RECAP AND REVIEW: Notsam Wrestling Podcast with Nakamura on changing from babyface to heel, his favorite opponents, Carmella on who helped develop her character, Shayna Baszler on influencing Ronda Rousey

NOTSAM Wrestling Podcast

Episode 204: Shinsuke Nakamura, Carmella, & Shayna Baszler

Release Date: September 20th,2018

Recap By: James Hayes


From New York, Sam welcomes you to the podcast!

Sam’s got big interviews with three of WWE’s top stars direct from the Performance Center. If you remember, Sam teased us about what he was doing at the Center last week. 2K Games sent Sam and a bunch of other media types to the Center, to play the games and do interviews with some of the Superstars featured within it. And now he is sharing that with you. There a bunch of interviews this week and there will be more next week. There’s tons of fun stuff coming in the next few weeks and there’s no one better than Sam to break it all down!

In addition to that, Sam’s going to discuss the return of The Beast, as well as all the other developments that happened at the HIAC PPV.

Same discusses the tour, which was lead by Matt Bloom. He got to see the green screens, as well as the 7 rings that they use for different things. One ring is used for aerial spots. The 30 or so media types are then treated to three matches. If you want to see the video Sam took you can become a patron member.

Let’s get started with WWE’s Rockstar and US Champ. Sam can’t believe he has never had him on the show before, yet somehow he is also shocked that he is on the show now. (?) Let’s get into it.

How much time did he spend at the Performance Center?

“2016 I join NXT. Almost every day I came to PC. To take a class, I was in the gym, watching my match, other wrestler’s matches, going to promo class, working on my entrance.”

Did Nakamura enjoy going to NXT first?

“If I went directly to main roster I’d have no time. Because I move here from Japan with my family I needed time, time to get my social security card, find school, get license, an apartment. NXT Schedule every Sunday was off. In my whole career, I never had that. That was amazing. I felt like I’m doing a regular job. I could go to school with my daughter. I spent one year in NXT, but it was great for me.”

WWE move has to be long-term

“I have much more to prove. I have only shown just 15% of me. I took a lot of time to adjust, TV wise, house show wise, the platform. Also NXT and Smackdown and Raw are much different. Oh my goodness. Still changing a lot, more agents, Europeans, and schedule also change.”

What was the change from babyface to heel?

“I like changing. In wrestling and in entertainment the most important thing is giving an impression. Changing to heel gave a huge impact at Wrestlemania. I feel comfortable because I can show more personality.”

Video game guy?

“I like nature better. In Hawaii, I went surfing with Ellsworth, but I could not find him. I played a lot when I was a kid. Wrestling video games now may be too complicated for me. Used to be two buttons A and B. Now. How many?”

His favorite opponent?

“The more I wrestle the more I learn from them. Every day I wrestle the same opponent. So every wrestler is my favorite. Right now I like Jeff Hardy. I understand what he thinking and feeling. So, I like to wrestle Randy Orton, John Cena, Doplh Ziggler and even more.”

Entrance Music Change

“It’s better. I talked to Vince to change the music. Even me, I’m Japanese but I could not understand rap lyrics of song. Vince idea was if I’m a heel people can’t sing along with it. Some audience member, even remember the lyrics of the Japanese rap!”

Nakamura Debut

The Princess of Long Island has granted us an appearance. Carmella, if you remember, straight up called Sam worse than an internet troll, TO HIS FACE! Let’s see if he can gain back her respect.

From manager to wrestler

“Last time I was here I was a manager, and it’s crazy how much has changed, in my life, in my career. I barely got an opportunity to wrestle on TV. I never wrestled on a Takeover. I always knew I’d get here. It was always in the back of my mind. I knew it would happen, but it was so distant dream that you don’t think will come true.”

You can’t take away her shine

“No one can take away what I’ve accomplished. I don’t mean that in a form of disrespect to the fans, I feel I know how hard I worked to get there. It’s a testament to my hard work. It’s a testament to the Performance Center. I won MITB twice. Twice! My name will always go down in the history books as the women’s first MITB winner.”

Does she miss James Ellsworth?


Can she rap as good as R-Truth?

“Yo, yo, yo check it once, check it twice, it’s Lea on the mic, she be eatin white rice.”

(She’s actually better than R-Truth)

On being a heel turned face.

“I think some fans love to hate me, but I was a good guy in NXT. I think it depends who I’m facing. They love Becky Lynch, so if I’m fighting her they cheer her.”

On her Summer Slam match against Becky and Charlotte

“I stole the show. I did the most and looked the best. Seriously, I just want to be the best at whatever I do.”

Who helped her develop Carmella

“Sara Amato was the best coach. She allowed me to have the best character. Dream (Dusty) was also a big influence on promo. And I always credit Byron Saxton helped me so much with coming up with this character. He is amazing. I came to him like, “I have this idea for Carmela. She is like the mob boss wife.” He told me to do a promo on Paige. He was like, “Paige? What is that like a book or something?” I was like, “Yes! This is exactly what I want. Then it snowballed from there!”

Who she dying to work with

“Sasha. I think we both have big personalities and we never got a chance at NXT. It would be awesome!”

Carmella wins MITB again

It’s been a long time coming for Sam to interview The Queen of Spades. Let’s not wait any longer!

Does she play video games?

“Sometimes I use gaming to decompress, sometimes people just want to talk about wrestling. Right now, I am playing Octopus Traveler on the Switch, which is kind of Final Fantasy-ish, and I’m playing Pavalon with a few friends every night.”

Seeing herself in a game

“To see me, recognizable as me, because like anyone I would create myself, even on the earlier games there weren’t women yet, so I’d create myself. It’s pretty wild to walk in and see me. And it looks like me.”

MMA beginnings

“I didn’t have the traditional path most take to get here, I came up through MMA. I spent 6 years in MMA. You work hard and give your life to it. Unfortunately, the time when I was really into it, it wasn’t really popular. Before women were in UFC. By the time it paid off, I was kind of out of it. I worked hard but there was no payoff. It was just working your butt off because you loved it. It’s not straying from my MMA path in that I trained mix rules kind of fight stuff before they would allow you to do professional wrestling. It’s the natural progression of my martial arts career but with a payoff. You work so hard not getting a payoff, that you forget it’s not supposed to be that way. If I had done it any other way, I wouldn’t be who I am, or what I am. Everything happens for a reason. “

A shot to the top

“It’s interesting because having the title and representing NXT, and the title is very prestigious, but the style of wrestling I bring in catch wrestling, it’s not a style that’s super popular, especially among the women. So, even more, weight was added what I am representing and how I came up. It’s taken time but people are starting to see it and the fact that I have stayed true to my lineage and not strayed and started doing backflips just to get people to think I know what I’m doing. That is almost more important to me than the title itself.”


“It’s really cool because in MMA I had such a negative backlash after one of my losses that I learned that’s not the majority. They always talk about the vocal minority on social media. I think I knew to put away that aspect. I know that when the crowd reacts. If I’m bending back someone’s arm in a way it’s not supposed to go, and the crowd can collectively gasp, it’s like… I know. Being confident in what you are doing, the crowd feels that confidence.

Influencing Ronda

“The fact that I was having so much fun doing what I was doing turned Ronda onto it, more than fans and things like that. She was in a spot where she was jaded. I’ve been there. But seeing my final form happen, I think that’s what did it. She always says that if I didn’t end up losing on The Ultimate Fighter, moving in with her, and having wrestling on every night that’s what kind of got her back into it.”

Shayna celebrates her NXT win with Ronda

Faction Excluded

Sam left out several groups from his list last week, the two big ones are The Von Erichs and The Heenan Family, Sam explains why they were not included in his top 10.

State of Wrestling

5. Hell in a Cell

Sam takes you through each match and gives his reasons for feeling the Smackdown roster came out looking stronger than Raw.

4. 205 Live is on Wednesday nights now

Sam feels this is not a bad move for the brand and that Lio Rush is awesome. (I agree about Rush.)

3. WWE and Impact Wrestling meetup

Sam does not think WWE is gonna buy Impact, but they may want that Impact tape library.

2. Shawn Michaels and Kane added to Undertaker vs Triple H

Sam still does not feel that this means HBK is coming out of retirement. His interest is high in seeing how this plays out.

1. Brock

Lesnar returned to ruin or save the main event of Hell in a Cell. He thought it was a great shock and can’t wait to see the fallout.

Overall Observations:

There are three big-time interviews that really show the depth of WWE talent roster. A nice mix really helped the show keep a light and engaging pace.

Rating: 8 out of 10

See ya next week!

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