Sam Roberts Wrestling Show
Release Date: March 29, 2018
Guest: Nick Aldis & Austin Idol
Recap by: Matthew Wilkinson
- Nick Aldis was part of NWA from the very start of the resurgence
- Nick Aldis isn’t sure why WWE doesn’t want to sign him
- Nick became disenfranchised with wrestling for a while
- Sam enjoyed Strong Style Evolved
- Sam was pleased that Rusev was announced for the U.S. Title match
- Sam expects The Rock to appear at WrestleMania
Subjects Covered (with timestamps)
13:00-Nick Aldis & Austin Idol Interview/ NWA Resurgence
21:00-WWE Buying Territories
24:00-Leaving Impact Wrestling
35:00-Not Being in WWE
45:00-Future Title Matches
58:00-State Of Wrestling/ New Japan Strong Style
1:10:00-Ronda Rousey Press Interviews
Nick Aldis & Austin Idol Interview/NWA Resurgence
Sam welcomes both Nick and Austin to the podcast and asks them what it is like being part of the NWA resurgence.
Nick Aldis said it’s very cool and was mentioning this earlier on, it’s the first time in his career where he feels like he have been part of something from jump street.
It’s very strange but also very exciting because we are touching on this history and building the show and individual brands off of the legacy that is already there but at the same time it feels like they are part of something from the beginning.
Because the team was so small when Billy Corgan purchased the NWA, they contacted Nick and asked him to be involved and as a talent you couldn’t have been involved any earlier. It’s exciting to see how far its gone in less than a year and it’s exciting to see how far they can go with it.
Sam said it’s been cool to watch, especially now with the content delivery methods and the storytelling methods whereas before NWA proceeded over the territories. Now the NWA tell the story of that specific championship on YouTube and you go to the bigger independent spots and defend it all over the country.
Aldis admitted they stumbled on it in a way as he had these existing bookings and it just sort of fit into what we were doing with the NWA. Even they were taken back by how sort of quickly these promotions were asking for an NWA title match.
This traditional situation of a traveling champion, there was a period where it didn’t work but because of how things have developed with every independent having its own style and fan bases it works again. Being able to slot into some of those because the timing is right, the Flair 30 For 30 thing was a big boost because it reminded everyone of the history.
WWE is evolving so quickly the fact this is still the same championship, people are gravitating to that and saying that’s the world championship. Some people say change the belt but would you change the F.A. Cup in football or the Stanley Cup? No, that’s the brand in itself, that’s the belt that Ric Flair held.
Sam noted that for years people talked about NWA being a dead brand but he has been impressed by them buying the rights to the legacy almost and instead of creating a home promotion they just need to tell stories around a legacy that will exist in whatever promotion is the home promotion eventually.
Austin Idol said that nostalgia will always be huge, whether it’s rock and roll or a sporting team, it will never go away. This is cool because with the NWA you can grab the nostalgia audience who remember all of it, regardless of where it was.
What is cool about this is you have those people and then people who didn’t know too much about it because it was asleep, they are starting to see it’s cool. This guy is cool, he’s a wrestler as well as being a professional athlete, he is a wrestler and that’s what Austin loves about Nick.
He thought that before they ever hooked up on an agreement, he is an athlete, he is a real smart guy but he is a real wrestler and that’s something that has slipped away a little bit but he does believe there is an audience that says that’s good stuff.
WWE Buying The Territories
Sam wondered how Austin feels, with WWE taking reign over pro wrestling history. You turn on the Network and that narrative has shaped around, you think of WWE, it’s WCW, it’s ECW, it’s territories it’s all that.
Austin said Vince went after it and grabbed everyone up, most of the territories and the footage, give him his dues he’s a very smart guy. It doesn’t really affect him because he was very fortunate. Austin was able to carve out his career, he had control over it.
Not in the beginning but, you can have an opportunity but that doesn’t mean you will be successful. His best opportunity was in Memphis and he was in and out for a decade, longer than anybody and had control over his own destiny, the promoter didn’t like it but they knew it.
Idol was box office, there is a fine line, you have to be a business person. You don’t want to wrestle full time because Austin didn’t care about Wednesday or Thursday night, he could stay home at the beach. He was getting the money shots, they flew him in and out and worked three days a week.
Leaving Impact Wrestling
Sam asked how Nick felt when he decided to leave Impact and asked if he knew what was next.
Not at all, to be honest, Nick was a little disenfranchised with the business because he felt like everybody was fighting over the same fanbase and even WWE catered to that.
There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s the very discerning fans whose focus is on the in-ring wrestling and the qualities of the execution of a match rather than the storytelling.
Looking at it as a business man, that’s not him and there was a part of Nick that was looking at other options and was contemplating doing something else.
He got into this because he loves it and to make money and he did make money, but he is not going to just continue toiling around just to be a mark, if the money is not there he’ll will do something else.
For whatever reason, there wasn’t an opportunity for in WWE, we can talk for 20 years about what that reason may or may not be and he can tell you what he thinks but ultimately the only people who know are Vince and Hunter and whoever else.
When Billy and Dave contacted Nick, he knew. He said he wanted to know where Nick’s head was at. He did those bits with Impact and they were Billy’s last as creative and they were enjoyable.
Nick assumed because he is an artsy guy he would be into that hipster wrestling as well so it seemed like the sensibilities are heading into that direction. Nick have no issue with those fans, but what he takes issue with is when they force out everything else and set up shop and drive everyone else away.
He would rather be the prince of a real big castle than be a king of a real sh***y one. He doesn’t know what the top earner is in WWE, and he’s sure they are making great scratch, but they are probably less than what mid-card guys were making in the Attitude Era.
If Nick had to be Stone Cold’s mid-card he would rather do that. He doesn’t have to be the champion, not everyone has to kiss his ass and give five stars, he wants to be on something hot.
That’s one of the reasons he has such admiration, not just because he is such a good friend, but Marty and the Bucks. He has no axe to grind with WWE, his wife works there, Vince has never paid him directly but he owes him gratitude because he has fed his kids.
But having said that, guys coming into the business their goal should not be to just make it to WWE, it should be to draw money, if you do that, you will end up there anywhere. If you draw money you will write your own ticket.
One of the reasons he stayed in TNA and made more each year, is because he had an eye on what he made an impact on, UK market and even the American market when he was champion.
Aldis knew people for Sky television before he came to TNA, who said after he left the numbers went down. He kept all of this stuff and looked at all that and despite all this evidence there is no opportunity.
Looking at that, he had done some stuff with Jeff and Global Force and it was fine, it looked like it was going in the right direction but it didn’t materialize. Nick wishes he hadn’t gone back and done those last set of Impact tapings because it did nothing for him, but after he thought he didn’t know if he wanted to be in the business anyway.
Not Being In WWE
Sam asked if its difficult on an emotional level, that there is a spot for his wife in WWE now but for you?
Nick said sure, how could it not be. What he finds really interesting, he went to the Hall Of Fame last year and will this year, and it’s full of guys he used to work with and then people who used to work and are now in the office and they say they really wanted to sign him.
Nick just come to the conclusion, whatever it is, until they resolve whatever the thing is, he wouldn’t want to be there anyway because they would just cut his balls off.
Sam asked Austin, if he thinks that this younger generation is losing out because the territory system is gone.
Austin said that everything evolves, it changes and we will never stop change, whether it’s changing for the better or the worse. Austin and Nick have talked about this, they just focus on what they’re doing and don’t get concerned about anybody else.
What he loves about the NWA, this is a chance to create new fans, they will stumble on them and see it as cool, what they are doing with the 10 pounds of gold is amazing.
It’s cool, it’s now and current. That’s the beautiful thing about it, especially for people finding it for the first time, you see all these different athletes and the production is great.
Nick says it feels real because it is. There are no scripts, they say whatever and that becomes the story, Tim Storm is a 53-year-old school teacher who is the NWA Champion. In this era, you cannot lie, that’s where a lot of the business has fallen off.
The whole perception is reality and that people will believe whatever you tell them isn’t true when someone can just go click. The authenticity is what makes you feel something. Before Shawn Michaels, you could tell he was a brilliant performer, but once you heard that he got beat up in a bar there is a new element of interest. He was throwing little winks to it, we just decide.
Nick knows he pushes peoples buttons, he goes, okay, are we going to have a whole roster of guys who just want to be everybody’s friend? He is 31 and was told get to WWE, don’t say this and don’t do that because you will get heat.
He sees it in people’s performances all the time and hears about it first-hand there’s too many balls in the air because you are worried about a million things that shouldn’t be important.
But when you get to WWE, that’s where the work really begins. Nick had to have an honest conversation with himself on does he want to get there and be successful or because it’s a proving ground thing and because he is pissed off because he’s not there.
Future Title Matches
Sam asked if there are people out there Nick is hungry to have title matches with?
He said there are many, he knows there’s a lot of names being thrown around but he believes this year is going to be the craziest year of the business for a long time. People will look back at this and say look at what happened. A lot that are being thrown around might be a much stronger possibility than people realize.
Marty Scurll, Cody, you name them. Sam then quickly asked if Nick thinks he will be at the ALL IN event and he responded by saying it’s not up to him, all he can do is keep projecting the image of a real-world champion and at the end of the day, if they want the most genuine, real and prestigious title at that show they would be smart to do so.
Austin said it’s a no brainer, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this thing out, it’s NWA World Champion, Nick is a fantastic athlete, a great communicator and carries himself well, why wouldn’t you want him? You just look and see what the other options are and the traction, this thing is really building and there will be a point.
Nick said when they were in TNA they used to joke that we were in the forgotten locker room there was himself, Okada, Young Bucks, they’d ask ‘have we got anything today? No.’ And now look.
He remembers sending them a text when he won the TNA Championship and they were doing all that and said this beats Gator Golf. People think he had an easy ride because he has a look, but he’s struggled too.
State Of Wrestling/ New Japan Strong Style Evolved
Story number five is Strong Style Evolved, New Japan was back Stateside over the weekend putting on the show and he really enjoyed it.
Let’s get into the wrestling, it was fabulous Takahashi and Daryl are one of the most compelling duos in wrestling right now, I am a big fan of the LIJ. He doesn’t know why Triple H hasn’t made the move to bring Natio in to NXT as he is so full of charisma, he should be brought as soon as possible, but the whole crew is amazing over there.
It was great, it was fun watching Jushin Thunder Liger but of course the main event lived up to the expectation, it is amazing that New Japan consistently lives up to them as it really was a phenomenal match.
If Sam is New Japan he would be thinking about doing two, two hour shows instead of one four-hour show because that is a lot to ask from anyone. He doesn’t mind four hours of original content but in one block he ends up having to watch it in segments.
For New Japan to jump into the American market, and Sam really thinks that the production value increased from the last Stateside show, it wasn’t the same as the Tokyo Dome but the last US show was lacking the production value, but this show looked like a much bigger deal and a promotion you should take seriously.
All due respect, you need to find, Sam doesn’t want to say younger commentators, but brand some that are their own.
Sam wants to hear someone that bleeds New Japan, when you listen to WWE commentary, say what you want about it, whoever you are, every commentator sounds like they are on a steady diet of WWE coolade and it helps the product immensely.
They are the voices that are telling the stories and either Josh Barnett and JR need to shift their focus or find a duo that can relate to us as an American audience but feel like they bled New Japan. When you watched ECW, at no point would you doubt that there had been a minute Joey Styles had missed which is necessary when you are a smaller promotion.
You will never be as big as a mainstream success as WWE, but if you want a chunk of that market, yes, the shirts are selling in Hot Topic, but for the most part its Bullet Club stuff and that’s because through their YouTube show and the other promotions they are in.
They carry themselves the same way it’s one long storyline that goes around everywhere. That’s what you need to do when you don’t have a corporate machine behind you, that’s the message that needs to be delivered.
The commentators need to know every story that is being told, you should be able to go up to them and ask a question that they can answer, with detail. They need someone who is cool, someone that incorporates all this stuff.
Jim Ross is great, but not necessarily for New Japan, he was great at telling stories in WWE but he was in charge of the talent so he was heavily invested in getting them over because that was his talent. If Mick Foley becomes famous that is a feather in JR’s cap, there is an extra incentive to get him over and know the story.
You can’t just blame them because maybe the communication isn’t great and New Japan isn’t getting the stories to them, the promotion has to be talking to them. With everything that is going on, Vince McMahon still manages the commentators and Sam still feels they need to up their production value a little bit.
They have all these characters that are breaking through and you don’t need to have the American guys, you have Japanese guys getting over just as strong, but you need the commentators to be reminding us why Naito doesn’t care.
He wears a suit to the ring but it’s not a tear away shirt and the way he takes it off without ripping it away, that is his style, he doesn’t care, explain that attitude to me.
Why does he care a little bit more about the fans than he used to, well tell us? Stories is going to put this thing forward, they will suck people in and create the loyal audience that you need.
ECW is about as close to anything that you can compare, ECW had violence and great wrestling, but at the end of the day, it was the stories that got you going.
It was Raven and Sandman and Tommy Dreamer, it was Sandman’s son leaving him to follow Raven, it’s all this stuff, ECW was the first promotion to take Jerry Springer’s stuff and put it on a show and didn’t insult your intelligence as it also had great wrestling.
You can’t assume everyone who is watching will research what the stories are, but it was a success and a step in the right direction. It was better than the last Stateside show and they need to make a consistent effort to do shows in the States, more that are live, maybe a PPV. Put WrestleKingdom on PPV, get on American TV and tell these stories.
Ronda Rousey Press
Speaking of stories, let’s discuss Ronda Rousey and the press junket she was on this week, she made headlines and was first on First Take and she did not want to answer questions about the negative response she got from the MMA community when she started losing fights.
Then she did a second interview with Golik and Wingo, clearly, first of all, people are on her case, Sam would say he left out at least a comma, he did say, would you go back in time. But she was trolling him, clearly, because she didn’t want to answer the question and Sam doesn’t think she wants to talk about MMA.
Sam was talking about this to Jim Norton who knows way more about MMA than him and he brought up the point that Ronda is a very emotional person and was super emotional after she lost her last fight to the point she couldn’t talk about it.
Sam thinks that is part of it and maybe she can’t handle those questions, she needs to be able to figure out a way to get out those questions without her seeming weird but he doesn’t mind her trolling these interviewers. He is curious as to how WWE felt about these interview, you think media training leads you to talk about your ability to time travel.
Sam doesn’t think it was media training, Ronda is smart, obviously she knew it wasn’t a question about time travel but the fact she put things together that quick, she is smart as she clearly didn’t want to answer questions about it.
She is going to have to, she is promoting WrestleMania and the reason she is in a high caliber match is because of how famous she got in MMA, she isn’t there because she is an amazing pro wrestler. She is there because of the fame that she comes in with, but what is the fame she comes in with, it’s her MMA career.
They can’t ask about her wrestling stuff as she’s had three segments, then it comes to beating up Dana Brooke and Absolution, so the idea that there is questions about the past is not crazy.
CM Punk did not want to talk about pro wrestling and left with a bad taste so he didn’t want to talk about WWE, but he was vocal about the fact he doesn’t like it. Ronda has not done that and hasn’t said she doesn’t want to talk about MMA so I don’t know about that.
She is really happy to be in WWE, say what you want about her, you can’t act that she isn’t ecstatic about it. The fact she is as happy as she is would leave me to believe there can’t be that much venom.
It was great to see her with Paige on Raw, she is underrated when it comes to promos. Paige and Alexa Bliss are the best female promos in WWE.
Charlotte is good but in terms of wrestling promos Sam doesn’t think any women comes close to Paige and Alexa, they are the two. To see her go out there, which is why she has such value in WWE, would you be as excited if it was just Sonya and Mandy and they did the talking.
Bringing them was the right move and watching them develop over the last few months and feel like big stars, but they are not Paige, so allowing her to be a mouthpiece is a recipe for success.
Number three, new WrestleMania matches announced and participants added to matches. They announced the Andre the Giant last week but the participants are beginning to be announced, Mojo was revealed and Zack had a great tweet about that asking if Gronk will be in the front row.
Matt Hardy will be in it, he hopes that Matt, because this is a yet to be determined number of participants, Sam hopes we not only see Brother Nero return but also Broken Bray. He would like to see him pop in and if all three are in you can have the moment to shine, we invested all this TV time to doing all this thing, a 17-minute segment at the end of the show.
There has been work, we don’t need Woken Matt to win but it shouldn’t be he is in and then eliminated, let’s get the universe involved and it would be cool.
You have new women being added, which include Bayley and Sasha Banks. You want the women’s revolution to come full circle, all Sam wanted was a grudge match between them.
You are giving the storyline which is great and it looks like Sasha is turning heel which is the right thing for that lovely woman. You are allowing us to see this friendship fall apart, we want to see the match, a grudge singles match at WrestleMania.
Sam wants to see the title matches, the Rousey match and Sasha vs Bayley, that would be an amazing thing, but, it wasn’t meant to be, because they are in the battle royal. It seems like the battle royals exist for people who don’t have a role so hope has gone.
Of course, the John Cena and Undertaker hasn’t been announced, there is no graphic and you know Sam’s feelings about the graphics, if you don’t have one, you don’t have a match. A bunch of matches have been made, graphics haven’t been shown and they were all changed.
No graphic has been shown, every part of Sam believes that it is happening and he still firmly stands on the idea that Undertaker should be the American Badass. On the SmackDown side, you had a real interesting show, two matches were announced and an addition.
Sam thought it should have been there from the beginning, Rusev being added to the United States match, it’s great as it is a fatal four way so you don’t have too many triple threat matches.
If Rusev was in the battle royal, all night you would have Rusev Day chants, now you have him in a prim slot, Sam doesn’t think he will win the title as his character doesn’t need it.
The reason he was added was that in the beginning, the story that was being told between them three was the story and we didn’t realize how crazy things would get for Rusev.
We have also had two more matches announced, I think we saw both of them coming. A triple threat tag match, so another triple threat, Tag Championships, Bludgeon Brothers vs Usos vs New Day and if it was up to me it would be a Bludgeon Brothers victory.
It’s worked and people didn’t know if it would, but it is. Seeing Luke Harper and Rowman doing something that people are behind, Sam decided at Fastlane they are a team you have to get behind.
Fans were booing because they wanted to see Usos vs New Day and they were booing because it got interrupted, but the work that they did was so good that they got back into the match.
Super happy that is happening, Bludgeon Brothers need to walk out as champions and tear it up. Usos would be a great story that they finally get their shot at WrestleMania, this shouldn’t be on the pre-show, seeing them finally get the shot and not win is a more compelling story.
It leads them to a story of getting the titles back and New Day don’t need it and will be broken up within months. What else can you do with them?
To Sam it’s a no brainer, the titles go on the Bludgeon Brothers, let that audience see these guys. It’s a triple threat and is no holds barred which gives you an out, they can use foreign objects so you could have them use that.
The other match was made, which leads us to story number two is the tag match Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. If they lose they stay fired if they win they get reinstated, Sam would imagine Bryan and Shane lose and Shane will take the pin, unless there is something creative that they can do.
Who knows what will happen with Daniel Bryan, he may be done with being the GM, who would replace him? Maybe Hulk Hogan, that would be amazing.
It leads into story number two because on Tuesday afternoon we didn’t know if this thing between them was going to happen. Injuries apparently are a non-issue. We start with Charlotte. First was AJ who was cleared and is fine, and he said even if he had his foot amputated he would till wrestle.
You had Charlotte not wrestling on Mixed Match Challenge and SmackDown, today it was announced that she had swelling that was related to dental surgery so she will be fine and be on SmackDown this week and the match is not in danger and will believe these reports.
The second injury that popped up was Shane McMahon. On SmackDown, Daniel Bryan said Shane was in hospital after the attack but word on the street is that he is dealing with diverticulitis which is basically the same illness that ended Brock Lesnar’s MMA career or at least stopped it.
But, Shane was diagnosed with it and people were speculating as to who Bryan would call out as a mystery partner, but as of SmackDown the match was made and Bryan said Shane will be at WrestleMania.
Now, Ione match in WWE is a little easier than a UFC fight because people can be aware and avoid that area of the body and wear special padding, but with Shane that is difficult because people are used to him doing something.
Even with the excitement of Daniel returning there has to be a crazy spot in the match. Sam hopes that he is wrestling because as much as you could find somebody cool it would take away from the return if Shane is not his partner because part of it is watching this return happen.
The storyline with Shane is what is being paid off with this return. It’s a story being told since November and would be a real shame if he wasn’t in the match, but it’s hard to believe they would announce it last night and have him not show up.
People are saying Jericho would be great and yes, he is involved in the story, but him returning would be such a big deal that Sam wouldn’t want it in Daniel Bryan’s match.
The Rock At WrestleMania
This leads me to the number one story of the week which started breaking recently which is betting odds and relates to a theory Sam developed. There are odds that The Rock will appear and he would say it’s a safe-ish bet that he would be at the show.
Sam does not think that Elias will be Braun Strowman’s partner, he has made it clear he is performing at WrestleMania. Listen to what they are saying, he is coming to have a grand performance.
The Rock is going to interrupt and they will square up. It works on many levels, they can do a sing off, The Rock became famous for his Rock Concerts, he has done it since then, it is a thing. A stool, a guitar, a spotlight, it is comparable in that space.
We want to see Elias in a spot that is high caliber, okay, how about the spot with The Rock that ever media sports and entertainment platforms will be running after ‘Mania. We saw it happen with John Cena and hopes are high for Elias, The Rock is absolutely going to interrupt his performance and you heard it here first.
Sam would stop at nothing to keep it a secret, can you imagine that crowd when he is saying New Orleans sucks and The Rock’s music hits.
You have the Bryan return pop, the AJ/Nakamura pop the Rousey pop and The Rock surprising everyone pop, oh my god. In Sam’s opinion he will be there and it will be a great segment.
This was a refreshing episode having someone totally out of the WWE sphere, yet a guest who does want to work for the company and is willing to talk openly and honestly about not being signed. Nick Aldis’ approach to that aspect allowed the conversation to be really engaging and it really was a fantastic interview.
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