Episode 215: Finn Balor, XFL, Rhino, RIP Dynamite Kid
Release Date: December 6th, 2018
Recap By: James Hayes
From New York, Sam Roberts welcomes you to the show!
Sam says this could be the best show of the year. He’s in the zone. Balor will get into Becky Lynch, Drew McIntyre, as well as wrestling when and wherever he can. But first, Sam wants to show some respect to The Dynamite Kid.
“He was one of the most innovative superstars of the ’80s, and quite frankly we talk about how WWE is the land of giants, and that guys of a certain size have a tough time in WWE. That still comes up in 2018. It’s really not true anymore. After Shawn Michaels, things really got opened up for guys of various sizes. But before Michaels, it was a very different world. And the fact that the Dynamite Kid, at his size, at his height was able to get as far as he did, was able to make the impact that he did, in a world that was not designed for him. The WWE at the time was not designed for him to prosper. And he did anyway and the reason he did is that he was so good.”
Sam says. He also would love to see The Bulldogs get in The Hall of Fame next year.
Dynamite Kid Tribute
Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask
Let’s get to the unreliable man that does unreasonable things. Or is it the unmanageable man who does unauthorized things?
Whatever it is, here he is.
Finn Balor Interview
Pressure being called Extraordinary:
“I wasn’t sure I was still being referred to as that. I don’t watch on tv, so I don’t get to listen to the commentary. I wasn’t sure. I’ve been under pressure my whole life. Won’t do any harm.”
“We were in Mexico I think Saturday night then straight after the show we flew to Texas. And then from there, we flew to somewhere else in Texas, and then somewhere else in Texas last night. After the show, we drove four hours to somewhere else in Texas. We are somewhere in Texas now for Raw tonight.”
Where we are:
“When we get to different countries you can tell. The airports feel different, hotels feel different, stuff like that. But when I’m in the States honestly it’s a blur. I thought I was in Dallas last night and it was Houston. Or it might have been flipped around. I’m not actually sure.”
One Day At A Time:
“It’s pretty wild. We release these tickets so far in advance because obviously, they are hot tickets. But there is a lot of work to be done before then. We still got TLC, we still got Royal Rumble, which is a big one. I try not to overlook what is in the immediate future. I try to live in the present. Obviously, Wrestlemania is going to come around and we’ll be, ‘Oh wow! It’s Wrestlemania, again.’ I got to get to Wrestlemania, but I got to get through tonight first.”
TakeOver in Dallas:
“I remember being in Dallas for Takeover. That seemed like the biggest show I was ever going to be involved in. Just to see how things have moved very fast since moving to the main roster. It’s been a pretty wild ride.”
TakeOver in San Jose:
“That was the precursor for what Takeovers would become because that was the first large venue out of state what we call an ‘out of Florida state loop’. I remember a lot of the newer guys in NXT that hadn’t been around that long, or out on the indies, wondering, ‘Are we gonna be able to fill this? What’s this show gonna be like?’ I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it. I remember telling them, ‘Man, this is WrestleMania weekend. Every wrestling fan in the world is gonna be there. They are gonna want to be involved with the show. This is gonna be one of the wildest crowds we ever wrestled in front of.’ That prediction was right because that was a very special night for me. I got to work against Neville, one the people I think is one of the best in the world. We just tore the house down that night. My parents were in the front row, my brother, my uncle. It was a wild night. It was kind of the night that NXT really arrived.”
“I am obviously, hugely proud to have been a part of that. That was a real team effort. It was not one person that was responsible for what happened at NXT. The fact that we were all training together, we were all scraping by trying to get to the main roster, but at the same time, we all felt like we had a point to prove, to prove that we did belong. It was kind of like a bunch of misfits traveling around together. And those old shows were some of the best times of my career. Personally, I was having so much fun in the ring. The crowds were awesome. That kind of small more intimate setting where we would do house shows in let’s say Cleveland or Columbus, where there are like 2,000 people in a rock music venue, that was a really cool period. It was awesome.”
On NXT now:
“It’s super polished. Those guys there are incredible. They can transition seamlessly from NXT to the main roster, like Adam Cole, Ricochet, they are changing the game. It’s cool to have been a part of it. The guys there have evolved it. The next crop can come in and continue to evolve it.”
The Hard Way:
“There is a lot to be said about doing things the hard way. I feel like, all my career, I’ve done things the hard way the whole time. But at the same time, I had a great time doing it. It never felt like the hard way it felt like the long road. There were never any shortcuts taken, and I think that helps me be the performer I am today. It’s helped me remain controlled and calm in high-pressure situations.”
On a match with Drew McIntyre:
“The idea is never to ‘steal the show’ it’s just to go out there and have a good time. I’m still trying to process the fact that I have a match with Drew McIntyre at TLC, because like you guys, I found out on social media.” (That’s ridiculous.)
“It’s crazy because we kind of come from the same general area of planet Earth. We’ve kind of had very similar career paths, but we’ve never had a singles match on tv. We never really crossed paths on the indies. This is kind of the first time we are getting to step in the ring against each other. I’m sure he has a lot of stuff he wants to prove to me, and I have a lot I want to prove to him. Really, I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to prove to everybody that’s watching. I’m looking forward to it. It’s good to be in the mix. I definitely don’t take it for granted.”
On Drew’s comeback:
“Credit to him to be able to go through what he went through at an early age in WWE and then regroup then reset his goals. To do it the way he has done it and come back so composed, a completely different Drew McIntyre. I got ultimate respect for how he handled his career. He has proved a lot of people wrong. Guys like him that do that, and Jinder, they are a great guide for when this type of thing does happen to guys. The door is not always closed and there is light at the end of the tunnel for the people who can refocus.”
Coming to WWE early:
“The offer was there when I was 26, 27, and 28. Every year they came knocking. I had done two years in the New Japan Dojo. I was starting to establish myself in New Japan. There were offers on the table but it never felt like the right time. Honestly, when I came I wasn’t sure it was the right time either, but I had to roll the dice. I’m the kind of person that I am never ready unless I am doing it.”
On his match with A.J.:
“I’m happy in hindsight of what could have been for that show. We started with the wacky stuff with Bray then transformed into the match with A.J. It was unfortunate that three of the boys went down sick, but I was the one that came out with the silver lining on that one. Obviously, I and A.J. had never wrestled. A lot of people would have preferred having a big build up. From what I remember it was a lot of fun. I don’t watch my matches back so I can’t say if I’m happy or not, but the fact that you are still talking about it a year later… They just put it on the Youtube Channel and all of that stuff means some people liked it for sure. The match we have some time in the future will blow that match out of the water.”
On Becky Lynch’s run:
“Can I believe this is happening? Absolutely, yes. What do I attribute it to? I’ve always believed that Becky had that in her. I just don’t know that she believed it. I think in the last couple of months she has started to get that self-confidence. I think everyone believed in her, except herself.” (And Vince.)
“Finally she got that self-confidence and she’s been rocking. I think it’s unbelievable to watch and it’s only gonna get bigger, man. She is on fire right now and it’s incredible to see. She’s been around almost as long as me. She’s been doing this for almost 16 years. She knows exactly what she’s doing in the ring. She’s comfortable. Her promos are on fire and she’s killing it. Long may it continue.”
For more of this interview, which includes Balor’s thoughts on possibly moving to Smackdown Live and becoming the inaugural Universal Champion, only to vacate because of an injury, click the link at the top.
State of Wrestling
Sam actually taped all the all the games from the original run. He still has them on VHS.
The XFL starts next year, 6 days after the Superbowl and Sam seems thrilled to welcome back Vince’s new-ish toy. However, he has some doubts about the stadium sizes that Vince has chosen.
(Hey, wait a minute, this is not about wrestling. Is this how it’s gonna be, Sam?)
Vince McMahon’s names the cities.
Sam believes, “Paul Heyman was able to turn Rhino into an actual Manbeast and if ECW has stayed in business Rhino was the guy that was having the rocket strapped to his back. I don’t know if the potential that Rhino had was ever tapped.”
Sam says the ECW Legend is no longer a part of WWE. And the assumption is that he may actually retire. But Sam feels that there is still a need for him over at Impact Wrestling.
Check him out in his prime.
Sam redid Raw last week and got all the predictions wrong, so he’s gonna do it again.
He wants more insanity from Dean Ambrose. He criticizes the Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre feud. And he is confused about the Alexa Bliss/Bayley/Sasha segment. (Me too.)
2. Becky Lynch
“The reason I worry for Becky Lynch is because of three words: ‘Shut. Your. Mouth.’ For two weeks in a row Becky Lynch has been told to, ‘Shut her mouth.’ on Smackdown by Charlotte. And for two weeks in a row, Becky Lynch’s mouth has gone shut.”
Sam says Becky is not Stone Cold she is Conor McGregor. Conor never shuts his mouth.
“Beck Lynch should not be getting one-upped verbally by anyone ever. I think WWE is maybe putting a couple breaks on Becky Lynch so that Charlotte gets a little more time to shine. I worry the WWE is still looking at Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania. In reality, the match the fans want is Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey in a singles match at Wrestlemania.”
1. Daniel Bryan
Sam says, “Daniel Bryan has made Daniel Bryan something new.”
He continues to love Daniel Bryan’s work as a heel. He is excited about everything that Bryan is doing.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
It’s always good to see a top guy on the show. I loved hearing about Finn Balor’s journey through NXT. And as usual, The State of Wrestling was loaded with great theories and fantasy bookings.
Maybe not the best show of the year, but a good show, nevertheless.
See ya next week!
Based out of New York, James Hayes is an independent filmmaker and podcaster, currently working on a true crime series focused on African American crime. When he needs a break from the seriousness of true-crime he turns to pro wrestling. James has 27 years of following the sport. Here is a link to his film credits https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2026980/, as well as his Twitter @JamesHa34395813.