ronda Rousey. Sam is watching Raw and again we see this package for Ronda Rousey, with some new footage this time where we see her working out but still, she is not on TV and its disappointing, she is this big star.
Sam doesn’t know if they’re trying to protect her investment and want it to be special at WrestleMania or if she needs to work some stuff out, until you can explain it to him, Sam doesn’t agree with it.
Sam leaves Raw wanting to see her and feels like there is star power not being utilized on that show. It was surprising she wasn’t on, it was even more surprising when this video comes out that she was in the building.
It’s her and Dana Brooke and she does one of her moves to Dana Brooke. Ronda comes out and does her thing and you can see it on YouTube so it’s not done in secret and want all the press they can get out of it and media did still pick up on it.
You can do angles with her that don’t involve Ronda Rousey, Sam wants to see her look like she’s not part of the show on television, that they don’t know how to deal with her. She shouldn’t be treated all that differently from Mike Tyson.
Another thing about the MSG show is when they advertised tickets for the next time they will be there they advertised Ronda Rousey would be there, the point is we need to establish things to WrestleMania and she needs to be on TV.
If she isn’t going to be on TV lets have something between Triple H and Kurt, bring up the love triangle from the past? Why not bring it up, it’s something that wrestling fans remember it’s the most watched era of WWE, we can go to the Network too which is a great commercial for that.
If he is scared of losing his job why would he say what he said about them, why? We have two Raw’s Left, he personally thinks Ronda should be on TV every week, the Dana Brooke thing is a demonstration of what she can do.
If you do it on TV people will talk about it a lot more. John Cena had another great promo, the story between Roman and Brock is super interesting because of what they are doing. If the Cena and Undertaker match is happening, Sam is super excited.
You have AJ vs Nakamura and now you have a Daniel Bryan match, even Asuka vs Charlotte. Sam believes that all five of the matches, right now have more meat on them than this Ronda Rousey match.
We need to inject some juice into this so people have a conversation about where they will go on the card, because right now the only thing that is keeping it in a conversation that it will close the show is Ronda Rousey’s star power and it should be in the conversation.
It’s not just let’s see Ronda in a ring, which is what the vignettes are telling you, but you are involving Triple H and Kurt Angle so let’s start telling this story.
Mark Henry’s WWE Hall Of Fame Induction
Speaking of ‘Mania 34, the Friday before the Hall of Fame, Mark Henry is inducted. Sam believes the first place he said he was retired was this here podcast at the live show from SummerSlam. He is so thrilled that he is going in, he is a genuine guy.
Sam tells a story about him, Mark Henry calls Sam up on SummerSlam weekend and asks if he knows any shows going on or promoters that might want him to do something, which is regular.
Sam can tell when a wrestler is befriending him because he can help them and he doesn’t mind that, Sam is happy to help, but he knows the difference between someone who is a buddy and who is angling for something.
Sam said he was doing a live show, and asked when he was flying in? Sam said he would love to have Mark and he just said yeah just text me the address, and he just turned up because he is a good guy like that. Ever since then they have been buddies.
He was on the podcast before then, maybe three years ago Sam did it with Peter Rosenberg and it was a great podcast, he is a really good guy and has earned his spot. He came in in ’96 and it was awkward, but you start looking at what he has done.
He became Sexual Chocolate and he made it work and started embracing characters, he became that character and fans got excited when they saw it on TV. His Nation of Domination stuff was really great too.
You have all these things on paper that are absurd but they worked and the reason is because of Henry’s commitment. You move forward where he does the tag team thing with MVP, then the Hall of Pain comes and he has a run as World Champion and it’s a credible run.
It wasn’t like oh he’s been around forever; the Hall of Pain Mark Henry was a legitimate bad ass. It felt like a spot and a run that most guys in his position wouldn’t get but he fully embraced it.
Then you think it is done, the salmon jacket retirement speech will go down as one of the greatest swerves it is an absolute classic. It made you believe that this guy who we thought was retiring, we believed he could beat John Cena.
Sam wanted that story to keep going because he thought he did have some gas left in the tank but it was just one PPV match.
The build was pretty damn near perfect and since he has helped put over guys, this is a good year to go in this year. Bubba and Mark are good friends and Sam is happy to see them going in this year. In terms of who will induct him, it could be a lot of people. It could be MVP, it could be Jerry Lawler, he was the guy who gave him a feud in ’96.
Sam would try to get John Cena to induct me if he was Mark Henry, that retirement swerve is going to go down in history as maybe the best thing he ever did. Or Big Show should induct him, they were in similar territory for a while, they both had to be humbled at times, Show will headline a class.
Another big moment is the night that they collapsed the ring and that is a visual that lasts forever. It also gives Big Show a spot on the weekend which other than this he doesn’t have.
Moving on to story number two which is something a lot of people have been asking Sam about which is the Ultimate Deletion. Woken Matt and Bray at the Hardy compound, Sam couldn’t believe we saw the return of Senor Benjamin, Queen Rebecca and King Maxel, even George Washington the giraffe, it’s very rare that much of a character that existed outside of WWE ends up in WWE.
As far as the execution Sam was very shocked it ended Raw, his personal opinion when Cole said it was obnoxious Sam doesn’t think they were his words.
Sam’s gut tells him that maybe there is a certain McMahon that doesn’t get this whole thing and maybe a certain person was worried to close Raw and wanted a voice to agree with fans who thought it was stupid. But fans loved it, they did it right. At the very beginning it looked like it was going to be too polished and they didn’t ruin it.
It leaves us thinking a couple of things, it felt satisfying as it was what we were expecting, when they first did this in TNA there was a debate of if it’s terrible or so bad that its good. It was brilliant and it actually leaves us with something going forward, we saw the return of Brother Nero, it was in a fantasy state.
Sam could have done without the Laurel and Hardy running from logo to logo scene, but everything else was brilliant in the sense it told the story, it filled out the Woken Matt Hardy character and left us with stuff to talk about.
We have to think Brother Nero showed up, is he coming back as that or was it in Bray Wyatt’s fantasy, we saw him for a second and then he disappeared, so what’s going on with that.
Furthermore, Bray Wyatt disappeared into the lake, Matt seems oddly satisfied with it and says Bray has been deleted. They will do something interesting and go from cult leader to cult follower and join the Woken Universe.
Woken Matt should now have Queen Rebecca, Brother Nero and Bray Wyatt and change his name to something, as Sam doesn’t know if Brother Bray is enough. Quite frankly he is happy with it because if Bray is doing anything it is a good thing as you can’t count on him having a spot these days.
Maybe he can come out at some point and restart the cult stuff but in the meantime he should be a soldier fighting alongside Matt Hardy as his second but it was well executed.
It was far more polished than the TNA version but creatively it seemed like they let Matt Hardy have his way. Jeremy Borash is apparently working for WWE now so maybe he had something to do with the production of that.
Daniel Bryan Returns
Let’s get to the number one story, there is only one way to go even though we spent an hour talking about it on YouTube but that is Daniel Bryan returning to a WWE ring.
The speech was incredible but the Daniel Bryan story is going to make an amazing motion picture one day, this is a story unlike any Sam has seen and it’s so special. As good as he felt after his speech, Sam’s wife came down because he was audibly laughing due to being so happy when he German Suplexed Sami Zayn.
But when he started running and dropping those kicks, Sam was excited enough when they were going to beat him up which means he is ready to go. Then to watch him get in some offense my god did it feel good.
Have you ever seen the crowd point to the WrestleMania sign? Bryan’s instincts are so good he knew not to do it, he looked as the crowd pointed at it. They are clearly going with Sami and Owens vs Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon.
It is going to be such a thrill so don’t waste a dream match do a tag that will actually solve a lot of storyline dead ends and It’s going to be the hottest match in terms of fan reaction.
The question on a lot of people’s minds is the uncomfortable feeling you get seeing Bryan take bumps. Sam said and stands by, that he puts the full responsibility of the health of the wrestles in WWE.
If WWE is telling us he is cleared then he is healthy, in the press release they gave a list of doctors and then they gave a name of their WWE doctors. They won’t put that name on something that is a risk, our duty is to have faith in the system.
If we don’t have that faith the concern should be spent on WWE saying you need to protect them, not the guys themselves. Storyline wise, that emotion we all feel being worried about him because we were told this for so long, it’s going to be played upon.
None of us are doctors, most of us don’t know Daniel Bryan, it’s not up to us to stop a guy from living his dream, if a doctor says it’s stupid then yes, it is. But if they are clearing him we have to let it happen.
You are going to feel weird but everyone who takes bumps, everyone he has ever powerbombed on the apron is taking a risk. If you don’t like seeing people put their health at risk then don’t watch wrestling.
He wouldn’t be coming back if he was fragile, but he is coming back. The emotion is normal but to feel anything but happy to me is misguided, it’s a positive story and only positive. It’s a story about hope and making your dreams come true, it’s real life.
If he is coming back it should be in a WWE ring as Sam trusts their medical professionals than any other promotion. The vast majority of us think so too, we will see him at WrestleMania and the next time will probably be this 50-man Royal Rumble match, who knows but he is excited about this whole thing.
Another entertaining episode of the podcast, as usual, Sam has had a very high standard in 2018 and each show is great to listen to so far. Hearing from Roman Reigns is always quite rare so when the chance comes it is good to hear him discuss the business and how he feels about it. The State of Wrestling was jam packed this week with so much news so that was fun as always.
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