The Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle
Kevin Eck wrote for WWE for about three years, from the Summer of 2011 to the Summer of 2014. He says some of the most memorable storylines that he was part of were the rise of CM Punk, the rise of Daniel Bryan and the return of Brock Lesnar, and says he actually pitched the Mark Henry retirement angle.
Kevin is currently a columnist for pressboxonline.com, sportingnews.com and rohwrestling.com.
Kevin speculates whether the delay in the Becky Lynch/Ronda Rousey match at Survivor Series will lead to a match at WrestleMania. He says this is the biggest positive coming out of the change in plans, while losing out on the build to the first ever Charlotte/Ronda Rousey match is the biggest downside.
Kevin says he was surprised Charlotte was chosen as the replacement, believing both Lynch/Rousey & Charlotte/Rousey could have been saved for down the road, and thinks they could have gone with Asuka as the replacement at Survivor Series instead.
Kevin admits that he considered Becky the fourth most popular of the Four Horsewomen of NXT at the time of her main roster debut, and calls her rise in WWE gradual. He calls Lynch’s earlier character a white meat babyface who he found to be kind of corny.
Eck thinks WWE did change course after Becky’s recent promo where she heeled off on the fans. He believes the company realized getting the fans to boo Becky would be an uphill battle, and that they decided Becky would still do heelish things and be booked as a heel, but would no longer speak out against the fans. Going forward, Kevin think Becky will maintain her edge, and play a stand up, tough-as-nails, anti-authority character.
Kevin says Charlotte’s lineage was both a blessing and a curse in NXT, and he doesn’t think anyone looked at her as “the future.” He says she earned her spot by showing what he could do, and says she became “the most complete performer in the women’s division.”
Kevin says that as soon as he heard Ronda’s recent anti-millenial avocado toast promo, he immediately thought that Vince McMahon either wrote it or heavily influenced it based on his personal experience with Vince.
Eck also says that anything other than Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch at WrestleMania would, “be insanity at this point.”
Eck says during his time at WWE, there was a feeling from upper management that there was more fan interest in Daniel Bryan on his way up the ladder than there was once he got to the top, and that there was a sense Bryan wasn’t able to sustain that “top star” position and couldn’t be a long-term top guy because he is an underdog.
Kevin & Wade discuss Bryan’s heel turn, comparing it to Daniel Bryan’s last run as a comedic heel who got fluke wins. Kevin thinks Bryan can be an effective serious heel who does what it takes to win, and believed Vince is more open to pushing Bryan as a heel champion than a face champion.
Kevin says there was a lot of push back against Zack Ryder during Kevin’s time at WWE. He says Ryder was not well liked by upper management, who looked at him at a joke, with some even believing Zack wasn’t any good in the ring.
Eck says that, when it comes to Zack Ryder, “The man is close to the character,” and that some of the management thought he was an idiot who wasn’t a man’s man. However, because the agents were pushing hard for Ryder and telling management that he was extremely over with the crowd at live events, the WWE finally decided to do something with him. However, Kevin says Ryder couldn’t hang acting-wise when he was featured in bigger programs, and ultimately slid back down the totem pole.
Vince’s Heel-Face Philosophy
Kevin says he believes Vince generally likes the heel-face dynamic to be present in a match, but that he also likes to be “sophisticated”, and that, in some ways, heels and faces can harken back to the old-school ‘rasslin’ that Vince finds abhorrent. However, Eck says, the writers literally worked with a list of the roster that was split into heel and babyface columns.
Kevin recalls Vince’s reaction to SummerSlam in 2013, which he says fell short of expectations, and says Vince blamed the co-main events, which were 1) the babyface vs. babyface John Cena/Daniel Bryan program, and 2) C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, which Vince said the people didn’t buy because someone Punk’s size couldn’t beat Brock, and so the fans didn’t invest in the match.
Eck also talks about a mid-card feud between The Miz and Kofi Kingston when both were babyfaces, and says the writers asked Vince whether one would be turning heel and were told, “No, they’re just showing attitude!” Kevin thinks Vince, “sometimes tries to reinvent the wheel just to show how smart he is.
Kevin believes Braun will beat Lesnar for the title prior to WrestleMania, that Drew McIntyre will win the Royal Rumble, and that Drew & Braun will headline WrestleMania. He says Drew is clearly being protected from a booking standpoint, and that there are big plans for him. Eck says Brock Lesnar could potentially be added to this match to make it a triple threat.
Kevin says he’d rather see Batista work against a younger member of the roster at WrestleMania than see another Batista/Triple H match. If the WWE is looking to do a nostalgia match, however, he proposes Batitsta take on Goldberg.
Wade suggests a Batista/Miz match at Wrestlemania.
While Kevin says he’s never met Shane McMahon, he admits that he is, “not a fan of him as a wrestling performer.”
Eck calls Shane a “47-year-old Executive Non-Wrestler”, and says it’s hard to buy or even stomach him as a wrestler. Kevin says the only Shane McMahon match he’d like to see at WrestleMania would be Shane vs. Triple H, because, “There’s a shoot aspect there that could really be brought out in promos if they choose to go there.”
Eck also accurately predicted that Shane would be the last survivor from Smackdown in his Survivor Series match.
This is a little outdated after Survivor Series, but Kevin Eck gives great insight into Vince McMahon’s creative mindset and fun anecdotes from his time backstage at WWE.
Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and son.