Release Date: March 21st, 2018
Recap by: Sean McGraw
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X-Pac is joined by Jimbo, Denise, and TK. They are also joined remotely by Nick Hausman.
Daniel Bryan is cleared to return to in-ring action
Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by WWE doctors. It elicited a huge response from wrestling personalities across the board. X-Pac is really happy for him. X-Pac deals with some brain issues and knows how scary it can be – the prospect of what’s in store for the future. X-Pac also had to quit doing what he loved to do –and not on his own terms (He still wrestles independently as he talks about his matches frequently. He must not be cleared to compete in the WWE though.) X-Pac is really happy that it turned out this way instead of Bryan having to leave WWE to do what he wanted to do to be happy.
Nick asks X-Pac what WWE’s struggle was like during this whole ordeal. X-Pac didn’t really pry, but everyone knows how important it was to Bryan. X-Pac says he doesn’t really go snooping for information as much as everyone thinks or expects him to. Nick jokes that’s why the WWE likes him. X-Pac jokes back that some of them do and there are others that don’t.
Everyone on the panel thinks that Bryan will be in a match at ‘Mania. They think that Bryan will get the biggest pop of the night because he’s coming back and it’s in New Orleans where he first won the title. He’s probably going to be in a tag match with Shane. X-Pac says that Shane was getting ready for another big match at WrestleMania. Shane looks really solid and in good shape and implied as much when X-Pac saw him at Smackdown recently.
X-Pac is asked if he was concerned at all about Bryan taking some bumps during his beat-down at the hands of Owens and Zayn on Smackdown. X-Pac says that he doesn’t think that they just jumped into the deep end of the pool right away with Bryan. Hausman was a little worried because he’s not so sure. He compares the situation with Paige being re-injured.
X-Pac says that comments from fans about it being “about damn time” are inaccurate. It was exactly the right time because WWE had to make sure that everything was in order. They had to get a lot of different medical opinions. People can selfishly want to see him in the ring and in a match, but let’s make sure Bryan isn’t going to do any permanent damage to himself.
Daniel Bryan and Kurt Angle were two names that people said that were never going to be back. A third name that people talk about never coming back is Tyson Kidd. Now that both Kurt and Bryan are back has X-Pac spoken with him at all? X-Pac says that that’s a whole different issue there. Bryan is concussion issues and sure Kurt had neck issues, but the extent of Kidd’s injuries is that most people that get the injury die from it. He was almost decapitated. It’s a whole different level of neck injuries. He will never be back. He hates to say that there’s no hope, but it’s just not going to happen.
Mark Henry is entering the Hall of Fame and Edge and Christian will be inducting The Dudleyz
X-Pac is happy that Mark is going in this year but he wishes WWE would have given him a little bit better of a sendoff in terms of a story line. Nick says same thing with Christian. X-Pac didn’t realize that Christian was actually done wrestling (I believe he retired due to concussion issues). X-Pac says that he really enjoyed working with Mark Henry. He didn’t put out a tweet congratulating Mark Henry because he didn’t want people talking about the time that he dressed up in black-face as Mark. Pac didn’t want to insert that into the Hall of Fame conversation. Mark was fine with X-Pac doing it, but Pac isn’t fine with it now.
The XFL has some new competition
Charlie Ebersol announced the creation of a new football league that will be in competition with the XFL. X-Pac is asked how Vince McMahon would react to this announcement. Pac says that Vince isn’t a “reactor.” He takes time and sits with things and does not just react to things like a lot of people do. X-Pac says that’s a contributing factor to the success that Vince has had. X-Pac would be pissed though, especially about the name Ebersol being attached to the league. This league sounds a lot like the XFL with a lot of rules that are clearly defined but it will start a year before the XFL launches and it has a TV deal with CBS in place as well. A big hit to the XFL is that this league will also snatch up a good portion of the talent that would have been available to the XFL after the NFL had their pick of the litter. “Don’t expect to see Vince blowing a gasket over this in public, but, yeah, I’m sure he’s not happy.”
TK asks X-Pac if he think that Undertaker will come back for WrestleMania. X-Pac laughs and says yeah, don’t be silly. X-Pac says that when he was sitting there watching last year with Sam Roberts at WrestleMania he knew that that wasn’t Undertaker’s last WrestleMania. He said 100% guaranteed that it wasn’t because he knew that Undertaker wouldn’t want to end it on that. You don’t want to hang your hat on that.
The Ultimate Deletion aired on Raw
X-Pac thought it was excellent. It was so wacky, silly, crazy, and different and he’s sure that some people are crapping all over it, but Pac was really entertained. He loved when the drone had the hologram pop out of it. Nick thought that it was a little tamer than The Final Deletion, but he’s glad that they didn’t give it all away. It’s smart to give people enough to get them excited but hold some of it back for later on. Hausman also said that people close to the situation told him that Vince McMahon initially thought that it was going to bomb, but he was pleasantly surprised at the reaction that it got.
Hausman says that Vince McMahon has kind of overseen the evolution of production in wrestling since the 70’s. Hausman asks X-Pac if Pac thinks that Vince sees something like this and wonders how he can present something like this on a more normal basis. X-Pac says he’s not sure, but would we really want that? Hausman says he’s always wondered what wrestling would be if it were presented more theatrically and X-Pac says that that’s basically what Lucha Underground does. Hausman says he means the way that the actual wrestling matches in Lucha are pretty standard. In the Ultimate Deletion it was presented differently. X-Pac says that the match that they put together for that was very smartly done.
Nick asks what X-Pac thinks about leaving Jeff in the Ultimate Deletion even though he got a DWI over the weekend. X-Pac says he personally doesn’t have a problem with that. He hasn’t plead guilty or anything yet, but Pac doesn’t know if the same presumption of innocence would have been applied with a lesser star. (I have to say again, I am very annoyed that WWE does things like this. I didn’t like it when one of the Uso’s got arrested for it without being punished for it. I think a fine to these guys is like a slap on the wrist which is not ok when they are putting innocent people’s lives at risk.) X-Pac thinks that once there is a court date and everything the WWE might do something and deal with it, but at this point he thinks they are just trying to make it to and through WrestleMania.
X-Pac says that he’s amazed that, being an addict himself, he is amazed that Jeff has been doing as well as he has given the situations that he is in. X-Pac says that it really bums him out that this happened.
Nick Hausman wants to talk about Mustafa Ali
Nick is a former manager for Ali. He was impressed when he first met “Prince Mustafa Ali” because Ali told him right out of the gate that Hausman’s role as manager was to help him cheat to win but Ali does not play into the racial stereotypes. Hausman and X-Pac are impressed with Ali, a former Chicago Police Officer, but are not surprised with the success he has attained. X-Pac really likes the way he puts things together and he uses some of the same moves that X-Pac does. Ali also uses another X-Pac signature from back in the day where coming off the ropes a guy pops him up and he dropkicks the guy. X-Pac says he notices those things and it makes him feel good.
Hausman really praises Ali for not being that typical 80’s foreign heel stereotype. He says that we live in a culture where there is a real fear of “the other.” For Ali to be proud of his heritage and not do anything that he doesn’t stand behind is such a positive for the kids to see. X-Pac says that he picked Ali to go all the way in the cruiserweight tournament. The people like him. When they put a match like that at the end of a long TV taping and the people still react like that, it tells X-Pac something.
The match that he had with Gulak was very hard hitting. X-Pac says in a match like that you take some chances and you pay for it later, but it’s a good call at the time. Big spots are sometimes wasted, but in this match they were not. Hausman says that “the chains are off in 205Live now.” The wrestlers aren’t supposed to go out and wrestle like Raw and Smackdown superstars, they are supposed to wrestle like 205Live superstars. X-Pac says he told Triple H that this 205Live show is 100 times better now. X-Pac says he had his doubts since the beginning of the show, but he’s all in on the show now.
Hausman says that X-Pac said he’s “All-in” so he expects Pac to be in Chicago on September 1st. X-Pac hints that he might be. He doesn’t think he’ll be in the ring, but he was contacted about being part of the podcast thing.
X-Pac is asked if he thinks that the Moolah name change was appropriate. X-Pac says yes. Sometimes if we’re in a bubble we can become a little tone deaf. He thinks that it went how it was supposed to go ideally. People didn’t like it, they spoke up to sponsors, and WWE heard it and they changed it. People that think that WWE only changed it because of the sponsors need to realize that sometimes you just have to take the win. X-Pac says he doesn’t really want to get into the whole thing because he has his personal opinions on it.
Another week, another solid outing from X-Pac and the gang. The discussion was entertaining and covered a variety of topics. I do think that where this episode suffered a bit is with X-Pac himself. I got the sense that he was holding back on some of the topics. A show formatted as a news discussion is the perfect opportunity for Pac to do a little bit more of an analytical deep dive. We listen to this show because X-Pac is the expert and we care about what he has to say. There were a few times where he said things like “I didn’t really want to bring that up” and “I have my personal opinions on the subject” but that’s what the audience really wants to hear. I think it was a big missed opportunity for X-Pac to not talk a little bit more about the Jeff Hardy situation being that Pac is an addict himself and that he does give talks to other addicts. He seemed to just gloss over the subject.
In a similar manner he glossed over the Moolah name change a bit. I wanted to hear what he really thought about it. Now I understand if he doesn’t want to talk about things but I think he could get a little bit more specific to reason why i.e. “I don’t want to speak about the actual situation out of respect to Jeff, but here’s how I would deal with it as an addict myself” or something to that nature. In a similar way, I find myself wanting more when Pac says “the way they put that match together was smart.” I’d like to know why he thought that way. Maybe pick one or two spots that he was impressed with and give a little analysis.
Finally, I think in a week where he has no guest, this show would be PERFECT for a watch-along type analysis of a match. There is so much content out there and X-Pac is such a talent that I’m dying to hear him do a deep-dive breakdown. This may sound like me being overly critical but I consider it to just be a nit picking. Overall the show was entertaining, it’s just those little details that keep a good episode from being really great.
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.
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